I have come to believe that a great teacher is a
great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists.
Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the
human mind and spirit.
John Steinbeck (as quoted in a recent email message from Ed Scribner)
There is an air of last things, a brooding sense
of impending annihilation, about so much deconstructive activity, in so many
of its guises; it is not merely post-modernist but preapocalyptic.
David Lehman as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-11-04-05.htm
Some categories of achievement will likely
present years of challenges for a true assessment. Miller noted that,
according to student-engagement data, only 23 percent of seniors reported
voting often in local, state, or national elections. “There’s no
standardized test for civic engagement,” he said. “That’s best assessed over
David Epstein, "Measuring the Pulse of Liberal Education," Inside Higher Ed, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/11/07/aacu
Dennis Kozlowski is eligible for parole in eight
years on a 25-year sentence. This is far to lenient and once again shows how
white collar crime is punished much too lightly.
Bob Jensen --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#CrimePays
Consumer Reports Web Watch --- http://www.consumerwebwatch.org/for-consumers.cfm
One link is to a listing of where you can file Internet complaints ---
Organizations and government agencies featured in this section are listed alphabetically.
Better Business Bureau Online
The Better Business Bureau Online, the electronic arm of the Better Business Bureau, offers consumers the opportunity to file a complaint against e-commerce sites as well as offline businesses. The Better Business Bureau was founded in 1912 and seeks to create a more fair marketplace through consumer education and voluntary self-regulation on the part of companies.
Consumer Sentinel is a complaint database designed to provide law enforcement agencies with information on Internet cons, telemarketing scams and other consumer fraud-related complaints. The database, which is maintained by the Federal Trade Commission, is available to 40 federal law enforcement organizations, more than 200 state and local fraud-fighting agencies, and every state attorney general in the United States. You may register a complaint here.
This international site, launched by a coalition of 13 nations, registers cross-border e-commerce complaints and offers tips for safe shopping online. It utilizes the Consumer Sentinel's network of Internet fraud complaint data and shares it in several languages with consumer protection law enforcers in countries that belong to the International Marketing Supervision Network.
Internet Fraud Complaint Center
The Internet Fraud Complaint Center enables consumers to log online fraud complaints. The center is the result of a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), a nationwide support network for enforcement agencies involved in the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of economic and high-tech crime. NW3C is funded through a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
National Fraud Information Center
The National Fraud Information Center (NFIC) was established in 1992 by the National Consumers League and continues to be funded by the organization. NFIC offers an online form for consumers who are interested in registering an Internet fraud complaint.
State Attorneys General
Contact your state attorney general if you feel you have been a victim of consumer fraud on the Web. Consult individual state sites for telephone or electronic contact information for filing complaints. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission offers tips on avoiding Internet fraud when investing, and a mechanism to register Internet fraud or spam complaints for investigation.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission offers tips on avoiding Internet fraud when investing, and a mechanism to register Internet fraud or spam complaints for investigation.
Bob Jensen's threads on consumer fraud and fraud reporting are at
A Marine's Book on How to Commit Fraud and Make Money With a Pack of
What is sad is how the media did not try to confirm his claims before reporting them as facts!
"Marine who confessed to abuses lied to gain celebrity," by Ron Harris," St. Louis Post-Dispatch via Salt Lake Tribune, November 6, 2005 --- http://www.sltrib.com/nationworld/ci_3188630
WASHINGTON - For more than a year, former Marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey has been telling anybody who would listen about the atrocities that he and other Marines committed in Iraq. In scores of newspaper, magazine and broadcast stories, at a Canadian immigration hearing and in numerous speeches across the country, Massey told how he and other Marines recklessly, sometimes intentionally killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians.
Among his claims: Marines fired on and killed peaceful Iraqi protesters. Americans shot a 4-year-old Iraqi girl in the head. Tractor-trailers were filled with the bodies of civilian men, women and children killed by American artillery. Massey's claims have gained him celebrity. Last month, Massey's book, Kill, Kill, Kill, was released in France.
His allegations have been reported in nationwide publications such as Vanity Fair and USA Today, as well as numerous broadcast reports. Earlier this year, he joined the anti-war bus tour of Cindy Sheehan and he's spoken at Cornell and Syracuse universities, among others. News organizations worldwide published or broadcast Massey's claims without any corroboration and in most cases without investigation. Outside of the Marines, almost no one has seriously questioned whether Massey, a 12-year veteran who was honorably discharged, was telling the truth.
Each of his claims is either demonstrably false or exaggerated - according to his fellow Marines, Massey's own admissions, and the five journalists who were embedded with Massey's unit, including a reporter and photographer from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and reporters from the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal.
Massey, 34, was discharged in December 2003, shortly after returning from Iraq due to depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome. He began turning up in the press and broadcast last spring with stories about military atrocities. Massey's primary thrust has been that Marines from his battalion - some of whom, he told a Minneapolis audience were ''psychopathic killers'' - recklessly shot and killed Iraqi civilians, sometimes, he said, upon orders from their commanders.
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
Failure of the media to corroborate causes real harm --- real harm!
"Blogging Bigmouths Botch Bomber Brouhaha," by Cathy Young, Reason Magazine, October 25, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/cy/cy102505.shtml
. . .
In the Hinrichs case, however, it seems that the blogs and the mainstream media have brought out the worst in each other, with local TV stations picking up Internet rumors and feeding them back to the Internet.
And, yes, the hysteria has done real harm. The conspiracy theories on the right will still flourish even after the case is closed; meanwhile, many on the left will use this fiasco as an excuse to dismiss legitimate concerns about terrorism as right-wing paranoia and anti-Muslim bigotry. Hinrichs's family has been put through the additional hell of having to publicly defend a dead son and brother against accusations of being a murderous fanatic
Continued in article.
Army: "we let down Iraq troops"
Senior defence chiefs have admitted for the first time that they failed to look after soldiers at the centre of Iraq abuse allegations. Troops say the army left them hanging 'out to dry' once they had been accused. As a result, Defence Secretary John Reid will unveil an 'action plan' this week offering a new support and counselling network for service people facing prosecution over claims that they abused Iraqi civilians. Drawn up by the Chief of the Defence Staff, general Sir Michael Walker, the scheme will seek to offer constant guidance for soldiers facing charges that can sometimes take more than two years to reach court.
Mark Townsend, "Army: 'we let down Iraq troops'." Guardian, November 6, 2005 --- http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1635442,00.html
The cutting room floor: Selectively snipping out the patriotism in The New York Times
The New York Times cut patriotic comments from a letter written by a U.S. Marine before he was killed in Iraq. The family of Cpl. Jeffrey Starr slammed the Times for selectively excerpting the letter he wrote to his girlfriend, intending for her to read it in the event of his death. A November 2 Times story about soldiers killed while serving multiple tours of duty mentioned 22-year-old Starr, who was serving his third tour of duty when he died, and included an excerpt from his letter . . .
"Times Cuts Patriotism from Marine's Letter," NewsMax, November 4, 2005 --- http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/11/4/161021.shtml
"Reporting or distorting?" R&C Archives, November 6, 2005 --- http://www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/002891.html
The NY Times lied and dishonored a fallen soldier in order to make their political statement about the war. Imagine if the Bush Administration had doctored and edited Casey’s last letter to Cindy Sheehan.
Just another example of the utter dishonesty of the left. It seems as though journalists just view themselves as propagandists first and reporters second. Truth is really the first casualty of war, except today those who purport to report the facts can't be trusted to do so honestly.
This is what the Times excerpted from Corporal Jeffrey Starr's letter home before he died:
Another member of the 1/5, Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr, rejected a $24,000 bonus to re-enlist. Corporal Starr believed strongly in the war, his father said, but was tired of the harsh life and nearness of death in Iraq. So he enrolled at Everett Community College near his parents' home in Snohomish, Wash., planning to study psychology after his enlistment ended in August. But he died in a firefight in Ramadi on April 30 during his third tour in Iraq. He was 22.
Sifting through Corporal Starr's laptop computer after his death, his father found a letter to be delivered to the marine's girlfriend. ''I kind of predicted this,'' Corporal Starr wrote of his own death. ''A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances.'' michellemalkin
In a story about the 'Grim milestone' of Bush's failed war, the Times apparently cannot find any real examples of dead soldiers bad mouthing the war, so they have to invent it.
Here's what they left out:
"Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this, that is why I'm writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances. I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark." michellemalkin
Rioters shatter Bush's hopes of forging free trade coup
Violent protests turn a prestigious foreign policy trip to South America into another public relations catastrophe . . . But the end of the summit was delayed as talks dragged on inconclusively about a proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). A group of left-leaning countries, headed by Brazil, Venezuela and others, opposed the idea, saying it would open their countries to exploitation by large American firms and do little to alleviate poverty. Bush left the summit before it ended as discussions about whether to adopt a clause scheduling FTAA talks for next year continued past a deadline set for a summit declaration.
Paul Harris, "Rioters shatter Bush's hopes of forging free trade coup," Guardian, November 6, 2005 --- http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1635433,00.html
Tony Blair suggests military action might be taken if Iranian progress
towards a nuclear bomb continued
Iranian state television has broadcast a cartoon that praises suicide bombings against Israelis, depicting a young boy blowing himself up after being told: "Go and show the Zionists how brave and heroic are the children of Palestine." More professional and graphic than previous Iranian propaganda aimed at children, the cartoon, one of a series shown by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, appears to be part of a campaign led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to elevate the issue of the destruction of Israel. The day before the cartoon's broadcasting 10 days ago, he declared at a World Without Zionism conference: "This stain of disgrace [Israel] will be wiped off the face of the world - and this is attainable." His comments prompted the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to suggest military action might be taken if Iranian progress towards a nuclear bomb continued.
"Bombers glorified in cartoon," Sydney Morning Herald, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/11/06/1131211949614.html
Is the new Iranian president truly an exterminator?
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's diatribe against Israel and the United States was made against a backlog of muddle, infighting and weakness. “YOU can't sow the wind and not reap a hurricane.” Thus Saeed Leylaz, an Iranian economist, the day after Tehran's stockmarket plunged to its lowest level for two years in response to worldwide condemnation of a venomously anti-Israel (and anti-American) speech by Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on October 26th. Mr Leylaz bleakly notes a discrepancy between “running a country” and “pursuing transformative ideals”. His message may be lost on Mr Ahmadinejad. The president's description of Israel's “occupying regime” as a “disgraceful blot” that should be “wiped off the map” recalled a time, after the revolution of 1979, when Iran's leaders competed to sound outrageous. The inexperienced and unworldly Mr Ahmadinejad probably had no idea that his comments would provoke such revulsion—or lead Tony Blair, Britain's prime minister, to muse that he might have to “do something” about Iran. After all, the president explained, he was only quoting Iran's revolutionary leader, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
"Is the new president truly an exterminator?" The Economist, November 3, 2005 --- http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=5115248
The Commercialism of Education in the former lands of Karl Marx
Ex-communist countries are competing hard in the global education bazaar
Bursting lecture-rooms are not always good (think of Italy), but a recent surge in student numbers, local as well as foreign, in “new Europe” is one sign of rapid change. Places with liberal regimes have seen the fastest growth. In Poland, which deregulated universities in the 1990s, the number of students has risen from 500,000 to over 2m. Slovakia, with a more rigid system, has seen numbers double. The region's nimbler, more market-oriented colleges have been helped by the new practice of dividing education into chunks (bachelor's and master's degrees, for a start), with work sandwiched in between. An old-style five-year degree at a single campus would be costly, even at central European rates. Doing a short master's in Prague, say, is more manageable.
"From Marx to marketing," The Economist, November 3, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on the commercialization of education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm
Scamming the Scammer --- http://easynetworknyc.com/powerbook/
I hope your pension fund does not own a lot of Dell stock
It's Bad to Worse at Dell Projected sales and earnings shortfalls are the latest signs that Dell's days of domination over its PC-industry peers may be coming to an end I don't; I'm getting fleeced I get mine from storefront refillers like Cartridge World I shop online I buy off brands in retail outlets High priced? My documents and photos are worth it. On the surface, the Oct. 31 news out of Round Rock, Tex., is bad: On Oct. 31, Dell (DELL) said it would fall short of both revenue and earnings expectations for its fiscal third quarter. Look beyond the surface, and the long-term situation at the world's largest PC maker may be even worse.
Louise Lee, "It's Bad to Worse at Dell," Business Week, November 1, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/DellBadNews
Such a deal for audio recording and audio transfers
Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems --- http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
Phi Beta What?
But when 21-year-old Shawn Drenning got his invitation to join the group last spring he tossed it in the trash. "I didn't think it would be useful to me," says Mr. Drenning, who graduated from Cornell University. Phi Beta Kappa may be America's most famous honor society, but these days it's a club not everyone wants to join. Enrollment rates have plummeted at some schools: Last year when Phi Beta Kappa sent out invitations to qualifying undergraduates nationwide, just three-quarters of them responded; at Colorado State University, two-thirds said no. Many members have no idea what the society actually does or what their initiation fees really pay for. Phi Beta Kappa also is facing competition from soundalike societies with lower requirements, including some on the Internet with names like Phi Sigma Theta. (All you need to get in is a friend's recommendation.)
Nancy Keats, "Phi Beta What?" The Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2005; Page W1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113107309946088181.html?mod=todays_us_weekend_journal
How many shares of Halliburton does Michael Moore own? Probably more
than you own.
"I don't own a single share of stock!" filmmaker Michael Moore proudly proclaimed. He's right. He doesn't own a single share. He owns tens of thousands of shares – including nearly 2,000 shares of Boeing, nearly 1,000 of Sonoco, more than 4,000 of Best Foods, more than 3,000 of Eli Lilly, more than 8,000 of Bank One and more than 2,000 of Halliburton, the company most vilified by Moore in "Fahrenheit 9/11." If you want to see Moore's own signed Schedule D declaring his capital gains and losses where his stock ownership is listed, it's emblazoned on the cover of Peter Schweizer's new book, "Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy."
"Michael Moore owns Halliburton! New book debunks claims of celebrity activists," World Net Daily, November 1, 2005 --- http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=47174
"What Steals Sleep Later in Life?" Miranda Hitti, WebMD, November 3, 2005 --- http://www.webmd.com/content/article/114/111359.htm?z=1728_00000_1000_tn_06
Worry and Health Problems Are two of the biggest thieves
Center for the Advanced Study of India --- http://www.sas.upenn.edu/casi/index.htm
The Complete (Literary) Review ---
This is one of Time Magazine's Top 50 Websites.
U.S. lays groundbreaking charges against 'botmaster' computer hijacker
He allegedly infected "armies" of computers with malicious software turning them into "bots" that are then used to launch destructive attacks on servers or send huge quantities of spam, or unwanted e-mail, according to prosecutors. Ancheta, who lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, is a "botmaster" who controlled "botnets," which are armies of computers hooked up to the Internet, the US Attorney's office in Los Angeles alleged. Ancheta allegedly wrote and spread a malicious code known as a Trojan horse, which caused the computers to become part of the bot network without the knowledge or consent of their owners. The botnets, each with thousands of Internet-connected computers, then reported to an Internet Relay Chat channel Ancheta controlled, prosecutors allege.
"US lays groundbreaking charges against 'botmaster' computer hijacker," PhysOrg, November 4, 2005 --- http://physorg.com/news7884.html
Einstein Light: A Brief Illumination of Relativity ---
I especially like the introductory timeline of science.
Michigan to vote on proposed ban of affirmative action
A proposal that would end the use of race and gender as a consideration in government hiring and public college admissions in Michigan will appear on the ballot in November 2006, following a ruling Monday by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The court ruled that a petition supporting the proposed amendment to the state constitution by the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative is valid, and has enough signatures to get on the ballot. A 2003 poll conducted by EPIC-MRA, a public opinion research firm, showed that about 60 percent of likely Michigan voters oppose the use of race in college admissions. Experts agreed that having the proposal on the ballot will probably bring affirmative action — which was allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court in a ruling for the University of Michigan in 2003 — to an end in Michigan.
David Epstein, "Michiganders Will Vote on Affirmative Action," Inside Higher Ed, November 3, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/11/03/michigan
What Did Those Asbestos X-Rays Really Show?
Judge Jack concluded that "the lawyers, doctors and screening companies" were "all willing participants" in a "scheme [that] manufactured [diagnoses] for money" -- the equivalent of a finding of pervasive fraud. If the same level of discovery were permitted in asbestos suits, I have no doubt of the outcome. The same screening companies, X-ray readers and diagnosing doctors excoriated by Judge Jack have been involved in asbestos litigation for almost 20 years. As Judge Jack observed, the "evidence of the unreliability of the [X-ray] reads performed for this MDL is matched by evidence of the unreliability of [X-ray] reads in asbestos litigation." The asbestos lawsuits have resulted in billions of dollars in settlements . . . The next shoe to drop may be in federal court in New York. If indictments are forthcoming -- and lawyers who sponsored the mass screenings and collected billions of dollars in fees are among those indicted -- the ensuing process could shine a floodlight on a fraudulent scheme so massive as to qualify non-malignant asbestos litigation for entry into the pantheon of such great American frauds as Enron, WorldCom, OPM, Crédit Mobilier and Teapot Dome.
Lester Brickman, "What Did Those Asbestos X-Rays Really Show?" The Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2005; Page A9 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113114980721588986.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Diego Maradona screams to sports fans: "Let's get rid of Bush"
Diego Maradona, the soccer-star from Argentina berated George Bush - a brutal verbal foul to the president. Mar del Plata - The world champion from 1986 travelled with a train full of protesters into the Argentinian seaside resort Mar del Plata. He was wearing changing t-shirts with inscriptions like "Murderer" and "Stop Bush". During the final happening Maradona announced under the jubilation of 40.000 spectators: "Let's get rid of Bush". Before that the 45 year old used during a interview with the French news agency AFP even more dramatic words: "I...
"DIEGO MARADONA calls President Bush 'Human garbage'," Spiegel, November 5, 2005 --- http://www.spiegel.de/sport/fussball/0,1518,383509,00.html
U.K. cruise ship escapes pirate hijack in a hail of gunfire
A LUXURY ship today narrowly escaped seizure by gunmen off the pirate-infested Somali coast when it sped off to the high seas amid a trail of gunfire. The vessel was carrying at least 600 tourists from Europe destined to the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, where it was expected to arrive Monday, Andrew Mwangura of the Kenyan chapter of the Seafarers' Assistance Programme (SAP) told AFP. "The captain made a distress call and later switched off the radio communication to avoid being traced by the hijackers," Mwangura said. He said that the gunmen sailing in three boats later abandoned the chase as they could not venture into the high seas and that no one was injured in the botched hijack early today. The attempted seizure came two days after the UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned that the increasingly dangerous Somali waters hampered delivery of relief supplies to more than half a million people facing acute food shortage there.
"Cruise ship escapes pirate hijack," The Courier-Mail, November 5, 2005 --- http://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,17150183%5E1702,00.html
Terrorism Analysis: The Truth About Somali Pirate Attacks
In spite of the news media distancing the recent attack on a cruise ship off the coast of Somalia from global terrorism, intelligence experts believe this is just the latest operation initiated against the United States and the West by Al-Qaeda . . . Since 2003, Somalia has witnessed the growth of a brutal network of Jihad with strong ties to Al-Qaeda. In fact, when the US forces faced a bloody battle in 1995 during what became known as the Black Hawk Down incident, it was Al-Qaeda joining with a local warlord who killed and wounded US special operations soldiers. Somalia has been without a functioning national government for 14 years, when they received their independence from Italy. The transitional parliament created in 2004, but has failed to end the devastating anarchy. The impoverish people who live in the ruined capital of Mogadishu have witnessed Al-Qaeda operatives, jihadi extremists, Ethiopian security services and Western-backed counter-terrorism agents engaged in a bloody war that few support and even fewer understand.
Jim Kouri, "Terrorism Analysis: The Truth About Somali Pirate Attacks," Sierra Times, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.sierratimes.com/05/11/07/205_188_116_14_66439.htm
Tufts Is Getting Gift of $100 Million, With Rare Trust Investment Strings
Pierre M. Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and his wife, Pamela, gave $100 million to Tufts University this week, with some unusual strings attached. The gift, the largest Tufts has ever received, must be invested in organizations that make small loans to poor people in developing countries, a field known as microfinance. Further, Tufts may use only half the income from the investments for itself; the rest must be reinvested in microfinance. "This is not the kind of thing that normally happens with a university," said Mr. Omidyar, 38, a Tufts graduate and trustee with more than $10 billion in assets.
Karen W. Arenson, "Tufts Is Getting Gift of $100 Million, With Rare Strings," The New York Times, November 4, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/04/education/04tufts.html
Unlike some other drugs, the favorite hallucinogen of Native Americans
and adventurous city folk doesn't appear to cause long-term cognitive
damage. It might even be good for you.
In the first study of its kind, researchers have found that peyote -- for now, the only legal hallucinogenic drug in the United States -- doesn't rob regular users of brain power over time. While the findings don't directly indicate anything about the safety of psychedelic drugs like LSD and mushrooms, they do suggest that at least one hallucinogen is OK to use for months or even years. "We really weren't able to find any (mental) deficits," said Dr. John Halpern, associate director of substance abuse research at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, and co-author of the study, released today in the Nov. 4 issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry. Hallucinogenic drugs have long fascinated researchers, who are now studying whether they hold the potential to treat mental illnesses like depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Randy Dotinga, "Peyote Won't Rot Your Brain," Inside Higher Ed, November 4, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,69477,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_6
Maybe passport designers were on peyote
State Department staffers take steps to make the new documents safer from attack. But a grave error in the design shows they still don't understand the technology. RFID privacy problems are larger than passports and identity cards. The RFID industry envisions these chips embedded everywhere: in the items we buy, for example. But even a chip that only contains a unique serial number could be used for surveillance. And it's easy to link the serial number with an identity -- when you buy the item using a credit card, for example -- and from then on it can identify you. Data brokers like ChoicePoint will certainly maintain databases of RFID numbers and associated people; they'd do a disservice to their stockholders if they didn't . . . To its credit, the State Department listened to the criticism. As a result, RFID passports will now include a thin radio shield in their covers, protecting the chips when the passports are closed. Although some have derided this as a tinfoil hat for passports, the fact is the measure will prevent the documents from being snooped when closed. However, anyone who travels knows that passports are used for more than border crossings. You often have to show your passport at hotels and airports, and while changing money. More and more it's an identity card; new Italian regulations require foreigners to show their passports when using an internet cafe.
Bruce Schneier, "Fatal Flaw Weakens RFID Passports," Wired News, November 3, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,69453,00.html
Amazon to sell book pages
Amazon.com has shown that it doesn't intend to stand by while Google muscles into its market. The online retailer says it plans to sell in the near future pages or sections of books that can be read online. In addition, people who buy physical books will be given the option of also making them accessible from a computer. The announcement came the same day that Google started serving on the Web non-copyrighted library books and documents that it copied from the New York Public Library and four university libraries. Coincidence? Maybe. But there's no doubt that Amazon.com is watching the search engine giant closely.
Antone Gonsalves, InformationWeek Newsletter on November 4, 2005
Amazon's decision has shaken up the large publishing firms who are now developing their own online download alternatives.
No Cracks Found in Debut of Google Print
Before Thursday, there were "very few" books available for wholesale consumption on the print.google.com site, said a Google spokesman. One of the most important visitors Thursday to the site was Paul Aiken, the executive director of The Authors Guild, one of two professional organizations that believes Google is actually operating a giant copyright infringing operation. He remained resolved to fight the service, even after a quick tour Thursday of the newly expanded digital library left Aiken unable to confirm, but still not dismiss, any of his worst fears about rampant theft of copyrighted material. "We are not going to change our posture in the case," he said in a telephone interview.
Ben Charny, "No Cracks Found in Debut of Google Print," eWeek, November 3, 2005 --- http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1881556,00.asp
Amazon and Google have awakened King Kong --- that ten-ton gorilla
Microsoft Corp. has teamed with the British Library to provide digital copies of books over the Internet, advancing a race with Google Inc. to give Internet users access to a larger body of printed works. Under the agreement, Microsoft will scan and make available online 25 million pages in the library, a Microsoft spokeswoman said. The texts -- equivalent to about 100,000 books -- will be offered through Microsoft's MSN Search service sometime next year. Microsoft will pay the library $2.5 million for the scanning. The British Library -- the United Kingdom's national library -- has about 13 million books. Microsoft and the library have agreed to scan more texts in the future, the spokeswoman said.
Robert A. Guth, "Microsoft to Offer Digitized Books Of British Library," The Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2005; Page B5 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113106323158187903.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
Big technology companies have pledged to make many thousands of books available online. The commercial prospects look shaky, but this new front in the battle between the world’s leading internet portals will yield a valuable resource for all.
"A library at your fingertips," The Economist, November
4, 2005 ---
A FEW years ago, at the height of the dotcom boom, it was widely assumed that a publishing revolution, in which the printed word would be supplanted by the computer screen, was just around the corner. It wasn’t: for many, there is still little to match the joy of cracking the spine of a good book and settling down for an hour or two of reading. But a recent flurry of activity by big technology companies—including Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo!—suggests that the dream of bringing books online is still very much alive.
The digitising of thousands of volumes of print is not without controversy. On Thursday November 3rd, Google, the world’s most popular search engine, posted a first instalment of books on Google Print, an initiative first mooted a year ago. This collaborative effort between Google and several of the world’s leading research libraries aims to make many thousands of books available to be searched and read online free of charge. Although the books included so far are not covered by copyright, the plan has attracted the ire of publishers.
. . .
Not to be outdone, Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has unveiled plans for its own foray into the mass e-book market. The firm, which began ten years ago as an online book retailer, now sells a vast array of goods. No doubt piqued that Google, a relative newcomer, should impinge upon its central territory, Amazon revealed on Thursday that it would introduce two new services.
Amazon Pages will allow customers to search for key terms in selected books and then buy and read online whatever part they wish, from individual pages to chapters or complete works. Amazon Upgrade will give customers online access to books they have already purchased as hard copies. Customers are likely to have to pay around five cents a page, with the bulk going to the publisher.
Microsoft, too, has joined the online-book bandwagon. At the end of October, the software giant said it would spend around $200m to digitise texts, starting with 150,000 that are in the public domain, to avoid legal problems. It will do so in collaboration with the Open Content Alliance, a consortium of libraries and universities. (Yahoo! has pledged to make 18,000 books available online in conjunction with the same organisation.) And on Thursday, coincidentally the same day as Google and Amazon announced their initiatives, Microsoft released details of a deal with the British Library, the country’s main reference library, to digitise some 25m pages; these will be made available through MSN Book Search, which will be launched next year.
These companies are hoping for a return to the levels of interest in e-books seen when Stephen King, a bestselling horror writer, published “Riding the Bullet” exclusively on the internet in 2000. Half a million copies were downloaded in the first 48 hours after publication. But this proved to be a high-water mark rather than a taste of things to come. While buyers were reluctant to sit in front of a computer screen to read the latest novels, dedicated e-book-reading gadgets failed to catch on. Barnes and Noble, a leading American bookshop chain, began selling e-books with fanfare in 2000 but quietly pulled the plug in 2003 as interest faded.
The market for e-books is growing again, though from a tiny base. According to the International Digital Publishing Forum, which collates figures from many of the world’s top publishers, in the third quarter of 2004 (the latest available figures) worldwide sales were 25% higher than the year before. Unfortunately, this only amounted to a paltry $3.2m split between 23 publishers in an industry that made sales worth over $100 billion that year.
Both retailers and publishers reckon they will eventually be able to persuade consumers to do a lot more of their reading on the web. Some even hope they can become to online books what Apple’s iTunes is to online music. But there are crucial differences between downloading fiction and downloading funk. Online music was driven from the bottom up: illegal file-sharing services became wildly popular, and legal firms later took over when the pirates were forced (by a wave of lawsuits) to retreat; the legal providers are confident that more and more consumers will pay small sums for music rather than remain beyond the law. And the iPod music player and its like have proved a fashionable and popular new way to listen to songs. The book world has no equivalent.
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The Google Bird
November 4, 2005 message from Aaron Konstam
We have been hearing a lot about Google's activities lately but the Wall Street Journal has revealed another set of activities going on.
First, remember that Google's founders are very environmentally conscious. Bot of then drive Prius cars and financially reward any Google employees that by a Prius.
Well the founders have recently bought a private airplane. Not a learjet, not a Gulfstream but an old Boeing 767 that they got for the bargain price of only $15 million. They may start a trend, It is being refurbished by a company at Kelly for only $25 million ans well be used to fly the founders and their 48 closest friends to Africa among other places.
This is not a plane that you will land in your average Iowa corn field or African village. It is a big plane.
Well now you know where your Google money is going.
Nice message, but I'm confused by your ending sentence. What money do we give Google can spend?
I suppose you could say it's very, very indirect if there are price increases (do to Google's advertising fees) in some of our products advertised on Google. But that's stretching it a bit since every managerial accounting student knows that advertising increases sales volume and that often leads to price decreases rather than price increases due to spreading of fixed costs over more output. And I find very few products (any?) advertised in Google that I actually purchase.
Who was the queen of among the jet set of corporate executives?
See Question 26 at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnronQuiz.htm#26
How to deal with information overload
Few would dispute that we live in an age of information overload. In the last few years alone, blogs have increased the torrent of information each day to unmanageable levels. This would explain, then, why a corresponding torrent of startups has surfaced recently to help us filter, manage, and control this flood of information. Some rely on insightful algorithms that understand popularity to filter the news, while others rely on the preferences of readers. For example, Digg is a San Francisco startup that ranks news items by letting people choose which stories they like. It just landed $2.8 million in venture capital from Omidyar Network, former Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, and Greylock Partners. We also understand that a comparable site -- Memeorandum -- may close a round of financing shortly. The concept of making users prioritize or create hierarchies for news is not new -- Slashdot has been doing it since 1997. But the latest generation of sites like Digg and Memeorandum are showing that user-prioritized news is, indeed, a powerful and easy way to drive traffic -- in some cases to a site created by a single employee with a lone server.
Jon Burke, "Finding Signals in the Noise," MIT's Technology Review, November 2, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/10/wo/wo_110205burke.asp?trk=nl
Three Cheers for Jim Doyle
Gov. Jim Doyle of Wisconsin on Thursday vetoed legsiation to ban human cloning, saying that the bill was written in a way that would also bar many forms of research involving stem cells. He said that the controversial form of research holds “enormous potential.”
Inside Higher Ed, November 4, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/11/04/qt
It's a miracle: Back from the dead at the University of New
The University of New Hampshire is apologizing to 501 alumni — all very much alive — who were listed as dead in a new alumni directory, The Boston Globe reported. The company that printed the directory — PCI — took responsibility for the error and is sending out a corrected CD-ROM, and is individually contacting the alumni whom it incorrectly killed off.
Inside Higher Ed, November 4, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/11/04/qt
Misty Mystery Tour ---
This is a history site that is full of anecdotes about encryption
Bat Conservation International --- http://www.batcon.org/home/default.asp
Good afternoon and welcome to the amazing world of bats! BCI's mission is to teach people the value of bats, to protect and conserve critical bat habitats, and to advance scientific knowledge through research. All this while using a win-win beneficial solution that will benefit both bats and people. We invite you to explore our comprehensive website and learn more about these unique animals and why we need to protect them.
Because of its many underground caverns, Texas is heavily populated with bats. They are crucial to our environment.
"Tripping Up on the Paperwork," by Mark L. Pelesh, Inside Higher Ed, November 4, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/11/04/pelesh
The False Claims Act is aimed at obtaining restitution to the government of money taken from it by fraud, and liability under that Act occurs when someone presents to the government a false or fraudulent claim for payment. In a qui tam action, a private individual — the “relator” — files a lawsuit seeking this restitution. The government may decide to take over the case, and the relator may obtain a financial reward if the action is successful.
Qui tam cases are a mixed bag. On the one hand, the government obtains the assistance of private individuals to extend its investigative and litigation resources to protect the integrity of government programs. On the other hand, given the vast array of federal programs and the volumes of requirements that result from them, qui tam actions offer fertile ground for trial lawyers seeking a supply of new business and a potent weapon to force settlements from organizations that participate in government programs. The key, of course, is for the courts to scrutinize these actions carefully and to circumscribe them to achieve the purposes of the False Claims Act.
This is what Judge Easterbrook’s opinion failed to do. His failure is all the more surprising in light of his reputation not only as a highly capable jurist, but as a conservative one presumably skeptical of broad constructions of federal law that fuel the litigiousness of the plaintiffs’ bar.
Fundamentally, Judge Easterbrook’s opinion simply got wrong crucial aspects of the regulatory structure established by the HEA. The opinion failed to understand the distinction between eligibility and participation in the student aid programs.
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It's war on the Blackberry.
For years, competitors have tried to crack the dominance of that little wireless email gadget that seems to be lurking in pockets, brief cases and handbags of busy professionals everywhere. So far, its maker, Research In Motion Ltd., or RIM, has managed to fend off most rivals by focusing on security, reliability, good battery life and other basic functions. But competitors are redoubling their efforts to challenge the Blackberry, introducing an array of devices with beefed-up features. In the next few months, Nokia Corp., Palm Inc. and Motorola Inc. are planning to launch new or updated wireless email gadgets. Other big electronics makers, such as Samsung Electronics Co., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Siemens AG, also have strengthened wireless email in their latest products. Cingular Wireless LLC this week started selling H-P's new iPAQ hw6500 series Mobile Messenger for $399.99 with a two-year contract.
Mark Heinzl, "A New Crop of Gadgets Challenge the BlackBerry: Motorola, Nokia, Palm Plan Sleek, Speedy Devices; Progress on Attachments," The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2005; Page D1 ---
"The Teaching of English May Not be Dead After All," by Nils Clausson, The Irascible Professor, November 4, 2005 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-11-04-05.htm
Since I have been teaching English since 1969, readers of The Irascible Professor may find it interesting to hear, if only as an historical curiosity, my response to Erik Grayson's gentle jeremiad on the decline of English teaching at the expense of the rise of criticism. (Besides, my own irascible rant in these pages provoked the slings and arrows of outraged readers, so I feel I've earned the privilege to do unto others as was done unto me!)
Two minor quibbles before I bring out my big guns: one on Catch-22 and one on Roland Barthes. Grayson faults one of Heller's critics for not considering "the possibility that World War Two and Vietnam may have played some role in the novel's genesis." I was in grades 9 and 10 in 1961, and I can assure Grayson that Vietnam, like the Rolling Stones, was not yet on the political and cultural radar screens. And I would not be so hasty in dismissing Barthes; his Mythologies is a witty, lucid, and brilliant exposure of the myths of modern culture, from Garbo's face to laundry detergent. It is anything but "convoluted." I recommend it highly.
"It seems to me," says Grayson, "that there was a period during which the majority of literary criticism was written by scholars wishing to share their love of a novel or poem with as many people as they could." Not true. This is yet one more example of the Myth of the Golden Age -- a time when English teachers loved literature and taught Chaucer, Shakespeare, Melville and (even) Joseph Heller because they loved literature, and they wanted to share that love with their students. I distinctly recall more than one of my professors handing down this myth when I was an undergraduate in the mid to late '60s, a few years after Catch-22 was published.
Long before I became an English major, when the old New Critics were confidently flexing their critical muscles, traditional scholars bemoaned the fact that English professors today (when everyone liked Ike) were interested only in writing articles for trendy new journals like the Kenyon Review, articles that found tension (a Good Thing), irony (a very Good Thing) and ambiguity (ever since Empson, a very, very Good Thing) in Metaphysical lyrics, instead of passing on Great Literature (and a Love of same) to students desperate for the consoling, humanizing messages Great Literature (and Great Lit. alone) could offer them.
Many of the things that Grayson says are quite true -- but there is, I am afraid, nothing really alarming, or even new, in the state of English studies as portrayed in his alarmist critique. It was always thus. Yes, Harold Bloom did say that Catch-22 was destined to fade into irrelevance. Dr. Johnson said the same thing of Tristram Shandy. All that either statement proves is that even great critics sometimes make fools of themselves swinging at an outside pitch lower than their ankles. (Wordsworth wrote some execrably bad poems, too, but he's still in the canon.)