"Blogging the Blues Away," ZDNet, September 16, 2005 ---
Tidbits on September 23, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/.
Bob Jensen's home page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/
Security threats and hoaxes --- http://www.trinity.edu/its/virus/
25 Hottest Urban Legends (hoaxes) --- http://www.snopes.com/info/top25uls.asp
Lillie Lewis --- http://www.ampcast.com/music/6463/artist.php
Bad Country Songs
It's hard to kiss the lips that chew you your ass out all day long --- http://jbreck.com/itsshardtokiss.html
Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother (dare you to sit still during this one) --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/muther.htm
Really Bad Country Song Titles --- http://www.downstream.sk.ca/country1.htm
Jazz: A film by Ken Burns --- http://www.pbs.org/jazz/
"The Thrill Is Strong for 80-Year-Old B.B. King" by Farai Chideya, NPR, September 22, 2005 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4858654
Hear the blues guitar legend play at his own birthday party:
Train of Life
(Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline)
From the Vysoke Kolo - the Giant Mountains --- http://www.wild-landscape.com/galery/a_gal_66/cechy/cechy16.html
Scenes from the Pacific Northwest --- http://www.photospectives.com/archives/cat_nature.html
Our Eyes in grey scale --- http://www.oureyes.net/galleries/stefanrohner/stefanrohner.html
Disfarmer Photographs (maybe from your grandmother's yearbook) --- http://www.disfarmer.com/
Photos from John Wimberly --- http://www.johnclearygallery.com/currentexhibit.html
One can never pay in gratitude; one can
only pay 'in kind' somewhere else in life.
Ann Morrow Lindbergh
If the pumps were working to capacity in New Orleans, how long would it take them to drain an Olympic-sized pool?
1.9 seconds according to Page 55 of Time Magazine, September 19, 2005.
These student excuses are familiar and the message
interpretations would be hilarious if they weren't so true
Semiotics 101 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/09/21/weir
Did you hear what happened when Stanford University took charge of a minority high school?
What major changes were implemented and what are the outcomes to date?
Led by education Professor Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford this summer formally took control of East Palo Alto High School, which emphasizes project learning, individual attention and a culture that promotes academic achievement.
"For East Palo Alto, a Stanford-Run High School," Stanford Magazine, September/October 2005 --- http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2005/sepoct/farm/news/school.html
Harvard welcomes military recruiters on campus: Fighting would be a
A sign that hangs over one of Harvard Yard's gates tells students: "Depart to serve better thy country and thy kind." This week, it befell Harvard administrators to take a step of their own -- albeit a small and grudging one -- in that direction. The news is that Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan will allow military recruiters on campus. It was a decision made under duress. As recently as last November, Ms. Kagan had upheld the school's longstanding ban on military recruiters on account of the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on homosexuals, which, she claimed, violated the school's nondiscrimination and equal-opportunity principles. But then the Pentagon threatened to block $400 million in federal grants, or about 15% of the university's budget, and Harvard caved. Now we know where Harvard stands when given the choice between sticking to its "principles" and feeding from the government trough.
"To Serve Better Thy Country," The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2005; Page A16 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112735655824448291,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Jensen Comment: What's interesting is that resistance does not officially focus on anti-war policy.
Opening for a College President
For the second time, Glendale Community College has come close to picking a new president — and has decided to re-open the search instead, The Arizona Republic reported. The aborted searches come at a time that many community colleges report increasing difficulty in finding new presidents.
"Inside Higher Ed," September 22, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/22/qt
Never have so many good wines been available so (relatively)
The removal of bans on the interstate shipment of wine is creating opportunities for wine lovers.
"The Pinot Noir Is in the Mail," The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112735370629848219,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
This is the golden age of wine. Never
in history have so many good wines been available at such attractive prices.
"Message in a Bottle," The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112736027088748347,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Never have so many good wines been available so (relatively) cheap
Recipients this year --- http://www.macfound.org/programs/fel/announce.htm
- a molecular biologist reconstructing the emergence of multicellular organisms from unicellular life (Nicole King)
- a sculptor integrating architecture and the optical effects of color and light into exquisitely constructed, contemplative spaces (Teresita Fernández)
- a pharmacist reducing preventable drug and drug delivery errors in the healthcare industry (Michael Cohen)
- a laser physicist engineering state-of-the-art lasers for novel and important applications in such fields as environmental monitoring, medicine, industry, and communications (Claire Gmachl)
- a conservation biologist protecting endangered, diverse and previously unknown plants and animals of Madagascar (Steven Goodman)
- a violinmaker producing new and world-class instruments for the twenty-first century (Joseph Curtin)
- a clinician/researcher translating findings on the molecular genetics of breast cancer in African and African-American women into innovative clinical practices in the United States and abroad (Olufunmilayo Olopade)
- a rare book preservationist raising the profile of the book as one of humankind’s greatest inventions (Terry Belanger)
- a photographer using the personalizing power of portraiture to bring the faces of the world’s displaced into focus (Fazel Sheikh)
- a fisherman fusing the roles of applied scientist and lobsterman to respond to increasing threats to the fishery ecosystem (Ted Ames)
Perhaps the largest fraud in history
More than a billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry, seriously affecting the newly-installed government's ability to combat the insurgency, according to a British newspaper report. It is believed the money was siphoned overseas in cash and has since disappeared to finance buying arms in Poland and Pakistan. "It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history,"
"$1B DEFRAUDED FROM IRAQI ARMY," World News Australia, September 19, 2005 --- http://www9.sbs.com.au/theworldnews/region.php?id=120957®ion=6
What are the E-scores of representatives in Congress? --- http://www.lerner.udel.edu/econ-e/
Econ-E score is shorthand for economic-efficiency score. This measure is constructed by investigating votes in the 106th and 107th Congresses on issues where economic efficiency was at stake. Simply put, we included votes on legislation that economists would widely agree should yield national benefits that exceed costs (efficiency enhancing) or nationwide costs that exceed benefits (efficiency diminishing). Efficiency enhancing policies increase the size of the national economic pie; efficiency diminishing policies reduce its size. This measurement of efficiency does not depend on who gets the slices of the pie, but rather just its size. Economic efficiency is an important criterion used by economists, but not the only criterion, when assessing the desirability of public policies. Our intention in constructing the Econ-E score is to report the performance of Congressional members relative to this important criterion and then to seek an explanation for their voting pattern. Presently, this site simply reports the Econ-E score for members; we will add our explanation for their voting pattern later. To include enough votes for reliability, we only score members seated in both the 106th and 107th Congresses. We plan to add additional Congressional data over time.
Now, Every Keystroke Can Betray You
In a twist on online fraud, hackers and identity thieves are infecting computers with increasingly sophisticated programs that record bank passwords and other key financial data and send them to crooks over the Internet.
Joseph Menn, "Now, Every Keystroke Can Betray You," Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2005 --- http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-fi-keyloggers18sep18,0,1672126.story
Cyber cons, not vandals, now behind viruses-report ---
As the number of American graduates going into top MBA programs continues
to plunge, the number of graduates from India (and China) is surging upward
The burgeoning Indian economy is creating a serious demand for high-quality managers to oversee the nation's growing businesses. That makes the MBA a valuable commodity that insures a quick return on investment. And the growth of India's middle class means more Indians than ever before are able to afford brand-name American degrees. As a result, even though foreign applications to American B-schools have dropped overall since visa restrictions were tightened after September 11, 2001, applications from Indian students are increasing.
"India's MBA Gold Rush: To get an edge in the country's exploding economy, more Indian students are seeking business degrees -- both abroad and at home," Business Week, September 13, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/IndiaMBA
Top women graduates who are not bound for professional careers in a
This is one of the reasons for plunging demand for elite MBA programs
"Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood," by Louise Story, The New York Times, September 20, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/MBAmothers
At Yale and other top colleges, women are being groomed to take their place in an ever more diverse professional elite. It is almost taken for granted that, just as they make up half the students at these institutions, they will move into leadership roles on an equal basis with their male classmates.
There is just one problem with this scenario: many of these women say that is not what they want.
Many women at the nation's most elite colleges say they have already decided that they will put aside their careers in favor of raising children. Though some of these students are not planning to have children and some hope to have a family and work full time, many others, like Ms. Liu, say they will happily play a traditional female role, with motherhood their main commitment.
Much attention has been focused on career women who leave the work force to rear children. What seems to be changing is that while many women in college two or three decades ago expected to have full-time careers, their daughters, while still in college, say they have already decided to suspend or end their careers when they have children.
"At the height of the women's movement and shortly thereafter, women were much more firm in their expectation that they could somehow combine full-time work with child rearing," said Cynthia E. Russett, a professor of American history who has taught at Yale since 1967. "The women today are, in effect, turning realistic."
Continued in article
Perhaps the women above would rather be "sweeping beauties."
"'Sweeping Beauty' Cleans Up With Poetry," by Susan Stamberg, NPR,
September 22, 2005 ---
A quotation from "Sweeping Beauty" by Faith Shearin
The aunts won't be dickered down,
they’ll tell you a buck is a buck,
as they wash and rinse freezer bags,
scrape off aluminum foil.
The aunts know exciting ways
with government cheese,
have furnished trailer homes
with S&H green stamp lamps and Goodwill sofas;
brook trout and venison thaw
in their shining sinks.
With their mops and feather dusters
and buckets of paint on sale,
with their hot glue guns and staplers
and friendly plastic jewelry kits,
with their gallons of closeout furniture stripper,
the aunts are hurricanes who'll marbleize
the inside of your closets
before you've had time
to put coffee on.
New from Wharton:
The 'Masculine' and 'Feminine' Sides of Leadership and Culture: Perception vs. Reality
Workers' general notions about the effectiveness of male and female managers can be as important as their actual leadership abilities or business results, according to a recent Wharton Executive Development program entitled, "Women in Leadership: Legacies, Opportunities & Challenges." As a result, women executives need to be exceptionally aware of their own leadership styles and strengths -- as well as changes underway in their organizations -- in order to make an impact. Participants also discussed the role a strong corporate culture has played in the success of such companies as cosmetics giant Mary Kay Inc.
"The 'Masculine' and 'Feminine' Sides of Leadership and Culture: Perception vs. Reality " Knowledge@Wharton, September 22, 2005 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1287
New from Wharton:
The Upgraded Digital Divide: Are We Developing New Technologies Faster than Consumers Can Use Them?
TiVos and Treos and BlackBerrys. Wi-Fi and HDTV and plasma screens. Picture phones, digital cameras, iPods and now iPod cell phones. Complexity among consumer technology products has never been greater -- a good thing if the complexity means product improvement. But Wharton experts say new bells and whistles pose challenges to businesses and consumers alike. Complexity -- along with choice -- can have a big impact on how firms make and market new and improved gizmos, and on the decision processes of the people expected to buy them. Are we at a point, one commentator asks, where the next innovation will actually be the idea that ease of use is the most compelling feature of tech products?
"The Upgraded Digital Divide: Are We Developing New Technologies Faster than Consumers Can Use Them?" Knowledge@Wharton, September 22, 2005 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1292
Anti-terrorism Help: Thank You Canada
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Winnipeg is in on her way back to Canada from her six-month deployment to the Persian (Arabian) Gulf region as part of Operation ALTAIR, Canada’s continuing campaign against terrorism. The Canadian Patrol Frigate has been away since April 10, working with a coalition of naval forces including the United States, Great Britain, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan and Japan. “The professionalism and hard work of the crew has never failed to impress me,” said Cmdr. Kevin Greenwood, Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg . “I wish people could see how well this group works together; the sense of pride and teamwork that we benefit from. They make my job easy, every day.”
"HMCS Winnipeg Begins Journey Home," National Defense Canada, September 21, 2005 --- http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/newsroom/view_news_e.asp?id=1762
Canada demands justice over photographer murdered in Iran
Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew said he had told his Iranian counterpart that Ottawa expected justice to be rendered in the murder of Canadian-Iranian photographer Zahra Kazemi. Pettigrew had a rare meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki here Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. "I have indicated to him that Canada was determined in going to the bottom of Madame Kazemi's case," he told reporters.
"Canada demands justice over photographer murdered in Iran," Yahoo News, September 21, 2005 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20050921/wl_mideast_afp/irancanadaunjustice_050921192151
This is one rip off that replaces some of the North Korean nukes
North Korea's government is producing high-quality counterfeit $100 bills and is working with criminal groups in China to sell the fake U.S. money internationally, U.S. officials say. Some details of the production of what federal officials call "supernotes" were disclosed after arrests last month in several U.S. cities of people linked to a major Asian crime ring trafficking in fake money, arms, drugs and cigarettes. A senior Bush administration official said one of the 10 indictments in the case contains the first disclosure of the North Korean government's role in the counterfeiting. The indictment identifies Chao Tung Wu, a Taiwanese national in custody on charges of dealing in counterfeit bills. He told an FBI undercover agent that "the government of a foreign country," identified only as "Country 2," is "making counterfeit U.S. currency which Wu could sell to the" agent.
Bill Gertz, "Arrest ties Pyongyang to counterfeit $100 bills," The Washington Times, September 20, 2005 --- http://www.washtimes.com/national/20050920-121229-5045r.htm
"Deloitte Reaches Deal With Japanese Insurers," by Mark Maremont, The Wall Street Journal, September 21, 2005; Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112726731682246973,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing
Deloitte & Touche LLP has paid a huge sum to settle litigation with a group of Japanese insurers over the collapse of an obscure North Carolina reinsurance agent, underscoring the legal risks faced by auditing firms from their work for even the smallest of clients.
The precise amount of the settlement is confidential, but it appears to be in the range of $250 million, based on a disclosure by one of the Japanese firms. Aioi Insurance Co., which had the biggest potential claim, said Friday it would post an extraordinary gain from the settlement of 10.6 billion yen, or $95 million. Because the gain was an after-tax figure, the actual cash payment to Aioi was likely even larger.
The settlement -- which arose from a dispute over "finite" reinsurance, a controversial financial product that regulators have been probing more broadly -- appears to be one of the largest ever paid by an accounting firm over its audit work. The biggest such settlement was a $335 million payment in 2000 by Ernst & Young LLP in a shareholder suit related to the Cendant Corp. scandal.
The Japanese firms and a related Bermuda entity had sued Deloitte in state court in Geensboro, N.C., in connection with its audit work for Fortress Re, a reinsurance agent that sold policies on behalf of a pool of Japanese companies. The plaintiffs claimed that Deloitte improperly let Fortress hide liabilities that should have been on the books. Reinsurance is purchased by insurance companies to spread risks in case they are hit by large claims.
Fortress, which specialized in reinsurance for aviation risk, collapsed after the 2001 terrorist attacks, leaving the Japanese firms with losses they estimated at $3.5 billion. The case had been scheduled to go to trial earlier this month.
Deborah Harrington, a Deloitte spokeswoman, declined to comment on the size of the settlement, saying only that "the litigation was settled amicably."
Continued in article
Deloitte still has an enormous lawsuit and some smaller ones pending --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#Deloitte
FINANCIAL REPORTING: MORE SCIENCE, LESS ART
Governments and investors alike now demand more financial transparency from public companies. And, given the impressive evolution of technology and business practices, there is no excuse for reporting that is anything but spot-on. Intangible factors that are not taken into account when following U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (G.A.A.P.) -- such as brand value, intellectual capital, growth expectations and forecasts, and corporate citizenship -- are now being recognized as important drivers of shareholder value. A new white paper from Accenture explores "Enhanced Business Reporting" as a means for businesses to gain and communicate a clearer picture of company goals and performance.
Frank D'Andrea, "FINANCIAL REPORTING: MORE SCIENCE, LESS ART," Double Entries, September 21, 2005 --- http://accountingeducation.com/news/news6481.html
The Accenture report is at http://www.accenture.com/xdoc/en/ideas/outlook/6_2005/pdf/share_value.pdf
Bob Jensen's threads on intangibles are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#TheoryDisputes
Critical Infrastructures in National Security
Sean Gorman, the former George Mason University graduate student whose research into weaknesses underlying the nation's critical infrastructures sent government officials scrambling to seize and/or classify it as a threat to national security, has published much of his work in a new book entitled "Networks, Security And Complexity: The Role of Public Policy in Critical Infrastructure Protection." Two years ago, Gorman raised the hackles of the national security community when it got out that his dissertation included detailed maps of the intersections of and weak spots in the power, telecommunications and transportation networks that support the business and industrial sector in the U.S. economy. At the time, former White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke said Gorman's findings were so sensitive that he "should turn it in to his professor, get his grade -- and then they both should burn it."
Brian Krebs, "Mapping the Matrix," The Washington Post, September 19, 2005 --- http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2005/09/sean_gorman_a_f.html?referrer=email
Now I'm supposed to be depressed?
Don't believe the EPA fuel economy reports on cars: Even the new hybrid cars don't economize so well
"Consumer Reports: Overstating gas mileage [EPA figures on gas mileage are off by huge amounts]," Free Republic, September 20, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1489186/posts
"The EPA tests don't correspond to the way most of us drive," Kleman said. "Their tests represent driving on a 75-degree day on a road with no curves or no hills, which is ideal for maximizing fuel economy."
The EPA tests haven't changed in 30 years, so they don't take into account today's driving conditions. There's a lot more congestion, idling in traffic, and widespread use of air conditioning.
Consumer Reports runs its own fuel economy tests. The engineers say these tests—done outdoors—give a much more accurate assessment of the actual mileage you'll get from a car.
Consumer Reports' tests often turn up results that are substantially different from the EPA's—especially for stop-and-go city driving.
For instance the EPA says you'll get 22 miles per gallon with a Jeep Liberty diesel, but Consumer Reports found you'll get just half that—11 miles per gallon.
With a Chrysler 300 C, the EPA says you'll get 17 miles per gallon, but Consumer Reports' tests get only 10.
As for a Honda Odyssey minivan, the EPA gets 20 miles per gallon; Consumer Reports gets just 12.
The differences Consumer Reports turned up with hybrids in city driving are even greater. The EPA says the Honda Civic hybrid gets 48 miles per gallon; Consumer Reports measured just 26.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on consumer rip-offs are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm
Now I really am depressed
From Jim Mahar's blog on September 16, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
Kimmunications: Investment Return Doesn't Mean Diddly
Even when the stock market goes up, investors may lose out if they try to time the market. The extent to which market timing occurs is debateable but no doubt substantial. That is the gist of a recent blog entry over at Kimmunications.
Kimmunications cites a Dalbar study that finds individual investors lose a great deal as a result of this attempt to time the market.
"over the 19 year period 1984 to 2002, the S&P 500 was up an average of 12.9%. U.S. stock mutual funds had a return over the same period of only 9.6%. That is the investment return of U.S. equity mutual funds. But the stock mutual fund investor had a return of only 2.7%!"
Without seeing more of the study, I have always had by questions on how investors could do that poorly (I would have to guess that many investors got in right at the top), but unfortunately the paper is not available online (I did email them for a copy).
That said, the idea is sound and I absolutely love the figure that shows that actual stock picking makes up only a small portion of overall returns---it will be an excellent teaching tool!
First Amendment Lessons --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/19/first
Scheduled video releases --- http://videoeta.com/
Popular video ordering and rental site --- http://www.netflex.com/pages/1/index.htm
Are you looking for a movie at a theatre in your town?
Bob Jensen's entertainment bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History
What do parents do with these adult children after they're
too old for K-12 schools?
Faced with the difficulty of getting scarce help for their mentally or physically frail children, some parents are resorting to measures they once considered unthinkable. A Chicago mother dropped off her adult daughter, who has the mental functioning of a 7-year-old, at a shelter, after being told only the homeless or orphans could get into a supervised group home. A couple in Georgia, raising four other children, went to court and let their autistic son become a ward of the state in a bid to get him into therapeutic foster care. Nationwide, an estimated 80,000 developmentally disabled people are waiting for in-home help or an opening in a group home. Some have been on waiting lists for more than a decade. In Texas, there are 46,000 people waiting for such help -- or about four times the number of people actually receiving assistance.
Clare Ansberry, "Needing Assistance, Parents of Disabled Resort to Extremes: Demand for Aid Increases As Children Get Older," The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2005; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112718367988545842,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one
How well do these sex offenders registries really work?
From InformationWeek Between The Lines newsletter on
Is Gwyneth Paltrow a Genius?
If X is the amount of actual mathematics in a given movie, then X was pretty close to zero in Proof, the Hollywood version of the Pulitzer Prize winning play about mathematical genius, according to three math graduate students who attended its premier Friday in New York City.
David Epstein, "Is Gwyneth Paltrow a Genius?" Inside Higher Ed, September 19, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/19/proof
From The Washington Post on September 19, 2005
Yahoo, the number one e-mail service, is shifting to a more dynamic design that mimics the look and feel of a computer desktop application like Microsoft's Outlook. Who's number two?
B. Comcast's Webmail
C. Google's Gmail
D. MSN's Hotmail
GAO reports that astounding prices of our textbooks are not
justified on the basis of the costs of supplementary materials
"Just What the Professor Ordered," by Ian Ayres, The New York Times, September 16, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/GAOpublishers
In time for the new school year, the Government Accountability Office has released a sobering report on the soaring price of textbooks. Over the past two decades, the report tells us, "college textbook prices have risen at double the rate of inflation."
We're used to paying $25 for a hardcover novel, but my casebook on contracts now sells to students for $103, and the best-selling general chemistry textbook (co-authored by my father-in-law) costs $148. At state universities, textbooks and supplies account for 26 percent of all student fees, including tuition. At junior colleges, they are a whopping 72 percent.
The G.A.O. report falls short, however, by attributing this run-up in prices to the development of "CD-ROM's and other instructional supplements." The real problem is the lack of price competition. A series of mergers has ensured that although there are hundreds of textbooks to choose from, the five largest publishers control 80 percent of the market.
It's easy for prices to drift upward when the person choosing the product doesn't really care how much it costs. Instead of competing on price, publishers compete for professors' attention with an excess of computerized bells and whistles.
Indeed, the pricing problems with textbooks are eerily analogous to those affecting prescription drugs. In both cases you have doctors (Ph.D.'s or M.D.'s) prescribing products. In neither case does the doctor pay for the product prescribed - in many cases, he or she doesn't even know what it costs. And the clincher is that in both cases, the manufacturers sell the same product at substantially reduced prices abroad.
The analogy to prescription drugs suggests a possible solution. Perhaps universities can take a lesson from managed health care. Health maintenance organizations are often criticized for being too stingy, but let's not forget that they've played an important role in containing health care costs.
So just imagine what would happen if universities started to provide textbooks to their students as part of the tuition package. Of course tuition would have to rise, but for the first time universities would start caring about whether their professors were too extravagant in the selection of class materials.
This "textbook maintenance organization" wouldn't require a huge centralized bureaucracy. Universities would probably give professors a textbook budget per student. Those who exceeded the budget would have to seek their deans' approval. Some enlightened colleges might even give a share of the savings to professors who don't use up all of their budgets.
Even publishers might not do so badly under this new system. Under the current arrangement, many students protest exorbitant prices by simply refusing to buy textbooks. They make do with slightly older editions, read library copies or share with other students.
Not only do publishers lose these sales, but teachers are irritated because students cannot read along in class or look up information that is relevant to the discussion. Under textbook maintenance organizations, we'd return to the old days where everyone was on the same page.
Still think a system where schools provide free textbooks would never work? Well, we already have one at the elementary and secondary levels. Unlike Hogwarts, which requires Harry Potter to buy books each year, most American public schools own their assigned books and buy new editions only when it's absolutely necessary.
Continued in article
Jensen Comment on September 16, 2005
In fairness, there may be something to the claims by textbook publishers that profits are cut hard by costs of sales representatives and losses of new book sales in used book markets that return nothing to the original publishers. Whether or not we want the sales representatives stopping by our offices every semester, these sales representatives are paid only from the new book sales. This does not, however, justify the occasional practice of publishers to come out with "new" editions that are not very new in content and are solely aimed at destroying the used book market for an "older" edition. A new addition should have substantial new material and substantive rewrites.
Here's a university that "rents" textbooks to students!
September 16, 2005 reply from Chuck Pier
We already have a system similar to this at Appalachian State. We are one of the few (I have heard, but not verified the number to be around 7 in the U.S.) 4 year universities that have a textbook rental system.
How does it work?
The answer depends on who you ask. If you ask the students, alumni and parents they love it. Why? Because they pay one fee (currently $76 per semester) and they get a rental textbook which they return at the end of the semester in almost all of their classes. They must purchase textbooks if their class requires more than one text (they get the "lead" textbook free all others must be purchased); if they are in graduate school; or in other particular circumstances (e.g. lab books, or tax textbooks which are updated every year).
If you ask the professors (which we have via surveys) about 80% do not like the system. Why? The professor must choose a book and live with that choice for three years. We chose an Intermediate textbook recently that we found we did not like, but we must continue to use it for three years, despite our dislike of the text. If there are multiple sections for a course, everyone must agree and use the same text. There is also the mention that students place a value on an item based on what they pay, therefore a rental text does not have much value to the student. The lack of students buying textbooks has also limited the free market from working around the campus. We do not have private bookstores because they cannot compete with the rental system. This causes the cost of books that are not in the rental system to be high because there is no competition over these books other than the internet; the University Bookstore is the only game in town.
My feelings are quite divided. For the most part I am not bothered by the textbook rental system, other than being locked into a textbook I do not like, or a selection by my colleagues that I disagree with. We as a department already choose a textbook for each course anyway (1 intermediate text, 1 principles text, etc.). I also teach a lot of tax courses so I am not tied to the textbook rental system. Perhaps the biggest selling point for the textbook rental system from my view is this; all the students pay the rental fee as part of their tuition and are entitled to a textbook. I know that every student in my class will have the textbook. At other schools where I have taught without the rental system up to 1/3 of my class may not actually buy the book.
We are currently studying the system and I feel that there will be changes made, but for the most part I feel that it will stay as part of the tradition at Appalachian.
Charles A. Pier, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor Department of Accounting
Walker College of Business
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608
Jensen Comment on September 17, 2005
Textbooks three and four decades ago were even more pricey after inflation adjustments. This was true even in those glorious years of many competing publishers.
Textbooks were pricey in those competitive years (before the days of computer supplements) largely due to the expensive way in which they were marketed. Unlike pulp fiction novels that are marketed to street bookstores through wholesale distribution networks, textbooks were marketed by all those many book representatives/salesmen (I mean men in those days) who gave us a lot of time and free samples. This was a very expensive way to market textbooks, and it also badly disrupted many of our days on campus.
Now the monopolist publisher (is there more than one?) still has book representatives and salespersons, but the cost is much lower because there are so few textbook salespersons in the nation, along with fewer choices of books. Instead on three reps per week, I now maybe see three per semester standing in my doorway.
Some years back almost every large accounting program (Texas, Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, etc.) each had at least one author with a name on a Principles of Accounting textbook. There was almost enough of a market in two large universities to justify the fixed cost of publishing the home author's book.
Publishers deliberately tried to get at least two authors from two large universities on a book. A book hit gold if each partner author was from a large university such as the Eureka Success of signing a Texas and an Illinois professor to "author" an accounting textbook.
In some cases, my suspicious mind wonders if some of those "authors" mostly lent their names and affiliations rather than their sweat. In fairness, I think the books that stuck around edition after edition after edition were really authored legitimately by hardworking professors. Even in those cases, however, the test banks and other supplements were cheaply outsourced, which generally meant that the test banks were much lower in quality than the textbook's illustrations and problems.
My point is that textbooks cost more because of the way they were/are marketed.
I might add that I am slow to blame the campus bookstore for the price of textbooks. Typically the bookstore's margin is relatively small given the cost of shelving and handling so many books. What saves the butts of campus bookstores is the publishing company's tradition of buying back unsold new books. But even that entails a lot of un-boxing, shelving, storage, and re-boxing.
If campus bookstores had to survive only on textbooks they would go out of business. On our campus the bookstore is selling textbooks almost at a net loss. What keeps it going is the extremely high (and I do mean high) markups on other items like logo-clothing, supplies, and electronic goods.
And I don't buy into the publishers' arguments today that the high accounting textbook prices are due to the computer supplements. Virtually all the accounting textbook supplements today (the CDs, the online test banks, the videos, etc.) are really cheap shots. The accounting textbook market just isn't big enough to warrant what publishers spend dearly for in large markets of economics, mathematics, biology, and other disciplines having courses in a college's core curriculum taken by every student on every campus (not just business majors).
What is hurting the publishers badly is the used book market. So what? The used car market is also eating the lunch of GM, Ford, and Chrysler new car plants in spite of built-in obsolescence ploys used by publishers and car manufacturers. McDonalds has it made because there is no second hand market for a Big Mac with fries.Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen's threads on publisher frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudReporting.htm#ScholarlyJournals
On the spot: What Schröder's devious strategy in Germany
Gerhard Schröder was publicly jubilant despite his party's defeat at the polls in the German election last night. Roger Boyes, correspondent for The Times in Berlin, explains the wily political operator's plot to turn defeat into victory. "By claiming victory today, Gerhard Schröder is bluffing - he's basically trying to disorientate Frau Merkel. His ambition is to reach a position where there is a grand coalition with himself as Chancellor despite his party's second place, and he is playing a typically complex tactical game to get there.
"On the spot: What Schröder is up to," Times Online, September 19, 2005 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-1787883,00.html
September 19, 2005 message from MacEwan Wright, Victoria University [Mac.Wright@VU.EDU.AU]
I am seeking some guidance as to what sort of fees are charged for subjects that are purely web based delivery, and how these compare to standard face to face delivery fees.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
I have been warned that web based delivery with chat pages etc can be extermely time consuming. Has anyone definite experience in this regard?
February 20, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen
I have a document on distance learning cost and compensation that is, I'm sorry to say, badly in need of an update --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/distcost.htm
With respect to experience ranging from almost no student-faculty interaction (e.g., Stanford's Master of Engineering degree under ADEPT) to high student-faculty interaction (Dunbar's Instant Messaging), you can see some discussion of this at the following two sites:
General modules that I update regularly:
Award-winning modules that I update rarely:
Some other sites of possible interest are shown below:
My regularly-updated dark side document: http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm
There are quite a few references to the distance learning literature and some very long quotations at: http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm
The index to most of my education technology documents is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm
September 18, 2005 message from somebody (I don't think I like him) named James Francis at a dupont.com email address
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Actually I got identical messages from names other than James Francis. This could possibly be a phishing fraud that does not even give out fake diplomas.
Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mill frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudReporting.htm#DiplomaMill
Wall Street Journal Flashback, September 19, 1991
Salomon investment bankers complain that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were the two firms that most aggressively sent their clients free copies of "Liar's Poker," which depicts Salomon traders as adolescents and gamblers. Goldman denies sending out the books.
Bob Jensen's Rotten to the Core threads (including commentaries on Liar's Poker) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm
I did, however, gain useful insight
into the nature of literary criticism: you need not make sense, add anything new
to the body of human knowledge or spend much time researching a given topic to
publish a monograph with a respectable publishing house..
Mike Grayson as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-09-20-05.htm
"The Rise of the Critic and the Death of the Teacher," The Irascible Professor, September 20, 2005 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-09-20-05.htm
A few years ago, while researching Catch-22 for my Master's thesis on Joseph Heller, I came across a book promising "a new approach" to that seminal piece of postmodern American fiction. The author of the critical study in question admits on the first page of his book that he had, in fact, "been entirely unfamiliar with the previous criticism" on Joseph Heller as he wrote the book, allowing him to "come to a different assessment of what Heller was doing…far from the interpretation of the herd, so to speak." Needless to say, I was rather excited to have located a book that could potentially enlighten me as I sought to complete my thesis (and degree) in time to start work on my doctorate.
. . .
With the remarkable emphasis placed on publishing, we seem often to forget the students we teach. The sad fact that an impressive publishing record is more important to hiring committees at many large research institutions than the ability to teach undergraduates only exacerbates the problem. If the goal of most junior and adjunct faculty is to land a tenured position, teaching frequently figures somewhere below finding a parking space on many academics' list of priorities. After all, why would teaching help you get a teaching job?
Literary Theory Explorations --- http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/literary_theory_explorations
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2 Jan 2002 Featured Article
The Further Education (Part Two)
An examination of the importance of studying history from all angles, in the continuing education of the world
26 Dec 2001
Skip and Jump and Dance and Sing: Ugly Thoughts for an Ugly Time
The Ugly and the Absurd, two desperate literary minds at work or play.
19 Dec 2001
Changing the World, One Step at a Time (Part One)
A look at the furthering of Multilingualism, in an attempt to create a better world society
12 Dec 2001
By Any Means Necessary
A look at the importance of journalism in general, and within the realm of literature.
4 Dec 2001
Every Good and Perfect Gift (a book review)
A book review for first time Novelist Brenda Jernigan's new novel, Every Good and Perfect Gift
27 Nov 2001
The New and Free Media
An examination and call for a free media/news, a probing look into the flow of information, and it's necessity.
20 Nov 2001
Indicting The Canon
An attack on the literary canon, best sellers and all the other crap that is ruining Literature
13 Nov 2001
THE GREAT RIP OFF: My Tribute to Ken Kesey
A good-bye to Ken Kesey, and a look at how his philosophy of life/art, and his works influenced myself and many of the friends and authors I know
If you like these articles, there are more articles available.
Memepool Tidbits (I've never used this before, but it's a
bit like Jensen's Tidbits. but these are a bit more weird in my viewpoint) ---
You might want to click on the link to "Recent Articles." It also has a search link. Type in a search term and hit the Enter key.
College hiring up 14.5% --- http://www.naceweb.org/FormsLogin.asp?/pubs/JobOutlook/default.htm
More Salary Gains for Class of 2005 --- http://www.naceweb.org/press/display.asp?year=&prid=222
Average starting salary offers to new college grads continue to increase, according to the Fall 2005 issue of Salary Survey, a quarterly report published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The Fall issue is NACE’s final salary report for the college Class of 2005.
“Overall, starting salary offers rose consistently over this past academic year with the majority of disciplines reporting higher increases this year than they did last year,” says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.
Business graduates reported healthy growth in salary offers. Management information systems graduates, for example, posted a 5 percent increase to their average starting salary offer, raising it to $43,653. And, average offers to marketing grads rose by 4.9 percent, boosting their average offer to $36,409.
Accounting grads saw a 4.6 percent increase, raising their average starting salary offer to $42,940. Business administration/management graduates witnessed offers that rose 3.2 percent, bringing their average offer to $39,480.
For the most part, those graduating with degrees in the computer sciences saw smaller increases than those in the business disciplines—but their actual salary offers were higher than those to most business grads. Salary offers among computer science graduates, for example, rose just 3.3 percent over last year, but that increase spiked their average salary offer to $50,664. Information sciences and systems grads also fared well this year, posting a 3.6 increase that raised their average offer to $43,902.
Among engineering graduates, most reported increases to their average starting salary offers. Chemical engineering grads saw one of the smaller increases, only 2.1 percent, inching their average offer to $53,639, still the second highest of all the engineering majors. Civil engineering graduates posted a stronger increase of 4.1 percent, raising their average offer to $43,774.
Computer engineering graduates saw a 1.8 percent increase to their average salary offer, raising it to $52,242, and electrical engineering grads received a 1.3 percent increase, bumping their average offer to $51,773. The average salary offer to mechanical engineering graduates rose by 3.3 percent, pushing the average offer to $50,175.
For the most part, liberal arts grads as a group fared well, with some individual disciplines posting significant changes. Liberal arts and sciences majors saw a notable increase of 10.1 percent to their average starting salary offer, boosting it to $32,725. Psychology majors saw a healthy increase of 6.5 percent, raising their average starting salary offer to $30,073, and offers to sociology grads were 7.5 percent higher than last year, boosting their average offer to $31,368.
NACE will publish its first set of salary statistics for the college Class of 2006 in February, when it releases the Winter 2006 Salary Survey report.
About Salary Survey: Salary Survey is a quarterly report of starting salary offers to new college graduates in 70 disciplines at the bachelor's degree level. The survey compiles data from college and university career services offices nationwide. Salary Survey is issued in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, with the Fall issue serving as the year-end report. (Salaries reported in this press release reflect offers to bachelor’s degree candidates.)
Yahoo: Mistrust Is Popping Up
Yahoo has been taking a beating in the blogosphere lately. On Sept. 6 came the revelation that it provided information that helped Beijing jail a journalist. Days earlier, a report said Yahoo was actively supporting the companies that spawn pop-up ads. Around the same time, bloggers started griping about new Yahoo software downloads that change the preferences on users' PCs.
Ben Elgin, "Yahoo: Mistrust Is Popping Up: A string of issues related to its trustworthiness, especially about adware, could tarnish the portal's reputation on the Net," Business Week, September 12, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/YahooMistrust
Update on Worldcom Fraud
Former WorldCom Investors can now claim back some of the billions of dollars they lost in a massive accounting fraud, after a federal judge approved legal settlements of "historic proportions." The deal approved Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, will divide payments of $6.1 billion among approximately 830,000 people and institutions that held stocks or bonds in the telecommunications company around the time of its collapse in 2002.
Larry Neumeister, "Judge OKs $6.1B in WorldCom Settlements," The Washington Post, September 22, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/WorldcomSettlement
Bob Jensen's threads on the Worldcom fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#WorldCom
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
Black Women and the Web
When pundits talk about African Americans and the Internet, they often focus on the Digital Divide -- the fact that fewer black people have online access than their white counterparts. But a new study released on Sept. 14 suggests that black women also approach the Net differently, devoting little time to personal e-mails or other recreational pursuits. Moreover, they're much more apt to go online to investigate companies before buying their products or services.
"Black Women and the Web: A new study suggests they're more inclined to take a "strictly business" approach to the Internet than those from other ethnic groups," Business Week, September 15, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/BlackWomenWeb
Impact of Salary Caps?: Hockey Greats Retire En Masse http://www.canada.com/montreal/montrealgazette/news/sports/story.html?id=b7602f08-
Favorite Poem Project --- http://www.favoritepoem.org/
Bad Poetry (says who?) --- http://unix.cc.wmich.edu/~cooneys/poems/bad/
An accounting firm tracks facts about automobiles (kinda
weird huh? But it's quite good.)
PricewaterhouseCoopers AUTOFACTS ... is a team of analysts and advisors within the PricewaterhouseCoopers Automotive Practice dedicated to the continuous analysis of the global automotive industry. AUTOFACTS' organisational structure, processes and technology have been designed to support high quality, strategic automotive analysis, delivered on-line.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Autofacts --- http://www.autofacts.com/index.html
Thrilling Detective Trivia --- http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/
Wit & Wisdom (Just one of the categories)
- What the hell is a private eye, anyway?
- And what the hell do you mean by "Hard-boiled," for that matter?
- And while we're at it, what the hell is "Noir"?
- According to the Gospel
- Lighten Up, Ray! Quotations from Chairman Chandler
- When You're Quoted, You'll Take It and Like It!
- Hello, I Must Be Going- Great Moments of Unconciousness
- Thoughts on the Future of the Genre
- Something Funny About The Eyes: Spoofs and Parodies
- Oooops!: The Most Common Mistakes in Private Eye Fiction
- Never Happen: The Real Deal on TV Cops by Charlie Shafer
- Work Lessons: Everything I Know About the Job, I Learned From P.I. Novels
- Life Lessons: Everything I Know, I Learned From P.I. Novels
- Rafferty's Rules
- Father Knox's Decalogue: The Ten Rules of (Golden Age) Detective Fiction
From The Wall Street Journal Weekly Accounting Review on September 16, 2005
TITLE: Delta and Northwest Are Poised to File for Bankruptcy Protection
REPORTER: Evan Perez and Susan Carey
DATE: Sep 14, 2005
TOPICS: Bankruptcy, Board of Directors, Debt, Debt Covenants, Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Pension Accounting
SUMMARY: �The carrier�s boards [were] each scheduled to meet Wednesday to decide whether they�ll file for bankruptcy protection� By Thursday, Delta and Northwest both announced that they had, in fact, filed for bankruptcy protection. Questions ask students to understand the implications of bankruptcy filing under Chapter 11 for management, workers, customers and oters. Financial reporting issues include a financing deal for Delta led by General Electric Company�s commercial lending unit and issues in pension funding.
1.) What is a bankruptcy filing? How can a company file for bankruptcy and leave customers, such as air passengers in this case, unaffected?
2.) What are the management issues associated with operating a company that is under a bankruptcy filing?
3.) Both the main article and the related one discuss the ways that accounting information is used to assess likely future outcomes from operating under bankruptcy protection. Identify the accounting information and the ways in which it is used to assess potential future issues.
4.) In the main article, the author describes 4 specific items of debt payments that are due by this coming year end. List each of these items and describe where each is classified in the financial statements.
5.) General Electric Co. led a group that provided financing to Delta about one year ago. Why do you think GE is involved in financing of Delta Airlines?
6.) What authority establishes requirements for pension payments? How does that required payment differ from the yearly cost of operating a pension? Do you think these airlines have been fully funding the annual cost of operating their pensions? Explain your answer with a citation from the article.
Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island
--- RELATED ARTICLES ---
TITLE: The Middle Seat: Surviving Chapter 11
REPORTER: Scott McCartney
ISSUE: Sep 04, 2005
GREAT TRUTHS THAT LITTLE CHILDREN HAVE LEARNED:
1) No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.
2) When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair.
3) If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.
4) Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
5) You can't trust dogs to watch your food.
6) Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
7) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
8) You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
9) Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
10) The best place to be when you're sad is Grandpa's lap.
I heard that Katrina and the Iraq War combined have cost the U.S. almost a Brazilian to date.
Forwarded by Dick Haar
Two blondes are sitting in StarBucks. One looks at the newspaper and sees the headline,
"12 Brazillian Soldiers Killed In Conflict".
She then looks to the other blonde and asks, "How many is a Brazillian?"
To date economists estimate that the Iraq war has cost the U.S. about 3,500 brazillians.
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmark s 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/.
International Accounting News (including the U.S.)
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
Upcoming international accounting conferences --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/events/index.cfm
Thousands of journal abstracts --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/journals/index.cfm
Deloitte's International Accounting News --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
Association of International Accountants --- http://www.aia.org.uk/
WebCPA --- http://www.webcpa.com/
FASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
IASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
Others --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm
Gerald Trite's great set of links --- http://iago.stfx.ca/people/gtrites/Docs/bookmark.htm
Richard Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org