This will be the final edition of Tidbits for 2005.  I will not be returning to campus until January 8 of next year.  Then I will commence cranking out Tidbits once again.  I hope you have a great holiday break with your family and friends.

Tidbits on December 14, 2005
Bob Jensen
at Trinity University 

Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to 
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---

Bob Jensen's various threads ---
       (Also scroll down to the table at )

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

I really like the Digital Duo show that appears weekly once again on PBS.  I found that you can bring up prior shows (video) on your computer by going to,00.asp

Bob Jensen's home page is at

Security threats and hoaxes ---

25 Hottest Urban Legends (hoaxes) --- 

Stay up on the latest and the oldest hoaxes ---

Handy links to product instruction sheets ---

Online Music and Video
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 ---

Current summaries of 60 Minutes modules (CBS Television) ---

Romantic music of Anna Maria Jopek (video) ---

New Video from the Digital Duo (Upgrade Your PC Output) ---,segid,178,00.asp
There's a short commercial (about 30 seconds, followed by the good stuff)

PhysOrg News Videos ---

Free music downloads --- ---

Live Christmas Webcams from All Over the World ---

Bob Jensen's links to Christmas and Other Seasonal Music ---

Lonely trumpet sounds of Tomasz Stanko ---
(Click on the Multimedia link)

From NPR
Texas troubadour Jimmie Dale Gilmore's Come On Back ---
(Scroll down for the great samples.  I like "I Feel Like I've Got to Travel On.That's Me!)

From NPR
Jelly Roll Morton Plays the Library of Congress ---
(Scroll down for the fabulous and historic samples)

From NPR
A Christmas Concert from "World Cafe" ---
(Scroll down for the great banjo and folk singing samples)

If you have a favorite recording artist, search it out on  Chances are high that, if you find a CD of interest at Amazon, you can scroll clear down to the bottom of the page for a music sample.  For example, try this at

Guilty Pleasures (Barbra Streisand) ---
Essential Barbara ---
Barbara's Greatest Hits ---
     (These are continuous play snippets only but I enjoy these when I hit the Play All button)

Best of Eddie Arnold ---
     (These are continuous play snippets only but I enjoy these when I hit the Play All button)

Best of Roy Orbison ---
    (These are continuous play snippets only but I enjoy these when I hit the Play All button)

Best of Jim Reeves ---
      (These are continuous play snippets only but I enjoy these when I hit the Play All button)

Essential Willie Nelson ---
    (These are continuous play snippets only but I enjoy these when I hit the Play All button)

Christmas Card
Silent Night

December 9, 2005 message from Dmitry Garanin []

Hi Bob,

I have discovered your page  looking for Elena Kuschnerova, as I am her webmaster. The link to her free-downloads site is not working and, in addition, it is outdated. The current master page that should be linked to is 

I would be very glad if you could correct the listing.
Thank you in advance,
Dmitry Garanin

New Fee-Based Music Services
New offerings from MP3Tunes and Real Networks unveiled in the last 10 days are intended to change the way people interact with their music libraries -- and build a new business around digital music. MP3Tunes’ Oboe service and Real Networks’ service allow people to purchase and access music through a standard Web browser on any computer -- regardless of whether their music is stored on that computer. It's an innovative step for digital music, where the industry giant, Apple's iTunes, restricts users to a limited number of computers on which they can access the service. These new offerings, using different approaches, attempt to break that model. Of the two, the Oboe service is the most technically intriguing -- and will probably resonate most with consumers.
Eric Hellweg , "Storage for a Song Two new online storage services may bring holiday cheer -- and a lot of songs -- to music lovers," MIT's Technology Review, December 9, 2005 ---,1,p1.html?trk=nl



Time Magazine's Best Photos of 2005 ---
Top 10 Reader Picks ---

Also see Time Magazine's Islam USA ---

Great landscapes and light ---

Cowles Gallery ---

Benn Deceuninck ---

Great astronomy photographs ---

Star Trails ---

Water Textures ---

Peru ---

Chicago (such as fog in the city) ---

A foggy day in London town ---

Paris history ---

Lost America (night photography of the abandoned roadsides of the West) ---

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

All-Time Bestselling Books and Authors ---

University of Southern California Digital Archive ---

The Library of Economics and Liberty ---

Charles Dickens Page ---

The original Sherlock Holmes stories ---

The Thoreau Reader ---

Yahoo's links to Acronyms and Abbreviations ---

Yahoo's links to Almanacs ---

Yahoo's links to Humanities Dectionaries, Libraries, and Literature ---

Yahoo's Reference Links ---
(Includes option to personally "Ask an Expert" )

Yahoo's links to Society and Culture ---

Yahoo's links to Entertainment (including humor) ---

Quote World --- Wilde

Quote Land ---

Quotable Online ---

Vocabulary Words to Build Your Brain ---

The Paris Review ---

Yahoo's links to Poetry ---

Representative Poetry Online from the University of Toronto Library ---

Verse Daily ---

Poem Hunter --- ---

Create Your Own Virtual Poem ---

Economics Website ---
This site is an introduction to basic concepts on economics and contains information, quizzes, activities and links to various online resources to learn more about our global economy.

Introduction to Economic Analysis ---

CyberEconomics ---

Book Swapping ---

Security Fix from The Washington Post
Security Fix blogger Brian Krebs answers your questions about the latest online threats and offers ways to protect yourself and your personal information ---

The more you tighten your grasp, the more systems will slip through your fingers.
Princess Lei in Star Wars as quoted in a recent message from David Coy

In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.
John Churton Collins as quoted in a recent email message from Patricia Doherty

For money you can have everything it is said. - No that is not true. You can buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health, soft beds, but not sleep, knowledge but not intelligence; glitter, but not comfort, fun, but not pleasure; acquaintances, but not friendship; servants, but not faithfulness; grey hair, but not honour; quiet days, but not peace. The shell of all things you can get for money. But not the kernel. That cannot be had for money.
Arne Garborg (1851-1924)

People who've got a good job have no time for all that other nonsense.
"People have now learned to leave their political baggage at the door and go to work," says Martin Mellon, a director at ASG Software Solutions, a Florida-based provider of systems-management applications and operator of a development center in Belfast. Or, as one weathered patron at centuries-old White's Tavern told me,
"People who've got a good job have no time for all that other nonsense." Thanks to Northern Ireland's small but rapidly growing presence as a destination for offshore IT work, more and more residents will have access to those good jobs, giving peace a chance to take root. You might think it hard to imagine Northern Ireland's experience could hold any lessons for the chaos that is present-day Iraq, but remember, Belfast was once frequently compared to Beirut.
Paul McDougall, "Northern Ireland's IT Peace Dividend Could Show The Way Forward In Iraq ,"
InformationWeek Newsletter, December 7, 2005

Thanks to the (Paul Volcker) reports, we know that Oil for Food administrator Benon Sevan, French Senator Charles Pasqua, British MP George Galloway, Indian Foreign Minister K. Natwar Singh, Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky and dozens of other notables likely took bribes from Saddam Hussein in the form of lucrative oil "allocations." We know that as many as 2,253 companies, including heavyweights such as Siemens and Volvo, are listed in Iraqi records as having paid kickbacks in order to do business in Iraq. We know that Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his deputy, Louise Frechette, were incompetent administrators (at best) who failed to disclose corrupt U.N. practices of which they were fully aware. We know that Saddam manipulated the program to enrich himself to the tune of $1.8 billion (at least) while steering some $100 billion to his preferred clients, who then did his bidding at the U.N. Security Council. And we know exactly how he did it: by applying surcharges billed as "inland transportation" fees; through the use of multiple middlemen; via loopholes in the handling of the Oil for Food escrow account; with scads of cash carried in the diplomatic pouch.
Bret Stephens, "Let There Be Light . . . . . . in the murkiest recesses of the United Nations," The Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2005 ---

The UN signals goodbye to Israel:  Where will Jews be relocated?
The United Nations held a "Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" last week. A large map of “Palestine,” with Israel literally wiped off the map, featured prominently in the festivities. The ceremony was held at the UN headquarters in New York and was attended by Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Presidents of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly . . . With the map hanging behind him, Secretary-General Annan addressed the public meeting at UN Headquarters.
Arutz Sheva, "UN Ceremony Includes Map of ´Palestine´ in Place of Israel," December 8, 2005 ---

What is the definition of a terrorist versus a freedom fighter?
Stephen Jukes, global news editor for Reuters, the British wire service, has ordered his scribes not to use the word terror to refer to the Sept. 11 atrocity, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reports (second item). "We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist," Jukes writes in an internal memo. "To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack."
Opinion Journal ---
Jensen Comment:
To me a terrorist is one who deliberately targets innocent people who are not a threat.  Either this is a criminal for money (such as in the case of most kidnappings) or this is an act of desperation in an effort to demoralize the enemy.  But it's terrorism nevertheless when innocents are deliberately targeted.  A freedom fighter attacks those that are a threat such as military and subversives.  Sadly it is increasingly difficult to avoid collateral damage to innocent people who willingly or unwillingly shield the military and subversives. 

The problem for terrorists is that they will never win in the sense of standing up to claim their victories.  The minute they surface for the world to see their enemies will attack back, possibly with terror tactics that ruin all the spoils of victory.  Donald Rumsfeld recently said something that I agree with in a PBS interview.  He said that "insurgents in Iraq know that they can never win in Iraq.  Their tactics are all designed to demoralize America to the point where they win in Washington DC."

"Going Medieval The nature of jihad and this war we’re in," James S. Robbins, National Review Online, December 13, 2005 --- 

This is a review of The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, a new anthology edited by Andrew G. Bostom. This exhaustive, 759-page tome contains both primary-source material and interpretive essays.

The Legacy of Jihad deals at some length with the medieval roots of jihad, and the classical Muslim theologians and jurists writing on topics of the necessity of expansion, the legality of war, and the legitimate ways in which people may be enslaved. Some of the arguments may seem antiquated to modern ways of thinking, but one can find references to these same thinkers in the contemporary writings of the terrorists and their spiritual godfathers. Ibn Taymiyah, for example, the 13th-century scholar who justified rebellion against the Mongol occupiers of Baghdad even though they had nominally converted to Islam, is included in this volume. Today he is invoked by Iraqi insurgents for a similar purpose. Sayyid Qutb, the 20th-century Egyptian dissident whose writings are generally recognized as the inspiration for the current radical Islamist movements, was also inspired by Ibn Taymiyah. The book includes an excerpt from his seminal work Milestones in which Qutb discusses in some detail the nature of jihad as he understood it — something that “cannot be achieved only by preaching.”

The nature of jihad is of course one of the central questions of the conflict. Frequently I have had students from Muslim countries explain very passionately that our understanding of jihad is flawed. That what we think of as jihad — violent struggle to extend the domain of Islam — is actually the “lesser jihad.” True jihad is a moral struggle within each person to enjoin the good and resist evil, what is called the “greater jihad.” Some say further that the idea that force can be used to convert is not Islamic; it would make the greater jihad impossible because the convert would not sincerely believe. All this may be true, in their understanding of the faith, and I have no quarrel with it. Would that everyone felt that way.

Nevertheless, not all Muslims are as interested in this spiritual quest, and some of the more radical adherents of the faith are convinced that nonviolence is not an option. Andrew Bostom’s book shows comprehensively the historical roots of this school of thought, and its continuity over the centuries to the present day. It helps one understand jihad operationally; its use, its claims to legitimacy, its perceived inevitability. Whether this is or is not the way most Muslims view the concept of jihad in its totality is not particularly relevant because people sincerely engaged in “greater jihad” are not a national-security threat. Likewise, those terrorists who have made “lesser jihad” their avocation have no use for fellow Muslims who are seeking only to bring themselves closer to God’s ideal as they understand it. As the Ayatollah Khomeini said of those who argued that Islam was a religion of peace that prevents men from waging war, “I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”

This is a book rich in detail. It contains writings that have not previously been available in English, and is a useful sourcebook for scholars and students interested in the topic. It is a useful companion to contemporary terrorist statements and writings — you might be surprised how much is borrowed from other writers. Clearly given the length, the language, and complexity (and gravity) of the topic it is not a book for light holiday reading. But for those who want to deepen their understanding of the means and motives of the terrorists, there is more in one place than any other book of its kind. And you won’t have to feel guilty about the Crusades any more either.

Earlier parts of this review are not quoted above

Terrorism is not winning the war on keeping tourists away from luxury resorts
"At the global level, the impact of such shocks has been negligible," the group says. "They may have led to temporary shifts in travel flows, but they have not stopped people traveling. At the local level, the impact can be severe in the affected areas, but in most cases this is surprisingly short-lived." At the Ritz-Carlton Bali, the occupancy rate plunged to 23% nine days after the island's first terrorist bombing, three years ago. Nine days after the latest attack, the same hotel was 59% full and receiving reservations. Russians, who flock to Bali in December and January, are among those asking for more rooms. The Intercontinental Resort Bali is planning a first-ever gala celebration for the Russian Orthodox Christmas and expects hundreds of guests. Similarly, hotels in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh are recovering after terrorists killed 67 people in an attack there in July, says Patty Lee, a consultant in Hong Kong with hotel investment advisers Transact Asia Ltd. Occupancy rates at several luxury hotels there fell by half, to about 45%, after the bombing, but thanks to charter flights of sun-seeking Europeans, these rates have started to rebound, rising 10% in September, Ms. Lee says. While many economies have tried to lessen their dependence on tourism, they often have few alternatives for making money, and diversification can take decades to bear fruit. Not that measuring tourism's benefits is a simple business. Tourism occurs not in isolation but alongside changes in commodity prices, trade flows, migration and other areas, says Tim Forsyth, a senior lecturer on environment and development at the London School of Economics. Mr. Forsyth says, "it is very hard to deny that most tourist economies are better off in a macroeconomic sense."
Bruce Stanley, "In Bali and Elsewhere, Tourism Keeps Economy Humming Despite Blows From Terrorists," The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2005; Page A2 ---

North Korea running counterfeit racket, says U.S.
THE counterfeiting operation began 25 years ago at a government mint built into a mountain in the North Korean capital. Using equipment from Japan, paper from Hong Kong and ink from France, a team of experts was ordered to make fake $US100 bills, said a former North Korean chemist whose job was to draw the design. "The main motive was to make money, but the secondary motive was inspired by anti-Americanism," said the chemist, now 56 and living in South Korea. By 1989 millions of dollars worth of high-quality fakes, were showing up around the world. The flow of forged bills has continued, despite a US redesign aimed at making the cash harder to replicate. For 15 years US officials suspected that North Korea's political leadership was behind the counterfeiting of $100 bills. Now federal authorities are pursuing at least four criminal cases and one civil enforcement action involving the forged notes. US authorities have unsealed hundreds of pages of documents in support of the cases in recent months, including an indictment that directly accuses North Korea of making the counterfeit bills.
"North Korea running counterfeit racket, says US," Sydney Morning Herald, December 14, 2005 ---

How many illegal immigrants in the U.S. and why are they here?

There are many reasons why a particular illegal immigrant might be in the U.S., reasons ranging from fear of death if deported  to opportunities to become a multimillionaire and live the American Dream.  Some start new businesses or buy hard-work businesses such as run-down motels, restaurants, and convenience stores, often because they are the only buyers in the market.  But the majority are streaming into America to get low skilled jobs that American citizens, especially our hard core unemployed, are unwilling fill even when offered opportunities to do so.

December 11, 2005 on Sixty Minutes (CBS Television) it was stressed how many unskilled jobs are unfilled and how dependent we’ve become on illegal immigrants. An example was given about how meat packing plants would close down without illegal immigrants. This actually happened in Nebraska. Nebraska initially invited the INS to investigate one of its huge packing plants. When over thousands of its workers were deported the plant shut down. Nebraska then refused to invite the INS to conduct any more plant investigations in the State of Nebraska ---

It is unlikely that our hard core U.S.-born unemployed will move to Nebraska to take on packing plant jobs even if offered free transportation and housing.  Illegal immigrants, on the other hand, will walk or even crawl across desert or crowd into oven-hot box cars to take packing plant jobs in Nebraska.  The U.S. is actually dependent upon these willing and dedicated hard workers.

"Illegals' numbers balloon: Half of immigrants are undocumented," by Lisa Friedman, Whittier Daily News, December 13, 2005 ---

The number of immigrants in the United States reached a new high this year after the biggest five-year increase in American history, said a study released Monday by the Center for Immigration Studies.

Nearly 7.9 million immigrants - about half of them believed to be illegal - settled in the United States between January 2000 and 2005, boosting the total number of immigrants in the nation to 35.2 million, the study said.

About 1.8 million immigrants during that period entered California, more than any other state, according to the study by the D.C.-based think tank that favors immigration control and analyzed Census Bureau data.

"The 35.2 million immigrants living in the country in March 2005 is the highest number ever recorded - 2 1/2 times the 13.5 million during the peak of the last great immigration wave in 1910," said Steven Camarota, the center's director of research.

The report comes as the House prepares to pass Republican legislation reinforcing U.S. borders, easing deportations and creating a nationwide system whereby employers must check workers' immigration status.

The study said nearly half of all California households receiving food stamps, subsidized housing or other public assistance are headed by an immigrant. And it said immigrants and their children in California are twice as likely to be uninsured, with more than half of all immigrants in the state receiving Medicaid.

Nationally, the study found, 28.6 percent of immigrant households use a welfare program compared with 18.2 percent of U.S.-born households, while 47 percent of all immigrants are either uninsured or have insurance provided through Medicaid.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I don't pretend to understand all of the issues here like sociologists and economists understand the issues.  The fact that immigrants households are more likely to use some welfare programs and medical assistance is hardly surprising since they tend to be so low paid and receive low, if any, benefits.  What news accounts like the above piece fail to do is weigh the costs against the benefits received by having so many good workers with strong families in our midst to offset the costs of others on welfare.  Obviously floodgates cannot be opened widely to the masses of the world or society in the U.S. would break down into overpopulated anarchy.  Nor can we offer $100 per hour and full benefits to U.S.-born, hard-core unemployed to grind out beef patties for Big Macs.  A far better expert than me, Mike Kearl at Trinity University, has about 300 references dealing with these very complex issues ---  Some other Trinity Professors have been, in scholarship and in deed, trying to improve hellish immigrant living conditions work opportunities in maquiladoras.  There are no simple solutions to illegal immigration flows as long as the worst living conditions and opportunities in the U.S. remain better than where these people were born.

New Israeli mobile phone to detect breast cancer
An Israeli psychologist has developed a radical new technology which would enable an ordinary mobile phone to diagnose breast cancer and various type of heart disease, the Haaretz daily reported Friday. By installing new software and adding a basic infrared camera, a mobile phone could be transformed into a highly-effective diagnostic tool, offering far more accurate results than the self-checks many women do themselves. Dr Nitzan Yaniv, who developed the technology, said the results of the scan could be immediately transferred to a medical laboratory for analysis, which could determine whether further checks were necessary.
"New Israeli mobile phone to detect breast cancer," PhysOrg, December 9, 2005 ---


"Agalmics:  The Marginalization of Scarcity,"  by Robert Levin ---

The recent growth of interest in Linux and "open source" or "free" software raises questions about the nature of the "gift culture" of the Internet. Why do people give away information? What do they hope to gain? How can the Internet continue to work, in a world in which politics based on shared ownership has serious, demonstrated problems?

The cooperative spirit of the Internet is not a historical fluke. If human beings allowed their aggressive, suspicious sides to dominate, we'd live in a world in which people took things by force instead of buying them. And how would anyone trust the printed word? How could education occur in the absence of cooperation? All over the world, students listen and educators teach. In a largely unrestricted market of record size, individuals freely trade goods and services for other goods and services of their choice. Ownership of private property remains largely undisputed by men with guns. We live in the cooperative state known as civilization.

Not every human activity is cooperative. Wars still occur. And the existence of laws implies that people do disagree about when cooperation is a good thing. But it's clear that voluntary interaction serves important human needs. The most successful economic systems on the planet are based on voluntary interaction. Variants of the "free enterprise" model have produced wealth and plenty on a vast scale. Political systems based on involuntary interaction, such of those of the Soviet Union and various Third World nations, have not been nearly so successful at meeting the needs and desires of their citizens as have systems which emphasize freedom.

But will technology change the way human beings interact over the coming decades? What trends do we need to understand in order to see where things are going? One clear trend in a technological society is the marginalization of scarcity. As time goes on, the technology of agriculture and manufacture teaches us how to produce goods with more efficiency, at less cost. The trend in technology is an exponential improvement of knowledge and capabilities. Make anything cheap enough, and it will no longer be scarce enough to be considered an economic good.

Contrary trends operate in the marketplace. Intellectual property, a system of law in which access to inventions and creative output is limited in order to reward their creators, has a powerful conservative influence on the market, slowing the adoption of new ideas and inventions. Patent law rewards inventors for coming up with useful technology; but the reward often comes in the form of purchase of the right to control who may use that technology. Large corporations, with large legal and accounting staffs and access to capital, have an extraordinary advantage in accumulating exclusive rights to new technologies. The nature of such organizations is to hold onto these assets tightly and release them slowly, so that the most efficient return on investment can be achieved.

But technological change continues to occur, in part because competing organizations often need the competitive advantage which new technology can provide. So we can be certain that, over time, more and more basic goods will become less and less scarce. With these changes, it becomes increasingly important to understand how human beings allocate non-scarce goods. Indeed, a sort of "economics" of non-scarcity becomes an important study. But economics is the study of the allocation of scarce goods. We need a new paradigm, and a new field of study. What we need is agalmics.

Institute for International Economics ---

Economics Website ---
This site is an introduction to basic concepts on economics and contains information, quizzes, activities and links to various online resources to learn more about our global economy.

Introduction to Economic Analysis ---

CyberEconomics ---

Inflation Data ---

Gold : prices, facts, figures & research ---

Stock Market Data ---

Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics are at

Museum of American Finance ---

New Difficult Dialogue Grants to Colleges
The Ford Foundation today announced its first “Difficult Dialogue” grants — in which 26 colleges will each receive $100,000 to promote campus discussions on academic freedom and free speech while also promoting discussion of sometimes contentious issues about political and racial and ethnic issues.
Inside Higher Ed, December 12, 2005 ---

"Where Have All the Big Questions Gone?" by W. Robert Connor, Inside Higher Ed, December 12, 2005 --- 

In the humanities and related social sciences the situation was rather different. Some friends reminded me that, not all big questions were in eclipse. Over the past generation faculty members have paid great attention to questions of racial, ethnicity, gender and sexual identity. Curricular structures, professional patterns, etc. continue to be transformed by this set of questions. Professors, as well as students, care about these questions, and as a result, write, teach and learn with passion about them.

But there was wide agreement that other big questions, the ones about meaning, value, moral and civic responsibility, were in eclipse. To be sure, some individual faculty members addressed them, and when they did, students responded powerfully. In fact, in a recent Teagle-sponsored meeting on a related topic, participants kept using words such as “hungry,” “thirsty,” and “parched” to describe students’ eagerness to find ways in the curriculum, or outside it, to address these questions. But the old curricular structures that put these questions front and center have over the years often faded or been dismantled, including core curricula, great books programs, surveys “from Plato to NATO,” and general education requirements of various sorts. Only rarely have new structures emerged to replace them.

I am puzzled why. To be sure, these Big Questions are hot potatoes. Sensitivities are high. And faculty members always have the excuse that they have other more pressing things to do. Over two years ago, in an article entitled “Aim Low,” Stanley Fish attacked some of the gurus of higher education (notably, Ernest Boyer) and their insistence that college education should “go beyond the developing of intellectual and technical skills and … mastery of a scholarly domain. It should include the competence to act in the world and the judgment to do so wisely” (Chronicle of Higher Education, May 16 2003). Fish hasn’t been the only one to point out that calls to “fashion” moral and civic-minded citizens, or to “go beyond” academic competency assume that students now routinely achieve such mastery of intellectual and scholarly skills. We all know that’s far from the case.

Minimalist approaches — ones that limit teaching to what another friend calls “sectoral knowledge — are alluring. But if you are committed to a liberal education, it’s hard just to aim low and leave it at that. The fact that American university students need to develop basic competencies provides an excuse, not a reason, for avoiding the Big Questions. Students also need to be challenged, provoked, and helped to explore the issues they will inevitable face as citizens and as individuals. Why have we been so reluctant to develop the structures, in the curriculum or beyond it, that provide students with the intellectual tools they need to grapple thoughtfully over the course of a lifetime with these questions?

I see four possible reasons:

Continued in article

Were the levees bombed in New Orleans?
Dyan French, also known as "Mama D," is a New Orleans Citizen and Community Leader. She testified before the House Select Committee on Hurricane Katrina on Tuesday. "I was on my front porch. I have witnesses that they bombed the walls of the levee, boom, boom!" Mama D said, holding her head. "Mister, I'll never forget it." "Certainly appears to me to be an act of genocide and of ethnic cleansing," Leah Hodges, another New Orleans citizen, told the committee.
"Were the levees bombed in New Orleans? Ninth Ward residents give voice to a conspiracy theory," MSNBC, December 7, 2005 ---

Katrina Death Stats Contradict Racial Complaints
On Wednesday, Congress heard dramatic testimony from black Katrina survivors, who complained that racism drove the federal rescue efforts and resulted in an unnecessarily high number of African-American deaths . . . But preliminary figures compiled by the morgue in St. Gabriel, Louisiana, which is the primary facility handling the bodies of Katrina deceased, show that a majority of the dead in New Orleans and surrounding parishes were actually not black.
"Katrina Death Stats Contradict Racial Complaints," NewsMax, December 12, 2005 ---

How can one man receive a $1.45 billion award in a lawsuit?
Mr. Perelman, chairman of cosmetics giant Revlon Inc., was awarded $604.3 million in compensation and a further $850 million in punitive damages against Morgan Stanley to punish the bank for its misconduct in defrauding the financier when he sold his camping-gear company to the bank's client, Sunbeam Corp., in 1998. Trial Judge Elizabeth Maass allowed Mr. Perelman's allegation of fraud against the bank to be put to the jury as fact, as a sanction for the bank's continued failure to provide documents in the litigation, a process known as discovery.
"Morgan Stanley Appeals Decision To Award Perelman $1.45 Billion," by Marietta Cauchi, The Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2005; Page C4 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Morgan Stanley and other investment banking frauds are at

Also see Derivative Financial Instruments frauds at

Free General Ledger Software (Accounting) ---

Ledger - General Ledger & Cashbook
Ledger is a free basic accounting system for small to medium-sized organizations that need a general ledger or cashbook. Because it is very easy to install and use it will also appeal to students of double-entry bookkeeping.

Account balances are calculated dynamically so that balance sheets or income statements can be produced for any arbitrary date or period. There is no such thing as a period close or roll-over however a viewing period can be specified to limit the number of entries visible on-screen. The program also allows for multiple companies and users spread over a wide geographic area.

Jensen Comment
I stumbled on this site and have no experience with it one way of the other.

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting software are at

Indexing and Searching scanned documents

December 13, 2005 message from Scott Bonacker [AECM@BONACKER.US]

Normally to take a scanned document and make it searchable you would run an OCR program on it. Then you would read the output and manually correct spelling and formatting errors before it was even worth lookin at. If you want to make something editable this still applies. But most of the time all I want to do is to search and locate something.

With Adobe Acrobat you can take the scanned images and recognize text using OCR to create a searchable PDF file. The original scanned image remains visible, and the searchable text is embedded in the image. Searching for a word or phrase will generally get you to the right place in the document, although the highlighted search result will be slightly off from the visible scan of the word.

X1 will then index the document just like any other and it can be located with normal searches.

In a paperless office where nearly everything is scanned, this is way better than going the full OCR and editing route.

Scott Bonacker, CPA
Springfield, Missouri

December 13, 2005 reply from Jim McKinney [jim@MCKINNEYCPA.COM]

I would suggest doing the OCR portion of the pdf file in OmniPage. I found that for me personally, the OCR in Acrobat is not very accurate. OmniPage seems to do a better job. You can still save the file so that it works like a text-searchable pdf. OmniPage can also handle grayscale and color scanned pdf's. I also found that once you OCR in Acrobat you cannot OCR in OmniPage.

Boilercast from Purdue University

BoilerCast ---
BoilerCast uses current digital audio delivery technology to deliver classroom audio recordings to the students at their request. These recordings are often used as review of the day’s material for use on homework assignments and review before exams. BoilerCast is a service available to all credit courses held on the West Lafayette campus and is capable of recording lectures from over 70 classrooms on campus with no lead time, and any other campus classroom with sufficient notice. The real benefit of BoilerCast is that the instructor orders the service at the beginning of the semester and everything else is automatically handled. Instructors do not need to worry about recording a class or posting in on their website as this is all handled for them as part of the service. Instructors using Purdue’s central course management system, Vista, can integrate the service into their course materials by simply creating a link to the course audio website set up for them.

Jensen Comment
Note that lectures on BoilerCast can either be password protected or unlocked for the public.  Most are unlocked.  There are many other sources of podcasts, including the following:

Bob Jensen's threads on Podcasting are at

The Future of Traditional Publishing

"HarperCollins Plans to Control Its Digital Books," by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Kevin J. Delaney, The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2005; Page B1 --- 

In the latest salvo in the fight over the future of books on the Internet, one of the country's biggest publishers said it intends to produce digital copies of its books and then make them available to search services offered by such companies as Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and, while maintaining physical possession of the digital files.

News Corp.'s HarperCollins Publishers Inc. hopes to head off the prospect of these big Internet companies taking charge of books that it has purchased, edited and published.

Its move to digitize its active backlist of an estimated 20,000 titles and as many as 3,500 new books each year comes at a moment when technology companies and the publishing industry are wrestling over rights and economic models for books online. HarperCollins's effort to make search companies use its digital copies is an aggressive response to anxieties felt by publishers worried that they will lose control over their intellectual property.

Along with a recent initiative by Bertelsmann AG's Random House, the initiative signals a growing desire by publishers to control and participate in some of the new online uses of their books.

"Now is the time to build a digital infrastructure that will allow us to protect our rights and the rights of our authors," said Jane Friedman, chief executive of News Corp.'s HarperCollins Publishers. "We will make all of our books available digitally, but we will store the digital copies and license them out to those who want to use them."

"We didn't like being seen as Luddites," she added. "We see what's going on, and we get it. We want to be the best collaborator, but we also want to take charge of our future."

Continued in article

"What's the Return on Education?," by Anna Bernasek, The New York Times, December 11, 2005 ---

The most important factor (in the U.S.) was the move to universal high school education from 1910 to 1940. It expanded the education of the work force far more rapidly than at any other time in the nation's history, creating economic benefits that extended well into the remainder of the century, according to Professors Katz and Goldin. That moved the United States ahead of other countries in education and laid the foundation for the expansion of higher education.

Today, more Americans attend college than ever before, but the rest of the world is catching up. The once-large educational gap between the United States and other countries is closing - making it increasingly important to understand what education is really worth to a nation.

If economists are right, it is not just part of the cost of maintaining a functioning democracy, but a source of wealth creation for all. That means that investing in the education of every American is in everyone's self-interest.

Still, we're a long way from being able to judge the right level of spending on education - and how to achieve it. With a college degree more important than ever, the cost of higher education is rising steeply, creating growing stress for many American families. With more study, researchers may be able to identify ways of reducing costs while increasing the payoff from education.

The earlier parts of this article are at

Home schooling becoming more popular among all races
The move toward home schooling, advocates say, reflects a wider desire among families of all races to guide their children's religious upbringing, but it also reflects concerns about other issues like substandard schools and the preservation of cultural heritage.
"Home Schools Are Becoming More Popular Among Blacks," The New York Times, December 11, 2005 ---

"Heading Off Heart Attacks: A potential genetic test for cardiovascular risk shows how "pharmacogenomics" is coming into its own," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, December 13, 2005 ---,304,p1.html?trk=nl 

Of course children don’t worry much about heart attacks. But what if there were a test that could predict how vulnerable a child was to cardiovascular disease later in life? Then doctors might be able to counsel their patients about making lifestyle changes, or give a child preventative medicines before their arteries started clogging up.

That’s the dream of pharmacogenomics -- the practice of tailoring treatments to any individual’s unique genetic make-up. Since the completion in 2003 of the human genome -- an entire readout of the sequence of nucleotides in human DNA -- this emerging field of medicine has been dogged by skepticism and unmet promises. But as pharmacogenomics tests and treatments are starting to materialize and technological advances in the laboratory are speeding development even further, once-doubtful drug companies are beginning to get on board.

Continued in article

Please SNARF Bob Jensen

"E-Mail You Can't Ignore:  A new program from Microsoft learns who's important in your life and puts their messages at the top of your inbox," by Tim Gnatek, MIT's Technology Review, December 12, 2005 ---,308,p1.html?trk=nl 

Many workers will return from their holiday vacations to an avalanche of unread e-mails. And sorting the important ones from the trivial might just exhaust any holiday goodwill -- especially now that three-quarters of all incoming office e-mail is junk, according to research firm Gartner.

There are new solutions to manage one's mailbox, however, that combine software and sociology. Going beyond existing measures, such as spam filters and blacklists, these newer applications prioritize incoming e-mail by studying the patterns of human interaction.

Microsoft Research released one such program on November 30. The free download is called SNARF, for Social Network and Relationship Finder. It runs alongside Microsoft Outlook (2002 and newer versions), poring through e-mail histories and following chains of communications to ferret out the unread messages it deems most important.

SNARF measures a sender's importance based on two key factors: the number and frequency of messages sent and received. The program then sorts unread e-mails into three fields: messages where the user is listed in the To or CC fields, group e-mails, and all messages received in the last week. SNARF lists messages by senders, rather than subject lines, and puts a user's most important correspondents on top.

Continued in article

The latest release of the open-source Firefox browser
On November 29, a new version of the Firefox Web browser was released at And within two days after Firefox 1.5 went live, more than two million people had downloaded it. Although it's only an incremental upgrade -- Firefox 2.0 is expected in mid-2006 -- the changes are obvious to anyone who has used the earlier version. (Its maker, the Mozilla Corporation, touts it as a faster, safer, smoother version of the program.) For instance, the new Firefox allows pages to load noticeably faster, thanks to a special cache that stores the most recently viewed pages -- those accessed through the "forward" and "back" buttons. The browser's viewing tabs, for accessing numerous pages in one window, can now be re-ordered in drag-and-drop fashion. And a "live bookmarks" feature is continually updated with the most recent headlines from news feeds around the Internet.

Kate Greene, "By the People The latest release of the open-source Firefox browser includes many features requested, and even designed, by users," MIT's Technology Review, December 2, 2005 ---,1,p1.html?trk=nl

Also see

One issue that has been getting attention since the Wednesday release of Firefox 1.5 is a bug that causes Mac OS X systems to use 100 percent of available processor resources in some cases, such as when scrolling in some Web-based applications (such as Google Maps) and holding down the mouse button. The bug has been known since before the release of Firefox 1.0, but has never been fixed, critics noted. (The Mozilla project has assigned the issue bug no. 141710.)
Matthew Broersma, "Firefox flaw highlighted," TechWorld, December 1, 2005 ---

Warnings About Firefox Upgrading

"Firefox: Why You Shouldn't Upgrade, And Favorite Extensions," by Mitch Wagner, InformationWeek Newsletter, December 12, 2005

My colleague Scot Finnie has a surprising recommendation about Firefox 1.5: Don't.

Or, rather, not yet.

He's recommending against upgrading to the latest version of Firefox, at least temporarily.

That's surprising because Scot is, like me, a huge Firefox advocate. He loves it, and so do I.

Another reason it's surprising is because, back last month, Scot recommended the opposite.

So what's changed? Stability, compatibility and performance. Somewhere between the release candidate that Scot evaluated last month and the final version of 1.5 released earlier two weeks ago, problems emerged. The new Firefox (he says) is slower and more prone to crashes than 1.0x versions. Moreover, there are more pages on the Web that are incompatible with the current version of Firefox than with 1.0x versions.

When I saw Scot's article, I sent him an E-mail. "I wish I'd seen your review before I upgraded last week. Thanks a lot, fella," I said.

Continued in article

Does a shortage of accountants contribute to client stress?
Some people in the industry say that customer service problems arise because fewer people are entering the field. "There is a shortage of accountants in this country," said Shannon Vincent, chief executive of the ReNew Group, an accounting-practice consulting firm in Oakland, Calif. "As a result, they don't necessarily have to treat their customers well."
Erwyn Brown, "How to Make Your (Accounting) Relationship Work," The New York Times, December 11, 2005 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on how to find an accounting and legal professional are at

"A Little Sleuthing Unmasks Writer of Wikipedia Prank," by Katharine Q. Seelye, The New York Times, December 11, 2005 ---

In a confessional letter to Mr. Seigenthaler, Mr. Chase said he thought Wikipedia was a "gag" Web site and that he had written the assassination tale to shock a co-worker, who knew of the Seigenthaler family and its illustrious history in Nashville.

"It had the intended effect," Mr. Chase said of his prank in an interview. But Mr. Chase said that once he became aware last week through news accounts of the damage he had done to Mr. Seigenthaler, he was remorseful and also a little scared of what might happen to him.

Mr. Chase also found that he was slowly being cornered in cyberspace, thanks to the sleuthing efforts of Daniel Brandt, 57, of San Antonio, who makes his living as a book indexer. Mr. Brandt has been a frequent critic of Wikipedia and started an anti-Wikipedia Web site ( in September after reading what he said was a false entry about himself.

Continued in article

Also see,1282,69810,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_6

Jensen Comment:
Wikipedia is now the world's largest encyclopedia ---

Off the government balance sheets - out of sight and out of mind

"The Next Retirement Time Bomb," by Milt Freudenheim and Mary Williams, The New York Times, December 11, 2005 --- 

SINCE 1983, the city of Duluth, Minn., has been promising free lifetime health care to all of its retired workers, their spouses and their children up to age 26. No one really knew how much it would cost. Three years ago, the city decided to find out.

It took an actuary about three months to identify all the past and current city workers who qualified for the benefits. She tallied their data by age, sex, previous insurance claims and other factors. Then she estimated how much it would cost to provide free lifetime care to such a group.

The total came to about $178 million, or more than double the city's operating budget. And the bill was growing.

"Then we knew we were looking down the barrel of a pretty high-caliber weapon," said Gary Meier, Duluth's human resources manager, who attended the meeting where the actuary presented her findings.

Mayor Herb Bergson was more direct. "We can't pay for it," he said in a recent interview. "The city isn't going to function because it's just going to be in the health care business."

Duluth's doleful discovery is about to be repeated across the country. Thousands of government bodies, including states, cities, towns, school districts and water authorities, are in for the same kind of shock in the next year or so. For years, governments have been promising generous medical benefits to millions of schoolteachers, firefighters and other employees when they retire, yet experts say that virtually none of these governments have kept track of the mounting price tag. The usual practice is to budget for health care a year at a time, and to leave the rest for the future.

Off the government balance sheets - out of sight and out of mind - those obligations have been ballooning as health care costs have spiraled and as the baby-boom generation has approached retirement. And now the accounting rulemaker for the public sector, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, says it is time for every government to do what Duluth has done: to come to grips with the total value of its promises, and to report it to their taxpayers and bondholders.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
FAS 106 (effective December 15, 1992) prohibits keeping post-retirement benefits such as medical benefits off private sector  balance sheets of corporations --- .  The equivalent for the public sector is GASB 45, but the new rules do not go into effect until for cities as large as Duluth until December 15, 2006 ---

Effective Date:

    The requirements of this Statement are effective in three phases based on a government's total annual revenues in the first fiscal year ending after June 15, 1999:

    • Governments that were phase 1 governments for the purpose of implementation of Statement 34—those with annual revenues of $100 million or more—are required to implement this Statement in financial statements for periods beginning after December 15, 2006.
    • Governments that were phase 2 governments for the purpose of implementation of Statement 34—those with total annual revenues of $10 million or more but less than $100 million—are required to implement this Statement in financial statements for periods beginning after December 15, 2007.
    • Governments that were phase 3 governments for the purpose of implementation of Statement 34—those with total annual revenues of less than $10 million—are required to implement this Statement in financial statements for periods beginning after December 15, 2008.

The new GASB 25 implementation dates may trigger defaults and "The Next Retirement Time Bomb."

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at

Ford, UAW Set Tentative Deal On Health-Care Concessions
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Vice President Gerald Bantom said Saturday that the accord, which still needs to be approved by UAW Ford workers, "asks every UAW member, active and retired, to make sacrifices so that everyone can continue to receive excellent health-care coverage today and in the future." Among other things, the UAW's deal with GM requires retirees to pay premiums, which they hadn't previously. High health-care and other labor costs are eating into the earnings of auto makers and their suppliers. Several auto-parts makers have filed for bankruptcy protection, most notably Delphi Corp., and GM and Ford are struggling to restore profitability as foreign manufacturers with leaner cost structures grab market share in the U.S.
Stephen Wisnefski, "Ford, UAW Set Tentative Deal On Health-Care Concessions," The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2005; Page B2 ---

"Interstellar Spaceflight: Is It Possible?" PhysOrg, December 7, 2005 ---

Serious scientific study of UFOs
Authorities in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province, announced yesterday that they had received 160 million yuan (US$20 million) from a Taiwan-based company to construct a UFO research base. Some people in the city"s Baiyun District believe they were visited by aliens in 1994, and with this new research base, they hope to reproduce the mysterious moment, through photos and historical documentation.

"Mystery of UFO research puzzles scientists," PhysOrg, December 8, 2005 ---

What percentage of college faculty are non-tenure track adjuncts?
The number of adjuncts is on the rise nearly everywhere, as state universities search for ways to keep tuition and costs down and deal with falling state support. Lower-paid adjuncts like Jette free up their tenured colleagues for upper-level courses and research. The American Federation of Teachers, which represents more than 50,000 adjuncts around the country, says that 43 percent of college faculty members around the country are part-time, non-tenure-track professors, up from 33 percent a decade ago.
"An army of adjuncts:  Part-time professors increasingly common at state universities," CNN, December 9, 2005 ---

New discovery on how cancer spreads within a body
Scientists have discovered how cancer spreads from a primary site to other places in the body in a finding that could open doors for new ways of treating and preventing advanced disease. Instead of a cell just breaking off from a tumor and traveling through the bloodstream to another organ where it forms a secondary tumour, or metastasis, researchers in the United States have shown that the cancer sends out envoys to prepare the new site. Intercepting those envoys, or blocking their action with drugs, might help to prevent the spread of cancer or to treat it in patients in which it has already occurred.
MSNBC, December 8, 2005 --- 

Tim Priest blames Australian race riots on police force neglect
In an article on this page nearly two years ago ("Don't turn a blind eye to terror in our midst," January 12, 2004), I argued that the increasing frequency of racially motivated attacks on young Australian men and women - including murders, gang rapes and serious assaults by young men of Lebanese Muslim descent - would rise dramatically throughout Australia. These problems remain widespread and have been documented in the ensuing two years. Yet the NSW Labor Government and police have failed to address the issues in any way apart from the instigation of something called Strike Force Gain, set up to investigate a spate of shootings involving young men of Middle Eastern descent in southwest Sydney last year. This strike force has been largely wound down due to budgetary restraints.
Tim Priest, "Blame race riots on police force neglect," The Australian, December 13, 2005 ---,5744,17546003^601,00.html

"LASIK - Some Wounds Never Heal," Dr. Lloyd, WebMD, November 29, 2005 ---

This is going right up front so there is no misunderstanding:

1. I do not think LASIK is bad surgery.
2. I do not think every patient is a
good candidate for LASIK.
3. I do not think every patient fully understands what happens during LASIK.

Regarding that third point, many LASIK patients are surprised to learn (months, years following LASIK) that their LASIK flap never heals. That's right! That slender layer of superficial cornea never forms a scar to bind it to the remaining cornea.

The LASIK flap is necessary in order to expose the deeper corneal layers to the laser energy that reverses the refractive power of the eye. But there's a catch - that flap never heals after it is gently repositioned. Because there is no scarring the LASIK surgeon can retreat the eye if more laser is needed. Lots of accidental injuries can also lift that flap: shrubbery, children's fingers, spray from water skiing, eye-pokes from sports competition, etc. LASIK flap trauma can cause the flap to completely come off the eye...bad news!

This information is not intended to frighten anyone away from LASIK - just be sure you know all of the potential risks of complications. After LASIK be sure to always wear quality protective eyewear whenever you are involved in any activity that might jeopardize those precious LASIK flaps. Whether operating a weed whacker or water skiing be sure to take the necessary precautions in order that you can continue to enjoy crisp eyesight.

Saudi Prince Gives Millions to Harvard and Georgetown
Harvard University and Georgetown University each announced yesterday that they had received $20 million donations from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, a Saudi businessman and member of the Saudi royal family, to finance Islamic studies. Harvard said it would create a universitywide program on Islamic studies, recruit new faculty members in the field, provide more support for graduate students and convert rare Islamic textual sources into digital formats to make them widely available.
Karen W. Arenson, "Saudi Prince Gives Millions to Harvard and Georgetown ," The New York Times, December 13, 2005 ---

Wisconsin school's recommended generic lyrics to the melody of Silent Night

Cold in the night,
no one in sight,
winter winds whirl and bite,
how I wish I were happy and warm,
safe with my family out of the storm.

For a performance in its "winter program," a Wisconsin elementary school has changed the beloved Christmas carol "Silent Night," calling the song "Cold in the Night" and secularizing the lyrics.
"'Silent Night' secularized," World Net Daily, December 7, 2005 ---

See more than rooftops:  Free satellite photos at 45-degree angles (Bird's Eye Images) ---
Use the slider to zoom and the arrows to relocate

In battling Google in local search, Microsoft is falling back on its familiar strategy: copy and then go one better. The software giant has released in beta a new online service that's similar to Google Local, but has some impressive innovations. Windows Live Local combines Microsoft's local search engine and Virtual Earth aerial-imaging service. In providing the new tool, Microsoft is going a step further than Google by providing 45-degree aerial views of locations. This so-called "bird's-eye view" is only available for places in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle and Las Vegas, but more cities are expected to be added over time . . . Besides its bird's-eye views, Microsoft is offering step-by-step driving directions using either the angular views or straight-down satellite views, identification of construction areas along a specific route and several print options, such as the ability to only print directions or to include thumbnail pictures of each turn in the route. User also can print directions that include their personal notes.
Antone Gonsalves, InformationWeek Newsletter, December 8, 2005 ---

Also see,aid,123847,00.asp

Microsoft's preview is at

Microsoft's Live Ideas site is at

Bob Jensen's threads on satellite mapping services are at

Too much:  Daily streams of new features from Google, Yahoo, and MSN

"Who's Listening To Google, Yahoo, MSN?" by Antone Gonsalves, InformationWeek Newsletter, December 9, 2005

Announcements of new Web services from Google, Yahoo or Microsoft's MSN are almost a daily occurrence. This week alone, each has made at least one, with Yahoo making two.

Recent releases include Google launching a trip-planning service for people who prefer public transportation, Yahoo providing new Internet telephony features and search based on queries and answers from its subscribers, and Microsoft unveiling Windows Live Local search.

All of this was released in one week, and adds to the many other mind-numbing announcements made over the last 12 months.

With so much noise coming from these three giants, one has to ask who's listening, besides tech reporters and early adopters? I suspect hardly anyone.

These portals are becoming massive in scope, making it nearly impossible for someone to follow what's new without making a career out of it. Frankly, I think most people are more interested in Christmas shopping these days than in planning a bus trip on Google, or trying out new mapping capabilities on MSN.

I say its time for Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to rethink their strategy in releasing new features. Rather than just making announcements to the media, they should start targeting specific groups of subscribers or Internet users who may actually be interested in a particular service.

Companies Adapt Technology to Improve Seniors' Lives
Meet Chester the Talking Pill, Guido the interactive walker and Pearl, a personal robot designed to carry groceries or dirty dishes to the kitchen with a simple voice command. Researchers dreaming up such high-tech innovations to make the lives of senior citizens easier are convening this week at an unusual technology exhibition at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Woodley Park. The event, timed to coincide with a once-a-decade White House Conference on Aging, is open to the public today.
"It's Gee-Whiz for the Golden Years: Companies Adapt Technology to Improve Seniors' Lives," by Mike Musgrove, The Washington Post, December 13, 2005 ---

Also see

From The Washington Post on December 13, 2005

Japanese citizens are increasingly turning to electronic cash to purchase items at department and grocery stores, as well as to pay restaurant tabs. Besides electronic cards, what other devices can Japanese use to facilitate electronic payments?

A. Cell phones
B. iPods
C. Thumbprints
D. Wrist-watches

One of the reasons Ford is in trouble
Lincoln's success isn't just in the pre-import years, either. Get this: In 1990, sales of the Lincoln Town Car alone hit nearly 150,000 -- more than Mercedes and BMW sold in the U.S. combined. And in 1998, Lincoln rode the success of its Navigator SUV and LS sports sedan to win the U.S. luxury-sales crown. But since then, Lincoln has been in a freefall, and only this year is Ford trying to do anything about it. The new Zephyr sedan and Mark LT luxury pickup are Ford's attempts to transform the Lincoln from also-ran to American luxury. With 102,000 vehicles sold this year, Lincoln trails every serious luxury brand except Saab and some of the pricey niche brands, such as Jaguar. NOTHING UNIQUE.  And guess what? These new cars won't do the trick. Not even close.
"New Lincolns, Same Old Problems," Business Week, December 6, 2005 ---

National Federation of the Blind ---

Bob Jensen's helpers for students with disabilities are at

New Guidelines for Copyright Policies in Universities
Four associations have released a guide for colleges to use in reviewing whether their copyright policies reflect recent legal and technological developments. The guide notes that colleges and their faculty members are major producers of copyrighted material, and that professors and students also are big users of such material — sometimes in ways that create legal difficulties. The groups that prepared the guide are the Association of American Universities, the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of American University Presses, and the Association of American Publishers.
Inside Higher Ed, December 7, 2005 ---

A report released yesterday by a pair of free-expression advocates at New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice claims Web site owners and remix artists alike are finding free-expression rights squelched because of ambiguities in copyright law. The study argues that so-called "fair use" rights are under attack. It suggests six major steps for change, including reducing penalties for infringement and making a greater number of pro-bono lawyers available to defend alleged fair users. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 12/6/2005
Coverage at"> 
Report at">a>
From the University of Illinois Scholarly Communication Blog on December 7, 2005 --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on the DMCA are at

Colleges Can File Claims for Asbestos Removal Costs
Colleges can file claims through March 15 to recoup money for the costs of removing asbestos as part of a $50 million settlement, the American Council on Education and National Association of College and University Business Officers said Tuesday. The settlement was reached in an 18-year-old class action known as Central Wesleyan v. W.R. Grace.
Inside Higher Ed
, December 7, 2005 ---

Florida Jury Refuses to Convict Ex-Professor in U.S. Terror Case
But Michael Greenberger, a University of Maryland law professor and former Clinton Justice Department official, said the verdicts show that "no matter the extent of the broad powers the government has been given under the Patriot Act, jurors are still going to apply common sense to the facts that are presented to them." In 2003, federal prosecutors alleged Mr. Arian had concealed a terrorist cell within "the structure, facilities and academic environment" of the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he worked as a computer-science professor and set up an Islamic studies research project. Prosecutors accused Mr. Arian of raising funds and channeling them to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which the U.S. classifies as a terrorist organization. The indictment alleged that Mr. Arian and his co-defendants had financed terrorist attacks that killed more than 100 people in Israel and its occupied territories, including two Americans.
Jesse Bravin, "Florida Jury Refuses to Convict Ex-Professor in U.S. Terror Case," The Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2005; Page A12 ---

Also see

Now the government will get your unpaid student loan, with interest, if you should live to retirement age
The federal government can withhold money from Social Security payments to a borrower who has been in default on student loans for a decade or more, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday. The ruling in Lockhart v. United States (04-881) involved James Lockhart, a Washington State man who by 2002 owed more than $80,000 from nine student loans that he had failed to repay. When the Treasury Department began dipping into his monthly Social Security checks to collect, he sued, citing a clause in the 1982 Debt Collection Act that applied a 10-year statute of limitations on the government’s ability to collect on student loan debt in that way.
Inside Higher Ed, December 8, 2005 ---

Also see

"Viral cure could 'immunise' the internet," Kurt Kleiner, NewScientist, December 1, 2005 ---

Some researchers have developed artificial "immune systems" that automatically analyse a virus meaning a fix can be sent out more rapidly. In practise, however, computer viruses still tend to spread too quickly.

Now Eran Shir, and colleagues at Tel-Aviv University in Israeli, have applied network theory to the problem, and believe they have come up with a more effective solution.

Part of the problem, the researchers say, is that countermeasures sent from a central server over the same network as the virus it is pursuing will always be playing catch-up.

They propose developing a network of "honeypot" computers, distributed across the internet and dedicated to the task of combating viruses. To a virus, these machines would seem like ordinary vulnerable computers. But the honeypots would attract a virus, analyse it automatically, and then distribute a countermeasure

Healing hubs But the honeypots would be linked to one another via a dedicated and secure network. This way, once one has captured a virus, all the others will quickly know about the infection immediately. Each honeypot then acts as a hub of healing code which is disseminated to computers connected to it. The countermeasure then spreads out across the broader network.

Simulations show that the larger the network grows, the more efficient this scheme should be. For example, if a network has 50,000 nodes (computers), and just 0.4% of those are honeypots, just 5% of the network will be infected before the immune system halts the virus, assuming the fix works properly. But, a 200-million-node network – with the same proportion of honeypots – should see just 0.001% of machines get infected.

Security measures, such as encryption, would be needed to prevent viruses from exploiting the honeypot network.

"They've shown it is possible to use this epidemically spreading immune agent to good advantage," says Jeff Kephart, a computer scientist at IBM in Hawthorne, New York, US. "The next step would be to look more carefully at the benefits and costs of this approach. I see promise in it."

The paper only discusses the mathematical model, and there is no effective implementation as yet. But Shir plans to release a simple example program soon and hopes that volunteers or a company will eventually implement the real thing across the internet.

Journal reference: Nature Physics (DOI: 10.1038/nphys177).

Google vs. Microsoft:  Classified Adds Moving Onto the Web
Putting aside the well-documented decline in some key aspects of the daily newspaper business -- most notably paid circulation -- it must be daunting for newspaper execs to consider Microsoft and Google encroaching on their classified-ad business. In Microsoft's case, the company is testing an online classifieds service that would let people sell personal items over its instant messaging, social networking, or local search services. The software vendor plans to let users offer goods or services to contacts on MSN Messenger or to groups within its blogging service. At the same time, prospective purchasers would be able to set up RSS feeds and get updates on new items being listed. Microsoft's disclosure follows an apparent -- or widely interpreted -- move by Google that could result in a big classified ad push. Combine that with competition from the likes of classifieds on Yahoo, and the dominance of eBay.
Tom Smith, InformationWeek Daily Newsletter, December 2, 2005

The Library of Economics and Liberty ---

Why is Economics So Boring?
by Donald Cox

Two economists, Stan Sigma and Ollie Omega are overheard talking in the faculty lounge.

Stan: Ollie, you know the worst part about being an economist? You meet someone at a cocktail party, you tell them you teach economics...

Ollie: ...and they say "Oh, yeah, I took that in college. I hated it. It was sooo boring!"

Stan: Then come the observations about the professor's personal hygiene and it goes downhill from there. "Most of what goes on in the marketplace is about gains from trading, not gains from raiding."

Ollie: At which point you say "Sorry, did I say economics? I meant Sunday comics. I teach Sunday comics.

Stan: Never works though.

Ollie: I have an idea. I have a plot for a made-for-TV movie about economics. I'll show ‘em! Ready?

Stan: What's the title?

Ollie: Hmmm. Let's see. I've got it. Equation 14!

Stan: Equation what? I'm not optimistic.

Ollie: Wait, listen, this is gonna be good.

The scene: A small, stuffy seminar room in the economics department at Meadows College.

Professor Ralph Whittemore Heinous, 35, struggling, still not tenured, is teaching a senior honors economics seminar.

Sally Bright, star student, is presenting a draft of her thesis, a penetrating, complex new theory of how to adjust interest rates in order to keep the economy on track. Brilliant, original stuff.

Continued in article

Happiness, Progress and the "Vanity of the Philosopher" Part 2
The Trial of Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh
by Sandra J. Peart, David M. Levy

The popular interpretation of Malthusian population theory is one of inexorable tragedy—population will inevitably outstrip the food supply leading to famine and death. This caricature of Thomas Robert Malthus neglects his view that individuals could make choices to avoid tragedy, using their uniquely human gifts of foresight and calculation.

Even though Malthus was aware of the sexual temptation associated with an unmarried state, Malthus advocated delay of marriage to prudentially restrain population. He recognized the "vice" that would follow from this delay of marriage but chose to risk this and advocated what he called the "preventive check" as a way to avoid misery. An additional step was taken by "neo-Malthusians," Francis Place, James Mill, and John Stuart Mill, who advocated contraception so that people could marry at a younger age and still prudentially restrain population. J. S. Mill wrote about this delicately in his Principles of Political Economy:

That it is possible to delay marriage, and to live in abstinence while unmarried, most people are willing to allow; but when persons are once married, the idea, in this country, never seems to enter any one's mind that having or not having a family, or the number of which it shall consist, is amenable to their own control. One would imagine that children were rained down upon married people, direct from heaven, without their being art or part in the matter; that it was really, as the common phrases have it, God's will, and not their own, which decided the numbers of their offspring—(Principles of Political Economy, Bk. II, Ch. 13, par. II.13.3). "The dramatic episode that clarified the difference between classical political economy and Darwin's biology began on June 18, 1877, with the trial of two prominent neo-Malthusians, Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant, for the crime of publishing an 'obscene' book, a practical guide to contraception by the American physician, John Knowlton, Fruits of Philosophy."

Charles Darwin's views on population growth stand in contrast with those of Malthus. His theory of natural selection was a theory about creatures without the ability to foresee the consequences of their actions. In such a world, population growth would ultimately be checked not by providential restraint but by the miseries of too many creatures chasing too little food. Darwin believed that natural selection applied to humans, thereby guaranteeing that human beings become "better" over time as the pressures of scarcity winnowed out those who could not compete.

Malthus and the Neo-Malthusians called the natural forces that limited population growth, the "positive check." They instead advocated what they called the "preventive check"—the deliberate use of contraception or other foresightful behavior to avoid misery. According to Darwin's theories, adding the preventive check to the positive check was tampering with natural selection—it would impede human progress.

As might be expected, the contrasting positions on foresight and family formation also coincided with contrasting views on making contraceptive information available. Malthus' population theory was a plea for experts to trust the individual's own understanding of his place in the world and for experts to stop trying to make decisions for poor people. Equipped with the capacity to foresee the consequences of their actions, poor people—like anyone else—were capable of deciding when to marry and have children. The opposing view was that if poor people didn't possess the foresight or ability to make such decisions, birth control should be controlled by experts in the medical profession.

Continued in article

Analyst forecasts:  A "consensus" of one analyst
When you think of a person whose opinion counts most for a company, the CEO, chairman or chief financial officer probably comes to mind. But for nearly 700 public U.S. companies, the one analyst who covers the stock ranks right up there. That might sound farfetched, but consider mutual fund tracker Morningstar, which reported 70% higher earnings in its most recent quarter, but saw its stock whacked 6% anyway the day of the earnings release. Its results fell short of the "consensus" that actually was the estimate of the one analyst who covers the company. "It's kind of scary," says that analyst, Marvin Loh of DE Investment Research. "If they miss me, they miss the estimate."
Matt Krantz, "'Consensus estimate' may be from one analyst," USA Today, December 6, 2005 ---

Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at

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Of the world's 100 largest economic entities, 51 are now corporations and 49 are countries ---

Almost 300 Million Cameraphones Sold In 2005
This year, almost 40% of all phones sold also will include cameras, Gartner says, as compared with 14% of the total just a year ago.
"Almost 300 Million Cameraphones Sold In 2005: Gartner," InformationWeek, December 1, 2005 ---

National Tribal Justice Resource Center (Law) ---

National Tribal Justice Resource Center (Law)---

The Pledge of Allegiance

December 9, 2005 message from Dick Haar (turn on your computer speakers)

Red Skelton was a movie star and comedian on television back fifty years ago. He created a number of characters and his show was watched by millions. He did this on his show one evening, back when shows were live.

Necessary listening for all Americans.

"Shoplifter Runs From Store Into K-9 Training Area," KOIN News 6, December 11, 2005 ---

From the opening act to the hot-pursuit chase to the grand finale, the Three Stooges couldn't have choreographed a foiled shoplifting attempt in Medford any better. It began when a Fred Meyer's worker spotted a man snatching a $42 bottle of Calvin Klein perfume and stuffing it down the front of his pants. The man left the store, but security caught up with him just as he jumped into the frigid waters of Bear Creek.

When the 33-year-old suspect emerged from the creek, he made for some baseball fields. What he didn't know was that the fields were the training grounds for the Medford police department's K-9 units.

Police dogs Tiko and Rudy, along with their handlers, were honing their crime-fighting skills. The dogs found the suspect almost immediately, and he surrendered.

PhD Comics ---

Forwarded by Paula

Father Murphy walks into a pub in Donegal, and says to the first man he meets, "Do you want to go to heaven?"

The man said, "I do Father."

The priest said, "Then stand over there against the wall." Then the priest asked the second man, "Do you want to got to heaven?"

"Certainly, Father," was the man's reply. "Then stand over there against the wall," said the priest. Then Father Murphy walked up to O'Toole and said, "Do you want to go to heaven?"

O'Toole said, "No, I don't Father."

The priest said, "I don't believe this. You mean to tell me that when you die you don't want to go to heaven?"

O'Toole said, "Oh, when I die, yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now."


O'Toole worked in the lumber yard for twenty years and all that time he'd been stealing the wood and selling it.

At last his conscience began to bother him and he went to confession to repent. "Father, it's 15 years since my last confession, and I've been stealing wood from the lumber yard all those years," he told the priest.

"I understand my son," says the priest. "Can you make a Novena?"

O'Toole said, "Father, if you have the plans, I've got the lumber."


Paddy was in New York. He was patiently waiting, and watching the traffic cop on a busy street crossing. The cop stopped the flow of traffic and shouted, "Okay, pedestrians." Then he'd allow the traffic to pass. He'd done this several times, and Paddy still stood on the sidewalk.

After the cop had shouted "Pedestrians" for the tenth time, Paddy went over to him and said, "Is it not about time ye let the Catholics across?"


Gallagher opened the morning newspaper and was dumbfounded to read in the obituary column that he had died.

He quickly phoned his best friend Finney. "Did you see the paper?" asked Gallagher. "They say I died!!"

"Yes, I saw it!" replied Finney. "Where are ye callin' from?"


Mrs. Murphy is looking for the grave of her late husband (a notorious criminal) as it has been a while since she was there. She goes to the cemetery's management office and says, "I am looking for my husband's grave."

"Ok madam", says the director. "What was his name?"

"John Murphy," she answers.

He looks through his large book for quite a time and says "sorry there are no John Murphy's in our cemetery, nothing but one Mary Murphy."

The woman brightens up and says, "Of course that's it; everything was in my name."


An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut. The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car. He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?"

"Just water," says the priest.

The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?"

The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"

Forwarded by Dick Haar

Check out this Google quirk

Somebody at Google is very clever or inept.

1st - Go to

2nd - Type in "french military victories", without the quotes.

3rd - Instead of hitting "Search" hit "I'm feeling Lucky" (then, by all means, or just hit search and select the option Google gives you).e

4th - Tell your friends before the people at Google fix it


Have a great holiday break with your family and friends!!!!!

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Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
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