New Dictionary Words of 2005 and Beyond --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5075545
I exist as I am, that is enough.
Walt Whitman --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Whitman
How do we inspire creativity?
"Finding the Courage to Begin Again," by Amy L. Wink, Inside Higher Ed, January 3, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/01/03/wink
The Duo introduce that wonderful time-shifting gadget,
the digital video recorder ---
Also see "Meet the DVR," The Washington Post, December 31, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/DuoDVR
Remember to patch your PC yet again on January 10,
Our PCs are commencing to look like patchwork quilts with patches on top of patches
"Microsoft to Patch Windows Flaw Next Week," by Brian Krebs, The Washington Post, January 4, 2006 --- http://snipurl.com/wpJan4
Microsoft has updated its advisory on an unpatched flaw in Windows that hackers are using to embed spyware and other malicious programs on PCs running the company's Windows operating system. Redmond now says it plans to release a patch on Jan. 10 to fix the problem.
This is not that big of a surprise, really. Jan. 10 is the second Tuesday of the month, also known as "Patch Tuesday" -- the day Microsoft regularly issues software patches and updates. (It's also called "Black Tuesday" by system admins who dread the extra hours it takes to test and deploy security patches across thousands of computers).
Had the company not announced plans to issue a patch, that might have been more newsworthy. Given the sheer amount of negative publicity regarding Microsoft's decision to delay releasing the patch for another week, I am willing to bet that the company will switch gears over the next few days and perhaps issue the patch even earlier.
Normally, Microsoft only tells users the Thursday before Black Tuesday how many patches it will issue and what the highest severity rating will be. Microsoft is offering more details in this case because, well, the company wants to make sure everyone knows that it recognizes this is a serious enough threat. Well-respected members of the security community are even urging users not to wait for the patch from Microsoft and to instead install a fix developed by an independent programmer.
The original site where the unofficial patch was posted was quickly knocked offline by massive traffic spikes following a hilarious yet deadly serious post by the SANS Internet Storm Center urging people to download and install the patch. Subsequently, the SANS site itself was also swamped by patch seekers, even after the organization set up a second server to handle all of the requests.
Continued in article
It is important to also take a look at http://snipurl.com/wpbJan4
Note that computers that are not turned off overnight on some campuses may be automatically patched by your tech departments. Mysterious things happen when Big Brother takes command of your PCs.
Bob Jensen's threads on computer and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection
"Cholesterol Drugs Have No Effect In Fighting Cancer, It Now Seems," The Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2006; Page D5 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113630816175836612.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal
Contrary to some researchers' hopes, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs do nothing to fight cancer, an analysis found.
Also see the latest health news from WebMD
Best Drug Prices: Medicare or Canada?
What does Science and its publisher AAAS, claim is "science's breakthrough of the Year 2005?"
Evolution has been the foundation and guiding theory of biology since Darwin gave the theory its proper scientific debut in 1859. But Darwin probably never dreamed that researchers in 2005 would still be uncovering new details about the nuts and bolts of his theory -- how does evolution actually work in the world of influenza genes and chimpanzee genes and stickleback fish armor? Studies that follow evolution in action claim top honors as the Breakthrough of the Year, named by Science and its publisher AAAS, the nonprofit science society.
"Science's Breakthrough of the Year: Watching evolution in action," PhysOrg, December 22, 2005 --- http://physorg.com/news9297.html
In 2005, scientists piled up new insights about evolution at the genetic level and the birth of species, including information that could help us lead healthier lives in the future. Ironically, these often-startling discoveries occurred in a year when backers of "intelligent design" and other opponents of evolution sought to renew challenges to this fundamental concept.
This milestone, plus nine other research advances, make up Science's list of the top ten scientific developments in 2005, chosen for their profound implications for society and the advancement of science. Science's Top Ten list appears in the 23 December 2005 issue of the journal Science.
Many of this year's breakthrough studies followed evolution at the genetic level. In October this year, an international team of researchers unveiled a map of the chimpanzee genome. Scientists are already poring over the chimpanzee genome and another international effort, the biggest map to date of single-letter variations in the human genetic sequence, hoping to get a better glimpse of the human species' evolutionary history. The two studies give scientists new material for studying conditions from AIDS to heart disease, and may lay the groundwork for a future of personalized genetic medicine.
This year's sequencing of the 1918 pandemic flu virus could have a more immediate impact on medicine. The amazing story of flu genes preserved in permafrost and painstakingly reconstructed has a chilling coda: the deadly flu seems to have started out as purely a bird virus. Understanding the evolution of last century's deadly bird flu may help us predict and cope with the current bird flu threat.
Other studies showed how small changes in DNA can trigger dramatic evolutionary events. Researchers found that a single genetic change can be all it takes to turn one species into many, as in the case of the Alaskan stickleback fish that lost its armor and evolved from an ocean-loving species to a variety of landlocked lake dwellers.
Beyond the genome, researchers watched evolution in action among a number of animals, from caterpillars to crickets, and found that behavioral differences such as what to eat and when to mate may be enough to turn a single population into two species. These painstaking observations and other experiments showed that evolutionary studies are as relevant to 2005 as they were to 1859.
Science also salutes nine other scientific achievements of 2005.
Continued in article
Two decades ago, with the advent
of methods to look at the family relationships of different
organisms by analyzing DNA, scientists envisioned it would
only be a matter of time before the various family trees for
plants, animals, fungi and their kin would be resolved with
genetic precision. And while molecular methods have had
enormous success in ordering some branches in the tree of
life - mammals, for example - and have played a critical
role in refining and correcting trees constructed on the
more traditional means of the appearance of organisms, the
tree of animals remains fuzzy. Now, scientists may know why
this is so. Writing this week (Dec. 23, 2005) in the journal
Science, a team of UW-Madison scientists led by Antonis
Rokas, now of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard,
suggests that a branch-by-branch account of animal
relationships over a vast expanse of time is difficult to
reconstruct because early animal evolution occurred in
bunches. "In general, we'd like to know who's related to
whom, and the pattern of the branches of the tree of life,"
says Sean Carroll, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute
investigator at UW-Madison and the senior author of the
Science paper. But 500 million years of animal history on
Earth is a lot of ground to cover, Carroll laments, and now
it seems that the periodic, frenetic bursts of evolution
that occurred at certain times in the distant past make
sorting out animal relationships - the branches on the tree
- extraordinarily difficult.
Terry Devitt, "New Study Shows Animal Family Tree Looking Bushy in Places," University of Wisconsin News, December 2005 --- http://www.news.wisc.edu/11974.html
"Fairy Tale Physics: Myths and Legends Explained," PhysOrg, January 3, 2006 --- http://weblog.physorg.com/news4280.html
What did MIT's Technology Review choose for the five "most significant advances in information technology?"
"Most Important Infotech Stories of '05: From silicon photonics to social computing," MIT's Technology Review, December 30, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16098,308,p1.html?trk=nl
"The Future of Personal Media" --- http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16101,294,p1.html?trk=nl
"The Neatest Nanotech of 2005: Technology Review picks five important advances in nanotechnology and materials science in 2005 -- and one policy issue that could decide the future of the entire field," MIT's Technology Review, December 30, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/NanoTech/wtr_16096,303,p1.html?trk=nl
"Best in Biotech for 2005: Stem cell quandaries, a map of human genetic variability, a lengthy debate on lifespan extension -- this year in biotech was one to remember," MIT's Technology Review, December 28, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16091,304,p1.html?trk=nl
The 50 Greatest Robots The holiday season brings out list after list. This is one of my favorites: the most influential robots of all time. By Brad King http://www.technologyreview.com/Blogs/wtr_16088,290,p1.html?trk=nl
B-Schools Promote Better Learning Through Technology
Arv Malhotra, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School, is a self-proclaimed gadget geek. He owns seven iPods and subscribes to several podcasts, audio files which are automatically transferred to his computer for listening on his digital music players. That's why Malhotra began thinking about how he could use podcasts in his teaching.
Meredith Bodegas, "B-Schools Promote Better Learning Through Technology: High-tech accoutrements such as podcasts, clickers, and digital cameras are changing the traditional MBA experience," Business Week, December 27, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/BWdec27
"Blocking Cellphone Spam," by Debra Goldschmidt, The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2006; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113625263355436073.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal
You're paying for all the unwanted text messages you get on your cellphone.
Unwanted text messages usually come from two sources: telemarketers or friends who do more typing than talking.
The first is called cell spam -- illegal solicitations. Most service providers use anti-spam programs but nothing is foolproof. If you receive cell spam, ask your cellphone company to deduct the cost of that message from your next bill. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission at www.fcc.gov.
So-called friendly fire text messages are those from people you know -- such as your teenager's friends who inadvertently run up your bill. To combat these, most service providers allow you to log onto their Web site to block a limited number of phone numbers from sending you messages. If you have Cingular or Verizon, you can ask to disable the text messaging function on your phone -- or your teenager's phone.
FCC Posts Lists of Sites That Send Spam to Cell Phones --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/02/ap/ap_2020805.asp?trk=nl
Bob Jensen's threads on spam are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection
Overdue Library Books and Unpaid Parking Tickets May
Harm Your FICO (Credit) Score
Late library books, unpaid parking tickets and other routine municipal fees are beginning to affect people's credit scores as city and state governments increasingly hire private collections agencies to collect fines.
Jane Spencer, "A New Threat To Your Credit Rating," The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2006; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113625248988836069.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal
Bob Jensen's threads on FICO are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO
"Underused College Tool: Career Services: Seminars, Personal Coaching And Web Resources Can Help In Landing That First Job," by Cheryl Soltis, The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2006; Page A20 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113624799967135998.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
As graduates-to-be get ready to take their first steps into the working world and alumni consider switching jobs, many overlook one of the richest resources on campus. Career-services departments help both students and alumni with their job hunts. They offer information on writing effective résumés and cover letters, job fairs, mentoring programs and career counselors to coach students through the job hunt, and may offer a Web site that students can use to search for jobs and internships, and even upload their résumés for employers to examine.
In addition to such standard services, some offices have launched programs with a wider reach. Trudy Steinfeld, executive director for the New York University Office of Career Services, says the university holds nearly 600 career-related seminars and workshops each year. It also runs mini career fairs with 15 or 20 organizations that focus on one sector -- typically a competitive field, such as publishing. It even sponsors a dining-for-success program "where we take 100 students out to a restaurant and train them in dining etiquette," Ms. Steinfeld says. The program prepares students who might not otherwise be exposed to such situations for events such as lunch with a future employer or taking a client out to dine.
Although larger schools often have more programs and bigger staffs, smaller colleges may be able to offer more personalized services. Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt., which has fewer than 700 students, creates "student-life transcripts" that track extracurricular activities. Renee Beaupre White, director of career services, says the system helps students when it's time to create a résumé. "A senior might come in and say, 'Oh yeah, I think I did this, but I don't remember when,' and this helps us and them keep a record," she said.
Students get more one-on-one time at smaller schools, Ms. Beaupre White adds. "I love the fact that I'm able to know the students and that they can know me," she says.
When should students get to know the career-services office? "The most important thing for students is to be fully engaged in an academic program and fully involved in their residential setting," says Patricia Rose, director of career services at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "Typically first-semester freshmen are very busy acclimating to college life, but for second-semester freshmen it could be a good time to see what career services has."
Mike Sollenberger has a student job in the career-services department at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, where he's a junior finance major. "Working here helps me with networking skills, and it gives me an inside scoop on internships. It's definitely an advantage," Mr. Sollenberger said.
Laurel Munshower, a production artist at Diversified Digital & Screen Printing Inc. in suburban Philadelphia, didn't know career services even existed at Edinboro University, in Edinboro, Pa., when she was a student there from 1999 to 2003. Although she secured a job on her own, she might have taken advantage of the career-services office if it had been better advertised. "They could have pointed me in the direction of firms and studios in my field looking to hire, or even set up meetings," Ms. Munshower says.
Kewa Luo, a recent graduate of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, came to the U.S. from Beijing in August 2002 to study communications and multimedia. She found four internships through career services, at nonprofit environmental group the Sierra Club, a television station, a public-relations firm and an advertising agency. "I don't think they find the internship for you, but they offer you a source and help you get stuff ready, like your résumé," she says.
Mr. Donnelly, the draftsman, also suggests deciding what kind of help you want before venturing to the office. "Have a clear idea of what you want to gain from your interaction -- even if it is a rather broad idea, like finding a new career," he said.
Note the part about wanting humanities "departments to end a bias that favors print over online publications"
"Radical Change for Tenure," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, December 30, 2005 --- http://insidehighered.com/news/2005/12/30/tenure
Thursday night, a special panel of the MLA offered the first glimpse at its plan to overhaul tenure — and in many ways the plans go well beyond the reforms Greenblatt proposed. As he suggested, the panel wants departments — including those at top research universities — to explicitly change their expectations such that there are “multiple pathways” to demonstrating research excellence, ending the expectation of publishing a monograph. But the panel does not appear likely to stop there.
It plans to propose that departments negotiate “memorandums of understanding” with new hires about what factors will go into their tenure reviews. It wants departments to end a bias that favors print over online publications. It wants to change the rules of how tenure candidates are evaluated, proposing that a limit of six be set on the number of outsider reviewers asked to look at a tenure candidate and that those outside reviewers no longer be asked certain questions that seem likely to doom some candidacies while adding little valuable information to an evaluation.
Continued in the article
"What the Press Editors Want," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, December 29, 2005 --- http://insidehighered.com/news/2005/12/29/publishing
In the book exhibit hall of the Modern Language Association, everyone is selling something. The price tags are on the books that are already out. But the really hard sales are of ideas — as authors try to interest an acquisitions editor in a new project — and the editors check out what their past authors are working on.
What’s selling this year? And what kinds of sales would be considered good if a book is published? Lots of editors don’t want to talk, at least not on the record. In an era when a “successful” scholarly book may sell 1,000 copies (a figure cited by a number of presses, although others have higher ambitions), and when many presses have limited budgets, picking winners is important and many editors don’t want to risk offending past or future authors or readers.
But some editors did agree to discuss their priorities.
Continued in article
Literary scholars discuss why the mainstream press tends to treat them with disdain -- and reporters weigh in. http://insidehighered.com/news/2005/12/29/press
In an effort to spread collegiality, literature professors identify ways to stop bickering. http://insidehighered.com/news/2005/12/29/collegial
New technologies are not the death knell for liberal arts education, says Laura Blankenship. Used appropriately, they can actually invigorate it. http://insidehighered.com/views/2005/12/29/blankenship
The primal urges of mathematicians
Researchers at a Missouri university have identified the largest known prime number, officials said Tuesday. The team at Central Missouri State University, led by associate dean Steven Boone and mathematics professor Curtis Cooper, found it in mid-December after programming 700 computers years ago. A prime number is a positive number divisible by only itself and 1 — 2, 3, 5, 7 and so on. The number that the team found is 9.1 million digits long. It is a Mersenne prime known as M30402457 — that's 2 to the 30,402,457th power minus 1. Mersenne primes are a special category expressed as 2 to the "p" power minus 1, in which "p" also is a prime number. "We're super excited," said Boone, a chemistry professor. "We've been looking for such a number for a long time."
Garance Birke, "Mo. Researchers Find Largest Prime Number," Yahoo News, January 4, 2006 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060104/ap_on_sc/largest_prime_number
Buy Your Own DNA Test Kit for $100
Some people may have received an unusual gift this holiday season: an ancestry testing kit that uses a small swab of DNA to shed light on near and ancient family history. It sounds, at first, like a novelty item. But the kit may provide long-term assistance to scientists who are hoping to track the history of the human race. In one project, spearheaded by National Geographic Society and IBM, participants buy a kit for $99.95, scrape some skin cells from the inside of their cheek, and send the samples in for analysis. Once the DNA is processed, participants learn their haplogroup -- the specific branch on the tree of early human migrations and genetic evolution that their maternal or paternal ancestors belong to. They'll also get a map of the migration routes of those deep ancestors.
"A Genetic Christmas Story," MIT's Technology Review, December 27, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16085,312,p1.html?trk=nl
Redneck families can save money by sending in one sample for the entire family tree.
The University of Georgia will send underage drinkers
The University of Georgia has announced that it will send underage drinkers found on campus to jail, rather than just giving them a citation, The Athens Banner-Herald reported (free registration required). Officials said that the old policy of just giving citations wasn’t having the desired impact on student drinking patterns.
Inside Higher Ed, December 28, 2005 --- http://insidehighered.com/news/2005/12/28/qt
Tips on tenure, academic ranks, and department chairs
"WHAT THEY DON'T TEACH YOU IN GRAD SCHOOL -- PART III," by Paul Gray and David E. Drew, Inside Higher Ed, December 28, 2005 --- http://insidehighered.com/workplace/2005/12/28/tips
What's the new deadline for HDTV and what Senate bill will send your old TVs to the dustbin?
"Digital TV deadline could be 2/17/09," PhysOrg, December 20, 2005 --- http://weblog.physorg.com/news4147.html
Also see "Old TVs to follow typewriters to dustbin under US Senate bill," PhysOrg, December 22, 2005 --- http://physorg.com/news9291.html
Amazon introduces a Textbook Store for new and used textbooks --- http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/browse/-/465600/ref%3Dpe%5Fac%5F7/103-3853743-4079855
Questions and answers about selling textbooks are at http://snipurl.com/SellToAmazon
1. How does selling work?
2. Where do buyers see my item?
3. How does shipping work?
Accounting, business, and finance textbooks are at
Note that for some time, Amazon has been selling or outsourcing used CDs and books in general.
December 28, 2005 reply from
Dear Dr. Jensen,
I'd love to welcome you to visit an even better textbook store, the Trinity University Bookstore! We offer Faculty and Staff discounts to not only our store, but to Barnes & Noble and Barnes & Noble online. We do our best to buy and sell as many used textbooks as possible, saving our students time and money every semester. Not to mention, we provide scholarships to Trinity students every year! Now Amazon is an amazing marketplace, don't get me wrong; however, Amazon is lacking something we posess: a commitment to Trinity!
Please give us a visit sometime! In the coming months, we will have an amazing website, where customers can shop for books and clothing online! We are always looking for faculty feedback. What can we do to make your campus bookstore even better? Thanks for your time and I hope to see you soon!
Trinity University Bookstore (210) 999-7267
January 1, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
My apologies if it looked like I was trying to promote Amazon’s new Textbook Store. As usual, I merely wanted to point out new happenings in technology and networking.
I suspect that on campus bookstores will always have an advantage when it comes to buying back on-campus used books since they do not have to be shipped.
Free Online Textbooks
Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection --- http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikibooks:Business_bookshelf
Other free online textbooks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks
Evolution of the Conservative Mind
"The Burke Habit Prudence, skepticism and 'unbought grace'," by Jeffrey Hart, The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2005 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/ac/?id=110007730
Dr. Hart, professor of English emeritus at Dartmouth, is
author of "The American Conservative Mind Today" (ISI,
2005). This is the last in an occasional series ---
Also see http://www.brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/1201/Smiling Thro.htm
Not so happy holiday message about ID theft from the
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Co. informed about 70,000 active and former white-collar employees that a computer with company data, including social security numbers, was stolen from a Ford facility.
"Ford Computer With Employee Data Stolen," InformationWeek, December 22, 2005 --- http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?sssdmh=dm4.161711&articleID=175007673
Not so happy holiday message for Marriott's timeshare
Yesterday in this space, I railed against the latest two incidents involving possible mishandling of private personal data by two government entities and many of the issues they raise. Before my criticisms even landed in many of your in-boxes, there was yet another disclosure of lost customer data, this time of lost customer data, this time from Marriott International Inc.
Tom Smith, "Can Your Customers Trust You?" InformationWeek Newsletter, December 29, 2005
Not so happy message about the forthcoming Windows
Windows Vista is months away from release, yet security problems are already being found. The latest disclosure comes from researcher Gartner, which says the next-generation operating system's search tool will make it too easy for people to disclose personal information. The problem lies not within the search engine itself, but in Microsoft's failure to provide adequate metadata management, Gartner says. The OS encourages users to add information to files' metadata in order to make them easier to find later. Yet Microsoft provides inadequate tools for making sure the information, which could be confidential, isn't packaged with documents before they're sent over the Internet.
Antone Gonsalves, "Vista Shows Trouble," InformationWeek Newsletter, December 28, 2005
Not so happy holiday message about eating from MIT
For about 70 years, scientists have known that restricting how much laboratory rats eat, while at the same time maintaining their nutrition, extends significantly how long the unhappy rodents will live. In the mid-1990s, Leonard Guarente, a molecular biologist at MIT, discovered a gene in yeast and worms (called SIR-2) that responds to caloric restriction by producing an enzyme that shuts down long stretches of DNA involved with metabolism and aging. Today, a small number of people try to trigger the therapeutic benefits of SIR-2 by practicing caloric restriction with optimal nutrition, CRON, or more simply, CR. But the holidays are traditionally the time for gastronomic overindulgence. We pine for turkey, gravy, and pies. What's a poor CRONer to do? We asked two of them, April Smith and Michael Rae, what they ate for Christmas dinner. They generously offered not only their recipes -- but also to test-drive their holiday meal, and take a few pictures of the results for our viewers.
Jason Pontin, "Christmas in the Time of Calories," MIT's Technology Review, December 23, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16078,312,p1.html?trk=nl
Not so Happy Military Recruiting Message: He's
No Longer a Recruitment Poster Boy
Rep. John Murtha, a key Democratic voice who favors pulling U.S. troops from Iraq, said in remarks airing yesterday that he wouldn't join the U.S. military today. A decorated Vietnam War combat veteran who retired as a colonel after 37 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Mr. Murtha told ABC News's "Nightline" program that Iraq "absolutely" was a wrong war for President Bush to have launched.
"Murtha Says He Wouldn't Join Today's Military," The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2006; Page A23 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113626178239636227.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
Happy holiday message about technology from MIT
A New Media Year Columnist Eric Hellweg looks at the biggest stories of 2005 surrounding the convergence of media and technology, MIT's Technology Review, December 23, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16079,294,p1.html?trk=nl
Holiday message from the National Education
Association (Teachers' Union)
If we told you that an organization gave away more than $65 million last year to Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Amnesty International, AIDS Walk Washington and dozens of other such advocacy groups, you'd probably assume we were describing a liberal philanthropy. In fact, those expenditures have all turned up on the financial disclosure report of the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union.
"Teachers' Pets," The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2006; Page A24 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113626112121536210.html?mod=todays_us_opinion
The world's media eagerly falls for another hoax
The UMass Dartmouth student who claimed to have been visited by Homeland Security agents over his request for "The Little Red Book" by Mao Zedong has admitted to making up the entire story. The 22-year-old student tearfully admitted he made the story up to his history professor, Dr. Brian Glyn Williams, and his parents, after being confronted with the inconsistencies in his account. Had the student stuck to his original story, it might never have been proved false. But on Thursday, when the student told his tale in the office of UMass Dartmouth professor Dr. Robert Pontbriand..
"Federal agents' visit was a hoax," SouthCoastToday, December 25, 2005 ---
Had the student stuck to his original story, it might never have been proved false.
But on Thursday, when the student told his tale in the office of UMass Dartmouth professor Dr. Robert Pontbriand to Dr. Williams, Dr. Pontbriand, university spokesman John Hoey and The Standard-Times, the student added new details.
The agents had returned, the student said, just last night. The two agents, the student, his parents and the student's uncle all signed confidentiality agreements, he claimed, to put an end to the matter.
But when Dr. Williams went to the student's home yesterday and relayed that part of the story to his parents, it was the first time they had heard it. The story began to unravel, and the student, faced with the truth, broke down and cried.
It was a dramatic turnaround from the day before. For more than an hour on Thursday, he spoke of two visits from Homeland Security over his inter-library loan request for the 1965, Peking Press version of "Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung," which is the book's official title.
His basic tale remained the same: The book was on a government watch list, and his loan request had triggered a visit from an agent who was seeking to "tame" reading of particular books. He said he saw a long list of such books. In the days after its initial reporting on Dec. 17 in The Standard-Times, the story had become an international phenomenon on the Internet. Media outlets from around the world were requesting interviews with the students, and a number of reporters had been asking UMass Dartmouth students and professors for information.
The story's release came at a perfect storm in the news cycle. Only a day before, The New York Times had reported that President Bush had allowed the National Security Agency to conduct wiretaps on international phone calls from the United States without a warrant. The Patriot Act, created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to allow the government greater authority to monitor for possible terrorism activities, was up for re-authorization in Congress.
There was an increased sense among some Americans that the U.S. government was overstepping its bounds and trampling on civil liberties in order to thwart future attacks of terrorism. The story of a college student being questioned for requesting a 40-year old book on Communism fed right into that atmosphere.
In Thursday's retelling of the story, the student added several new twists, ones that the professors and journalist had not heard before. The biggest new piece of information was an alleged second visit of Homeland Security agents the previous night, where two agents waited in his living room for two hours with his parents and brother while he drove back from a retreat in western Massachusetts. He said he, the agents, his parents and his uncle all signed confidentiality agreements that the story would never be told.
He revealed the agents' names: one was Nicolai Brushaev or Broshaev, and the other was simply Agent Roberts. He said they were dressed in black suits with thin black ties, "just like the guys in Men in Black."
He had dates and times and places, things he had signed and sent back in order to receive the book. The tale involved his twin brother, who allegedly requested the book for him at UMass Amherst; his uncle, a former FBI attorney who took care of all the paperwork; and his parents, who signed those confidentiality agreements.
But by now, the story had too many holes. Every time there was a fact to be had that would verify the story -- providing a copy of the confidentiality agreements the student and agent signed, for example -- there would be a convenient excuse. The uncle took all the documents home to Puerto Rico, he said.
What was the address of the Homeland Security building in Boston where he and his uncle visited the agency and actually received a copy of the book? It was a brick building, he said, but he couldn't remember where it was, or what was around it.
He said he met a former professor at the mysterious Homeland Security building who had requested a book on bomb-making, along with two Ph.D. students and a one pursuing a master's degree who had also been stopped from accessing books. The student couldn't remember their names, but the former professor had appeared on the Bill O'Reilly show on Fox News recently, he said.
The former professor's appearance on The O'Reilly Factor did not check out. Other proof was sought.
Were there any copies of the inter-library loan request? No.
Did the agents leave their cards, or any paperwork at your home? No.
His brother, a student at Amherst, told Dr. Williams that he had never made the inter-library loan request on behalf of his brother.
While The Standard-Times had tape recorded the entire tale on Thursday, the reporter could not reach the student for comment after he admitted making up the story. Phone calls and a note on the door were not returned.
At the request of the two professors and the university, The Standard-Times has agreed to withhold his name.
During the whole episode, the professors said that while they wanted to protect the student from the media that were flooding their voice mails and e-mail boxes seeking comment and information, they also wanted to know: Was the story true?
"I grew skeptical of this story, as did Bob, considering the ramifications," Dr. Williams said yesterday. "I spent the last five days avoiding work, and the international media, and rest, trying to get names and dates and facts. My investigation eventually took me to his house, where I began to investigate family matters. I eventually found out the whole thing had been invented, and I'm happy to report that it's safe to borrow books."
Dr. Williams said he does not regret bringing the story to light, but that now the issue can be put to rest.
"I wasn't involved in some partisan struggle to embarrass the Bush administration, I just wanted the truth," he said.
Dr. Pontbriand said the entire episode has been "an incredible experience and exposure for something a student had said." He said all along, his only desire had been to "get to the bottom of it and get the truth of the matter."
"When it blew up into an international story, our only desire was to interview this student and get to the truth. We did not want from the outset to declare the student a liar, but we wanted to check out his story," he said. "It was a disastrous thing for him to do. He needs attention, he needs care. I feel for the kid. We have great concern for this student's health and welfare."
Mr. Hoey, the university spokesman, said the university had been unable to substantiate any of the facts of the story since it first was reported in The Standard-Times on Dec. 17.
As to any possible repercussions against the student, Mr. Hoey said, "We consider this to be an issue to be handled faculty member to student. We wouldn't discuss publicly any other action. Student discipline is a private matter."
Dr. Williams said the whole affair has had one bright point: The question of whether it is safe for students to do research has been answered.
"I can now tell my students that it is safe to do research without being monitored," he said. "With that hanging in the air like before, I couldn't say that to them."
The student's motivation remains a mystery, but in the interview on Thursday, he provided a glimpse.
"When I came back, like wow, there's this circus coming on. I saw my cell phone, and I see like, wow, I have something like 75 messages and like something like 87 missed calls," he said. "Wow, I was popular. I usually get one or probably two a week and that's about it, and I usually pick them up."
Most Social Science Professors Really to Tilt to the
Several studies this year — some disputed — have suggested a political tilt (toward Democrats) among professors. Now a new study is being released saying that social science professors are overwhelmingly Democratic, that Democratic professors in those disciplines are more homogeneous in their thinking than are Republicans, and that Republican scholars are more likely than Democrats in the field to end up working outside of academe.
Scott Jaschik, "Social Scientists Lean to the Left, Study Says," Inside Higher Ed, December 21, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/12/21/politics
Professors' Politics Draw Lawmakers Into the Fray
How could this happen?" Ms. Brown asked Representative Gibson C. Armstrong two summers ago, complaining about a physics professor at the York campus of Pennsylvania State University who she said routinely used class time to belittle President Bush and the war in Iraq. As an Air Force veteran, Ms. Brown said she felt the teacher's comments were inappropriate for the classroom. The encounter has blossomed into an official legislative inquiry, putting Pennsylvania in the middle of a national debate spurred by conservatives over whether public universities are promoting largely liberal positions and discriminating against students who disagree with them.
Michael Janoffsky, "Professors' Politics Draw Lawmakers Into the Fray ," The New York Times, December 25, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/national/25bias.html
Promises versus realities in South Africa
Sending what some call an ominous signal to this nation's leaders, South Africa's sprawling shantytowns have begun to erupt, sometimes violently, in protest over the government's inability to deliver the better life that the end of apartheid seemed to herald a dozen years ago . . . For South African blacks, the current plight is uncomfortably close to the one they endured under apartheid. Black shantytowns first rose under white rule, the result of policies intended to keep nonwhites impoverished and powerless. During apartheid, from the 1940's to the 1980's, officials uprooted and moved millions of blacks, consigning many to transit camps that became permanent shantytowns, sending others to black townships that quickly attracted masses of squatters. Privation led millions more blacks to migrate to the cities, setting up vast squatter camps on the outskirts of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and other cities.
Michael Wines, "Shantytown Dwellers in South Africa Protest Sluggish Pace of Change," The New York Times, December 25, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/international/africa/25durban.html
A.O. Scott, "The Best Films of the Year," The New York Times, December 25, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/movies/25scot.html
Selling parts of dead bodies: Is this gross or
Neither sellers nor buyers have complained to date, but the sellers themselves weren't consulted
A number of funeral homes around New York City are under investigation for carving up corpses -- including that of longtime Masterpiece Theatre host Alistair Cooke -- and selling off body parts for a profit.
"A Macabre Theater of Greed," Wired News, December 24, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/medtech/0,69916-0.html?tw=wn_tophead_6
Clever shoplifters can't outrun U.S. Marines
Police say William Beltran and Shairalee Delgado stuffed their bags with $900 worth of clothes from Express. But it wasn't just any bags – they are called "boosters." Lined with special material, the bags prevent store theft alarms from going off. . . . Beltran made it past two Lee County deputies and mall security. But as he crossed U.S. 41, he met his match. "We saw officers chasing him so we took off after the guy because the officer was far behind," said Private Ryan Pitts of the U.S. Marine Corps. Pitts and PFC Shane Ailant just returned from boot camp a few weeks ago. Up against the new recruits, Pitts said Beltran stood no chance.
"Clever shoplifters can't outrun U.S. Marines," NBC-2, December 25, 2005 ---
What types of Western music were recently banned in Iran?
All types throughout history.
"Hearing Beethoven in Tehran," by Lee Harris, TCS
Daily, December 21, 2005 ---
The President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has decided to ban all Western music from his nation’s state radio and TV stations. The website of the Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council, of which Ahmadinejad is the head, explained that “blocking indecent and Western music from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is required.”
Ahmadinejad isn’t just banning Eminem, Fifty Cent, and Arnold Schönberg’s Moses und Aron, which might be reasonable; nor banning the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Weber, which would be positively commendable. No, Ahmadinejad is banning Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (obviously); Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde; the wonderful songs of Harold Arlen, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and Jerome Kern. Also forbidden are Handel’s endlessly diverting Concerti Grossi, Opus 6, Gabriel Fauré’s chamber music, Eric Clapton’s guitar, and Anton Bruckner’s vast cathedrals of sound.
Equally outlawed are Schumann’s Dichterliebe, Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, Lerner and Lowe’s My Fair Lady, along with The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and the complete works of Lully, Couperin, and Rameau. No more will the music of Verdi, Tupac, and Petula Clark be heard in the land of the Islamic faithful. None of the feet of the true believers will tap to rap or dance to the ballets of Tschaikovsky. No one will sway to the beguiling Cole Porter when he begins the beguine; no one will be hypnotized by Ravel’s Bolero. Out with Puccini, out with Irving Berlin -- who will care about the tear-jerking fate of Madame Butterfly, or the much happier one of the Annie who got her gun? No one in Iran will be allowed to.
This is not the first time that Western music has been banned by ideologues. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the same thing happened, where the mere playing of Brahms’ Lullaby could land you in the unspeakable squalor of a “re-education” camp. Indeed, it is not the first time that Western music has been banned in Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini did the same thing during the 1979 revolution. Yet, to Khomeini’s credit, he at least offered a semi-plausible reason for the ban, arguing that Western music was “intoxicating” -- a sure sign that he himself had felt its intoxicating power at some time in his life.
Is the ban on Western music merely the personal quirk of the extremely quirky Ahmadinejad, akin to the whims of old-fashioned Oriental potentates, or does it go deeper? The evidence, sadly, is that it does go much deeper.
Just this last November, the conductor of Tehran’s symphony orchestra, Ali Rahbari, chose to perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony over the course of several nights. The hall was said to be thronged with people who had not been permitted to hear a live performance of this piece since the 1979 revolution. Yet, according to reports, the mere playing of Beethoven’s last symphony was enough to get many Islamic conservatives up in arms. Newspaper columnists attacked Ali Rahbari for “promoting Western values.” Early in December, Ali Rahbari resigned his post and left Iran. No one knows when there will be another live performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony again in Iran, or even when people of Iran will be able to hear it on the radio.
Continued in article
Why might you want to put money into trusts for
reasons other than avoiding taxation?
Driving that trend: a wave of baby boomers approaching retirement who are looking for ways to pass along assets to their heirs while avoiding tax hits and other hassles. But trusts also are moving beyond the realm of estate planning. For instance, doctors, executives and other individuals concerned about being sued are increasingly using trusts to protect their assets. All of this is partly the result of changes in the legal landscape. Eager to cash in on the rising appetite among individuals for the protections that trusts can offer, lawyers are devising more-flexible versions -- making it easier, for example, for beneficiaries to switch trustees or make other adjustments as tax laws or family situations change.
Rachel Emma Silverman, "Demystifying Trust Funds," The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2005; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113538260234830940.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing
Global Positioning System: How well does it really work when you go for a walk?
"Nüvi GPS Receiver Is Too Rough a Guide For the High Price Tag," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2005; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/personal_technology.html
For years, the portable receivers that use Global Positioning System satellite signals for navigation have been niche products. They have been favored by hikers and other outdoors enthusiasts, by traveling salespeople and other long-range drivers, and by GPS hobbyists.
The makers of the gadgets have been trying to move them into the mainstream. GPS navigation has shown up in cellphones, personal digital assistants and fitness gear. But these new incarnations have failed to make GPS navigation a big hit with average people.
Now, one of the top makers of GPS receivers, Kansas-based Garmin Ltd., has taken a bold step toward that mainstream. It has created a small, sleek portable GPS receiver meant to be carried everywhere. This new gadget has been recast as a "personal travel assistant," to shed its geeky roots. And it includes not only satellite navigation and mapping, but also a built-in music player, photo viewer, U.S. travel guide, audio-book reader, language translator, currency converter and more.
I've been testing this new gadget, called the Nüvi 350, in and out of my car, and I find myself torn about it. On the plus side, it's really well designed and has a good, simple user interface. It does what it promises for the most part, and requires no setup or technical knowledge.
But at $900, the Nüvi costs as much as a decent laptop, and more than double that of such established portable prodigies as Palm's Treo smart phone or Apple's top-of-the-line iPod.
And the Nüvi's core function, GPS navigation, is still too crude and clumsy to command such a high price from a mainstream, casual user. This is a problem with every GPS receiver I've tested, not just the Nüvi. Too often, all of them suggest routes that a savvy local driver would immediately recognize as too long or too slow or too likely to place you into heavy traffic. That level of inaccuracy might be fine in a $150 device, but $900 is a lot to pay for roundabout directions.
The Nüvi is a rectangular, silver-colored plastic device that's less than four inches wide, less than three inches high and less than an inch deep. It weighs about five ounces. Its front surface is dominated by a large, 3.5-inch color screen that's bright and vivid. Other than a power button on the top, there are no buttons, switches or scrolling devices on the Nüvi. Everything is controlled by touching options on the screen.
The only features on the outside are a flip-up GPS antenna on the rear -- a squarish panel of silver-colored plastic -- and three openings on the side that accept an SD memory card, headphones and the cables that charge the Nüvi or connect it to a computer.
The Nüvi starts up quickly and, more importantly, acquires the signal from the satellites in seconds, a vast improvement over the last Garmin model I tested some years ago. The main menu has just three entries: Where to?, View Map, and Travel Kit. The first is where you enter a destination, and the last opens a submenu that includes all of the Nüvi's nonmapping functions.
Using the included suction-cup mount, I placed the Nüvi inside the windshield of my car, just to the left of the steering wheel. For a few days I breezed around the Washington, D.C., area, letting the Nüvi direct me to and from my house, my office and other locations. Its maps, which can be in 3D if you like, were easy to follow. The female voice that told me which turns to take sounded almost human.
Like every other navigation system I've tested, Nüvi gave me routes that were technically accurate, but usually suboptimal, often seriously so. My favorite example was when it tried to put me on the notorious Washington Beltway, and then a second freeway, at rush hour to get me to a point I could have reached in five minutes via a local street that was maybe 200 yards past the freeway entrance.
I was able to change these instructions by selecting an option instructing Nüvi to avoid freeways, but then it would have ignored them even when they were the best option. The Nüvi includes a clock. So, why doesn't it, at the very least, have the brains to keep you off urban freeways during rush hour?
The Nüvi suggested different routes for the same trip on different days, and once lost its way when I emerged from a tunnel. It also had a habit of suddenly, and without notice, zooming its map view out so far that it showed the whole city, instead of my route. These examples may seem like nitpicking, but they're fair when a product like this costs almost $1,000.
Continued in article
What was the most corrupt Executive Branch in U.S. government history?
Even though Clinton made some very contemptible pardons on his way out the door and Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, some clues are provided here --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1546760/posts
The problem, of course, lies in defining a criterion for being "corrupt." And there is the problem magnitude versus frequency. How does one really bad corrupt act offset a myriad of lesser corrupt acts? And how far does one go out on the "branch? Most importantly is the question of motive. One of the biggest lies perpetrated on all U.S. citizens, including Congress, was FDR's concealment of Executive Branch clandestine involvement in the early war against Hitler. On the heals of World War I, getting the U.S. involved in another European war would have certainly failed if put to the electorate at the time FDR decided the U.S. must become involved.
FDR's actions were far more clandestine and deceptive than the George W. Bush administration's actions to engage in war with Saddam. Whether Bush will become more revered (or despised) than FDR 50 years from now will take 50 years to resolve!" To date the costs of FDR's decision to go to war had immensely higher costs in terms of lives, casualties, and dollars than Bush's decision to go to war.
I Spy: The NSA
Bakes Up Some Cookies
The Internet is evolving into a great tool for spying, and it sometimes appears that people can't wait to get started. Among the most recent disclosures was the National Security Agency placing tracking files on the computers of people visiting the NSA's site. Shortly after that report, it was discovered that an outside contractor was using tracking technology to analyze traffic patterns at the White House's Web site. In the first incident, the cookies disappeared from the NSA site after complaints from a privacy activist and inquiries from The Associated Press. Considering the NSA's legal surveillance power, cookies, which are mostly banned by federal rules, may not be significant. But their use would indicate a lack of attention to basic privacy rules. The NSA said the cookies were a mistake, and blamed them on a software upgrade. Nevertheless, the disclosure couldn't come at a worse time. The Bush administration has been severely criticized for authorizing the NSA to spy on emails and phone calls without first notifying the courts.
Antone Gonsalves, "I Spy," InternetWeek Newsletter, January 3, 2006
"Unique Site Nets College Student $1 Million," Gregg Keizer, InternetWeek, January 3, 2006 --- http://www.internetweek.cmp.com/showArticle.jhtml?sssdmh=dm4.162190&articleId=175800205
A 21-year-old British university student has turned a brainstorm into nearly a million dollars in just four months by selling ad space on his Web site pixel by pixel.
Appropriately dubbed The Million Dollar Homepage, Alex Tew's site is within shouting distance of selling out its inventory of 1 million pixels. As of mid-day Friday, the site's count noted that only 53,500 pixels were still up for grabs.
Or maybe not.
"We're currently facing a 48,000+ pixel order backlog, which means the million mark will be almost certainly be reached within the next few hours," wrote Tew on his blog. Tew, from Wiltshire, England, is a student in business management who began The Million Dollar Homepage as a way to pay for his college education.
Tew's idea -- sell the million pixels on the home page of his site at $1 per pixel --first garnered media attention in October. Since then, the hodgepodge "billboard" has attracted name-brand customers like The Times of London as well as a host of online casinos, dating sites, and penis enlarging herbal remedies.
"Everything is still quite surreal," Tew wrote in another blog entry. "I can't believe I'm actually closing in on the magical million figure."
Once the million pixels are sold, Tew promises to maintain the site for at least the next five years. "The idea is to create something of an Internet time capsule: a homepage that is unique and permanent," said Tew on the site. "Everything on the Internet keeps changing so fast, it will be nice to have something that stays solid and permanent for many years."
Snap, Crackle ... Patents
Can you patent the business method of selling cereal?
One company gave it a shot.
January 3, 2006 message from Scott Bonacker [aecm@BONACKER.US]
Back in 2000, David Roth had one of those "eureka" moments that are the stuff of American entreprenurial legend. After spotting a box of Cocoa Puffs hidden behind the desk of a Wall Street executive, Roth dreamed up a retail business that would sell cereal all the time. He and a partner opened the first Cereality in Tempe, Arizona, on the campus of Arizona State University. College students flocked; Roth followed up with stores in Philadelphia and Chicago; and news outlets from Time to CNN fawned.
But as is so often the case with good ideas, Roth wasn't the only one to have it. Across the country, Rocco Monteleone was getting set to open Bowls, a cereal cafe in Gainesville, Florida, (near the University of Florida) when he found out that Cereality had beaten him to the punch. OK, he figured, no harm, no foul: It's America. Anyone can open a restaurant selling cereal. Right?
Well, kind of. In May, Monteleone received a letter from Cereality's attorney warning him that he may be in violation of a patent application the company had filed for its "methods and system" of selling cereal. These included: "displaying and mixing competitively branded food products" and adding "a third portion of liquid." Cuckoo for patent law
So who owns the patent on professional service firm operations or classroom instruction methods?
Scott Bonacker, CPA
January 3, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
If anybody can answer your questions, it would be Eben Moglen,
From one of the leading law school advocates of open
Many of Eben Moglen's papers on patents and copyrights can be downloaded from http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/
My good friend John Howland, a professor of computer science, recommends these particular papers for starters:
- The dotCommunist Manifesto
- The Invisible Barbeque
- Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death
- Freeing the Mind: Free Software and the Death of
Professor Moglen runs a
blog called "Freedom Now" at
Entries are relatively infrequent and date back to April 2000
There are also a few links to audio and video presentations.
Here are some clever patents applied for by sixth graders --- http://www.bend.k12.or.us/cascadems2/kinderclass/inventionadsintro2002/sharper_ideas2002.htm
Also see their listing of "The Thirty Greatest Inventions in the History of the World" --- http://www.bend.k12.or.us/cascadems2/kinderclass/inventionswebpage2002/inventions.htm
In what city was the wheel invented?
The U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act Undermines Public Access and Sharing (Included Copyright Information and Dead Link Archives) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm
PC editing software answers from Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2005; Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/mossberg_mailbox.html
Q: A friend of mine is looking for some video-editing software to be used on a PC running Windows. What software would you recommend for this application?
A: I haven't tested this category of software in a while, but any of the leading software packages should do. They include Pinnacle Studio Plus, Adobe Premiere Elements and Roxio Easy Media Creator. The first two are video-editing programs. The last includes a video-editing program, but it is a suite that also handles things like music and photos. Of the two video-only programs, Pinnacle's is probably best for a novice user. It costs about $90.
What separates the amateurs like me from the pros is the ability to edit the audio that accompanies the video. When you want to add or remove frames containing audio, you had best employ a pro.
Walt Mossberg's answer to transferring PC files to a Mac computer, The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2005; Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/mossberg_mailbox.html
Q: I know the Macintosh can handle most common types of files used on Windows computers. But my question is more basic: if I switch to a Mac from Windows, how do I physically transfer my files?
A: If you buy your new Mac at an Apple store, Apple will do this job, or part of it, free. According to the Apple Web site, you can just bring the two computers to the store, and a "Genius" -- Apple's name for a tech support person in its stores -- will move all the files in any folder you choose on your Windows machine onto your new Mac. Presumably, this would include the My Documents folder, which contains most of the data files on most Windows PCs. The "Genius" will also do this for $50 for people who bought their Macs elsewhere. There is some fine print to this deal. For details, see: www.apple.com/switch/howto/genius.html.
Maybe you should just keep your old PC computers for your PC files. Mac is a a safer computer for Web surfing since it is highly spyware and virus resistant, but when you want to work in Excel or some other MS Office product, turn to your old PC.
If you switch to a Mac, a must book is Mac OS X: The Missing Manual by David Pogue http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0596000820/002-3743809-1628824?v=glance
This book explains how to translate what you liked to do in Windows into how to do the same things on a Mac. Watch for any updated versions by David Pogue. He's a great tech analyst.
David Pogue's video reviews new cell phones for kids (with limited calling options) and newer-style cameras priced at under $300 --- http://tech.nytimes.com/pages/technology/index.html
GSR = Graduation Success Rate of College Athletes
"New N.C.A.A. Data Shift Graduation Rate Upward," The New York Times, December 20, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/sports/ncaabasketball/20ncaa.html
Lacrosse had the highest G.S.R. for men and women, 89 percent and 94 percent.
In men's sports, basketball had the lowest G.S.R., 58 percent, an improvement on the federally reported graduation rate of 44 percent. The women's basketball G.S.R. was 81 percent.
In women's sports, bowling had the lowest G.S.R., 72 percent.
Among the 318 universities in Division I, the G.S.R. for football was 64 percent; the federal rate was 54 percent.
Teams that have lower G.S.R.'s are those attracting transfer students who do not end up graduating, Brand said.
The last sentence above points to a questionable practice by universities with nationally-ranked teams. Athletes who could not meet admission standards as freshman go to colleges with lower academic standards and get acceptable grades for transfer with little chance of ever meeting standards for graduation after they transfer and spend enormous amounts of time contributing to willing teams.
Bob Jensen's threads on athletics versus academic standards are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Athletics
Why white collar crime will continue as long as it is punished lightly. My guess is that Enron's CFO (Andy Fastow) and CAO (Rick Causey) would do it all over again even if they knew they would get caught.
Ignoring the time value of money, what is the estimated haul of Fastow and Causey for each day spent in a Club Fed prison?
"Ex-Enron Accountant Pleads Guilty to Fraud," Kristen Hays, Yahoo News, December 28, 2005 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051228/ap_on_bi_ge/enron_causey
A former top accountant at Enron Corp. sealed his plea deal with prosecutors Wednesday, becoming a key potential witness in the upcoming fraud trial of former CEOs Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.
Lay and Skilling were granted two extra weeks to adjust to the setback before their much anticipated trial, the last and biggest of a string of corporate scandal cases, starts at the end of January.
The accountant, Richard Causey, pleaded guilty to securities fraud Wednesday in return for a seven-year prison term — which could be shortened to five years if prosecutors are satisfied with his cooperation in the trial. He also must forfeit $1.25 million to the government, according to the plea deal.
Causey's arrangement included a five-page statement of fact in which he admitted that he and other senior Enron managers made various false public filings and statements.
"Did you intend in these false public filings and false public statements, intend to deceive the investing public?" U.S. District Judge Sim Lake asked.
"Yes, your honor," replied Causey, who said little during the short hearing, appearing calm, whispering to his attorneys and answering questions politely.
Continued in article
I forgot to mention the millions that Fastow and Causey will probably make on the lecture circuit after they are released from prison. Scott alludes to this below:
January 3, 2006 reply from Scott Bonacker [aecm@BONACKER.US]
Was someone asking about ZZZZ Best?
"Morze created 10,000+ phony documents, and no one caught it. He teaches his course Fraud: Taught by the Perpetrator many times each year for the Federal Reserve, bar associations, Institute of Internal Auditors, CPA and law firms.
Public speaking does seem to benefit the speakers. Guys in Gary's group are dealing better than other white-collar criminals, says Mark Morze, one of Mr. Zeune's speakers, who served more than four years in jail for his role in ZZZZ Best Co., the carpet-cleaning enterprise that bilked banks and investors for some $100 million back in the 1980s. Guys who are in denial pay the price forever, Mr. Morze says. Source: The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1999"
Scott Bonacker, CPA
Bob Jensen's threads on how white collar crime pays even if you get caught --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#CrimePays
Bob Jensen's threads on the Enron/Andersen frauds --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm
Bob Jensen's Enron Quiz --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnronQuiz.htm
Good Riddance to a Fraudulent High School
University High School, a correspondence school in Miami being investigated for giving fast, high grades to qualify high school athletes for college scholarships, is going out of business Dec. 31, its founder, Stanley J. Simmons, said yesterday . . . The National Collegiate Athletic Association yesterday named 17 people to a panel to study correspondence high schools and other nontraditional routes to college athletic eligibility and scholarships. The move is a response to questions about the legitimacy of the academic credentials of some high school athletes.
Duff Wilson, "School That Gave Easy Grades to Athletes Is Closing," The New York Times, December 25, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/24/sports/ncaafootball/24schools.html
Bob Jensen's threads on frauds in collegiate athletics are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Athletics
Super Geek Upgrades for Homes --- http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.01/upgrades.html
Johnnie can read much beyond "Dick and Jane" after graduating from college
"Reading proficiency down among college grads, tests show," Louis Romano," The Washington Post via the Myrtle Beach Online, December 26, 2005 --- http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/mld/myrtlebeachonline/news/nation/13488249.htm
Literacy experts and educators say they are stunned by the results of a recent adult-literacy assessment that says the reading proficiency of college graduates has declined in the past decade, with no obvious explanation.
"It's appalling - it's really astounding," said Michael Gorman, president of the American Library Association and a librarian at California State University at Fresno. "Only 31 percent of college graduates can read a complex book and extrapolate from it. That's not saying much for the remainder."
More Americans are graduating from college, and more than ever are applying for admission.
Far fewer are leaving higher education with the skills needed to comprehend routine data, such as reading a table about the relationship between blood pressure and physical activity, according to the federal study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics.
Experts could not definitively explain the drop.
"The declining impact of education on our adult population was the biggest surprise for us, and we just don't have a good explanation," said Mark Schneider, commissioner of education statistics.
"It may be that institutions have not yet figured out how to teach a whole generation of students who learned to read on the computer and who watch more TV. It's a different kind of literacy."
"What's disturbing is that the assessment is not designed to test your understanding of Proust, but to test your ability to read labels," he said.
The test measures how well adults comprehend basic instructions and tasks through reading - such as computing costs per ounce of food items, comparing viewpoints on two editorials and reading prescription labels.
Forty-one percent of graduate students tested in 2003 could be classified as "proficient" in prose - reading and understanding information in short texts - down 10 percentage points since 1992. Of college graduates, 31 percent were classified as proficient - compared with 40 percent in 1992. Schneider said the results do not separate recent graduates from those who have been out of school several years or more.
The results were based on a sample of more than 19,000 people 16 or older who were interviewed in their homes.
They were asked to read prose, do math and find facts in documents. The scores for "intermediate" reading abilities went up for college students, causing educators to question whether most college instruction is offered at the intermediate level because students face reading challenges.
Gorman said he has been shocked by how few entering freshmen understand how to use a basic library system or enjoy reading for pleasure.
"There is a failure in the core values of education," he said.
Continued in article
Goofing Off in Law School
Senior slump is well known to high school teachers, who note that students’ preparedness and work ethic seem to disappear about the time that college applications get turned in. Perhaps it’s because the students who end up in law schools were studying hard in their academic careers up until then, but a new survey suggests a serious third-year slump afflicts them as they are about to finish their law degrees. By a number of measures, it appears that the longer students are in law school, the less likely they are to be working hard. The data are from the Law School Survey of Student Engagement, which is being released today as the Association of American Law Schools kicks off its annual meeting. The survey — like similar national studies of undergraduates at four-year colleges and at community colleges — asks a series of questions on student behavior with regard to academic and non-academic life. The Indiana Center for Postsecondary Research, which pioneered the student engagement surveys, conducted the law school study.
Scott Jaschik, "Goofing Off in Law School," Inside Higher Ed, January 3, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/01/03/law
Owners' Web Gives Realtors Run for Money
Ms. Miller, 38, a former social worker who favors fuzzy slippers, and her cousin, Mary Clare Murphy, 51, operate what real estate professionals believe to be the largest for-sale-by-owner Web site in the country. They have turned Madison, a city of 208,000 known for its liberal politics, into one of the most active for-sale-by-owner markets in the country. And their success suggests that, in challenging the Realtor association's dominance of home sales, they may have hit on a winning formula that has eluded many other upstarts. Their site, FsboMadison.com (pronounced FIZZ-boh) holds a nearly 20 percent share of the Dane County market for residential real estate listings. The site, which charges just $150 to list a home and throws in a teal blue yard sign, draws more Internet traffic than the traditional multiple listing service controlled by real estate agents.
Jeff Bailey, "Owners' Web Gives Realtors Run for Money," The New York Times, January 3, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/03/realestate/03madison.html?pagewanted=print
America's finest alongside the scumbags wearing the
The Times Picayune runs an in-depth profile of what New Orleans police officers did in each district amid Katrina's chaos. Reporter Michael Perlstein tells Scott Simon what the paper learned.
"N.O. Paper Details Police Conduct in Storm (audio)," NPR, December 24, 2005 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5068768
"Internet Encyclopedias Go Head to Head: Wikipedia Comes Close to Britannica in Terms of Accuracy of Its Science Entries," Nature, December 15, 2005 --- http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7070/full/438900a.html
Financial Flashback; The Bubble is About to Burst
The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2000
Of all the parties at the end of the millennium, the one in the stock market may have been the giddiest. Stocks, or at least the white-hot tech sector, didn't merely knock the top out of 1999, they demolished it. The Nasdaq Composite Index finished the year up an unheard-of 85.6%.
Man Gives Wife A Dumpster For Christmas
For one Burlington family, this year's Christmas is all about the spirit of tossing out the trash. The massive Christmas present sitting in the driveway of Eric Botterbrodt's Medford home is not a fancy car, it is a dumpster. His wife Barbara had been asking him for years to get rid of unnecessary items that have clogged their garage. "This is the stuff I'm throwing out to give my wife her Christmas wish," said Botterbrodt. Spare tires for discarded lawnmowers, go kart tires, tubes–all the items were things he thought he may need in the future and was reluctant to part with, until now.
"Man Gives Wife A Dumpster For Christmas," KUTV, December 23, 2005 --- http://kutv.com/watercooler/local_story_357134013.html
David Albrecht's (not mine) Resolutions for the Year 2006
14. Stop creating stacks of papers/books on office floor.
13. Count to 3 million before hitting send button on e-mail
12 Label my toenails as, "subscriptions to top accounting journals, federal government spending, looking for common sense in politicians and state government, FASB & IASB emphasis on rule-based accounting standards, Sarbanes-Oxley implementation, lawyers, stock options, AICPA, committee meetings, my e-mails sent to AECM" and cut them back every week.
11 Remember that there are only two types of accountants, not three.
10. Never take more from office candy dish than what I donate.
09. Put on a smile before entering class.
08. Wear a smile after leaving department meetings
07. Eat more veggies, less chocolate.
06. Read every book, magazine and journal I purchase.
05. Spend time with family during busy season.
04. Stop taking six or seven weeks to grade and return term papers.
03. Remove green eye-shade and calculator from baby's crib.
02. Read memos from department chair and dean
01 Place debits on the left side.
There is no chance David will abide by Resolution 13, except may be skipping a million at a time.
PICKUP LINES AT THE Modern Language Association (MLA)
Just how does a postmodern hottie approach the object of his or her affection? With carefully selected words, of course. http://insidehighered.com/news/2005/12/30/pickup
Cheers (forwarded by Barb Hessel)