Tidbits on November 11, 2005
Bob Jensen
at Trinity University 

My links on Medicare drug plan options are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#Medicare
Under no circumstance should anybody sign up for a plan with a stranger over the telephone even if that person claims to be a Medicare representative or a licensed insurance agent who phoned out of the blue.

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

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

Lists of Bests --- http://listsofbests.com/

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

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

25 Hottest Urban Legends (hoaxes) --- http://www.snopes.com/info/top25uls.asp 

Stay up on the latest and the oldest hoaxes --- http://www.snopes.com/


Free Video Downloads (These are great!)
The mission of Folkstreams.net is to build a national preserve of documentary films about American folk or roots culture. Produced by independent filmmakers, these hard-to-find films give voice to the arts and experience of diverse American groups. They are streamed on the website together with background materials that highlight the history and aesthetic importance of the traditions and the films. Folkstreams.net makes these films easy to find and to see by video-streaming them on the Internet, and also provides in-depth and reliable contextual materials about the subjects and the filmmaking. Folkstreams.net also encourages alternative forms of filmmaking about subjects neglected by mainstream corporate media.
Folkstreams.net --- http://www.folkstreams.net/
Film Titles --- http://www.folkstreams.net/pub/FilmsByTitle.php


Free music downloads

In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

NPR current music downloads (featuring Bruce Cockburn) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4992518 

K.D. Lang and the Brooklyn Philharmonic

A huge selection of Jazz and Blues free downloads --- http://home.nestor.minsk.by/jazz/audio/index.html

Bonnie Raitt: 'Souls Alike' (from NPR on November 4, 2005)
Scroll down to the Souls Alike selections listing at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4978863

Sugar Hill Records (some great banjo music, etc.) --- http://www.sugarhillrecords.com/content/pagemaker.cgi?1070910757

David Wilcox's Folksinging --- http://www.davidwilcox.com/dw/index.php?page=songs&display=322#
These are good --- click on the Listen buttons

Forwarded by Paula
Turkey Wish after Thanksgiving Day ---
http://www.msn.americangreetings.com/view.pd?i=382219626&m=1652&rr=y&sou

Sort of Weird --- http://www.popexperiment.com/music/

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

Photographs

Science and Photography Through the Microscopy http://education.denniskunkel.com/

Cambridge Gallery --- http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/cambridge-gallery5.htm

Margot Quan Knight Photography (some of these are humorous) --- http://www.margotknight.com/margot.html

Another Day from the U.K. --- http://www.anotherday.co.uk/

Dean Chamberlain's Forest of Light --- http://www.deanchamberlain.com/forests_of_light/dendron_fst.htm

Sort of Weird --- http://www.popexperiment.com/photography/

Mustard Gas Party (really weird) --- http://b.f11.org/
 




George and Esther Szekeres, Mathematicians, 1911-2005, 1910-2005
After nearly 70 years of marriage, George and Esther Szekeres, both brilliant mathematicians, died within an hour of each other. George was 94 and Esther 95. George was the foundation professor of pure mathematics at the University of NSW and became the leading Australian mathematician of his day. Esther taught in the mathematics department of Macquarie University for many years and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science by the university in 1990. The mathematical love of her life was always geometry, in which she outshone George.
"A world of teaching and numbers - times two," Sydney Morning Herald, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/11/06/1131211943674.html


Civilized people cannot fully satisfy their sexual instinct without love.
Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell

Some days you're the windshield, some days you're the bug.
As quoted at the bottom of email messages from Patricia Doherty

You're only the bug once.
Phillip Ash, Company K, 3rd Bat. 7th Marines, Ramadi, Iraq (as forwarded by Paul Williams)

November 8, 2005 reply from Chuck Pier [texcap@HOTMAIL.COM]

I've noticed Patricia's quote and it originally comes from a song that Mary Chapin Carpenter performed (and wrote?) a few years back (80's maybe). There is another line in that song that is similar; "Sometimes you're the Louisville slugger, sometimes you're the ball."

I have to listen to the song almost every time I read a message from Patricia.
Thanks.

Chuck

Tracey Sutherland then pointed out the following:
Not to quibble but I believe the bug/windshield lyrics were written by Dire Straits' fine guitarist/songwriter Mark Knopfler -- recorded also by Mary Chapin Carpenter (another fine songwriter).

Tracey

A hand grenade being used instead of a ball in a game of catch exploded early on Saturday killing three youths in this Bosnian town.
"Three die playing catch with grenade," Reuters reports from Banja Luka,  November 7, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/ReutersNov7

Contasia is the version of Camtasia for convicts. This way they can run their organized crime families from their cells.
Ed Scribner (bless his heart)


Much more than a protest vote against Bush
About the best thing Republicans can say after Tuesday's election debacle is that at least it happened in an off-off year. This was a Democratic rout any way you look at it, from the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey to the ballot initiatives in California. If the GOP learns the wrong lessons, it'll happen again next year, when a lot more will be at stake.
"GOP Wake-Up Call National lessons on taxes and immigration," The Wall Street Journal, November 10, 2005 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007527
Jensen Comment:  The hard right in the GOP is a stubborn lot that will soon ruin the current Republican majority among U.S. lawmakers.  That may be a good thing since that majority seems to be more free wheeling at spending from an unbalanced budget than the Democratic Party's wildest dreams. 


Differences between Muslims in France versus the U.K. versus the Netherlands and Denmark
France has special problems with its immigrant population. Unlike Britain (where radicals dominate Islam) or Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark (where small groups of Saudi-financed Islamists operate), France faces a predicament that has more to do with Arab and African nationality and race than with faith. France is not an upwardly mobile society when it comes to immigrants. It doesn't reward education or entrepreneurship by encouraging fair integration of Arabs or black Africans.

Stephen Schwartz, "HOW FRANCE BUILT THE HATE," New York Post, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/56963.htm


How real is this apparent Chinese strategy to destroy the United States? 
A leading CCP official (supposedly) argues for exterminating U.S. population
This is a very long article with some frightening propositions!

"War Is Not Far from Us and Is the Midwife of the Chinese Century," by Chi Haotian, The Epoch Times, August 8, 2005 --- http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/5-8-8/31055.html 

Jensen Comment
I did a little checking into this article received the following message from a genuine expert on China.

. . . it does appear that the article you sent me is real, and does represent the thinking in certain Chinese circles. It originally appeared online and was not immediately removed, which leads some to think it was sanctioned by the government. Don't quote me on any of this since I am still looking in to it.


Four arrests linked to Chinese spy ring
Four persons arrested in Los Angeles are part of a Chinese intelligence-gathering ring, federal investigators said, and the suspects caused serious compromises for 15 years to major U.S. weapons systems, including submarines and warships. U.S. intelligence and security officials said the case remains under investigation but that it could prove to be among the most damaging spy cases since the 1985 one of John A. Walker Jr., who passed Navy communication codes to Moscow for 22 years. The Los Angeles spy ring has operated since 1990 and has funneled technology and military secrets to China in the form of documents and computer disks, officials close to the case said. The ring was led by Chi Mak and his wife, Rebecca Laiwah Chiu, along with Mr. Chi's brother, Tai Wang Mak, and his wife, Fuk Heung Li, officials said. Key compromises uncovered so far include sensitive data on Aegis battle management systems that are the core of U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers.
Bill Gertz, "Four arrests linked to Chinese spy ring," The Washington Times, November 5, 2005 --- http://www.washtimes.com/national/20051104-111851-2539r.htm



Japan Scrambles Fighters 30 Times to Repel Chinese
 Japanese fighter jets have been scrambled 30 times to turn away Chinese planes approaching Japan's airspace in the last six months, more than twice the 13 times in the same period last year, officials said Wednesday. The increased defensive posture reflects the growing tensions between Japan and China, which are squabbling over interpretations of their wartime past, undersea gas deposits, and ownership of East China Sea islands. An Air Self Defense Force spokesman said Japan's fighter jets had scrambled 30 times in response to what were believed to be Chinese military planes in the six months from April to September. Japan's fiscal year starts in April.
"Japan Scrambles Fighters 30 Times to Repel Chinese," Fox News, November 9, 2005 --- http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,175005,00.html
 


Democracy at Risk
The team putting Democracy at Risk together started out, three years ago, as a task force of the American Political Science Association. It was charged with “bring[ing] the insights of political science to bear on the problem of civic engagement.”The latter phrase refers the American public’s steady, long-term trend towards increasing apathy, ignorance, and passivity in regard to all things political.Increased voter turnout in 2004 was, seemingly, an exception to the trend. It was widely regarded as the most important presidential race in recent memory. Between 59 and 60 percent of those registered to vote actually did. Democracy at Risk puts that in context by noting that the level of participation “was about the same as in 1956, when an incumbent president handily and predictably defeated the same challenger he had faced four years earlier.” And in spite of a massive get-out-the-vote effort “in which interest groups alone spent more than $350 million,” the turnout “was only 5 percentage points higher than in 2000.”
Scott McLeMee, "Democracy at Risk," Inside Higher Ed, November 10, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/11/10/mclemee

Democracy Today:  Why rational economists don't vote versus why voting turnout never declines in Texas

"Why Vote?  A Swiss Turnout-Boosting Experiment" by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt, The New York Times,  November 6, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/magazine/06freak.html 

Why would an economist be embarrassed to be seen at the voting booth? Because voting exacts a cost - in time, effort, lost productivity - with no discernible payoff except perhaps some vague sense of having done your "civic duty." As the economist Patricia Funk wrote in a recent paper, "A rational individual should abstain from voting."

Dubner and Levitt examine a study of voting habits in Switzerland when voting by mail became allowed:

Every eligible Swiss citizen began to automatically receive a ballot in the mail, which could then be completed and returned by mail…..Never again would any Swiss voter have to tromp to the polls during a rainstorm; the cost of casting a ballot had been lowered significantly. An economic model would therefore predict voter turnout to increase substantially….In fact, voter turnout often decreased….

Jensen Comment
Unlike in Switzerland, voter turnout in Texas cannot decrease.  The dead are allowed to vote, and every year we add tens of thousands of  new voters to cemeteries across the entire state.  The dead have more free time to vote and know as much or more about the issues and candidates than they did while they were alive.


Diet Coke and Diet Sprite!  This was an entirely unexpected finding.
Serious Health Warning (especially for women) About Drinking Soda
Recent studies found little risk (of increased blood pressure) among coffee-swilling men. Now data from the two large Nurses Health studies -- which followed some 33,000 women for 12 years -- show that heavy coffee drinkers don't risk developing high blood pressure (due to coffee alone). There was, however, an entirely unexpected finding. Women who drank just one caffeinated cola drink every day had a slightly higher risk of high blood pressure. And that risk went up as women drank more daily colas, says researcher Wolfgang C. Winkelmayer, MD, ScD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard University in Boston.
Daniel Denoon, "Cola Drinks May Boost Blood Pressure:  Diet and Sugared Cola -- but Not Coffee -- Linked to High Blood Pressure," WebMD, November 8, 2005 ---
http://www.webmd.com/content/Article/114/111464.htm?z=1728_00000_1000_tn_06


Serious Health Warning About the Surge in Syphilis and Chlamydia (especially among gay men)
Gonorrhea has fallen to the lowest level on record in the U.S., while the rates of other sexually transmitted diseases -- syphilis and chlamydia -- are on the rise, federal health officials said. The seemingly paradoxical findings can be explained by the cyclical nature of syphilis outbreaks and a rise in risky sexual behavior among gay men, researchers said.
"Gonorrhea Rates Fall, But Syphilis Is on the Rise," The Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2005; Page D4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113148901719691526.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal


Not-so-serious College Curricula Warning
“History is bunk,” declared the famous industrialist and great American Henry Ford. All those names and dates — why learn any of that when not even the so-called experts can agree on exactly what happened? Besides, most of those historical figures are dead by now, so what’s the point? From now on, all history departments must issue disclaimers, and anything presented as a narrative will be taught in the creative writing program.
David Galif, "Designed to Please," Inside Higher Ed, November 9, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/11/09/galef


Altered Books --- http://www.logolalia.com/alteredbooks/

Cut the bindings off of books found at a used book store. Find poems in the pages by the process of obliteration. Put pages in the mail and send them all around the world. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Turn somebody else's writing into your art form
Altered Books --- http://www.art-e-zine.co.uk/alteredbook.html
Altered Books Index --- http://karenswhimsy.com/altered-books/index.htm


Update on Virtual Reality

"Virtual Reality That's Real," by  Antone Gonsalves, InformationWeek Newsletter, November 9, 2005

Mention virtual reality, and people often think of video games. But the folks at Second Life are giving a new spin to the three-dimensional worlds of make believe.

Part fantasy and part civics experiment, Second Life sells "islands" in their online creation, where local governments and even the Department of Homeland Security have bought real estate to test ideas and introduce projects. People can also join in by opening up free accounts to gain access to a very different experience.

On today's InternetWeek, freelancer Christopher Heun describes how people are using Second Life to build virtual malls and casinos, as well as to help teenagers and people with physical disorders.

This group is certainly on the cutting edge, and some analysts are skeptical that a business model can evolve from what some see as a sophisticated 3-D chat room. They may be right, but I believe the concept could greatly advance the Web as a tool for collaboration.

Drop me an email to let me know what you think.

Also on InternetWeek, nervous consumers using anti-spyware to avoid having their Web surfing tracked by marketers are reducing the accuracy of customer data gathered by online retailers.

TeaLeaf Technology shows businesses why shoppers don't complete online sales.

In a wide-ranging interview, Slashdot co-founder discusses the site's impact on online publishing, plans for the future, and the benefits of "slashdotting."
 

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm


Some things about Wal-Mart that you may not know about:
Twenty-First Century Leadership Award
http://certificationwatch.org/IMG/pdf/wal-mart-leadership.pdf


The Ten Worst Jobs in Science, Popular Science, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/806ffb24a5f27010vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html


But maybe its even worse to be a theoretical mathematician --- their "brains are full"

I once had a professor (Yuji Ijiri) who claimed he would gladly give up his life for the honor of analytically proving the Four Color Theorem (see below).

"Math problems too big for our brains," The Windsor Star, October 8, 2005 --- http://www.canada.com/windsor/windsorstar/news/story.html?id=22e93a5a-3beb-413b-9fb8-23da52be201a

Our brains have become too small to understand math, says a rebel mathematician from Britain. Or rather, math problems have grown too big to fit inside our heads. And that means mathematicians are finally losing the power to prove things with absolute certainty.

Math has been the only sure form of knowledge since the ancient Greeks, 2,500 years ago.

You can't prove the sun will rise tomorrow, but you can prove two plus two equals four, always and everywhere.

But suddenly, Brian Davies of King's College London is shaking the foundations of certainty.

He says our brains can't grasp today's complex, computer-generated math proofs.

"We are beginning to see the limits of our ability to understand things. We are animals, and our brains have a certain amount of capacity to understand things, and there are parts of mathematics where we are beginning to reach our limit.

"It is almost an inevitable consequence of the way mathematics has been done in the last century," he said in an interview.

Mathematicians work in huge groups, and with big computers.

A few still do it the old-fashioned way, he says: "By individuals sitting in their rooms for long periods, thinking.

"But there are other areas where the complexity of the problems is forcing people to work in groups or to use computers to solve large bits of work, ending up with the computer saying: 'Look, if you formulated the problem correctly, I've gone through all the 15 million cases and they all are OK, so your theorem's true'."

But the human brain can't grasp all this. And for Davies, knowing that a computer checked something isn't what matters most. It's understanding why the thing works that matters.

"What mathematicians are trying to get is insight and understanding. If God were to say, 'Look, here's your list of conjectures. This one's true, then false, false, true, true,' mathematicians would say: 'Look, I don't care what the answers are. I want to know why (and) understand it.' And a computer doesn't understand it.

"This idea that we can understand anything we believe is gradually disappearing over the horizon."

One example is the Four Colour Theorem.

Continued in article



A Dream Come True:  65 million years of uninterrupted sex

Scientists in Lucknow have unearthed a 65-million-year-old fossil, showing two tiniest members of the animal family in sexual union. "It is the first time that sexual copulation has been discovered in a fossil state," according to Ranjeet Kar at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany (BSIP) in Lucknow.
"Rare animal fossil found in copulation stage," Hindustan Times, November 2, 2005 --- http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1535199,00040009.htm

Also see http://weblog.physorg.com/news3492.html
 


Odour Orders:  This war smells like _____________
The traditional way the army delivers orders to soldiers is by shouting at them. But researchers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles think the US Army Research Office should consider an alternative – coded smells. These can be delivered silently, in the dark and when loud noise is drowning out speech. Furthermore, says the USCLA patent, the immediate reaction to a smell is emotional, rather than rational, so an odour trigger may encourage people to carry out orders without question.
Barry Fox, "Invention: Soldiers obeying odours," New Scientist, November 8, 2005 --- http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8282
 

Jensen Comment:  Forget way and consider something far more serious.  Imagine Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers down on the Bear's ten-yard line trying to change the play with an audible that really isn't audible at all amidst 75,000 screaming Chicago fans.  When and if signal smells can be secretly coded, Brett could let one off so to speak that would secretly tell his team that, due to a suspected Bear blitz, the play has been changed to short pass over the center of the line.  Seems like the smell of success to me unless the Bear linebackers smell something fishy.


Schwarzenegger's California:  Blowing up the boxes say the U.K.'s economic experts
The governor's proposals are his best chance to do something positive for the state—and for his own battered reputation.
"Blowing up the boxes," The Economist, November 3, 2005 ---
http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=5108010
Jensen Comment: Alas, the Terminator's propositions were terminated on the November 8 election day.  Nice boxes will appear in everybody's Christmas stocking.  Watch for the Golden State to become more of a Red Ink state.  California legislators, possible after taking lessons from George W. Bush, are abnormally heavy into mortgaging unborn children of the future.  Sacramento spendthrifts will be even less restrained when painting the state red after the November 8 election outcomes.



The Pope's Georgetown:  Gay and lesbian partners to receive full health benefits
Gay and lesbian faculty and staff members at Georgetown University are saying a rhetorical “amen” to new guidelines that will provide health insurance for their same-sex partners, starting January 1. More and more colleges each year provide some benefits for gay professors’ partners, but the trend is notably less evident at Roman Catholic institutions, making Georgetown’s move significant.
Rob Capriccioso, "Georgetown’s New Benefits for Gays," Inside Higher Ed, November 8, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/11/08/gtown
 

Is blogging a dangerous career move for professors?
Daniel W. Drezner, a popular blogger whose tenure denial by the University of Chicago prompted many to fear that blogging was not a good career move for academics, has landed a tenured job. Drezner announced on his blog on Friday that he has accepted an offer to become associate professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, at Tufts University.
Inside Higher Ed, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/11/07/qt
 


Ghost blogging is not so dangerous: The great scholar name Pierre Mourier
A recent entry at his blog Unlocked Wordhord, Richard Scott Nokes, an assistant professor of English at Troy University, recalls how he and some friends let off steam in graduate school a few years ago by making up an imaginary theorist, Pierre Mourier, to discuss on a lit-student listserv. (My thanks to Ralph Luker for pointing this item out.) Nokes says that a few people on the list who weren’t in on the joke began to pontificate on Mourier’s work –- even correcting the title of a translation of one of his papers. It’s a good story. An edifying one, even: a cautionary tale about the danger of craving the au courant, even at the cost of making yourself ridiculous. But if you go to the archives of the departmental listserv in question, a slightly different picture emerges. Searching “Mourier,” you find no messages by unwary poseurs dropping Mourier’s name. One or two puzzled souls do confess that they’ve never heard of the author of Murmurs in the Cabaret: Finding Language through Noise (1951). Everybody else, however, is plainly goofing. On a more sober note, we should perhaps consider the case of Henri Mensonge, that oft-neglected Franco-Bulgarian genius. He can most accurately (if also most confusingly) be labelled proto-post-structuralist. Mensonge is no mere online ghost. His work was the subject of a compact book by the late Malcolm Bradbury. The Library of Congress has assigned a call number to My Strange Quest for Mensonge: Structuralism’s Hidden Hero (Penguin, 1987) that places it on the same shelf as Bradbury’s comic novels about British university life. But the Dewey system treats it as a work of philosophy. (I came across it in a public library, by chance, while looking for something about Jacques Maritain.) The confusion is exemplary. I suspect that Mensonge, and certainly Bradbury, would be pleased.
Scott McLemee, "Whereabouts Not Known," Inside Higher Ed, November 8, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/11/08/mclemee


Human Lives at Stake
"History's Worst Software Bugs," by Simson Garfinkel, Wired News, November 8, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/bugs/0,2924,69355,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1  


Teaching on auto-pilot for 20 years
At a large community college, students have been filing into the department chair’s office every semester for seven years complaining about a poetry class. Seems that the long-time professor of a particular course has been using the same typed-and-copied handouts for over 20 years. He not only refused to use a computer to type up handouts, but didn’t see the rationale for updating the information “since the poets were dead.” The complaints continued and each successive chair finds a reason not to bother this in-house scholar.
Shari Wilson, "Outdated and Outdone," Inside Higher Ed, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/11/07/wilson

November 10, 2005 reply from Ed Scribner

Bob,

This reminds me of another old story that goes something like this. A old professor of biblical studies used the same final exam question semester after semester for 20 years. He invariably came in and wrote on the board, “Trace the wanderings of Moses.” Finally, the central administration called him in and insisted that he change the question since everyone on campus knew what was going to be asked.

In reluctant compliance, without warning the students, he came in for the final exam and wrote on the board, “Critique the Sermon on the Mount.”

One by one, the students, in distress and bewilderment, silently placed their blank bluebooks on his desk and left. Except for one student, who was writing feverishly. The old professor waited the two hours until this one student finally submitted his exam answer. Wondering why this student was different from the rest, the professor started reading the student’s bluebook: “Who am I to critique the Sermon on the Mount? But let me trace the wanderings of Moses. … “

Ed

November 10, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Ed,

A similar incident happened in my life.  At Stanford University we had a professor who was known to ask the same question in every PhD oral examination (which was not a defense of the thesis in those days).  Naturally we all prepared brilliant answers to this question.  To my utter dismay, he chose my oral examination to introduce a different question.  With about the same skill as you note above, I wandered into my prepared answer for the question he didn't ask.  He must've been a bit puzzled, but to my great relief I survived.

Bob Jensen


Hint -- Avoid small planes in a big airline
For travelers, a canceled flight often seems to be the result of bad weather, mechanical problems or random bad luck. But according to data that have only recently been made public, some flights are much more prone to being axed. United Airlines flight 650 from Chicago to New York's LaGuardia Airport, for example, was canceled 25% of the time last month. Delta Air Lines flight 778 from Atlanta to Huntsville, Ala., was canceled 38.7% of the time. The most troubled flights seem to be those that are lightly booked and travel into or out of big hubs. These flights are most vulnerable because when airlines are faced with bad weather, mechanical issues or crew shortages that leave them with fewer resources or planes, they opt to cancel flights with the fewest passengers.
Scott McCartney, "A Flier's Guide to the Most-Canceled Flights:  Newly Public Database Lists Troubled Routes," The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2005; Page D1 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113138730427890224.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal


November 8, 2005 message from Marv Eatinger [marv@mitec.net]

Dear Professor Jensen At Trinity.Edu:

If you go to www.ragingbull.com  message board for Daleco Resources Corporation (OTCBB - DLOV) and Regency Affiliates, Inc. (OTCBB - RAFI) posts by "virgule" (Marv Eatinger), you will find two cases of tax fraud and securities fraud involving public corporations that exist at the present time, and it would seem that timely prosecution of the Rule of Law does not mean much in the scheme of things! I have really become a cynic concerning the Rule of Law and the timely application thereof!

Sincerely,
Marv Eatinger

Bob Jensen's updates on fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm


More distortions in the liberal media

"Bush 29, Chavez 5," Investors.com, November 5, 2005 ---
http://www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=20&artnum=1&issue=20051107

Latin America: If you heeded the hype from gloomy hand wringers or news photos of shop-trashing anti-American thugs, you'd think President Bush left the Argentina summit in failure. It's nothing but rubbish.

Seldom has news been so distorted against facts. Most of the U.S. media claim that because the 34 states were obstructed from full agreement on a declaration to kick-start free trade by a few holdouts, it's some sort of victory for the chief obstructor, U.S. antagonist Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Just by the numbers, it's a false impression. Only five states at the Organization of American States summit in Mar del Plata withheld signing a statement to restart talks for a Free Trade of the Americas pact, and four of those — Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay — did so temporarily on valid concerns about farm subsidies.

The U.S. sympathizes with them, but is hamstrung by its larger trade relations with heavily subsidized Europe. That's why the U.S. is going to bat for those four at the World Trade Organization's 148-nation Doha Round of trade talks in Hong Kong this December.

That leaves just Venezuela obstructing free trade, and on ideological grounds. The real story is that 29 very different states — making up 90% of the hemisphere's GDP — endorsed free trade.

Continued in article


A huge controversy in medical science
Lynn's question echoes one this column has been raising for several months -- where are the studies that would exonerate thimerosal by demonstrating that unvaccinated Americans have just as much autism as those who received the full slate of state-mandated, mercury-containing childhood immunizations? "You have to ask yourself why are there no studies," Lynn said. "We have seen an explosion in autism. If we saw increases in any other disease like we've seen in autism, it would be a national crisis. Why is there no funding to investigate this?
Dan Olmsted, "The Age of Autism: Concerned in Tennessee," Science Daily, November 8, 2005 ---
http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/index.php?feed=Science&article=UPI-1-20051108-11473300-bc-ageofautism.xml


Many traditional anthropologists disagree with the reorganization at Arizona State University
On Tuesday Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution & Social Change officially opened for learning. It’s the outcome of a reorganization of the institution’s anthropology department that’s been almost two years in the making. While many faculty members at the university are pleased with prospects for interdisciplinary collaboration that come along with the change, others are concerned that anthropology as a discipline is getting the short end of the evolutionary stick. “Our new [school] breaks down the traditional disciplines of anthropology and re-directs the energies of the school to problems faced by modern societies,” said Michael Crow, Arizona State’s president, in a statement. “Problems like the spread of disease, environmental concerns or unhealthy growth are problems encountered throughout history. We feel we can make significant contributions to the challenges of today by better understanding how they played out in the past.”
Rob Capriccioso, "Anthropology, Evolved," Inside Higher Ed, November 9, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/11/09/anthro


The mouse that roared:  Where's the mouse poison?
The Web is built on open standards. Until recently, XML was considered one of them. Now, Scientigo is claiming that two of its patents cover one of XML's fundamental principles and is looking to benefit from XML's broad usage. Charlotte, NC-based Scientigo specifically claims that its two patents on a "method for modeling, storing and transferring data in neutral form" # 5,842,213 and # 6,393,426 covers XML's basic idea of data storing data in a self-defining package, which enables it to be correctly displayed regardless of platform. Scientigo CEO Doyal Bryant has said that the company plans to make money from the patents by either licensing XML vendors or selling the patents to another company.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, "Scientigo Makes Broad XML Patent Claims," eWeek, October 31, 2005 --- http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1880083,00.asp

Jensen Comment:  This could be serious, but when heavy hitters like Microsoft fight back it will be a tough go for Scientigo in court.  In theory, this denial of open standards could be very troublesome for XBRL.

I think that Microsoft has invested so heavily in XML for virtually all its office products, especially the forthcoming updates of MS Office software and XBRL analysis tools, that it will stomp out this mouse with its billions of dollars for a court fight. Recall how a similar mouse (SCO) claiming a patent on the jpg shareware was flattened (not by Microsoft). See http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1732935,00.asp 
Mice seldom have the hundreds of millions of dollars it takes to win in big time court fights.

Also Microsoft is only one of many heavy hitters highly committed to XML as an open standard. Think of all the heavy hitters that have been developing XBRL since 1998.

For the mouse, there is the added problem that XML and its child XBRL are truly global. A tiny mouse in the U.S. will have a tough time trying to enforce its patents outside the U.S. --- http://www.xbrl.org/nmpxbrl.aspx?id=118 


Three faculty groups that squeaked out different tunes when it came to athletics in academe
The three faculty organizations — the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association, the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, and the Drake Group — offered three very different faces of faculty approaches to sports, although all said they believed in the value of college sports but perceived significant problems.
Doug Lederman, "The Faculty Role in Sports Reform," Inside Higher Ed, November 9, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/11/09/knight

Bob Jensen's threads on athletics in colleges are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm


Social Psychology Network --- http://www.socialpsychology.org/ 


Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is.
Wayne Gretsky as quoted by Jerry Trites at http://www.zorba.ca/

The above quotation is very important in financial reporting, because XBRL is where the puck is going.

Jerry Trites has an XBRL Blog --- http://www.zorba.ca/xbrlblog.html

Bob Jensen’s tutorials on XBRL are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm
I want to thank Rivet Software for sending me a copy of Drag and Tag.  I haven't really learned how to use it yet, but I discovered that it puts a toolbar in your Excel spreadsheets such that you can import financial statements published in Excel (which some companies now provide online) and then proceed to add XBRL meta-tags under a chosen GAAP taxonomy such as International GAAP or U.S. GAAP.

Some people have asked me how financial statements marked up in XBRL can be analyzed.  Most software is still emerging for this purpose, and I anticipate some innovative features in the forthcoming new version of Excel.  For my students, I asked the following question:

What is i-METRIX?

Hint:  Watch the video at http://www.microsoft.com/office/showcase/xbrl/default.mspx
          See http://snipurl.com/CPAbizIMETRIX
          See http://www.edgar-online.com/investor/news/062105.aspx

My threads (including a recipe and video for viewing the KOSDAQ demo) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm#TimelineXBRL
 


Accountants may ground NASA

"Accounting Problems May Ground NASA," SmartPros, November 1, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x50434.xml

NASA's chances of returning to the moon by 2018 could be severely hampered by its bank account. The aerospace agency has failed to fix the majority of the 45 accounting and financial management problems cited by the Government Accountability Office in previous audits.

NASA's new core financial management system, purchased in 2000, "has not addressed many of the agency's significant challenges -- including improving contract management, producing credible cost estimates, and producing auditable financial statements," GAO's recent report said.

NASA has been on GAO's high-risk list since 1990 due to poor oversight of contract management.

"The lack of reliable, day-to-day information continues to threaten NASA's ability to manage its programs, oversee its contractors and effectively allocate its budget across its numerous projects and programs," said Gregory Kutz of the GAO.

Another problem cited by the report is NASA's failure to "recognize the importance and need for highly skilled, well-trained financial personnel."

In fairness, GAO points out that NASA is not alone in its financial management system problems. The report states that "many federal financial system modernization efforts have exceeded budgeted cost and scheduled delivery dates without providing the anticipated system functionality."


U.K Farming Today (from BBC Radio) --- http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/farmingtoday/index.shtml


The Great Economists
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (History of Economic Thought) --- http://www.frbsf.org/publications/education/greateconomists/


The bad economists:  Anti-trust?  What anti-trust?
OK, we're just about back to the pre-AT&T break-up phase as far old-style phone service is concerned. SBC merging with AT&T and Verizon with MCI knits back together the old local-long distance lines loop that regulators once thought was so vital to keep apart. In truth, the important distinction has been for years—and certainly will be going forward—that between regulated and unregulated. The regulators will try to make sure the duopoly "competes," one against the other, but it is hard to see how one could offer radically different terms, options, and prices from the other, as both are stitched tight into the common-carrier regulatory straitjacket. They might nibble a little at one another, meanwhile cable and "pure" voice over IP plays, such as Vonage and Skype, could offer real alternatives in pricing and services, tearing huge chunks in Step-Ma Bell's customer base. That is why the next logical step for the duopoly will be to try to get the FCC and the state regulators.
"Step-Ma Bell," Reason Magazine, November 1, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/re/110105.shtml

Also see http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=172901512&tid=13692


The CEO of SBC (now AT&T) is stirring up a hornets nest
To me this sounds terrible in this period of declining competition in the telecommunications industry

The head of a major telecommunications company stirred up a hornets' nest this week by suggesting that he wants to charge companies like Google and Yahoo a fee for bringing them into consumers' homes. SBC Communications Inc. Chairman Edward E. Whitacre Jr.'s comments to Business Week magazine prompted Internet companies to accuse him of aspiring to block access to their Web sites and to extort money from their businesses. A spokesman for San Antonio-based SBC said the second-largest U.S. telecom company is committed to giving customers unfettered access to the Internet and that the comments were misinterpreted. But Whitacre's characteristically blunt remarks -- published as his company this week won federal approval to buy AT&T Corp. for $16 billion -- revived a debate on whether Congress should make sure that consumers can go wherever they want on the Internet and keep phone and cable companies from blocking legal Web sites and services.
Arshad Mohammed, "SBC Head Ignites Access Debate," The Washington Post, November 4, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/03/AR2005110302211.html?referrer=email


The Short Literary Life of Sylvia Plath
On February 11, 1963, Sylvia Plath killed herself with cooking gas at the age of 30. Two years later Ariel, a collection of some of her last poems, was published; this was followed by Crossing the Water and Winter Trees in 1971, and, in 1981, The Collected Poems appeared, edited by (her poet husband) Ted Hughes --- http://www.sylviaplath.de/


Trouser Wowsers from North Korea
North Korea's communist government is urging women to wear traditional Korean clothes instead of trousers, a North Korean monthly magazine reports. "Keeping alive our dress style is a very important political issue to adhere to specific national cultural traditions at a time when the US imperialists are manoeuvring to spread the rotten bourgeois lifestyle inside North Korea," Joson Yeosung (Woman) said, quoted in a report by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
"Trouser Wowsers," Sydney Morning Herald, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/11/06/1131211949711.html


Some facts about world population that you may not know

People and places from Dr. Hugo --- http://www.doctorhugo.org/e-poetry/people.html

Mongolia, 3 people per square mile.

Australia, 5 people per square mile.

Canada, 7 people per square mile.

United States, 67 people per square mile.

Monaco, 522 people per square mile.

Israel, 554 people per square mile.

India, 604 people per square mile.

Facts about the earth (many of them scary)  in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/


Locations of Nuclear Power Plants Around the World

See http://www.insc.anl.gov/pwrmaps/map/world_map.php

Note the heavy concentrations of these plants in the following nations:


Some estimates about oil that you may not know

October 7, 2005 message from Mike Gasior [mike@afs-seminars.com]

THE TOP TEN OIL-CONSUMING COUNTRIES

01) United States 20.5 million barrels per day
02) China 6.68 million barrels per day
03) Japan 5.29 million barrels per day
04) Germany 2.63 million barrels per day
05) Russia 2.57 million barrels per day
06) India 2.56 million barrels per day
07) South Korea 2.28 million barrels per day
08) Canada 2.20 million barrels per day
09) France 1.98 million barrels per day
10)Mexico 1.90 million barrels per day

THE TEN COUNTRIES WITH THE LARGEST PROVEN OIL RESERVES

01) Saudi Arabia 262.7 billion barrels
02) Iran 132.5 billion barrels
03) Iraq 115.0 billion barrels
04) Kuwait 99.0 billion barrels
5) United Arab Emirates 97.8 billion barrels
06) Venezuela 77.2 billion barrels
07) Russia 72.3 billion barrels
08) Kazakhstan 39.3 billion barrels
09) Libya 39.1 billion barrels
10)Nigeria 35.3 billion barrels

ANNUAL SPENDING ON DISCOVERING NEW OIL

The Year 2000 - $63.1 billion
The Year 2004 - $117.4 billion

NUMBER OF NEW OIL WELLS DRILLED ANNUALLY

1980 - 32,639
2004 - 6,904

(Also, the number of new wells drilled exceeded 40,000 annually during a couple of years in the early 1980's)

AVERAGE DEPTH OF A NEW OIL WELL

1980 - 3,810 feet
2004 - 5,249 feet

MONEY SPENT PER BARREL FOR NEW DISCOVERIES

2000 - $4.94 per barrel
2004 - $8.61 per barrel
 


Multimedia lectures on oil supply and demand --- http://www.globalpublicmedia.com/lectures/




Financial Flashback (HOW QUICKLY THE DOW MOVED FROM $3,000 to over $10,000)
[art]
The Wall Street Journal, November 7, 1991
After the Federal Reserve Board cut interest rates yesterday morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 7.15 points to 3038.46. Shares of UAL Corp., parent of United Air Lines, lost 2 7/8 to 126 5/8 on news that officials were with analysts to "talk down" earnings estimates.
 
 

Fraud and political graft in Canada
A federal judge proclaimed last week that in the final years of Canada's Chretien government, untold millions of dollars were channeled from the treasury into the bank accounts of the federal Liberal Party, several Liberal-friendly advertising agencies and a few senior party backroom gentry in Montreal. His report was viewed with alarm by the media, the politicians and the pundits – by everybody, it seemed, except the Canadian people.
Ted Byfield, "Those safe Liberal crooks," WorldNetDaily, November 5, 2005 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=47234


Fraud in Iraq
An auditing board sponsored by the United Nations recommended Friday that the United States repay as much as $208 million to the Iraqi government for contracting work in 2003 and 2004 assigned to Kellogg, Brown & Root, the Halliburton Co. subsidiary. The work was paid for with Iraqi oil proceeds, but the board says it was either carried out at inflated prices or done poorly. The board did not give examples of poor work.
James Glanz and Edward Wong, "U.S. owes Iraq $208 million, auditor says Gouging, shoddy work by Halliburton blamed," San Francisco Chronicle, November 5, 2005 ---
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/11/05/MNGU5FJN341.DTL

Also see the NYT original source at http://snipurl.com/NYTnov5


What was the first ethnic cleansing in American history?
In his remarkable book A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians From Their American Homeland, the Yale historian John Mack Faragher provides the first modern, in-depth examination of the Acadian tragedy that left thousands dead and survivors “scattered like dust and leaves.” Previously known for his award-winning books Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer (1992) and The American West: A New Interpretive History (2000), Faragher now not only offers the definitive study of the Acadian chapter of North American history but also argues convincingly why a story that played out from 1606 to 1785 holds sobering, direct, and immediate implications for the present day.
Amy E. Sturgis , "Exile Without an End:  The first ethnic cleansing in American history," Reason Magazine, November 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/0511/cr.as.exile.shtml


Scooter's literary sex passages:  So, how does Libby stack up against the competition?
So, how does Libby stack up against the competition? This question was put to Nancy Sladek, the editor of Britain’s Literary Review, which, each year, holds a contest for bad sex writing in fiction. (In 1998, someone nominated the Starr Report.) Sladek agreed to review a few passages from Libby. “That’s a bit depraved, isn’t it, this kind of thing about bears and young girls? That’s particularly nasty, and the other ones are just boring,” she said. “God, they’re an odd bunch, these Republicans.” Unlike their American counterparts, she said, Tories haven’t taken much to sex writing. “They usually just get caught,” she said.
"SCOOTER’S SEX SHOCKER," The New Yorker, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/051107ta_talk_collins

What Scooter Told Judy:  The White House, the press, and the culture of leaks
"TELLING SECRETS:  How a leak became a scandal," by Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/051107fa_fact


Should alumni continue to donate to Yale University or choose smaller charities more in need of donations?

"All Right, Already: A Second Look at Yale," by Ben Stein, The New York Times, November 6, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/business/yourmoney/06every.html

First , the point I was trying to make was simply this: Yale has such a wildly successful endowment and makes so very much money from it that the sums dwarf what it is possible for us as alumni to give, unless we are fantastically rich. Our contributions to Yale are trivial compared with its investment return, while the same donations could be so much more meaningful to smaller. nonprofit groups- like ones that help veterans or lost dogs and cats. I also pointed out how much the Yale endowment director, David F. Swensen, is paid, and wondered if that was right.

Let me say this immediately: After a barrage of mail from men and women who are colleagues of Mr. Swensen's, I am convinced that he is, if anything, underpaid. He is apparently so spectacularly good at choosing money managers for Yale and has added so incredibly much money for Yale's endowment that a salary in the low- or mid-seven figures seems modest indeed. I apologize for suggestions to the contrary. Mr. Swensen should not be compared with other university employees. He is a different kind of player in a different kind of game. Keeping him in that game for the sake of dear old Eli is worth a great deal of money.

Continued in article


From the University of Pennsylvania:  Do Women Shy Away from Competition Even When They Can Win?
At a recent Wharton presentation, a New Yorker cartoon flashed on the screen showing a group of women in what looked suspiciously like a faculty club dining room. The caption read: "I hear we're all getting Valentines from Lawrence Summers." The reference, of course, was to the Harvard University president's famous remark that the lack of women in science and engineering might be caused in part by gender differences in aptitude. Stanford University economist Muriel Niederle used the cartoon to highlight some of her research into other possible factors behind the scarcity of women in top engineering and science positions. She focused in particular on a paper titled, "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?" co-authored with economist Lise Vesterlund.
"Do Women Shy Away from Competition, Even When They Can Win?," From Wharton's Knowledge@Wharton, November 2005 ---  http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1308


From the University of Pennsylvania:  Globalization and Jobs Divide the EU
When citizens of France and the Netherlands voted last spring to reject a proposed treaty establishing a constitution for the European Union, many commentators fretted about whether the votes would derail the 50-year-old process of European political and economic integration. Nearly six months after the referendums, experts say the votes have indeed brought the formal integration process to something of a standstill. But they say that may not be a bad outcome. For once, voters, who rarely have a chance to participate in any kind of EU decision-making, were asked what they thought -- about the direction the EU is moving in and, closer to home, about EU policies that directly affect their jobs.
"European Disunion: Citizens' Fears over Globalization and Jobs Divide the EU," From Wharton's Knowledge@Wharton, November 2005 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1313


From the University of Pennsylvania:  Global Finance Has New Rules, New Players
The rising power of hedge funds and private equity investment, continued sharp competition among Wall Street firms, and growth in China and India are the key drivers of global finance today, according to industry leaders at a recent Wharton Finance Conference. Participants also discussed the rise in hostile takeovers, increased activism on the part of boards of directors and new investment opportunities in Latin America.
"From Wall Street to Beijing: Global Finance Has New Rules, New Players," From Wharton's Knowledge@Wharton, November 2005 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1310

Bob Jensen's threads on hedge funds can be found by scrolling down at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm#H-Terms


From the University of Pennsylvania:
The collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, The Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the unification of East and West Germany all caught corporate executives by surprise and revealed the links between global change and business opportunity, according to members of the board of governors of the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies at Wharton. In the future, China, India and Eastern Europe are likely to play major roles in the development of international business, they said during a recent panel discussion titled, Understanding Global Linkages: Lessons from Recent Events.
"Linking up a Hedge Fund, a Revolution and the Fall of the Berlin Wall," From Wharton's Knowledge@Wharton, November 2005 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1312


Nuclear-bomb website woos al-Qaida warriors
'Paradise' forum offers 80-page recipe to build 'dirty' device on kitchen

At least one nuclear physicist is expressing alarm over an al-Qaida website that has posted a detailed manual providing instructions for building nuclear, "dirty" and biological bombs – both for the precise details the manual provides and for the site's growing popularity. The internet forum, Al-Firdaws, or Paradise, contains "80 pages of instructions and pictures of kitchen bomb-making techniques," reports the London Times. The site has had 57,000 hits, worrying terror experts the information is serving as a recruiting tool for al-Qaida.
"Nuclear-bomb website woos al-Qaida warriors 'Paradise' forum offers 80-page recipe to build 'dirty' device on kitchen table," WorldDailyNet, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=47251


Four PricewaterhouseCoopers auditors arrested in Tokyo on criminal charges
Four certified public accountants at a Japanese unit of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Group were arrested Tuesday for allegedly collaborating with former executives at Kanebo Ltd. to falsify accounting reports. The special investigation department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor's Office also searched the offices of ChuoAoyama PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, and the suspects' homes jointly with the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission, prosecutors said. Pursuing criminal responsibility of certified public accountants in connection with window-dressing is unusual, and the arrests have blemished the credibility of those assigned auditing responsibilities, observers say. The accountants under arrest were identified as Kuniaki Sato, 63, Seiichiro Tokumi, 58, Kazutoshi Kanda, 55, and Kazuya Miyamura, 48.
The Japan Times, Sept. 14, 2005
This article was forwarded to me by Miklos A. Vasarhelyi [miklosv@andromeda.rutgers.edu]

Bob Jensen's threads on PwC legal woes are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#PwC


San Francisco Gun Vote: Tough Law or Thin Gesture?
Should it succeed in banning handguns, it would join big cities like Washington, which banned handgun ownership in 1976, and Chicago, which in 1982 banned manufacture, sale and possession of handguns, but grandfathered in guns owned when the ordinance went into effect. Chicago has since banned the sale of ammunition. Whatever the measure's fate in San Francisco, it has sparked some conflict. The San Francisco police union has lambasted the local elected official who authored the ordinance, which it said would do little except take guns out of the hands of law-abiding residents. The police have also said the law, which would require residents to surrender weapons by March 1 of next year could present an enforcement headache.
Matt Richtel, "San Francisco Gun Vote: Tough Law or Thin Gesture?" The New York Times, November 5, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/05/national/05gun.html


In San Francisco only the bad guys now have the guns in a hold up, car jacking, or home invasion
True to their left-leaning reputation, San Francisco voters decided by a wide margin to ban the possession of handguns within city limits. Proposition H makes it illegal for residents to keep handguns in their homes or businesses and prohibits the manufacture and sale of all firearms and ammunition in San Francisco. The City’s new ordinance will be the strictest in the nation, since it requires existing guns to be turned in to law enforcement officials by April 1. Law enforcement personnel and others who require weapons for work are exempt from the measure.
Bonnie Eslinger, "Voters say no to firearms in San Francisco," The San Francisco Chronicle, November 9, 2005 --- http://www.sfexaminer.com/articles/2005/11/09/news/20051109_ne02_firearms.txt

Jensen Comment:  Gun killings are at an all time high (53 gun homicides so far this year) in San Francisco.  It will be interesting to see how much this ban on handgun reduces gun homicides, robberies, car jackings, and home invasions.  The theory is that the bad guys will have a harder time getting hand guns.  My guess is the bad guys will simply go home (which is typically outside the city limits of San Francisco in places like Oakland), buy the guns, and return to San Francisco to commit crime with greater assurance of not getting shot in the process.  The problem is not necessarily a ban on handguns.  The problem is a ban on handguns for only the good folks who live inside the city limits of San Francisco.  A nationwide ban would be one thing.  A local ban is idiotic.  The San Franciso Police now face the task of going to each home an collecting the guns that residents are now required by law to give up.  How many bad guys do you think will turn over their guns to the cops?  Actually they might have guns legally since the bad guys often "require weapons for work."


Carrying a concealed handgun is legal in Texas for most adults who qualify to do so according to law
Stafford police say the resident had just pulled into his driveway on Maple Leaf near Emerald Leaf Friday evening when an armed suspect tried to rob him. The homeowner had his own gun. Investigators say he shot and killed the suspect. Two other suspects sped away from the scene in a small red car. They are still on the run. Stafford police officers say the homeowner will not be charged because he acted in self-defense.
"Homeowner fatally shoots driveway robber Police call it self-defense," ABC San Antonio, November 6, 2005 --- http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=local&id=3606523&ft=print

One Tidbit reader replied as follows on November 6, 2005

The NRA keeps a large library of accounts just like this one. One researcher (Kleck) suggested that private citizens in the US use guns over a million times a year in self defense. Fortunately, very few self defense incidents involve shots fired. Such research is survey research with questionable reliability, but there are enough data to suggest that an armed law abiding citizenry reduces violent crime, one way or another.


Praying for College Success,
“The bottom line is that these students are more engaged across the board than average students in range of interesting activities,” says George Kuh, director of the survey as well as the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research. “They do a variety of things that are known to be positive contributors to the overall college experience.” In fact, students who participate frequently in spirituality-enhancing activities tend to exercise more, attend cultural events more often, and are more likely to perform community service. They also report being “somewhat more satisfied” with college and have a more positive view of the out-of-class environment. Researchers offered a broad definition of spirituality, including everything from regular attendance at religious services to private meditation.
Rob Capriccioso, "Praying for College Success," Inside Higher Ed, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/11/07/nsse


Nepotism at the University of California
According to the Dynes statement, “It has been disclosed, in the wake of inquiries by the San Francisco Chronicle, that Provost Greenwood and Dr. Goff have until recently had jointly owned rental property. It appears that Provost Greenwood may have been involved in Dr. Goff’s hiring to a greater extent than was appropriate, given that her business investment with Dr. Goff had not been properly and fully resolved in accordance with conflict of interest requirements. This in no way reflects on Dr. Goff, her credentials, or the terms and conditions of her appointment. This involves only the appropriateness of Provost Greenwood’s role in her hiring.” The other hire being questioned was James Greenwood, the provost’s son, who was recently hired as a senior intern at the university’s Merced campus. Winston Doby, vice president of student affairs at the university, has been placed on paid leave while officials investigate whether he “acted improperly in any way in helping Mr. Greenwood secure his position,” according to the Dynes statement. The president went on to say that James Greenwood “is reportedly making a valuable contribution” at the Merced campus.
"Ouster at U. of California," Inside Higher Ed, November 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/11/07/uc


Who pays what in terms of total Federal Income Tax revenue?

Persons in the top 25% of adjusted gross income pay nearly 84% of the income taxes collected.
Persons in the lower 50% pay less than 4% of the income taxes collected.  This percentage is declining each year, in part due to increased taxes on upper incomes.

From the IRS via the National Taxpayers Union --- http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=6
Tables for other years are provided at the above site.

Who Pays Income Taxes? See Who Pays What

 

For Tax Year 2003

Percentiles Ranked by AGI

AGI Threshold on Percentiles

Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid

Top 1%

$295,495

34.27

Top 5%

$130,080

54.36

Top 10%

$94,891

65.84

Top 25%

$57,343

83.88

Top 50%

$29,019

96.54

Bottom 50%

<$29,019

3.46

Note: AGI is Adjusted Gross Income
Source: Internal Revenue Service

 


Paul Pacter from Hong Kong provides the nice accounting wrap-up for October 2005 --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm


Science as Kansas sees it
In the beginning, when voters created the Kansas Board of Education to oversee schools, those intelligent designers couldn’t have imagined it would go forth and multiply all this controversy. The board could close the latest chapter of the evolution debate Tuesday when it is set to vote on science curriculum standards that change the definition of science and cast doubt on the theory of evolution. It’s possible another administrative delay could postpone the vote, but the approval is seen as inevitable. Inevitable, maybe. Permanent, maybe not. The standards won’t go into effect until the 2007 school year. By then the school board could look dramatically different if moderates are successful in unseating conservatives in the November 2006 elections, both sides say. That could make the new standards moot, and start the whole debate over again. Both sides say the controversy has been too heated, and the implications for science, religion and education too great, for any easy solution.
"Science as Kansas sees it," Kansas City Star, November 6, 2005 --- Kansas City Star


Electronic Books, Poems, and Journals

WORDTHEQUE - Word by word multilingual library --- 
http://www.wordtheque.com/pls/wordtc/new_wordtheque.main?lang=en&source=search 
The snipped link is http://snipurl.com/cv97

I tip my hat to Raphael Slepon (I willingly overlook the typos in this site)
The search engine is at http://www.fweet.org/pages/fw_srch.php
Finnegans Wake Extensible Elucidation Treasury
--- http://www.fweet.org/
You have to play around with this site before you find how useful it is.  It searches within Finnegans Wake (and related works) and has great research potential in conducting research on Joyce.  What is more of interest is the search style and technique of this site.  It is very, very clever!

Hello, my name is Raphael Slepon and I will be your guide to this site. The next tour is just about to start, so why don't you join in. Oh! You cannot afford the leisurely pace of a guided tour and would anyway rather explore on your own, thank you very much. Quite understandable in this day and medium. Let me then offer you just one tip – when you reach the search engine, which, let us be frank, is what you are all after, do take care to go through the tutorial mentioned there. Tip. Just one more thing, beware of... Where has he gone to...? Never mind, we will meet him again later...

Hello, and let me welcome you to this site. Please walk this way; mind your hats going in. Actually, we should really start right here, in the foyer, to figure out what this site is all about and what's with the weird name anyhow. Good idea.

This site houses a collection of over 71,000 notes related to James Joyce's last work, Finnegans Wake, amassed from numerous written sources. This site also houses a search engine to allow you to search the entire collection. To better understand this site we should really look no further than the bizarre title of this page, examining it word by word:

Excuse me? Yes, ma'am, yes. I will, yes. I was just getting to that. As this lady in the back row has just pointed out, there is a weird little button on the corner of the page, bearing the ominous words "Comment on Me!". We will get to it in a minute, ma'am. Thank you.

Please don't wander off to the "Comment on Me!" page just yet, we will come to it along the path of this tour.

Sorry? Yes, sir, yes. I will, yes. I am often asked how to pronounce the name of this site. Well, it's pronounced just like sweet, but with an ever so slight – well, perhaps not slight – with an ever so noticeable lisp (which the OED tells us is "that defect of utterance which consists in substituting for s and z sounds approaching þ and ð; either by reason of a defect in the organs of speech or as an affectation"). You may wonder why it starts with an F, then. A quotation from The Annals of the Six Masters may clarify this point: "My name is spelt 'Luxury Yacht' but it's pronounced 'Throatwobbler Mangrove'" – then again it may not. With this tantalising piece of useless information, perhaps we should move on.

The search engine is at http://www.fweet.org/pages/fw_srch.php

November 8, 2005 reply from John Brozovsky [jbrozovs@vt.edu]

The FASB is currently working on a Codification project where all US GAAP will be placed together into one searchable database. This structure will eliminate the multiple levels of current GAAP and multiple locations to look for guidance. It will either be GAAP (in the database) or not GAAP. Current anticipated completion date is 2007. The structure is set up to be expandable to SEC rules and the SEC has agreed to populate that side of the data base but their current timetable is unknown. Once the data base is completed all new standards would update the database making it evergreen. Standards would continue to exist in their current form for historical reference and use but the database would be the anticipated source for current guidance.

I suspect that, should there be the demand, the framework could then be extended further to IFRS standards. I do not personally see the need to extend it to individual country standards as, for the most part those will be relegated to non-publicly reporting companies (like our companies using OCBOA--other basis for reporting like tax) as the majority of the world is switching over to IFRS. The countries that are not switching to IFRS are typically working on convergence projects.

John




Forwarded by a Professor of Management

Subject: The Three–Minute Management Course

1: An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small Rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing?"The eagle answered: "Sure, why not." So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Management Lesson 1 - To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, high up. =====================================

Lesson Two: A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy. "Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients."

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Management Lesson 2 - Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there. =====================================

Lesson Three: A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold, the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Management Lesson 3 - Not everyone who poops on you is your enemy. Not everyone who gets you out of poop is your friend. And when you're in deep poop, it's best to keep your mouth shut!

This ends your three-minute management course.


True story forwarded by Dick Haar

Getting old is so hard at times.
Yesterday I got my Denture Polygrip mixed up with my Preperation H.
Now, I walk funny, ... but my gums don't itch!


U.K. Comedy (from BBC Radio) --- http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/comedy/

For example, check on The Consultants at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/comedy/consultants.shtml

For your listening pleasure, The Consultants have developed a one thousand episode audio lifestyle cheat-sheet. This thoughtful attempt to alter the behaviour of Radio 4 listeners consists primarily of sketches, puns and some songs...




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

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

International Accounting News (including the U.S.)

AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
        Upcoming international accounting conferences --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/events/index.cfm
        Thousands of journal abstracts --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/journals/index.cfm
Deloitte's International Accounting News --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
Association of International Accountants --- http://www.aia.org.uk/ 
WebCPA --- http://www.webcpa.com/
FASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
IASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
Others --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm

Gerald Trite's great set of links --- http://iago.stfx.ca/people/gtrites/Docs/bookmark.htm 

Richard Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/ 

 

Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134  Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu