Tidbits on September 26, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and
other universities is at
Bob Jensen's home page is
Security threats and hoaxes ---
25 Hottest Urban Legends (hoaxes) ---
In the past I've provided links to various types of music
available free on the Web.
This weekend I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Inspirational and Patriotic Music ---
Romantic Music ---
Country and Western ---
1950s-60s Juke Box Tunes ---
Humor Music ---
Banjo, Fiddle, Bluegrass, and American Folk Music ---
Foreign Folk Music and Other Music From Foreign Lands ---
Jazz and Blues ---
Classical Music Christmas and Other Seasonal Music ---
Imagine All the People ---
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the
page and turn it on.
Bruce Cockburn's What is the Soul of a Man? ---
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the
page and turn it on.
Train of Life
(Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline)
Colleges pay a flat sum for unlimited online music
Those colleges enroll more than 670,000 students — and
many other institutions are expected to join the list soon. The idea of offering
these deals, pioneered at Pennsylvania State University, is to pay a flat sum
for unlimited online music. The motivation is simple: Colleges are tired of
being caught in the middle as the music industry tries to crack down on students
who engage in illegal file sharing, frequently involving college networks. The
report on how colleges are responding was prepared by the Joint Committee of the
Higher Education and Entertainment Communities, which is led by Graham Spanier,
president of Penn State, and Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry
Association of America.
Scott Jaschik, "The Spread of Legal Online Music," Inside Higher Ed,
September 22, 2005 ---
World Peace of the Year Photo Contests ---
Pictures of China High Rise Buildings (This is how I remember it
in Taiwan and Hong Kong) ---
Did you know that your recorded television shows may self destruct:
You'll never be able to show them to your grandchildren
But then why would you ever want to watch them your self or with anybody else?
From The Washington Post on September
TiVo's latest software upgrade gives broadcasters the ability to erase recorded
material after a certain date. What shows recently sparked online complaints
after users discovered they were marked for deletion?
"Desperate Housewives" and "Lost"
"King of the Hill" and "The Simpsons"
"Joey" and "ER"
"Reba" and "Smallville"
Jensen Comment: If you really want to record it and keep it, I think
you should just put the new-style TV camcorders in front of the TV on a timer.
Breakthrough in Camcorder Technology
P.S. David Pogue is one of the leading experts in technology
"Aha! Video Straight to a Computer," by David Pogue, The New York Times,
September 22, 2005 ---
EVERY now and then, humanity wakes up, looks at
itself in the mirror and realizes that it's been wasting a lot of effort
doing things the old way just for the sake of tradition. From the caveman
who first put a bunch of rolling logs under something heavy, to the genius
who packed four times more orange juice onto a truck by condensing it first,
history is filled with "Aha!" moments that propel society forward.
. . .
The result of this brainstorm was the new Everio G
series: tiny, lightweight, reasonably priced camcorders that contain iPod-type
miniature hard drives. There are four models in all, ranging from the
GZ-MG20 to the GZ-MG50. The differences are the prices ($750 to $800
online), light sensitivity, hard drive capacity (20 or 30 gigabytes), zoom
lens power (15X or 25X), and the resolution of the low-quality still photos
(0.3 megapixel or 1.3). Not one of them uses a tape or DVD.
The hard drive holds five or seven hours of video
at top quality - easily a vacation's worth. The 2.5-inch screen displays
each shot as a thumbnail image (or as an entry in a chronological list), so
you can jump directly to anything filmed without having to rewind or
fast-forward. You can assemble up to 99 video playlists on this screen, too
(selected scenes that play back in a certain order). And who among us
hasn't, at one point or another, accidentally recorded over something
important on a videotape? (Oh, sorry - touchy subject.) On a hard-drive
camcorder, that is impossible.
UNLIKE JVC's Everio MC200 camcorders, which feature
lower-capacity, removable hard drive cards, the Everio G's drive is
permanent and built in. (It's mounted on gel supports for shock resistance,
and uses a laptop-style motion sensor to protect the drive from sudden
jolts.) Once it fills up, that's it; the camcorder is out of commission
until some hard drive space is emptied.
You can do that by deleting some scenes, using the
thumbnail table of contents view. You can play the video back on a TV (both
RCA-type and S-video jacks are built right into the camera), while recording
it with a VCR or set-top DVD recorder, then delete the originals.
But you're really supposed to transfer the video
directly to a computer, edit it, and maybe burn it to a DVD. When you get
right down to it, this camcorder doesn't make much sense for people who
don't ordinarily edit their own video on a computer
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's helpers in video technology are at
New Services Give You Reliable Ways to Keep All You Files
September 23, 2005 message from Amy Dunbar
On September 1, Mossberg’s
Personal Technology column, “New Services Give You
Reliable Ways to Keep All You Files Updated,” talked
about three products. Two of them looked promising to
Has anyone used either BeInSync
Either service looks much
easier than using HandyBackup software to synchronize
all my school-computer files to an Iogear Ion drive and
resynchronizing when I get home to home computer.
University of Connecticut School of Business Accounting
2100 Hillside Road, Unit 1041 Storrs, CT 06269-1041
September 24, 2005 reply from Scott Bonacker
I've been using
PowerSync from linkpro.com for several years to maintain
a synchronised backup on an external USB hard drive. The
only compromise I've had to make is because of the way
that Windows handles daylight savings time. I turned off
the automatic change feature in windows, and have to
check the system clock periodically to make sure it
doesn't try to drop/add an hour. Otherwise I am forced
to totally renew all backup files twice a year when the
It has been a
lifesaver several times. All of the dynamic data files
are backed up regularly, and all of the information I
need to restore the applications is maintained on a
September 25, 2005 reply from Mike Groomer
I use a portable 2.5" USB 2.0 HD -- 40GB. I have had
this physical drive in three different containers. This
HD contains all file types.
Essentially, I port the HD between the office and home
and sometimes take it on the road with me. The current
container is both USB and Firewire capable. I back up
this HD to the desktop at home and my laptop using a
program called ViceVersa. Prior to going on a road trip,
I will back the HD to the laptop and reverse the process
when I get home. I find this approach works for me and
have been doing this for the last five years.
Essentially all my files are in one place (the portable
HD) and for the most part don't have to worry about
And if you want to see Amy's new grandchild go to
Pepper Pad: First Look: Wireless Internet Media
My dissatisfaction started soon
after I powered up the Pepper Pad. From a cold boot, this
"instant-on" device takes nearly 2 minutes to get up and
running. You can then put the unit in a sleep mode for
faster subsequent startups, but the battery continues to
drain. And I was surprised by the battery's short life span:
During my informal tests, the unit lasted less than 2 hours
on a full charge.
The Pepper Pad's SVGA (800-by-600 resolution) LCD
screen provides a bright but just less-than-crisp display of
text, photos, and videos. MP3 music sounded decent from the
front-mounted stereo speakers. Video playback was even, and
videos saved to the hard drive played smoothly, without any
Pepper's preloaded software includes a Mozilla-based
browser, a game pack, an Internet radio player, an MP3 music
player, and AOL instant messaging. You can buy
Pepper-specific apps from the company's online store (but
you cannot run other Linux or Windows apps
Considering that there are more powerful (and more
versatile) notebook computers available for the same or a
lower price, I can't recommend this first iteration of the
Michael Lasky, "First Look: Wireless
Internet Media Player--Too Little, Too Late, The
Washington Post, September 23, 2005 ---
Warnings when you are checking to see if all or parts of a student's paper
It is best to first get implied consent from students to store their papers on
September 22, 2005 message from Dr. Jagdish Pathak
My University has a licence to use this plagiarism
check software. I have made use of this on regular basis within the policy
laid down in course outline beforehand. We also have developed an academic
integrity committee at University level with student reps in membership. I
represent Business School and we have made AI policy as an integral part of
senate bye-laws for future legal repercussions. My experience of catching
cases of plagiarism has been extremely successful.
However, you will have to seek 'informed consent' of
the students concerned that work submitted by them may be placed for
turnitin check and if any one refuses to do so will have to be provided some
other mean of assessment or else. Our policy is made after reviewing many
policies in Canadian and US Schools and the related case laws.
It will be interesting to place some of the
research papers received for review to such test for your own satisfaction
as turnitin database has grown manyfold by now.
It is OK if you do not allow this software
to store your student paper in database for ethical purposes BUT this
practice also restricts you in many ways. For example, if this paper is
resubmitted by some other student after some time lag, you may assess it
unknowingly for a different student and turnitin will once again give you
same result what it gave in case of first time submission! (which'll be a
real unethical case in fact.) Secondly, some topics of papers may fit well
with more than two courses like 'ethical practices' fit well in accounting,
management, marketing and even MIS area. If a paper on this topic is
submitted in one term to accounting area, next term to management area, and
further next term to marketing area by the same student who knows full well
that his/her paper is not in turnitin database. What is the remedy left to a
faculty in such instance?
Whereas, by permitting your paper in database, you
or the author of the paper gets ethical advantages. Turnitin NEVER permits
any one to see your paper without explicit permission from you. Turnitin
will simply tell that while issuing report that certain percentages are
copied from such and such paper submitted to such and such school. If
instructor desires to know the contents of that turnitin cited paper, he/she
will have to send a mail through turnitin to the original author of paper
and who may or may not permit you to look at the contents of the paper.
I have had a case where a student in EDP Auditing
distance course submitted a case study which was found to have been copied
verbatim (97%) from one MS dissertation of Mid-West technical university of
US. I wanted to double check the output of turnitin by looking at the
contents of the dissertation, and therefore sent an e-mail through turnitin
to the original author of dissertation who replied to me in next 15 minutes
in affirmative and also wondered that her family has originally come from
Windsor only, though some years back!
Jagdish Pathak, PhD Guest Editor- Managerial
Auditing Journal (Special Issue) Associate Professor of Accounting & Systems
Accounting & Finance Area Odette School of Business University of Windsor
401 Sunset Windsor, N9B 3P4, ON Canada
Voice: 519.253.3000 Ext3131 FAX: 519.973.7073 |
Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at
Unusual jigsaw puzzle forwarded by Barb Hessel
I love to send unusual sites and this is one.
Not your usual jigsaw puzzle! This is so neat!
What may be a leading cause of the rise in obesity among teens?
Excess body fat in teens -- even those who aren't
overweight -- seems to be linked to less-elastic blood vessels, a condition that
can mean future cardiovascular disease, researchers say in a study. The findings
underscore the dangers of the obesity epidemic, even in youngsters. An estimated
30% of schoolchildren are believed to be overweight. "The message about this is
that it's yet another reason to be concerned about the rise in overweight and
obesity among young people," said Peter Whincup, lead author of the study and
professor of cardiovascular epidemiology at St. George's Hospital Medical School
"Teens' Fat Linked to Blood Vessels," The Wall Street
Journal, September 22, 2005; Page D3 ---
How can you really, really erase your hard drive?
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Hard Drive," by Walter Mossberg, The
Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2005; Page B8 ---
Q: I am giving my PC to my sister and I would
like to completely erase my files from the hard drive. How can I do this?
A: What you need to do is wipe out the files
in a way that is more thorough than merely deleting them in the standard
manner. This process is often called "wiping" files, and makes the files
impossible, or at least very difficult, to recover. It works by overwriting
the portion of the hard disk formerly occupied by a file's data with
You could format the disk, but that also would wipe
out the operating system, which would require your sister to buy and install
a new copy. So you need a program that wipes out only the folders and files
you target. On an Apple Macintosh, this capability is built in. You just
move the files to the trash and then select "Secure Empty Trash" instead of
the usual "Empty Trash" command.
On Windows, you need add-on software. There are
many programs that do this, but one that I have tested and can recommend is
Window Washer, which is available at webroot.com for $30. You can find
others by doing a Web search for "file wipe" or by doing a similar search at
How Informative are Analyst Recommendations and Insider Trades?
A new academic study fills that void - and concludes
that when insiders and analysts directly disagree, the insiders are usually
right. The study was written by three finance professors: James Hsieh of George
Mason University and Lilian Ng and Qinghai Wang, both of the University of
Wisconsin at Milwaukee. It has been circulating in academic circles over the
past year; a copy is at
Mark Hulbert, "The Analysts vs. the Insiders," The New York Times, September 25,
"How Informative are Analyst Recommendations and Insider Trades?"
JIM HSIEH George Mason University
LILIAN K. NG University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - School of Business
QINGHAI WANG University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - School of Business
This study jointly evaluates the informativeness of insider trades and
analyst recommendations. We show that the two activities often generate
contradictory signals. Insiders in aggregate buy more shares when their
firm's stock is unfavorably recommended or downgraded by analysts than when
it is favorably recommended or upgraded. This result is robust to various
controls such as varying degrees of analyst coverage, firm size,
book-to-market ratios, and stock price momentum. We find that analyst
recommendations affect insider trading decisions, but not vice versa. Our
further analysis shows that insider trading is informative when signaling
positive information, and analyst recommendations are informative when
conveying negative information. The overall results imply that corporate
insiders and financial analysts do not substitute each other's informational
role in the financial market.
Ten Things You Didn't Know About the World Bank & Debt Issues ---
What are the 18 poorest nations that will have their World Bank debt
Finance ministers from around the world reached
agreement on Saturday on a plan to wipe out as much as $55 billion in debt owed
by impoverished countries. The deal still needs to win support from the major
shareholders of the World Bank, which would forgive a large portion of the
outstanding loans, but American and European officials said they were confident
the plan would win approval on Sunday. The agreement, which will initially
affect about 18 countries, came after two years of grinding debate between the
United States, Japan, Britain and most of the wealthy nations in Europe.
Edmund L. Andrews, "Deal Is Reached to Drop Debt of 18 Poor Nations," The New
York Times, September 25, 2005 ---
The Bank has been at the forefront of debt relief
initiatives for years. It therefore welcomes the recent proposal by leaders of
the eight richest industrialized countries, the G8, to cancel the debt of 18 of
the poorest countries in the world. It is another positive step in providing the
financing poor countries need if they are to reach the Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs), an international set of development targets to be reached by the
year 2015. The Bank has provided debt relief to low-income countries through the
joint World Bank and IMF Debt Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC
Initiative) which started in 1996. Two thirds of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries
(HIPCs, 28 countries) are receiving debt relief which will amount to US$56
billion over time. The World Bank’s contribution to the HIPC Initiative for the
28 countries approved so far is expected to be about US$14 billion over time.
World Bank Debt Relief ---
An ancient manuscript gives up its secrets
Last spring, researchers from a Baltimore museum
traveled to Palo Alto with three pages of a 1,000-year-old goatskin manuscript
in a sealed container the size of a cigar box. For five days in May, Uwe
Bergmann, a physicist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and his team
painstakingly X-rayed the fragile leaves of a palimpsest believed to include the
oldest known writings of Archimedes.
"When Archimedes Met the Synchrotron X-rays help decipher an ancient
manuscript," Stanford Magazine, September/October 2005 ---
What's the most booming business in the world?
"Dutch Court Fight Lays Bare Reality Of Kidnap Industry: Mr. Erkel's
Two-Year Ordeal Ended in Ransom Payment Despite the Usual Denials A Mysterious
Intermediary," by Andrew Higgins and Alan Cullison, The Wall Street Journal,
September 22, 2005; Page A1 ---
From Iraq to Chechnya to China, the kidnap industry
is booming. According to companies that offer ransom insurance and groups
that track the problem, kidnapping generates hundreds of millions of dollars
a year, enriching criminal gangs and helping fuel armed insurgencies. In
almost all cases, for fear of encouraging the practice, governments and
companies that pay ransoms deny cooperating with kidnap groups.
In Mr. Erkel's case, this script has unraveled. In
an unusually public spat, the Dutch Foreign Ministry has gone to court in
Geneva to try and force the Swiss branch of Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF,
to pay back the money it says was used to purchase Mr. Erkel's freedom --
plus 9.2% interest. Documents in that case, which was filed in June 2004,
plus numerous interviews in Europe and Russia, lift the veil on the kinds of
shadowy negotiations often held between kidnappers, intermediaries and
victims' governments, employers and families.
European countries, in particular, often bend their
no-ransom pledges, according to many people who work in this field. A string
of French and Italian hostages were freed in Iraq earlier this year and few
experts believe government denials that ransoms were paid. The U.S.
government sticks to its stated policy of not paying. American companies and
individuals, however, often cough up through intermediaries hired by
insurance companies, says Greg Bangs, a specialist in kidnap and ransom
policies for Chubb & Son, an insurance company.
The practice is buoyed by the tangled relationships
in many parts of the world between kidnap gangs and the local
law-enforcement agencies ostensibly charged with capturing them. In June,
the Kremlin-backed president of Chechnya, Alu Alkhanov, told reporters that
Russian forces were responsible for as much as 10% of the reported
kidnappings in the region -- though he said the practice was legal because
they were detaining suspected insurgents. Human-rights groups say families
often pay Russian troops to secure the release of an arrested relative. The
local police chief investigating the Erkel case says a portion of ransom
payments often ends up in the pockets of security officials.
Continued in article
Sixty Minutes (CBS on 9/25/2005) ran a module where a kidnap victim had to
live blindfolded in a basement room with up to nine other people for ten months.
All were blindfolded in an concrete room below ground that was only eleven feed
long and eight feet wide. It had no plumbing or fresh air. He was
What is another booming business in the world?
I think I'm just blogging on the wrong topics!
Blog network pioneers keep their finances close to the chest, but salary
information for scribes behind hit sites like Gizmodo, Fleshbot and Gawker is
starting to trickle out. Time to quit your day job and blog for a living?
"Can Bloggers Strike It Rich?" by Adam L. Penenberg, Wired News,
September 22, 2005 ---
When it comes to the profit
potential of blogs, Nick Denton, founder of Gawker
Media, calls himself a skeptic.
It's a surprisingly pessimistic
perspective coming from the Brit who has launched a
network of 13 theme blogs -- including
(politics). His most popular
properties (Defamer, Gizmodo and Gawker) report between
4 million and 6 million
per month and millions more
pageviews, he and his top talent have been featured in
articles in the ink-and-pulp press (Wired,
The New York Times Magazine)
rarely misses an opportunity to
trumpet ads on his sites for blue-chip companies like
Absolut, Audi, Sony, Nike, Viacom, Disney and Condé Nast.
What is a booming business on the Gulf Coast, albeit not for all
Mr. Garrett's complaints are being echoed by a
growing number of minority business owners across the Gulf Coast who say they're
being shut out of the first wave of Katrina-related contracts. They blame
longstanding ties between federal and state officials and white-owned companies,
as well as Bush administration moves that eased affirmative-action rules for new
contracts as long as a state of emergency exists. The critics say they are
particularly concerned by provisions of the federal Katrina relief funds that
temporarily waive a requirement that federal contractors provide written
affirmative action plans and that double the size of the contracts that can be
awarded without giving special opportunities to the economically disadvantaged.
Yochi J. Dreazen and Jeff D. Opdyke, "Minorities Say Katrina Work Flows to
Others," The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2005; Page B1 ---
Jensen Comment: I have this feeling that the problem gets worse when
Louisiana politicians and bureaucrats let contracts.
Art detective exposes hidden images to fuel Da Vinci Code conspiracies
Amid the obsessive scholars and scheming prelates who
inhabit Dan Brown's global blockbuster, The Da Vinci Code, there is a real
person. Maurizio Seracini works in a high-ceilinged, colourfully frescoed
palazzo just across the river from the Uffizi gallery in Florence. His premises
are packed with machines that look as if they belong in a hospital or
laboratory. Brown calls him an "art diagnostician", which is not a bad
description for someone who probes paintings with state-of-the-art-technology,
often to advise museums, dealers and collectors on their restoration.
John Hooper, "Art detective exposes hidden images to fuel Da Vinci Code
conspiracies," Guardian, September 20, 2005 ---
Why do I feel good about this Microsoft failure?
A study conducted earlier this year concluded that more
consumers found MSN's search results to be less relevant to their queries
following the switchover, say people familiar with the matter. Meantime, MSN
executives say they have been surprised at how quickly Google has increased the
average ad revenue it generates for each consumer search. Within the MSN unit,
Microsoft is pushing hard to increase the relevance of the results it returns to
users. And it is planning an ambitious marketing campaign to bolster the MSN
brand against Google, which commands the leading share of search queries despite
buying almost no advertising.
Kevin J. Delaney and Robert A Guth, "New Search Engine From Microsoft Gets Cool
Welcome," The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2005; Page B1 ---
not so keynoting
According to The Wall Street Journal, Keynote, at the
request of Microsoft, withheld a consumer survey that would have shown the
software maker's MSN search engine slipping. The study, according to the
newspaper, found that based on its ability to find relevant results, MSN fell to
No. 5 from No. 3.
Antone Gonsalves, "Search Engines Missing The High Road," InternetWeek
Newsletter, September 23, 2005
New from Wharton:
Around the World on $48 (or So): How High Can Discount Airlines Fly?
As two more major U.S. airlines, Delta and Northwest,
file for bankruptcy protection, it's the discount carriers that appear to be
winning the battle for America's skies. But it's not only in the U.S. that
discounters are giving the more established carriers a run for their money.
Discounters are taking off in Mexico, India, China, Europe and points in
between. What kind of competition do these discounters face, from the majors and
from each other? And what obstacles, especially in countries like China, are
governments and regulators putting in their way?
"Around the World on $48 (or So): How High Can Discount Airlines Fly?"
Knowledge@Wharton, September 22, 2005 ---
New from Wharton:
A Month after Katrina: Lessons from Leadership Failures
Hurricane Katrina not only devastated the city of New
Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast of the U.S., it initiated a bitter debate
about the leadership -- or lack thereof -- exhibited by government officials
before, during and after the storm. Called into question have been the actions
of an array of leaders: President Bush, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux
Blanco, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Homeland Security Secretary Michael
Chertoff and former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown.
To identify some of the leadership challenges raised by the New Orleans
disaster, Knowledge@Wharton interviewed two Wharton faculty members and a former
Wharton vice dean who is now dean of the business school at Arizona State
"A Month after Katrina: Lessons from Leadership Failures " Knowledge@Wharton,
September 22, 2005 ---
New from Wharton:
From Pro Footballer to Businessman: You're a Rookie All Over Again
Hall of Fame footballer Ronnie Lott is sitting in front
of a classroom, lecturing a small group of fellow players about the importance
of learning the playbook. But the playbook that he is discussing has nothing to
do with running and tackling. Lott is counseling a group of current and former
NFL players on making the transition from pro football to business. It's part of
a year-long executive education program called "Entrepreneurial Management:
Transitioning with Success," organized by the Wharton Sports Business Initiative
and sponsored by the NFL and the NFL Players Association. Lott's talk is one of
the follow-up sessions that are a key part of the program, which focuses on
everything from financial analysis and entrepreneurship to real estate
development and stock market investing.
"From Pro Footballer to Businessman: You're a Rookie All Over Again,"
Knowledge@Wharton, September 22, 2005 ---
SmartPros has some good summaries of recent top selling books (longer reviews
are available for a fee)
three summaries on some of this year's bestsellers:
From the Scout Report on September 23, 2005
The Kaiser Family Foundation: Medicare and
Medicaid at 40 [Real Player, pdf]
The Medicare and Medicaid health programs are two
of the most influential government policies. Signed into law forty years
ago, they have continued to provide medical protection to a wide range of
people in American society. To celebrate and document the achievements of
this program, the Kaiser Family Foundation has created this site, which
contains a number of helpful materials, including a retrospective video, a
timeline of key developments in the history of Medicare and Medicaid, and
some key statistics on the program. The site also provides access to a
number of crucial articles from the journal Health Affairs. Some of these
pieces include “Medicare, Medicaid, And Health Care Quality” by
William L. Roper and “What Does It Take To Run Medicare and Medicaid?” by
Trust for America’s Health [pdf]
With a genuine and informed concern for the
American populace, the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) is a non-profit,
non-partisan organization that is “dedicated to saving lives by protecting
the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a
national priority.” By assembling a team of topical experts and policy
analysts, they have been able to offer broad appraisals of the various
public health issues (and potential crises) that are affecting the country.
Their website provides the web-browsing public ample access to the wide
range of material they have generated through their work. The “Current
Reports” area on the homepage contains such timely reports as “How Obesity
Policies are Failing in America 2005” and “Birth Defects and Developmental
Disabilities:The Search for Causes and Cures”. Another very helpful feature
is the “Your State’s Health” section. Here, visitors can click on any state
they might be interested in and receive some brief statistics on such areas
as the percentage of adults with asthma or the percentage of obese adults.
Additionally, visitors can learn about each state’s cancer tracking
mechanisms and bioterrorism preparedness.
Informed Public Perceptions of Nanotechnology
and Trust in Government [pdf]
Public perception and understanding of science and
technology can be a difficult and daunting subject. This latest report from
the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, authored by Dr. Jane
Macoubrie, explores public attitudes toward the growing field of
nanotechnology. In its 31- pages, the report reveals that the public is
interested in the potential advances afforded by this technology, which
exploits the unique behavior of materials and devices when engineered at a
scale of roughly between one and one hundred nanometers. The report also
shows that people are concerned about the general lack of consumer awareness
of the field and the potential lack of government oversight of this rapidly
emerging technology. As David Rejeski, the director of the Project on
Emerging Technologies commented recently, “The kinds of safety measures and
disclosure the public wants make sense in terms of both long-term corporate
strategy and good public policy”.
A Portrait of the Visual Arts: Meeting the
Challenges Of A New Era [pdf]
The world of the visual arts is, at times, a
chaotic one. There are a myriad of different institutions attempting to
garner the attention of experts in the field, the general public, and
various philanthropic organizations. It can be a complex landscape, but this
latest report from the RAND organization goes a long way to document the
many challenges that the visual arts community faces. While some pundits
have described a largely positive portrait of the visual arts, this 152-page
report released in August 2005, offers a bit of a more critical perspective
on the current situation. Among its many findings, the report notes that the
growth in overall museum attendance in recent years is primarily a product
of population growth and higher education levels, rather than a result of
museums' attempts to broaden the diversity of their audience. The report
also suggests that the majority of the art museums around the country will
need to ask a number of key questions, including what their primary goal is
and how will they measure their success.
White collar crime punishments are a joke even if whistle blowing does
make them less funny
The main whistle-blower in the accounting fraud at
HealthSouth Corp. received the longest sentence so far in the case, while
another former executive received probation. U.S. District Judge Robert Propst
sentenced former Chief Financial Officer Weston Smith, 45 years old, to 27
months in prison, one year of probation and ordered him to pay $1.5 million in
forfeited assets. He pleaded guilty in March 2003 to conspiracy, fraud and
violating the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate-reporting law. Assistant U.S. Attorney
James Ingram, who asked the judge for a five-year sentence, said Mr. Smith was
the first person to reveal a $2.7 billion fraud at the Birmingham, Ala.,
rehabilitation and medical-services chain and would deserve an even longer
sentence had he not come forward when he did.
"HealthSouth Ex-Finance Chief Is Given 27-Month Prison Term," The Wall Street
Journal, September 23, 2005; Page C3 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on HealthSouth and Ernst & Young are at
It pays to be an
accounting cheat because you
don't have to return your
bonus that you got by
of companies have restated
earnings in recent years -
414 in 2004 alone, according
to a recent study by the Huron
Consulting Group. And in
many cases, the revisions
came in the wake of
discoveries of questionable
accounting or other possible
wrongdoing that meant the
numbers leading to bonuses
were inaccurate. But a
review of restatements by
large corporations shows
that companies very, very
rarely - as in almost never
- get that money back. The
list of restatements was
compiled for Sunday Business
by Glass Lewis &
Company, a research firm
based in San Francisco.
Jonathan D. Glater,
"Sorry, I'm Keeping the
Bonus Anyway," The
New York Times, March
13, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/13/business/yourmoney/13restate.html?
This is absolutely
unfair! If a CEO loots
his/her company, the company
pays insurance for all legal
costs of the CEO even if
he's convicted of looting
the company that pays the
company that insured Tyco
executives must pay legal
bills for former Chief
Executive L. Dennis
Kozlowski, who is on trial
charges, an appeals court
said. In a 5-0 ruling, the
New York Supreme Court
Appellate Division left open
the possibility that Federal
Insurance Co., a Chubb Corp.
subsidiary, could later
recover some of the costs
from Mr. Kozlowski. A lower
court judge had ruled that
Federal Insurance, which
provided liability coverage
to Tyco, was required to pay
Mr. Kozlowski's legal bills
. . . Mr. Kozlowski and Mark
H. Swartz, Tyco's former
chief financial officer, are
accused of stealing $170
million from the
conglomerate by hiding
unauthorized pay and bonuses
and by abusing loan
programs. They also are
accused of making $430
million by inflating the
value of Tyco stock by lying
about the company's
finances. Their retrial in
Manhattan's State Supreme
Court on charges of grand
larceny, falsifying business
records and violating state
business laws is ending its
second month. Their first
trial ended in a mistrial in
"Insurer to Pay Kozlowski's
Costs," The Wall Street
Journal, March 24, 2005;
Page C3 --http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111161345997387951,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing
Bob Jensen's threads
on how white collar crime
pays even if you get caught.
For example Andy Fastow
stole over $60 million from
Enron and was required to
pay back less than $30
will the remainder be when
he emerges a free man in a
Effects and Unintended Consequences of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on Corporate
JAMES S. LINCK University of Georgia - Department of Banking and Finance JEFFRY
M. NETTER University of Georgia - Department of Banking and Finance TINA YANG
University of Georgia - Department of Banking and Finance
In response to the high-profile scandals like Enron
and WorldCom, President Bush signed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) into law on
July 30, 2002. The Act represents the most sweeping overhaul of the
securities law since the Great Depression and brings significant changes to
corporate governance and boards of directors. Using a sample of nearly 7,000
public firms, we study the impact of SOX on corporate boards. We find that
board independence - characterized as the percentage of non-employee
directors (outsiders) on the board, the percentage of firms with a majority
of outsiders on the board, and the percentage of firms with separate CEO and
Chairman - increases significantly after the passage of SOX. Firms increase
board independence by adding non-executive directors rather than removing
executive directors, resulting in larger boards. Further, board changes are
most significant for firms that are targeted by SOX and for firms with large
managerial ownership. In addition, director turnover and replacement
increases significantly after the passage of SOX. Executive directors are
less likely to be added to the board in the post-SOX period than in the
pre-SOX period, while non-executive directors are more likely to receive the
nomination. Finally, we provide preliminary evidence of some of the effects
of Section 404, specifically increased numbers of committees and committee
meetings. There is also strong evidence that SOX has imposed
disproportionate burdens on small firms. For example, small firms paid $5.91
to non-employee directors on every $1,000 in sales in the pre-SOX period,
which increased to $9.76 on every $1000 in sales in the post-SOX period. In
contrast, large firms incurred 13 cents in director cash compensation per
$1,000 in sales in the Pre-SOX period, which increased only to 15 cents in
the Post-SOX period.
I'm assigning this as an introduction to XBRL: A good non-technical
book white paper on XBRL
"Business Case for XBRL" ---
Then I will assign selected references from
"The Peter Principle in Academe," by Margaret Gutman Klosko, Inside Higher
Ed, September 21, 2005 ---
Those who leave faculty appointments to write
mystery novels, travelogues, self-help books, and biographies are usually
not seen again in the academy. Some make a lot of money, and some, very
little. But they all own themselves, and although the work is hard, they can
sleep late in the morning. They are not promoted, and when they fail, they
only make their families, cashiers, and waiters miserable. Still they
disappear without a trace like everyone else.
On the other hand, those who go into academic
associations, government, or, as in our case, academic administration,
choosing steady income and health and retirement benefits, either gather
moss in middle management jobs, or rise to higher levels of the
administrative ladder — directorships, deanships, vice presidencies,
presidencies, etc. In all sectors of the economy, as the Peter Principle
describes, administrators typically rise to their levels of incompetence,
and then fail — quietly usually, but sometimes in magnificent blazes of
As you read this, academic administrator, you may
be rising, stagnating, or failing in your career. Whichever stage you are
in, if you are an executive academic administrator, you probably are
reporting to someone who is in the process of failing. (This corresponds to
the existential truism that everyone alive is dying.) If your boss is in the
terminal stages of failure, and s/he is after your hide, your life may seem
to you to be unbearable. It should not be, for there are ways of
understanding your situation and your boss’s situation that can give you a
more serene and humane outlook on the pain your supervisor is inflicting on
you, as well as a glimpse at your own future.
I offer words of enlightenment, which, I hope, will
help you safeguard your heart and your job, no matter how temporarily.
Continued in article
Student governments of Emory and Washington University declare war on one
"Student Government or Student Humor?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed,
September 21, 2005 ---
What with the lingering U.S. presence in Iraq, the
devastation of Katrina, and the uncertain economy, it’s no surprise that
some students feel troubled.
The student government at Emory University is
trying a novel approach to helping students: declaring “war” on Washington
University in St. Louis. At Wash U., however, students appear to have other
concerns and most of them are ignoring the war, possibly forcing Emory
combatants to take both sides in a war of insults.
Last weekend, graffiti, leaflets with insults, and
toilet paper in trees appeared on both campuses. But sources familiar with
the skirmishes said that Emory students staged not only the “attack” on
Washington, but also the one at Emory, in hopes of riling students. Most
Emory students have not fled to bomb shelters (or anywhere for that matter).
But the president of the student government — a senior named Amrit P. Dhir —
held an emergency meeting of the student government and announced that he
was abolishing the legislative branch and replacing it with himself as
“supreme leader.” The war declaration banned students from wearing
Washington University clothing (unless it contained insults) and said that
freedom of the press was “to be tolerated ... for now.”
Continued in article
I volunteered for this (face) transplant: I hope they remove extra chins
In the next few weeks, five men and seven women will
secretly visit the Cleveland Clinic to interview for the chance to have a
radical operation that's never been tried anywhere in the world. They will
smile, raise their eyebrows, close their eyes, open their mouths. Dr. Maria
Siemionow will study their cheekbones, lips and noses. She will ask what they
hope to gain and what they most fear.
"Facing Up to Ultimate Transplant," Wired News, September 19, 2005 ---
This is a really big deal: What's the latest in fighting restenosis?
Today, restenosis in coronary arteries afflicts less
than 10 percent of patients thanks to the development of the drug-eluting stent
(DES), which slowly releases a drug that inhibits the growth of scar tissue.
Drug-eluting stents now command more than 90 percent of the $3 billion U.S.
coronary-stent market, according to the Millennium Research Group. DESs have not
been approved for peripheral arteries. Johnson & Johnson pioneered the new
generation of stents, but the $50 billion company lost its dominant market
position to a partnership between medical-device company Boston Scientific of
Natick, MA, and Angiotech Pharmaceuticals of Vancouver, BC. The two companies
signed a pact in 1997 that led to the development of Boston Scientific's Taxus
stent, which was introduced in the U.S. in March 2004.
Jim Kling, "The Lucrative Elution," MIT's Technology Review, October 2005
Why was this poor man ever jailed in the first place? This was
really, really stupid!
Did Barney make the arrest in Mayberry?
The mother of a quadriplegic man who died while
serving a 10-day jail sentence filed a lawsuit today against District of
Columbia officials and Greater Southeast Community Hospital over the deficient
care that led to her son’s death. Mary Scott, mother of Jonathan Magbie, joined
the American Civil Liberties Union and local attorneys at a press conference on
the courthouse steps this morning to announce the lawsuit. “My son died last
year because doctors at the Jail and Greater Southeast Hospital completely
ignored his medical needs,” said Scott. “Today, I am seeking justice for my son
and my family. The wrongdoers must be held accountable for Jonathan’s death.”
"ACLU and Local Attorneys File Lawsuit Over Quadriplegic Left To Die At DC
Jail," ACLU, September 20, 2005 ---
Many people have rushed to pronounce the Orange Revolution dead.
Opponents of Ukrainian democracy -- foremost in a
Kremlin visibly nervous that this experiment might catch on in the neighborhood
-- want to declare last year's political turnover a fatal mistake. The European
Union for its part points to the troubles in Kiev to justify its preferred
hands-off approach to Ukraine. To these doubters, Ukrainians can respond that
democracies are seldom placid. The upheavals in the Berlin Republic this past
week are a good reminder that open, competitive politics can be messy. But, as
the recently freed peoples of the New Europe would rush to attest, it's better
than the alternative. In Ukraine until recently, and in Germany two generations
ago, and in Russia today, that alternative is authoritarianism. Ukraine's
current crisis grew out of the Orange Revolution. It's not a betrayal of it.
"Orange Crushed," The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2005 ---
Thanks David, but what if we look inside and find it empty? I'm
reminded of a senior professor years ago who served at a renowned accounting
research university for six years in a city known for its winds. His
comment was: "I looked into that black box and found that there was
September 21, 2005 message from David Albrecht
Elinor Mills, a writer for ZDNet news, has an
interesting article out today. In it, she speculates about Google's apparent
long-term strategy. It is found at: Google builds an empire to rival
By Elinor Mills, CNET News.com Published on ZDNet
News: September 21, 2005, 8:00 AM PT
To a certain extent, it builds one of her earlier
articles: Google balances privacy, reach
Elinor Mills, CNET News.com Pblished on ZDNet News:
July 14, 2005, 4:00 AM PT
If one can dream about future Internet-based
computing power while at the same time overlooking issues of privacy (the
other David has written that there is no such practical thing as privacy),
then today's article is certainly thought-provoking. In many ways, I look
forward to the day when computing is no longer constrained by storing
programs and data on either desktop or laptop.
As an aside, we wouldn't need Turnitin, because
plagiarism detection would take place automatically, even as a person writes
the first draft of a paper.
Education would be much different, I think, if
everything ever done on a computer is stored forever in Google's data base.
Since Google is thinking big, perhaps everything ever spoken into a phone or
communicated via radio or television would also be so stored. If home
conversations get recorded (a by-product of Internet-based home management
applications), then everything except a person's innermost secret thoughts
would get recorded and stored in a data base.
This would eventually lead professors to get to the
stage where they finally can peer into the minds (virtual minds) of students
to see what they truly think, to determine what the student knows today, to
offer the chance for the student to learn something new, and then to assess
the actual quality of the student's learning experience.
Short Soaps, Three Stooges What's on cell phone TV and is it worth
"Short Soaps, Three Stooges," The Wall Street Journal, September
22, 2005; Page B1 ---
Jensen Comment: Then again, who's going to watch Gone With the Wind
on a cell phone screen?
Trends in cell phone television
So far, companies are exploring three major business
models, which offer subscriptions to pre-recorded video clips, live network
television, or customized content prepared specifically for cell phones. Verizon
is putting a big marketing push behind its video-clip subscription service,
VCast. The service offers fare such as sports highlights, comedy shows, and CNN
segments, along with various games, and is currently available in more than 60
metropolitan areas in the United States. Verizon offers the service within its
high-speed EvDo wireless networks. To subscribe to VCast, Verizon users must
first sign up for the company's EvDo service ($60 per month), then pay an
additional $15 per month. The clips are downloaded at speeds typically around
500 kb/s-- less than half the speed of a home DSL modem, but almost ten times
faster than existing cellular data networks.
Eric Hellweg, "TV to Go," MIT's Technology Review, September 23, 2005 ---
What is MIMO and how will it affect your life?
Still, each new generation of wireless gadgets gets
better, generally cheaper, and seemingly more popular. Now an emerging wireless
networking technology called MIMO promises real breakthroughs in speed,
accessibility, and reliability. That has implications for today's corporate
networks, home Wi-Fi networks, and cellular networks. MIMO stands for "multiple
input, multiple output." Wi-Fi routers based on the technology use a series of
radios in conjunction with several "smart" antennas to send and receive signals
simultaneously. Handling multiple signals makes possible much stronger, more
reliable, and faster transmissions--in theory. Consumers will see MIMO in a new
class of wireless networking products categorized as "pre-n," after the
nomenclature of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' 802.11
wireless Ethernet standards committee. The IEEE wireless standards with the
broadest impact have been, in the order in which they reached market, 802.11b,
802.11a, and 802.11g.
Michael Fitzgerald, "Hearing Multiple Signals," MIT's Technology Review,
October 2005 ---
Learning now not to manage employees at
It appears Microsoft is listening to its critics. The
has overhauled its business operations on the heels
of media reports that its bureaucracy had led to a lot of
unhappy employees. Indeed, the company has lost scores of workers, some to
competitors, with executive
Kai-Fu Lee's jump to Google causing the biggest
InternetWeek Newsletter on September 21, 2005
"Tenure, Turnover and the Quality of (K-12)
Teaching," by Hal R. Varian, The New York Times, September 22, 2005
A National Bureau of Economic Research working
paper by Eric Hanushek, John Kain, Daniel O'Brien and Steven Rivkin called
"The Market for Teacher Quality" sheds some light on these contentious
issues. (A summary of the paper and a link to the text are at
. . .
From my reading of the paper, both effects appear
important and there is no simple answer. The data do suggest, however, that
teacher effectiveness is pretty clear by the end of the second year, so the
information to make an informed decision is available at that time.
The authors also investigate the contentious issue
of racial matching of students and teachers. Here they find strong evidence
that minority teachers tend to be more effective with minority students.
"Students who have had both a black and a white teacher perform better
relative to classmates during the year in which they had a teacher of their
own race," they said. Again, it is unclear whether this is because of a role
model effect (students respond better to a teacher of their own race) or an
empathy effect (teachers empathize better with students of their own race)
or something else entirely.
The authors also look at teacher mobility. There is
some evidence that teachers who quit teaching or switch schools tend to be
below average in effectiveness. This is consistent with the
Continued in article
How time flies
The Wall Street
Journal Flashback, September 21, 1990
two German parliaments independently ratified the treaty that
will officially unify their nations Oct. 3. The 1,000-page
unification treaty details how all functions of the East German
state will be united with those of West Germany.
I wonder if the victim's name is Humpty Dumpty
When police arrived Monday, Contreras Alvarez held out
his wrists to police, said Mint Hill Police Chief Brian Barnhardt. Then he
showed officer a torso on the bedroom floor. He later helped police find the
dead man's head, legs and arms scattered across hundreds of feet in a wooded
area behind the home, police said. Police did not release the name of the man
killed because they were still trying to notify his family . . .
"N.C. roommate charged with murder after dismembered body found," News-Record.com,
September 21, 2005 ---
Iranian Authorities Torture Gay Youth ---
Links to Agatha Christie's books and movies ---
The works and life of Samuel Dashiell Hammett --- http://www.transki.freeserve.co.uk/
Link forwarded by Richard Campbell
Black-Scholes Options Pricing: Creating (Interactive) Matrix Calculators with
Bob Jensen's calculator bookmarks are at
Perhaps these pensions should not be included since these airlines are
probably going to dump their pension obligations on the Federal Government
From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Week in Review on September
TITLE: Delta, Northwest Omit Pensions from Filings
REPORTER: Susan Carey and Evan Perez
DATE: Sep 16, 2005
PAGE: A3 LINK:
TOPICS: Advanced Financial Accounting, Financial Accounting, Pension Accounting
SUMMARY: The article discusses pension funding requirements, the Pension
Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC), and legislative actions in detail.
1.) What is the implication of the statement in the article title that these two
airlines have omitted pension payments from bankruptcy court filings.
2.) What is an underfunded pension plan? What are possible different measures
of a pension plan's funding level? Who establishes requirements for funding
3.) What is the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC)?
4.) Why might U.S. Congress enact a law to delay requirements for funding
company pension plans? In your answer, consider the plight of the PBGC as
described in this article.
5.) Why are discount airlines better able to compete and remain profitable
than are so-called legacy airlines?
Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island
Have U.S. Post Offices stopped accepting dollar bills because of the wording on
each bill reading "In God We Trust?'
Warning: There are to be no pictures of money on Federal Property!
September 22, 2005 message from Will Christensen
. . . Post Offices in Texas were forced to remove
posters which said “In God We Trust” from their lobbies. In response, a
movement has been started to write “In God We Trust” on the back or front of
the envelopes of the letters we mail.
Try not to let your mind wander...It is too small
and fragile to be out by itself.
Unknown but perceptive author (forwarded by Dick Haar)
Forwarded by Paul Golliher
THE OIL SHORTAGE A lot of folks can't understand how we came to have an oil
shortage here in America.
Well, there's a very simple answer.
Nobody bothered to check the oil. We just didn't know we were getting low.
The reason for that is purely geographical.
Our OIL is located in Alaska, California, Oklahoma and TEXAS.
Our DIPSTICKS are located in Washington DC
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmark
s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter
--- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity
and other universities is at
International Accounting News
(including the U.S.)
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries ---
Upcoming international accounting
Thousands of journal abstracts ---
Deloitte's International Accounting News ---
Association of International Accountants ---
FASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
IASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
Trite's great set of links --- http://iago.stfx.ca/people/gtrites/Docs/bookmark.htm
Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax:
210-999-8134 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org