Tidbits on August 31, 2005
Bob Jensen
at Trinity University 

Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/.

Bob Jensen's home page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/

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


Music: Chinese Music --- http://www.chinesemusic.co.uk/english/music.html

  The Internet Chinese Music Archive --- http://www.ibiblio.org/chinese-music/

  Chinese Music Downloads --- http://www.indianchild.com/Music/download_chinese_songs_music.htm

  Guzheng - Chinese Zither --- http://www.philmultic.com/guzheng/

Thinking of New Orleans (in prayers and songs) --- http://www.dayspring.com/movies/view.asp?moviename=GBA2movie.swf
Sweet Georgia Brown and Ain't Misbehavin' --- http://www.elinewberger.com/music_listen.html
137 New Orleans music sites, many with samples --- http://neworleanswebsites.com/cat/en/mu/m-bm/m-bm2/m-bm2.html

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

Please check on your bank account --- http://www.scottstratten.com/movie.html

Watch those long-term commitments
Picking an online music store ought to be no more complicated than choosing between grocery stores. But if you're going to buy more than a few songs a month, you may find yourself in the kind of long-term commitment associated with inking mortgage documents.

Rob Pegoraro, "Priorities for the Store-Shopping List," The Washington Post, August 29, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/27/AR2005082700232.html?referrer=email




Doing research on the Web is like using a library assembled piecemeal by pack rats and vandalized nightly.
Roger Ebert

Simplicity is the form of real greatness.
Francesco De Sanctis

Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Cold Turkey"

New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Breakfast of Champions"

Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Cat's Cradle"

Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Slaughterhouse Five"

It was a book to kill time for those who like it better dead.
Dame Rose Macaulay


The good news --- his new leg worked; 
The bad news --- he ran off without paying for it

Police said a man who was fitted for a $17,000 prosthetic leg has run off without footing the bill. Sgt. David Murillo said the man went in last week to be fitted for the leg. He was allowed to take it out to make sure it was a good fit. Police said the man kept walking.
"Man Walks Off Without Paying For Prosthetic Leg," TheIowaChannel.com, August 25, 2005 --- http://www.theiowachannel.com/news/4901714/detail.html


Question
What are "blue sky" R&D projects and name three exciting projects underway?

Answer

But in the 1980s and '90s, corporate research became less curious, as managers pursued a "return on investment." Almost all of what now passes for corporate research consists of tweaking existing products rather than pursuing entirely new technologies. Fortunately, some companies are still thinking grandly--exploring areas of science and technology not immediately related to their existing sources of revenue. We profile three such "blue sky" projects in the R&D 2005 article: IBM's use of supercomputers to model the workings of the human brain; Intel's development of a way to detect individual biological molecules using lasers and Raman spectroscopy; and Bell Labs' methodical efforts to assemble a quantum computer that could one day solve certain types of computational problems millions of times faster than today's machines.
"Blue Skies Ahead," MIT's Technology Review, September 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/09/issue/readme_rd.asp?trk=nl

Bravo Emily:  Massive disabilities overcome by sheer determination
Emily Crockett's mind is her dwelling place. It has been her blessing, a repository of rare brilliance. And it has been her betrayer. When she was just a small child, malignancies formed near her brain stem, leaving her legally blind and paralyzed on her left side. But it had no power to obscure the essence of Emily: Her singular determination that her life would not be defined by the malignant star-shaped cells that linger in her brain or by the long, thin cane with which she now navigates the well-groomed quadrangles of Harvard.
Thomas Farragher, "Emily's Story:  Finding a Way at Harvard," A three-part series in the The Boston Globe, August 2005 --- http://www.boston.com/news/specials/emily/index/


Advice for folks 65 or older
Q: Are there reasons for rejecting Medicare Part B?

A: About 6% of eligible elderly turn down Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient care in exchange for a $78.20 monthly premium. Some turn it down because they get better benefits on the job, says Marilyn Moon, vice president of the American Institutes for Research in Washington. Other retirees reject the taxpayer-subsidized coverage to rely on "boutique" doctors who charge a set annual fee for health care. Others may seek to keep control of medical data or decisions, says Michael Cannon, health-policy director of the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington. There's no penalty for delaying Medicare coverage when you're eligible at age 65 -- if you're still insured at work. But if you're not, your premium could rise 10% for each 12 months you were eligible and didn't sign up.
"When to Reject Medicare," The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112492720735922504,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal
Jensen Comment:  Consider this very, very carefully before you reject Part B.  In general, I recommend Part B.


Converting Home Videos to DVDs

Q: Are there services that will take home video and burn it to a DVD that can be played anywhere? I know I can do this on my PC, but it takes too much time and I keep running into problems when I try it.

A: There are such services. One that I have tested and found to be good is called YesVideo (yesvideo.com). You bring your videos into a store that works with YesVideo -- including CVS, Walgreen, Best Buy and Target -- and they send the tapes to YesVideo, which converts them to a very nice DVD. You also can get the same service online, at Sony's ImageStation site ( www.imagestation.com ). Sony calls its service Video2DVD, but it really is just the YesVideo service. My full review of the service is at: ptech.wsj.com/archive/solution-20040128.html. Because YesVideo works through retailers, prices vary, but are usually around $25-$35 for a two-hour video. Each DVD is divided into chapters based on a YesVideo process that tries to detect scene changes in your videos. At the end, there are three 60-second music videos made from scenes on your videos. The company also will put your prints, slides and even old film onto DVD, but this costs more and is handled by fewer retailers. Details are at the YesVideo Web site.
Walter Mossberg, "Converting Home Videos to DVDs," The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2005; Page B3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112492084317722331,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace


From The Washington Post on August 26, 2005

Hitachi just unveiled the world's first hard disk drive/DVD recorder that can store one terabyte of data. How many hours of high-definition digital broadcasting can it record?

A. 188
B. 158
C. 128
D. 98

Also see http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1851795,00.asp


Really professional tax planning helpers

"Forbes “Best of the Web”: Tax Planning," AccountingWeb, August 29, 2005 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101242

There are many resources available on the Internet to help you and your clients with tax planning. Two of the best, according to Forbes’ Best of the Web: Tax Planning are the Financial Planning Toolkit from CCH and AccountantsWorld Tax and Accounting Directory.

CCH’s Financial Planning Toolkit offers an excellent Basic Tax Guide and animated calculators with detailed explanations and printable reports. Here users will find top tax stories in the news and sections including:
 

  • Personal Financial Advisor
     
  • Financial Planning Process
     
  • Investing
     
  • Insurance and Risk Management
     
  • Retirement Planning
     
  • Estate Planning
     
  • Tax Planning

The site’s only weak spot, according to Forbes, is that it links only to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) web site.

 


Converting Home Videos to DVDs

Q: Are there services that will take home video and burn it to a DVD

Bob Jensen's tax helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation

Bob Jensen's suggestions for finding professional helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fees.htm


It's too bad Heidi Fleiss didn't steal this cell phone
After a New York man's cell phone goes missing, he logs onto his Sprint phone's website and sees pictures and videos taken by the thief.
Kevin Poulsen, "Camera Phone Has Life After Theft," Wired News, August 29, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,68668,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_3


Evidence that the media is biased against reporting good news from Iraq

"Despite media blackout, good news from Fallujah," by Michael Fumento, New Hampshire Union Leader, August 29, 2005 --- http://www.theunionleader.com/articles_showa.html?article=59697

AFTER CRISSCROSSING Fallujah by foot and Humvee in May, I reported on tremendous progress being made to restore "the city we had to destroy to save." Actually, fighting left most of the town unscathed; most damage was from three decades of neglect under Saddam Hussein. And rebuilding began almost immediately.

Good news from Iraq rarely gets a single story compared to the Texas stake-out that generates many thousands on a war protesters. Yet it occurs nonetheless. The following is from an e-mail by Navy Lt. Cameron Chen, head of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit of the 8th Engineer Support Battalion at Camp Fallujah, with which I had a short embed. You'll see Chen doesn't wear a miniskirt and shake pompoms, but he's certainly optimistic.

Chen writes in his e-mail:

"The city is slowly rebuilding and returning to life. Some report that it's now the safest city in the Sunni Triangle because of the heavy presence of Iraqi police and army. Every major intersection now has unarmed Iraqi police directing traffic in crisp short-sleeve button down shirts, white gloves, black flack vests, and dark blue pants. More frequently we're responding to IEDs (improvised explosive devices) reported by local children, police and informants.

"The 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew is still in effect. But people can be seen on the streets up until the last minutes before 10. The streets remain unlit at night, although there are green neon lights around the minarets of the major mosques. Lines at the gas stations can be over a hundred cars long. Ironic since we are in the heart of oil country.

"A reason for this, which the media rarely report, is that the Iraqi government subsidizes gasoline so that it's virtually free. Sell tickets to a pro football games for five cents apiece and see what kind of line you get. The subsidies also encourage smugglers, who can buy dirt cheap and sell exorbitantly high.

"On the main strip, restaurants and electronics shops are open for business. I have seen some sit-down diner-type restaurants and others where people line up for food at teller-like windows. There is still a great deal of trash on the streets by Western standards but noticeably less than when we first arrived. Many people are moving back into the city and buildings are in various stages of repair. There are more vehicles on the streets; many are BMW's and Mercedes."

On the other hand, Chen adds:

Continued in article


"Turtle-protection ad lays egg with feminists," by James C. McKinley Jr., International Herald Tribune, August 26, 2005 ---  http://www.iht.com/bin/print_ipub.php?file=/articles/2005/08/25/news/mexico.php

MEXICO CITY Women in scanty dress are used to sell everything from cars to cigars in Mexico, but the efforts of environmentalists to harness one model's sex appeal to stop men from eating turtle eggs as an aphrodisiac has created a stir here.

The advertising campaign features an Argentine model in a swimsuit, giving the camera her loveliest come-hither look. Next to her are the words "My man doesn't need turtle eggs." The caption below reads, "Because he knows they don't make him more potent."

The environmentalists behind the campaign say they are trying to reach men who buy turtle eggs from street vendors and eat them raw with lime and a pinch of salt in the belief they are a natural form of Viagra.

"We said, 'Let's have a sexy girl saying that the man I choose doesn't need sea turtle eggs,"' said Fay Crevoshay, communications director for Wildcoast, a San Diego-based environmental group. "This is what I call target marketing. We are talking to a certain type of man that will look at this and will get the message."

But one woman's marketing is another's exploitation of the female body. Patricia Espinosa, president of the National Institute for Women, a government agency, has denounced the advertisements as promoting a sexist stereotype. Her broadside has prompted the governor of Guerrero, the southern state where many of the turtle eggs are gathered and sold, to retract a promise to let the ads be posted in markets next month.

"We are not against the campaign itself," Espinosa said in an interview. "What we are against is the stereotype of a woman as a sex object."

Continued in article


From the land of drive-by ambushes:  You can carry a handgun in Texas without a license
A longtime law that allows Texans to carry handguns while traveling, even without a concealed handgun license, is clarified. The new law says a person is "presumed to be traveling" if he or she is in a private vehicle, is not engaged in criminal activity, is not prohibited by any other law from possessing a firearm and is not a member of a criminal street gang.
Clay Robison, "700 new laws — which one's yours?" Houston Chronicle, Aug. 28, 2005 --- http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/3328919

From the land of cell phone drivers:  Why not mom and dad as well?
Most of the 700-plus new state laws going into effect Thursday, products of last spring's legislative session, will create hardly a ripple in most Texans' lives, but others will be noticed. Teenagers proud of their new driver's licenses and new cell phones better not use both at the same time, because it will now be against the law for teens to talk on the phone while they are driving, at least during the first six months after they get their licenses.
Clay Robison, "700 new laws — which one's yours?" Houston Chronicle, Aug. 28, 2005 --- http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/3328919

From WebMD
"Listening Poses Cell Phone Driving Dangers:  Talking or Listening Make It Harder to Stay in Lane, Maintain Safe Speed," by Jennifer Warner,  WebMD, August 26, 2005 ---
http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/110/109778.htm?z=1727_00000_5024_hv_03


Mop up in a Texas jail:  Now we're waiting for 11 little Krists to pop out
Wilson County authorities are investigating how a male inmate managed to spend much of Monday locked up with eight female prisoners, none of whom complained. "We're assuming the motive was sexually related, but nobody is saying anything happened," Chief Deputy Johnie Deagen said Thursday. The women conspired with Joseph Krist to sneak him in when their cell door was opened remotely by a jail employee to allow entry of a mop and bucket, Deagen said. Krist was supposed to move the mop from his cell into a vestibule located between his and the women's cell. Unknown to the person controlling the locks, he apparently didn't return to his cell, but stayed in the vestibule, gaining entry into the women's cell when the door was opened. "We figure he was in there close to 11 hours," Deagen said of Krist, 34, of San Antonio, who is jailed on a bank robbery charge.
Zeke McCormack, "Wilson jail goes coed for 11 hours," San Antonio Express News, August 26, 2005 --- http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/crime/stories/MYSA082605.1B.jail_visit.1ccbd497.html


Cutting:  Parents should watch for symptoms and encourage kids to get help
It's a practice that is foreign, frightening, to parents. It is not a suicide attempt, though it may look and seem that way. Cutting is a form of self-injury -- the person is literally making small cuts on his or her body, usually the arms and legs. It's difficult for many people to understand. But for kids, cutting helps them control their emotional pain, psychologists say. This practice has long existed in secrecy. Cuts can be easily hidden under long sleeves. But in recent years, movies and TV shows have drawn attention to it -- prompting greater numbers of teens and tweens (ages 9 to 14) to try it.
"Cutting & Self-Harm: Warning Signs and Treatment," WebMD, August 27, 2005 --- http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/110/109531.htm?z=1727_81000_4029_hv_05


MEDICAL- AND BUSINESS-SCHOOL ADMISSION TESTS WILL BE GIVEN BY COMPUTER
Applicants to medical and business schools will soon be able to leave their No. 2 pencils at home.  Both the Medical College Admission Test and the Graduate Management Admission Test are ditching their paper versions in favor of computer formats. The Association of American Medical Colleges has signed a contract with Thomson Prometric, part of the Thomson Corporation, to offer the computer-based version of the MCAT beginning in 2007.  The computerized version is being offered on a trial basis in a few locations until then.The GMAT, which has been offered both on paper and by computer since 1997, will be offered only by computer starting in January, officials of the Graduate Management Admission Council said.  The test will be developed by ACT Inc. and delivered by Pearson VUE, a part of Pearson Education Inc.The Law School Admission Council has no immediate plans to change its test, which will continue to be given on paper.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 5, 2005, Page A13

Jensen Comment:  Candidates for the CPA are now allowed to only take this examination via computer testing centers.  The GMAT has been an optional computer test since 1997.  For years the GMAT has used computerized grading of essay questions and was a pioneer in this regard. 

Bob Jensen's threads on computer-graded essays are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#Essays


I wonder what kind of bird droppings they will discharge in flight
Aviation researchers at the University of Florida have copied the wing action of seagulls to develop spy drones that can morph shape mid-flight. The toy-sized drones are being developed for tricky urban missions so that they can zip around tight places. They could fly into urban environments to detect biological agents. Funded by Nasa and the US Air Force, the unmanned, sensor-packed craft in development could be on missions in two to three years, say researchers. By watching how seagulls alter their wing shape, and using morphing techniques, the agile craft can squeeze through confined spaces, such as alleyways, and change direction rapidly.
"Spy craft take gull flight lesson," BBC News, August 27, 2005 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4185648.stm

Also see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4185648.stm


At age six mind you
An Indian whizkid has become the youngest student to clear Britain’s school leaving exams at age 6. Armaan Genomal cleared his GCSE with a ‘B’ in information and communication technology, completing the course in just nine months — less than half the time it takes 16-year-olds. “It was quite easy. Actually I came out of the exam with a smile. I really liked spreadsheets and things like that. I checked my answers 19 times in the second exam,” said the young pupil of Ryde Teaching Services college in Bushey, Hertfordshire, which is fam-ous for churning out child prodigies. Armaan has clear ideas about his future: “I want to be an inventor so I can invent things like clocks that never stop or rain that doesn’t make raindrops. Maybe I could touch clouds, I have always wanted to do that.” He has already achieved one of his other ambitions when he was invited to open his results live on British television with his classmates. “I always wanted to be on telly,” he said with a smile. And his next big aim? “To be knighted by the Queen,” declares Armaan. His proud mother Kavita added from the family home in St. John’s Wood in north London: “Learning comes easy to him. He could read when he was two.”
"6-yr-old Indian prodigy aces UK exams," Deccan Chronicle, August 27, 2005 --- http://www.deccan.com/home/homedetails.asp#6-yr-old%20Indian%20prodigy%20%20aces%20UK%20exams
Jensen Comment:  It's probably a good thing that the examinations do not contain more about sex education.


No thanks:  Imagine the long lines in baggage claim and customs clearance
The superjumbo Airbus A380 made its first appearance in Germany, drawing 150,000 spectators to watch it take to the air in the northern city of Hamburg. Part of the fuselage of the plane, capable of carrying up to 840 passengers and due to enter service late next year, is made in the city.It was the first time the A380, which made its inaugural flight in Toulouse in southwest France on April 27, had been seen outside France. It was also on show at the Paris air show in June. The Hamburg factory is one of the three...
"Airbus superjumbo maiden flight in Germany draws 150,000," Yahoo News, August 27, 2005 --- http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050827/bs_afp/germanytransportairbus_050827201359
Jensen Comment:  Suppose most of the passengers have cell phones and are allowed to use them in flight.   In theory there could be 839 conversations taking place around you while you're trying to sleep, read a book, or watch a movie.  Also in theory there could be 840 passengers wanting to use a few bathrooms at the same time.


Skype and VoIP vs. IM

Skype™ is a programme allowing telephone conversations via the Internet. Calls to other Skype™ users are free as well as calls to regular telephone and mobile telephone numbers all over the world are at a low rate. Software Software is the general term for IT programs that make PCs and other electronic devices function
http://wireless-dictionary.rtx.dk/

"VoIP is not a threat that's going to put telecommunications companies out of business," says Jeff Kagan, a telecommunications analyst and president of The Kagan Group. "VoIP is a change wave, part of a 20-year transformation that the telecommunications industry is in right now." That "change wave," as Kagan puts it, got a little closer to cresting this week -- but not from the Google announcement (of instant voice messaging http://www.google.com/talk/ ). Skype, the most popular VoIP application anywhere in the world right now -- with over 50 million registered users in just two years -- will celebrate its two-year anniversary next week. To mark the occasion, it will open up its technology platform, allowing any user to incorporate Skype into their Web pages and applications. Opening these application programming interfaces (APIs) is a "major step," said Jeff Pulver, chairman and founder of Pulver.com and creator of the international VON (Voices on the Net) conferences, in a statement.  Earlier this summer, Skype released the API code for its "buddy" list (where Skype users keep their friends' and associates' contact information). The move has already spurred a small but growing development community of programmers looking to tie in buddy lists with telecommunications services. (One such service connects Skype's buddy list to cell phones, so users can call a Skype buddy on their mobile phone.) Skype's efforts in opening its code have "raised the bar for everyone," says Mark Levitt, a vice president of collaborative computing at IDC.
Eric Hellwig, "Google's Move into IM," MIT's Emerging Technologies, August 25, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/08/wo/wo_082605hellweg.asp?trk=nl

The Hype over Skype: Can It Go the Distance?
Although Skype, which provides Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony services and PC-to-PC calling, turns two years old on August 29, it remains unclear what kind of business this relative newcomer will turn out to be. Skype could remain a mere fad for techies, become a next-generation communications platform or evolve into the next eBay or Google, say Wharton experts. What's certain, however, is that Skype, which has offices in Estonia, London, San Francisco, Korea and Japan, is worth watching. As of August 4, its software had been downloaded nearly 145 million times and the company claims to have 47 million people using its services. Skype is an "underappreciated phenomenon in telecom," says one Wharton professor.

Knowledge@ wharton blog, August 10-Sept 6  --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/    

Bob Jensen's technology glossary is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/245gloss.htm


Samsung's New Satellite DMB Phone
With the B250, users can make phone calls or send and receive text messages even while watching TV. The DMB broadcast received by the phone can also be relayed to a regular TV. The B250 has external buttons that allow users to play MP3 files without opening the phone. The 128-polyphonic sound chip has been built in to provide exquisite ring tones. The B250 is also equipped with a 2megapixel camera and the photo editing function has been upgraded. This allows the user to change facial expressions on photos such as turning a smiling face into one showing anger. Various other effects are also possible such as changing the picture frame design. The File Viewer function provides access to Microsoft Office or PDF files, and a 330,000-word dictionary is included in the software.
"Samsung's New Satellite DMB Phone," Physorg.com, August 27, 2005 --- http://physorg.com/news6032.html


Getting Smarter, Becoming Fairer:  A Progressive Education Agenda for a Stronger Nation
America today faces a newly globalized economy, rapidly changing demographics, and a dangerous achievement gap. A renewed investment in and commitment to universal high quality education are critical to sustaining America's overall economic health and a strong and vibrant citizenry in the 21st century. For more than a year, Renewing Our Schools, Securing Our Future: A National Task Force on Public Education has investigated and considered new and innovative strategies to revitalize public education. Please join the Task Force along with the Center for American Progress and the Institute for America's Future at the release of Getting Smarter, Becoming Fairer: A Progressive Education Agenda for a Stronger Nation.
NPR, August 23, 2005 ---
http://www.americanprogress.org/site/apps/nl/content3.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=593305&ct=1286901


Former women executives have a difficult time re-entering the business world
Women executives who leave the corporate world when they hit a glass ceiling, want to raise a family fulltime or decide to focus on other interests, encounter frustrating roadblocks in their attempts to re-enter the workforce, according to new Wharton research. To overcome the obstacles, women should confront the difficulties they face and prepare for their return to the labor force the moment they leave, says Monica McGrath, adjunct professor of management at Wharton, executive coach and co-author of the study entitled, "Back in the Game. Returning to Business after a Hiatus: Experiences and Recommendations for Women, Employers, and Universities."
Knowledge Wharton blog --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1257


"In Defense of Hovering: Why Parents Say They Meddle in College Students' Lives," by Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal,  August 25, 2005; Page D1

Sue Kirkpatrick had every intention of letting her daughter manage her own life at college -- until bureaucratic bungling threatened to cost the family $12,000.

When the university miscounted the daughter's credits and mistakenly revoked her scholarship, the Cincinnati homemaker and her husband stood back and let their daughter try to handle the problem on her own.

But when the university sent a bill for full tuition with the scholarship missing, Ms. Kirkpatrick's husband felt he had to intervene. He called a university vice president who hadn't returned his daughter's calls, and finally got the mistake fixed. "Colleges," Ms. Kirkpatrick says, "don't always listen to their students."

After I wrote a column about parents meddling in college students' lives, I received a sizzling response from readers. Dozens confessed to being hovering, helicopter parents: "My wife and I laughed," writes Michael Bingham, New Haven, Conn., seeing themselves, he says, "in nearly every paragraph."

But other parents, like Ms. Kirkpatrick, said the problems families face with universities are worse than I suggested. Beyond the soaring tuition costs and campus-safety fears I mentioned, parents cited other reasons they approach the college years differently than their own parents did. A proliferation of scholarships and loans have created Byzantine eligibility requirements. Soaring tuition costs make it essential for many families to make sure kids don't extend their stay beyond four years. Also, many parents are simply more perfectionist and demanding than their parents were.

Continued in article


Tell your students that in life they will have to work more and retire later than us
The Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Fogel recently told students at Cornell that "half of you (may) live to celebrate your hundredth birthday." This prediction goes well beyond standard projections that today's college students will live into their late 70s. But Mr. Fogel, who has studied centuries of change in human wellbeing, said conventional forecasts are usually too cautious. "In the late 1920s," he recalled, "the chief actuary of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company put a cap of 65 on life expectancy." Mr. Fogel's forecast reminds us that, sooner or later, we will have to work longer and retire later. It will become economically, politically and morally intolerable for government (aka taxpayers) to support people for a third or even half their adult lives. America's present Social Security "debate" ought to start this inevitable transformation. But we are in deep denial about the obvious.
Robert J. Samuelson, "Mr. Fogel's Forecast, The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112483155184021019,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep



Artists and the Web

Among the latest disputes involving artists and the Internet is between songwriters and publishers, and music subscription services offered by companies like RealNetworks, Napster and Yahoo. Surprisingly, artists don't get a dime from the hundreds of thousands of songs streaming to computers from these services. The reason is because the companies and the organizations representing artists and other copyright holders can't come to terms on how much to pay. Negotiations recently broke down, with the two sides being far apart on what each group would consider a fair price. In the meantime, artists don't see a penny.
"Artists And The Web," InternetWeek Newsletter on August 29, 2005
 

We lost the war on drugs and just won't admit it
But don't be confused by the facts. There's a whole army of Washington bureaucrats paid to fight America's drug habit by cutting off supply. A cynic might even suggest that career drug warriors have an incentive to see the "war" go on forever. One glance around this town and you can see that, barring a change in policy, it probably will. The drug war is driving up violence and corruption and putting frail democracies at risk. But by making an otherwise common weed valuable it is also creating perverse incentives for even more people to get into the business. From coca growing in the Andes to hiring out as a mule in towns like this one, the opportunity is compelling. Around here all you have to do is carry the package a short distance and drop it off at the assigned destination. Chances are you're going that way anyway.
Mary Anastasia O'Grady, "Smuggling Drugs? Let Us Count the Ways," The Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2005; Page A13 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112501715376723738,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Jensen Comment:  I'm convinced that the only way to win this war is to legalize and prescribe drugs as an incentive to not commit crimes.


Oops, I forgot the reference on this one

Next month's report of the White House tax reform commission will likely stop short of advocating a complete scrapping of the tax code. But look for it to have warm words for how well the flat tax is promoting economic growth in the more than dozen places--ranging from Ukraine to Hong Kong--that have adopted variations of it.

It's about time the concept of taxing all income at a single rate, which presidential candidate Steve Forbes and then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey broached a decade ago, once again takes center stage. It's increasingly popular overseas, with Romania and the republic of Georgia adopting it last January. Greece is likely to introduce a 25% single rate for both corporate and personal income next month. If Poland's opposition parties win next month's elections they are likely to introduce a flat tax. In Italy, the Bruno Leoni Institute has just published an interview with former finance minister and current defense minister Antonio Martino detailing his support of the flat tax.

Even Germany, normally a center of intellectual stagnation when it comes to tax policy, has gotten the bug. Angela Merkel, the candidate of the conservative Christian Democrats in the Sept. 18 election, has appointed radical reformer Paul Kirchhof as her spokesman on taxes. While her party's manifesto falls far short of advocating Mr. Kirchhof's idea of a single rate of 25% for companies and individuals, she has stoutly defended his approach: "It's important that there is a man who wants to go further in principle and, when there is room for maneuver, says, now we can go the next step."

Continued in article


A sad day for animal rights, especially for those in the bottom cage of each stack
Factory farming is healthier: for animals and people. That's the take-home message as Dutch health authorities this week ordered free-range poultry farmers to bring inside their five million outdoor birds. There the birds will be less vulnerable to catching or spreading the deadly avian flu virus that's made its way from Southeast Asia to the doorstep of European Russia in recent weeks. German health authorities are considering their own ban on outdoor birds, over the objections of their country's organic, free-range poultry farmers. Thomas Dosch, head of Bioland, Germany's largest organic organization, said that "exceptions are needed from the order," such as allowing birds to use open-air pens covered by netting. Unfortunately, such netting will not protect the flocks from the wild-bird droppings that spread the disease. Organic farmers are obviously more concerned with their market premiums than public and poultry health.
Alex Avery and Dennis Avery, "No More Chicken Run," The Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112501933684323790,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep


Fusion Research: What About the U.S.?
If that money were taken from the existing federal fusion research budget, it would decimate U.S. fusion research. That is why the U.S. fusion community's overwhelming enthusiasm for ITER is predicated on strong domestic support for fusion and plasma physics research, plus additional funds for ITER construction. Even if the U.S. increased its funding for fusion research to $500 million per year, that would still be substantially less than it spends separately on high-energy physics, fossil energy research, and basic energy sciences, not to mention the recent budgets of the Missile Defense Agency ($9 billion) and NASA ($16 billion). Ultimately, fusion could prove to be one of the most environmentally attractive energy options. The United States should seize the opportunity to play a strong role in ITER's success and demonstrate its commitment and long-term vision as a scientific collaborator by revitalizing its overall fusion program.
"Fusion Research: What About the U.S.?" by Ian H. Hutchinson, MIT's Technology Review, September 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/09/issue/invite.asp?trk=nl


Warning:  403(b) is not the same as 401(k)
That's because, like 1.9 million other public-school employees across the U.S., these teachers have 403(b) retirement plans, which provide investors far fewer protections than 401(k) plans, their better-known cousins offered by corporations. Weakly regulated and frequently saddled with high fees, the 403(b) market is now the scene of numerous fights over alleged wrongdoing by the plans' private vendors.
Tom Lauricella, "As Teachers Sock Money Into 403(b)s, Few Defenses Exist:  Oversight for Retirement Plans Falls on Patchwork of States,"  The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2005; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112493469126422677,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one


THE MAN BEHIND THE MICROCHIP:  Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley.
By Leslie Berlin.
402 pp. Oxford University Press.
An inspiring tale! Except for one thing: Noyce didn't singlehandedly invent the integrated circuit. Texas Instruments produced a working model years before Intel did; and even when Noyce's company finally released its rather superior chip, it was a team of Noyce's employees who did the hands-on and theoretical work, with Noyce serving mostly as inspiration and administration. ''Noyce had almost nothing to do with building the device,'' Berlin herself concludes. This is not to say that Noyce is an unworthy subject of a book; he's quite intriguing. But trying to write a biography of a guy who didn't do what he's most famous for gently bedevils Berlin, and her book morphs inadvertently into a sort of detective story: precisely what did Robert Noyce actually do?
Clive Thompson, "'The Man Behind the Microchip': The Next Small Thing," The New York Times, August 28, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/28/books/review/28THOMPSO.html 


Where carhops still deliver frappes and onion rings on trays
Not much has changed in 50 years at Fat Boy Drive-In, where the carhops still deliver frappes and onion rings on trays. The lunch crowd at this Maine landmark has always included enlisted men from the Naval Air Station across the street, and the airfield's fenced-off runways have long spanned the view from the restaurant's green awning.
Jenna Russell, "In Maine, wistful look at the past, and future," The Boston Globe, August 28, 2005 --- http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/08/28/in_maine_wistful_look_at_the_past_and_future/


The Sudoku Craze
Japanese puzzle magazines are filled with novel and ingenious logic puzzles. They are as popular in Japan as crosswords are in the United States. But Judge Gould saw two things in sudoku that set it apart: the rules, which can be stated in one sentence, and the size, which does not vary with degree of difficulty. Every puzzle craze in history has come along at an opportune time, and the same is true of sudoku. The world's first puzzle craze, tangrams, the seven-block puzzle introduced from China around 1817, could not have been possible before significant international trade and printing. The 15 Puzzle, in 1880, and Rubik's Cube, in the early 1980's, involved new manufacturing processes. And crosswords required a high educational level in the general public and the ability of newspapers to produce and print crossword grids easily, which did not occur until the 1920's.
Will Shortz, "A Few Words About Sudoku, Which Has None," The New York Times, August 28, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/28/weekinreview/28shor.html 


The Importance of Being Lazy
It's an engaging, eclectic, idiosyncratic account of the history of vacations and play--and a reasoned justification of why we need leisure in our lives. In fact, Gini goes even farther, drawing on studies of Americans' vacation habits to show why "doing nothing" is a fundamental human necessity. (Gini relies on the latest academic research as well as interviews, personal anecdotes, the writings of various ancient and contemporary theologians and the well-chosen observations of people like Aristotle, Mark Twain, Thorstein Veblen, Juliet Schor and Arlie Hochschild.) The book's thesis is both simple and liberating.
"Katrina vanden Heuvel, "The Importance of Being Lazy," The Nation, August 27, 2005 --- http://www.thenation.com/blogs/edcut?bid=7&pid=17022 


My secretary, Debbie Bowling, added the following tidbits:

Copperheads Gather Early in Ark. This Year
Copperheads Move to Hibernation Sites Earlier Than Usual in Ark.; One Man's Yard Overrun
It happens every year: large numbers of copperheads gather and move in unison to dens for hibernation. But it happens in October, not July or August. Now the common event has become an uncommon and inexplicable one.

"I know for a fact that all these snakes didn't just wake up one day and do this," said Chuck Miller, whose Marion County yard has been overrun with the pitvipers. "Something's making them do it. They know something we don't know. There's got to be something more to this."

Nearly 100 of the snakes are using a cedar tree as a sort of meeting place, and neither Miller, an outdoorsman and former snake owner, nor scientists who have traveled to the rural north central Arkansas site to study the phenomenon, know why.

Stanley Trauth, a zoology professor at Arkansas State University, said the snakes normally gather to move to hibernation sites in the fall. Trauth has traveled to Miller's property to conduct research on the snakes' behavior. "With this hot weather we didn't anticipate such a grand movement of so many snakes. In the fall they aggregate in fairly large numbers, so it's quite an unusual event," Trauth said in a telephone interview Monday.

Miller agrees. "If it were October, no one would know about it. It wouldn't be that strange," he said. When the snakes first started showing up three weeks ago, Miller said he was a little concerned that no one would believe how many were visiting the cedar tree, so he began collecting the reptiles. He saw 20 the first night, he said. One of his friends contacted Trauth and the research began.

Trauth and one of his graduate students traveled to Miller's property and embedded a radio transmitter in one of the snakes for tracking purposes. Other snakes also had tags clipped to their scales. Miller said seven of nine tagged snakes were taken a quarter-mile away from the tree and released, but have since returned to the tree and been recaptured. Trauth said the copperheads gather at the tree to leave their scent. By rubbing the tree, other copperheads know that it is a marker on the way to a den site, he said. But Trauth is only guessing that the snakes are preparing to move to a den for hibernation.

"All we can do is speculate as to what this is right now. This might be a precursor to an actual event. But having the numbers there that he's had, it just makes you wonder what's going on," Trauth said. A gathering of copperheads like the one in Miller's yard has not been documented before, Trauth said. Though he can't yet explain why it's happening, he can say for sure it's not for mating or feeding. All the snakes that have been gathering at the base of the tree are adult males. Copperheads also like to feed on cicadas, but the insects haven't appeared in the area in large numbers this year. The best guess, Trauth said, is the snakes are moving to hibernate as usual they're just doing it earlier than normal. All Miller knows is, it's weird.

"It's like seeing a bigfoot or something walk across the yard; if you don't keep them, no one will believe you," he said.
ANNIE BERGMAN, "Copperheads Gather Early in Ark. This Year," ABC News, August 16, 2005, http://snipurl.com/snakes0816

 


Crocodile blood may yield powerful new antibiotics
Scientists in Australia's tropical north are collecting blood from crocodiles in the hope of developing a powerful antibiotic for humans, after tests showed that the reptile's immune system kills the HIV virus. The crocodile's immune system is much more powerful than that of humans, preventing life-threatening infections after savage territorial fights which often leave the animals with gaping wounds and missing limbs.

"They tear limbs off each other and despite the fact that they live in this environment with all these microbes, they heal up very rapidly and normally almost always without infection," said U.S. scientist Mark Merchant, who has been taking crocodile blood samples in the Northern Territory. Initial studies of the crocodile immune system in 1998 found that several proteins (antibodies) in the reptile's blood killed bacteria that were resistant to penicillin, such as Staphylococcus aureus or golden staph, Australian scientist Adam Britton told Reuters on Tuesday. It was also a more powerful killer of the HIV virus than the human immune system.

"If you take a test tube of HIV and add crocodile serum it will have a greater effect than human serum. It can kill a much greater number of HIV viral organisms," Britton said from Darwin's Crocodylus Park, a tourism park and research center. Britton said the crocodile immune system worked differently from the human system by directly attacking bacteria immediately an infection occurred in the body.

"The crocodile has an immune system which attaches to bacteria and tears it apart and it explodes. It's like putting a gun to the head of the bacteria and pulling the trigger," he said. For the past 10 days Britton and Merchant have been carefully collecting blood from wild and captive crocodiles, both saltwater and freshwater species. After capturing a crocodile and strapping its powerful jaws closed the scientists extract blood from a large vein behind the head.

"It's called a sinus, right behind the head, and it's very easy just to put a needle in the back of the neck and hit this sinus and then you can take a large volume of blood very simply," said Britton. The scientists hope to collect enough crocodile blood to isolate the powerful antibodies and eventually develop an antibiotic for use by humans. "We may be able to have antibiotics that you take orally, potentially also antibiotics that you could run topically on wounds, say diabetic ulcer wounds; burn patients often have their skin infected and things like that," said Merchant. However, the crocodile's immune system may be too powerful for humans and may need to be synthesized for human consumption.

"There is a lot of work to be done. It may take years before we can get to the stage where we have something to market," said Britton.
Reuters, "Crocodile blood may yield powerful new antibiotics," ABC News, August 16, 2005, http://snipurl.com/croc0816


Medicare to look closely at adult day care
The Medicare insurance program for the elderly and disabled soon will try out a possibly cheaper way to help people recover from health problems outside of the hospital -- adult day care.

Some experts say extra services at most day-care centers -- activities, socializing and on-site nurses -- could also help patients recover faster and prevent costly complications that Medicare would have to pay for later. "We're able to pick up on the subtle changes" in patients, said Patty McCabe, a registered nurse who has worked at Holy Cross Hospital's adult day-care center near Washington for nearly 23 years.

There are already about 3,400 adult day-care facilities across the United States, and more than 60 percent provide some health services, according to a Wake Forest University study. Medicare currently does not cover day care for adults, though it does cover visiting nurses and medically necessary care in nursing homes.

Those who need help arranging meals, taking medicine or need other supervision can pay for day care out of their own pocket or will sometimes be covered under Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor. Under the three-year Medicare test program, scheduled to start early next year, centers could see more demand as the population ages -- especially if Congress makes it permanent.

Medicare, which serves 43 million Americans, wants to see if treating more patients at fewer locations is more efficient -- saving the government and home health-care companies money...continued in article.
Reuters, "Medicare to look closely at adult day care," CNN.com, Monday, August 15, 2005, http://snipurl.com/adltcre0816

 


Alaska college offers noncredit fishing class
Curt Muse stood on the cobbled shore of a creek, casting a 3-weight fly rod upstream as a dozen students -- all middle-aged or older -- watched.

Muse was the day's guest lecturer for the Kenai Fishing Academy, a weeklong class offered four times a summer by Kenai Peninsula College, a branch of the University of Alaska Anchorage. As the students looked on, the longtime guide spotted a sockeye salmon, red as a fire hydrant but easy to miss swimming above colored rocks and below the rippled surface.

"You can barely see that fish and he's red," Muse observed. Now in its third year, the noncredit course is aimed at fishing novices or anglers new to Alaska who want to avoid learning by reading how-to books or trolling for tips from salesmen at sporting goods stores.

The academy was the brainchild of Gary Turner, the college's director and an avid fisherman who helps teach classes. "I thought, we need to educate people and teach them how to fish," Turner said. "It just seemed natural." The college in Kenai, a town of about 7,000 about 155 miles southwest of Anchorage, takes up 900 feet of riverbank on the Kenai River, known for its world-class rainbow trout and king, sockeye and silver salmon.

"We're trying to push our education mission to meet the avocations of people, or their external interests," Turner said...continued in article.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press., "Alaska college offers noncredit fishing class," CNN.com, Monday, August 15, 2005, http://snipurl.com/fshed0816


 Anybody can go slogging, but it is most common among teenagers
Thomas Claburn discusses the new concept of "slogging," or slanderous blogging, about someone you know or wish you didn't. In my youth, we used to call this "gossip," and the cardinal rule was never to put anything in writing for fear our ill-tempered musings would be forever etched in stone and, worse, overheard or seen by the person being dissed. But getting "caught" by the subject is apparently the entire point of slogging, as I understand it. I would have thought in our overlitigated society that the voice of reason (if not politeness and/or basic human decency) would trump that of nastiness, but I would have been wrong.
InformationWeek Newsletter, August 31, 2005

Bob Jensen's threads on blogs and Weblogs are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Weblog


Brac Pack
When then-House Republican backbencher Dick Armey came up with the concept of an independent base-closing commission in the mid-1980s, the idea was to make it easier for the political system to do the right thing. Individual Congressmen would still howl at this or that base-closure decision, but they wouldn't be able to undermine closures in the national interest.

As we're seeing in the current round of base closings, even the Armey method is having a hard time surviving the ability of Members to sabotage the process. This is the fifth round of the process known as "Brac" -- for base realignment and closure -- and the first since the start of the war on terror. The Pentagon has proposed closing a record 62 major bases and 775 small installations to save $48.8 billion over 20 years and reposition the armed forces to face current threats.

Given these priorities -- not to mention the American lives at stake -- you'd think Members of Congress would welcome some efficiencies. Instead, they've gotten even more creative, and sometimes vindictive, in their use of whatever political leverage they have available to overturn the Pentagon's choices.

Given their majority status, Republicans have behaved especially badly here. Before the Brac Commission was even in existence, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott put a hold on the nomination of the chairman over fear that the panel would shut down the Pascagoula naval base. President Bush had to use recess appointments to name all nine members in April.

Once the Commission was up and running, other GOP Senators started acting up. Maine's Olympia Snowe took her revenge over Portsmouth's appearance on the Pentagon's list by blocking the nomination of Gordon England as Deputy Secretary of Defense. The commission gave Portsmouth a reprieve yesterday, as part of its review of the Pentagon's list. Whether or not that reprieve is a good military decision -- and we have our doubts -- it will only encourage more Senators to hold hostages, a la Ms. Snowe.

South Dakota's John Thune, who owes his job to Mr. Bush's support in 2004, showed his anger over Ellsworth Air Force Base's appearance on the list by announcing he would oppose John Bolton's nomination to the United Nations. The Brac Commission will make its Ellsworth call later this week. Senator John Warner of Virginia, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, is quoted in yesterday's Washington Post as saying the process was "rigged" to move 20,000 defense jobs from the Washington area. He accused Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and a senior aide of improperly manipulating the process. All of which shows that without Mr. Armey's invention, we'd never, ever close a base.
REVIEW & OUTLOOK, "Brac Pack," The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2005; Page A8, http://snipurl.com/bracpk0825

 

 




Forwarded by Paula

An Old Farmer's Advice:

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

* Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.

* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

* Words that soak into your ears are whispered... not yelled.

* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.

* Every path has a few puddles.

* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

* The best sermons are lived, not preached.

* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

* Don't judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.

* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

* Always drink upstream from the herd.

* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

Leave the rest to God.

…and in Texas…

Don't squat with yer spurs on




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