Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.
Doug Larson as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-02-05-06.htm
There is a theory which states that if anyone discovers what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
That you compare me to Bin Laden is for him an insult and for me too much
honour, but if you say I am the black-flag bearer of the islam in Europe
fulfills my honour, pride and happiness.
Mohammed Bouyeri, the killer of Theo van Gogh (in Holland) --- http://dutchnewz.net/index.php
They say that generals always fight the last war, and the same seems to be
true of terrorists--and journalists. But the media today do not have the
power they had during the Vietnam era--the power to lose a war.
James Taranto, "Bad News Bearers," The Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2006 ---
Prince of Wales Blames Poor Town Planning for
Rise in Obesity.
Headline, LeisureOpportunities.co.uk, Jan. 30 as quoted in Opinion Journal, February 1, 2006
There are two schools of thought on Nostradamus:
either (1) he had supernatural powers which enabled him to prophesy the
future with uncanny accuracy, or (2) he did for bullshit what Stonehenge did
In the beginning the Universe was created. This
has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
As a fan, I'm distraught, but as a cartoonist
looking at new vacant spaces in 2,400 newspapers, well, behind me, my cats
are dancing a conga line.
Scott Adams on the ending of Calvin & Hobbes
I believe that the highest promise of technology
is to end war, feed the hungry and make life on earth more fulfilling. While
you're waiting for that, enjoy the second-highest promise of technology --
the ability to buy "Dogbert" merchandise while sitting on your ass.
If you have any trouble sounding condescending,
find a journal referee to show you how it's done.
Paraphrased from a quote by Scott Adams who wrote "Unix user" in place of "journal referee."
Back to the Cold War with Tom Leher --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TomLehrerMP3.htm
Graduates would rather be sued than chase ambulances
James Calvi, a professor at West Texas A&M University and chairman of the Prelaw Advisors National Council, said fewer people may be applying to law school because more are applying to medical school.
Jonathan E. Glater, "Applications to Law Schools Are Declining, The New York Times, February 9, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/09/national/09law.html
Intellectual Diversity or Political Repackaging?
The South Dakota House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would require public colleges and universities to file annual reports on the steps they take to assure “intellectual diversity” on their campuses. Supporters of the bill see it as a new approach to raising some of the same issues promoted by David Horowitz and supporters of the “Academic Bill of Rights.” Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, called Wednesday’s vote “a tipping point moment” that “offers the promise of a cultural transformation in American higher education.”
Scott Jaschik, "Intellectual Diversity or Political Repackaging?" Inside Higher Ed, February 9, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/02/09/dakota
Fiasco at AAUP
People involved in the AAUP were using words like “disaster” to describe the fallout they feared from the incident. In the apology published on the AAUP Web site, the association acknowledged an “egregious error” in which it had distributed “a deeply offensive article by a Holocaust denier.” The apology stated that the article had been collected during research for the conference, but was not intended for distribution to anyone. All conference participants were notified of “this blunder,” the statement said, adding that “nothing of this sort will ever happen again.”
Scott Jaschik, "Fiasco at AAUP," Inside Higher Ed, February 9, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/02/09/aaup
Professional Correctness: Study in the ethnography of higher
Costello’s book is an interesting study in the ethnography of higher education — and her analysis of the implicit cultural signals sent by how law and social-work professors dress will raise some eyebrows, especially around UC-Berkeley. I contacted her by email with a few questions about her research.
Scott McLemee, "Professional Correctness," Inside Higher Ed, February 8, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/02/08/mclemee
Debut of the all-online GRE delayed until 2007
The Educational Testing Service announced Wednesday that it is pushing back the debut of the new, all-online Graduate Record Examinations by a year, to the fall of 2007. Officials said that they needed more time for the transition from a test that mixes paper and computers to the version that will be entirely electronic.
Inside Higher Ed, June 9, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/02/09/qt
Will Europe become a deep freeze with increased global warming?
It is ironic that one consequence of global warming is that Europe might plunge into a deep freeze. This possibility stimulated an unusual research project at the University of Alberta.
"Thousands of barges could save Europe from deep freeze," PhysOrg, February 7, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news10579.html
Dr. Peter Flynn, the Poole Chair in Management for Engineers in the U of A Department of Mechanical Engineering, has studied whether down-welling ocean currents can carry more dissolved carbon into the deep ocean. He learned they can't, but in the course of this research he found some evidence that the ocean currents that bring warm water to the oceans off northern Europe may be weakening.
The results of the research have been published recently in the journal Climatic Change.
"The current is like an ocean conveyor belt," Flynn explained. "It starts in the north Atlantic, where down-welling, cold, arctic water flows south at the bottom of the ocean, and then warm, tropical water flows north to fill in the vacuum created by the cold water, and this warm water helps ensure a mild climate in northern Europe,"
The melting of fresh water ice due to global warming can reduce the flow of the down-welling current, and a study published recently in the journal Nature by researchers at the University of Southhampton in England reported evidence of weakening down-welling currents.
Flynn and a graduate student evaluated seven different methods to enhance down-welling currents. They found one way was far more cost effective than the others: making thicker sea ice by pumping salty ocean water on top of ice sheets.
They envisioned more than 8,000 barges moving into the northern ocean in the fall, speeding the initial formation of sea ice by pumping a spray of water into the air, and then, once the ice is formed, pumping ocean water on top of it, trapping the salt in the ice and reaching a thickness of seven meters.
Continued in article
Big Brother can propel a GPS device onto a fleeing car
Los Angeles police will propel a GPS device onto a fleeing car. The device will stick to the car and track its location. It's hoped that will reduce dangerous high-speed chases.
Laurie Sullivan, "L.A. Cops Fight Car Chases With GPS Devices," InformationWeek, February 3, 2006 --- http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=178601965
An Eye Test for Alzheimer's
A Harvard researcher says a laser-based diagnostic system might be used to detect the disease long before it affects the brain, allowing for early treatment that could defer its degenerative symptoms.
Sam Jaffe, "An Eye Test for Alzheimer's," Wired News, February 6, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70151-0.html?tw=wn_index_14
"It's Capitalism Or A Habitable Planet - You Can't Have Both Our economic system is unsustainable by its very nature. The only response to climate chaos and peak oil is major social change," by Robert Newman, The Nation, February 2, 2006 --- http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0202-29.htm
It always amazes me how environmentalists confuse an economic system with a resource preservation system. India and China contributed more to global warming as socialist/communist states than much of rest of the world combined, including the U.S. and Europe. Resource abuse is what economists call a negative externality (or non-convexity in mathematical models) that is very difficult to control with market prices or communism-derived central planning board prices. Pollution and waste do not necessarily get controlled any better under socialism or communism. Perhaps they get controlled worse since economic prosperity under capitalism leads to alternate solutions to fossil-fueled energy such as nuclear power. The answer does not lie in changing the fundamental economic system. The answer lies in imposing controls either by a democratic process or totalitarian dictates. Don't confuse environmentalism with fundamental economic systems. All systems may be environmentally self destructive if the externalities are not vigorously controlled. With world population growth outpacing technology innovations in resources and energy, it may well be that no solution is humane under any economic system --- --- http://snipurl.com/9wu3
Malthus will probably be correct about our future --- http://et.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Robert_Malthus
What are the main causes of poverty in Africa?
Why might Africa’s systemic problems never be changed?
Hint: These causes must be solved before education has a chance. But education doesn't have a chance until these underlying problems are solved. So Africa faces an enormous paradox.
Answer --- Corruption and a vast supply of
The scandals are as regular as Africa’s tropical rains. In one season an opposition party, or younger African politician, vows to clean up government and root out the graft that helps to keep the continent poor. In the next, the once-untarnished leader is exposed for theft and rotten dealings of his own.…
"Fighting corruption in Africa," The Economist, February 3, 2006 ---
Bird Brains: Birds top in languages
Pet birds can not only imitate sounds, they can distinguish between languages, potentially offering new clues on how the brain recognises speech, Japanese researchers say.
"Birds top in languages," Aljazeera, February 6, 2005 ---
Three Danish cartoons made three political points
One showed Muhammad turning away suicide bombers from the gates of heaven, saying "Stop, stop — we ran out of virgins!" — which I believe was a commentary on Muslims' predilection for violence. Another was a cartoon of Muhammad with horns, which I believe was a commentary on Muslims' predilection for violence. The third showed Muhammad with a turban in the shape of a bomb, which I believe was an expression of post-industrial ennui in a secular — oops, no, wait: It was more of a commentary on Muslims' predilection for violence. In order to express their displeasure with the idea that Muslims are violent, thousands of Muslims around the world engaged in rioting, arson, mob savagery, flag-burning, murder and mayhem, among other peaceful acts of nonviolence. Muslims are the only people who make feminists seem laid-back.
Ann Coulter, "CALVIN AND HOBBES — AND MUHAMMAD," Ann Coulter's Home Page, February 8, 2006 --- http://www.anncoulter.com/cgi-local/welcome.cgi
The same caricatures were prominently displayed in an Islamic newspaper four
"Muslim newspaper ran cartoons 4 months ago: No outrage when Egyptian publication headlined drawings on Ramadan cover," WorldNetDaily, February 9, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48746
I don't know if you noticed, but Aljazeera featrures political cartoons --- http://english.aljazeera.net/homepage
A Cartoon Flap in the United States
Now The Washington Post has the Joint Chiefs of Staff Upset (Their protest letter is indeed a rare event)
A Tom Toles editorial cartoon published in The Washington Post on Monday and on its Web site has drawn a very rare and very strong protest letter to the editors from all six members of The Joint Chiefs of Staff," reports the trade magazine Editor & Publisher.
Joe Strupp, Dave Astor and Greg Mitchell. "UPDATE: 'Wash Post' Defends Toles Cartoon That Drew Angry Protest Letter from Joint Chiefs Photo by Julia Ewan/The Washington Post Tom Toles' editorial cartoon runs in about 200 newspapers," Editor & Publisher, February 1, 2006 --- http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001955937
The letter, written on Tuesday, charges that the six military leaders "believe you and Mr. Toles have done a disservice to your readers and your paper's reputation by using such a callous depiction of those who have volunteered to defend this nation, and as a result, have suffered traumatic and life-altering wounds. ... As the Joint Chiefs, it is rare that we all put our hand to one letter, but we cannot let this reprehensible cartoon go unanswered."
Big (Like in Obese) Problems at Southwest Airlines
"Passenger said encounter with Southwest left her feeling agitated and scared," by Kathy McCormack, Manchester Union Leader, February 9, 2006 --- http://snipurl.com/MULfeb9
When she got on the plane, Thompson noticed that most of the seats were taken. She took an aisle seat in the back, buckling her seatbelt and putting down the armrest. An employee, a man, came on the plane and asked her to meet him on the jetway. She did so, thinking that either Southwest had a better flight for her or there was some emergency involving her family. Instead, she testified, she was told she needed to buy a second seat for her comfort and safety.That’s when Thompson, a successful cosmetics company CEO from Exeter who filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Southwest, started to feel uncomfortable.
She said she asked the man several times to explain why she needed to buy the second seat; he kept saying it was for her comfort and safety. She told the worker she was going to return to her seat and do nothing unless he could give her a reason to buy a second one.
As she headed back in, she recalled hearing about a Southwest policy applying to obese passengers. “I thought, ‘There’s no way they could be talking about me,’” Thompson testified about the June 2003 incident. A frequent flier on Southwest, she had never been approached about buying a second seat.
Thompson, who according to court records is 5-foot-8 and weighed between 300 and 330 pounds at the time, was approached by the worker again. He said, “‘If you get off the flight right now, I’ll refund you your ticket,’” she testified.
“I was kind of startled,” she said. “‘Why are you harassing me like this?’” The man didn’t say anything and walked off the plane, she said.
By now, Thompson said, she was feeling agitated and scared. “It was clear to me that this wasn’t over. Something else was going to happen.”
She felt that she shouldn’t stay on the plane and that Southwest didn’t want her there. “God’s telling me to go home. Something’s wrong here,” she recalled.
When she walked off, she saw the man and several other Southwest workers, along with two armed sheriff’s deputies, right outside the plane. They were talking about her.
“What have I done?” she asked. One of the workers said she had been told to buy the extra ticket. A deputy said that the sheriff’s department, which handles security for the airport, is called by airlines to assist with removing passengers from planes.
When Thompson kept demanding an explanation, asking if she was being targeted because she’s black, a woman or fat, another worker started telling her to keep her voice down, she testified. This worker behaved like a bully, very confrontational and aggressive, Thompson said, and she decided to stand up to him, admitting that she used profanity.
She asked the workers for their names; the one she had been arguing with said they didn’t have to give names. “I said, ‘Only racist cowards don’t give me their names,’” Thompson testified. “‘You might as well have a sheet over your head.’”
Eventually, she went back to the Southwest counter and was given a refund. The deputies were with her; she eventually started to weep and one assisted her, helping her get on a United Airlines flight. She was charged for one seat.
Thompson said she later called Southwest’s corporate office in Texas. A customer service representative apologized for what happened, said the employees didn’t follow procedures and offered her $350 in gift certificates.
The incident left her humiliated, Thompson said, and she has been seeing a psychologist to deal with her feelings.
On cross-examination, Garry Lane, a lawyer representing Southwest, recalled a deposition from Thompson saying she didn’t pay much attention to the male co-worker as she was getting her new flight arrangements. When asked why she didn’t describe his look of contempt at the time, Thompson said she wasn’t asked about it.
Southwest’s policy states that a “customer of size” is someone who can’t sit in a seat without having the armrest raised and is sitting on part of the adjacent seat. In his opening statement, Lane said Southwest employees will testify that they saw the armrest up most of the time and that Thompson was sitting on part of the vacant seat next to her.
Continued in article
WebMD Updates --- http://www.webmd.com/
Latest Headlines --- February 7, 2006
- Medicare Faces Cuts in Bush Budget
- How Great Is Your Heart Risk at 50?
- Who Gets Alzheimer's? Genes Hold Key
- War Rougher on Young Soldiers
- Paper Shredders May Hurt Kids' Hands
- Infants and Antidepressant Withdrawal
- Kids, Teens Urged to Get More Calcium
- RSS WebMD Health News
Latest Headlines on February 9, 2006
"Mexico's Oil Output May Decline Sharply: Pemex Study Points to Possible Drop At Major Field, Which Would Strain Global Supply," by David Luhnow, The Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2006; Page A4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113945651609169248.html?mod=todays_us_page_one
What are WikiPolitics?
This is what passes for an extreme makeover in Washington: A summer intern for seven-term Rep. Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.) altered the congressman's profile on the Wikipedia Web site to remove an old promise that he would limit his service to four terms. Someone doctored Sen. Robert C. Byrd's (D-W.Va.) profile on the site to list his age as 180. (He is 88.) An erroneous entry for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) claimed that he "was voted the most annoying senator by his peers in Congress." Last week, Wikipedia temporarily blocked certain Capitol Hill Web addresses from altering any entries in the otherwise wide-open forum. Wikipedia is a vast, growing information database written and maintained solely by volunteers. In December, the database received 4.7 million edits from viewers, of which a relatively small number -- "a couple of thousand," according to founder Jimmy Wales -- constituted vandalism.
Yuki Noguchi, "On Capitol Hill, Playing WikiPolitics Partisanship Tests Web Site's Policies," The Washington Post, February 4, 2006 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/03/AR2006020302610.html
"Congress 'made Wikipedia changes'," by Matthew Davis, BBC News, February 9, 2006 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4695376.stm
Also see http://snipurl.com/WPwiki
Find the Best Book Purchasing Deals --- http://www.bestbookdeal.com/
What are the fastest growing majors on campus?
Answer --- An Assortment of Health Care Majors (from physical therapy to
nursing to administration)
"It's the fastest-growing major that this campus has ever seen," said William E. Cullinan, associate chairman of the department of biomedical sciences at Marquette, in Milwaukee. "It just exploded beyond anyone's imagination." Flagship state universities, and private institutions other than the elite, have long drawn large numbers of working- and middle-class students with a pragmatic bent. But university officials say the current generation is particularly attuned to selecting majors with strong career possibilities.
Alan Finder, "A Hot Trend on Campus: Majoring in Health Care," The New York Times, February 5, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/education/05career.html
What do CFOs think accounting undergraduate and masters programs are doing better than ever before?
"Colleges and universities are responding to a changing accounting landscape," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. "More courses are being offered in areas such as internal audit, enterprise risk management, forensic accounting, information technology and business ethics." The appeal of an accounting career is growing, perhaps as a result of increased emphasis on the profession. According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, enrollment in accounting programs climbed 19 percent from 2000 to 2004, following declines during the late 1990s. There also was a 17 percent increase in the number of new accounting graduates hired by organizations between 2003 and 2004.
"Accounting Grads Better Prepared, Survey Says," AccountingWeb, January 31, 2006 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x51625.xml
Bob Jensen's bookmarks on accountancy careers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/BookBob1.htm#careers
What is higher education's "academic underworld" amidst the Ph.D. glut?
In the worldwide suckers' market, gamblers are the only people who are slower to learn than young adults with master's degrees. Bright graduate students possess a pair of nonmarketable skills: the ability to write term papers and the ability to take academic exams. They are also economic illiterates and incurably naïve.... Those few Ph.D.'s who receive a full-time position at a university find that they are paid much less than tenured members of the department. They are assigned the lower-division classes, which are large. ... Those untenured faculty members who perform well in megaclasses are kept on until the day of reckoning: the decision to grant them tenure, usually eight years after they go on the payroll. They are usually not rehired unless they have published narrowly focused articles in professional journals. But megaclass professors do not have much time to do the required research. The assistant professor is now 35 years old or older. He has not made the cut. He is now relegated to the academic underworld: the community colleges....
Gary North, "In Academia, Big Brains, Empty Pockets," The New York Times, February 5, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/weekinreview/05read.html
Also see "The Ph.D. Glut Revisited" --- http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north427.html
Bob Jensen's threads on the number of doctoral graduates in the U.S. are at
The destiny of a people depends on the state of
its grammar. There is no great country without propriety of language
Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Pessoa
The public grows increasingly skeptical of the nature and purposes of
liberal arts education
While the public grows increasingly skeptical of the nature and purposes of liberal arts education, academics generally, and we suspect English scholars particularly, have not been as effective as they could, should, and must be when representing the value of their work, especially teaching. In a colloquial nutshell, public criticism tends to follow some version of this reasoning: English departments aren’t teaching my kids to write and read well enough because they’re too busy trying to turn them into Marxists, feminists, homosexuals, or — worse — grad students. Meanwhile, our scholarship is derided as obtuse, cryptic, or absurd. It matters little that such descriptions are inaccurate, unfair, and often advanced in service of narrow-minded ideologies at odds with the democratic underpinnings of a liberal arts education. The fact remains that our work is nevertheless perceived at turns as irrelevant or threatening, a fact which directly and indirectly contributes to the deplorable state of labor conditions in English.
Frank P. Gaughan and Peter H. Khost, "Reading, Writing and Representing," Inside Higher Ed, February 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/02/06/gaughan
While critics such as Sirc and Menand are clearly influential here, we understand this task to be of particular importance to graduate students, not least of all because the future of work in the humanities is quite literally in our hands. Should we continue the tradition of predominantly insular and/or antagonistic discourse, our degree of leverage and relevance with the public will continue to decrease, as will our prospects for tenure-line work. It is incumbent upon us to open the lines of communication and to make known the good work that is already being done in our classrooms.
Scholarship on this issue is already underway. For example, at the 2005 MLA conference, Michael Bérubé and Cary Nelson spoke to issues of contingent labor; others such as Peter Mortensen and David Shumway attended to matters of representation. We regard these two issues as linked; that is, the better we understand and represent our work (especially teaching), the better our working conditions stand a chance of improving. For this, we conclude with the following proposals that take from and build on the work of these and other scholars:
1. Cultivate existing trends toward interdisciplinarity, such as linked or clustered courses, in ways that effectively demonstrate the value of English studies, particularly in terms of accomplished reading and writing.
2. Realize that the Ph.D., as a credential for teaching, requires civic responsibility and ethical action. The better we collectively attend to this fact and make this work known, the better we will be able to build a platform from which to argue for improved working conditions.
3. Accept and embrace the possibility of working through cultural debates in ways and venues that are accessible to the general public. This is not to suggest necessary agreement with the public, but to encourage a variety of discourse that holds the public in vital partnership.
4. Encourage hiring, promotion, and tenure committees to value the above efforts or else they simply will not happen, or at least not to the extent that they should. In other words, in order to improve the representation of our work, it will be necessary to appeal effectively not only to the public but also to our senior colleagues.
"MIT Researchers Take Space Suit to Next Level," PhysOrg, February 9, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news10683.html
Where can a tax cheat hide money?
Hint: It's no longer a Swiss bank.
"Swiss Fight Against Tax Cheats Aids Singapore's Banking Quest," by Edward Taylor and Cris Prystay, The Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2006; Page A1 ---
For decades, the ultrarich looking for discreet banking services gravitated to Switzerland, where account secrecy was sacrosanct. But when Swiss authorities acceded to pressure from the European Union to discourage tax evasion, the door opened for a new challenger to woo the world's wealthy: Singapore.
The tiny Asian nation has beefed up account secrecy protections, has changed trust laws and has begun allowing foreigners who meet minimum wealth requirements to purchase land and become residents.
Now private-banking money is flooding in from at least three sources: Asians who have grown rich from the booming Asia-Pacific economy, foreigners seeking to invest and do business in Asia, and Europeans moving money from Switzerland for tax purposes. Swiss banks are expanding in Singapore to get in on the action.
The money flow demonstrates how one nation, in the borderless world of international banking, can use banking regulation as an economic development tool -- and how complicated it is for tax authorities around the world to plug revenue leaks.
"While tax authorities have increased surveillance and regulation in a bid to stem the flow of investment capital and profits to low-tax jurisdictions, it's easier to shift money around than it used to be thanks to technology," says Chris Edwards, director of tax policy at Cato Institute, a Washington think tank that favors free trade. "Both legal avoidance and illegal evasion techniques have become more accessible."
Reply to my Flint versus San Antonio tidbit at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2006/tidbits060210.htm
February 7, 2006 message from Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU]
I can’t help commenting on your tidbit on Flint. I grew up in Flint. Flint now has the reputation as the city with the largest PERCENTAGE of abandon houses (Detroit has the largest NUMBER of abandon houses).
In the early 1970’s, of my friends in a “car club” (a euphemism for an informal high school group of illegal street racers), I was the only one who went off to college. The rest walked into various GM plants in Flint and immediately got jobs.
When they told stories of working in the “plants” you knew GM was heading for problems. One of my favorite stories was my friend Henry. He operated a large press that punched out the grill and headlight rims for Chevrolet trucks from a large roll of aluminum. He was not allowed by union rule to make more than 75 per hour. If everything worked well, he could create the 75 in 45 minutes. So, he would then have to stop for 15 minutes. He got very good at taking 15-minute naps. Then he would start the next hour. What if he did not make the 75 in the hour? Well, it was never his fault. The press would jam. The aluminum would run out. He was not allowed to make up the short fall in the remaining part of the day. He could only make up the short fall in overtime. Bottom line, GM had no motivation to increase productivity. If Henry could make 75 grills in 30 minutes then he would have to take 30-minute naps—no savings for GM.
Another friend, Gary, worked in the Chevrolet engine factory. After a complete engine was manufactured, it was enclosed in a large wooden crate and the crate was moved to a warehouse. The first day on the job, the foreman was giving Gary a tour. As they walked through the warehouse, the foreman pointed out certain crates to Gary and said that those crates were empty—but they were turned such that the opening was on the back-side of the crate, so it wasn’t obvious as you walked through the warehouse. The FOREMAN said that the guys used the empty boxes to take naps during the work day. Some of the boxes actually had blankets in them—for a more comfortable nap!
Everybody knew in those days that you did not want to buy a car the manufactured on Mondays or Fridays, or anytime during hunting season. There was no telling what parts may be missing or mis-installed on those days.
Glen L. Gray, PhD, CPA
Dept. of Accounting & Information Systems
College of Business & Economics
California State University, Northridge
Northridge, CA 91330-8372
Sharing Professor of the Week --- John Kane
What is becoming a serious problem for publishers who cease publishing particular textbooks is finding that the authors are either making those textbooks free online or priced at a small fraction of the price of what the publishing companies are now offering.
If you want to see a huge listing of free economics, statistics, finance, and other business texts, take a look at http://www.oswego.edu/~economic/newbooks.htm
For a listing of these and other online texts (most of them free), see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks
Accounting professors should especially take note of the free online accounting textbooks linked at the above site.
Clayton Solution Economic Indicators ---
Bob Jensen's bookmarks for economic statistics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#EconStatistics
Why Republicans Can't Cut Spending (as if Bush ever wanted to)
The GOP switch from government-shrinking to machine-building has backfired
"Why Republicans Can't Cut Spending?" by Jonathan Rouch, Reason Magazine, January 23, 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/rauch/012306.shtml
And, indeed, this first post-DeLay budget proves DeLay wrong. Spending is not completely uncuttable. It is, rather, 99.5 percent uncuttable.
The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 is, strictly speaking, a deficit-reduction act only in the Washington sense of the term—meaning, it is part of a plan to increase the deficit. It consists of about $40 billion of reductions in spending on entitlement programs, spread over five years (fiscal 2006 through 2010). Based on Congressional Budget Office forecasts, the Deficit Reduction Act will reduce entitlement outlays by about 0.5 percent over that period and cut cumulated deficits by about 2.5 percent. Wow.
Meanwhile, another budget bill is slated to cut taxes by $70 billion over the same five-year period. The net effect of the two bills (known as reconciliation bills) would be to increase the deficit by $30 billion. "The fact that the overall effect of reconciliation taken together was to enlarge rather than reduce the deficit undermines the credibility of anyone claiming that this was a deficit-reduction package," says Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan fiscal-watchdog group.
Judged in purely fiscal terms, then, the reconciliation action resembles the old joke about a man who fell out of a plane without a parachute. Fortunately, there was a haystack below him. Unfortunately, there was a pitchfork in the haystack. Fortunately, he missed the pitchfork. Unfortunately, he missed the haystack.
The reconciliation bill focuses on entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and student loans. Not to be overlooked are the discretionary accounts. Here, the Republicans' budget is indeed tight.
The White House boasts that, thanks in part to a 1 percent across-the-board reduction, total discretionary spending (that is, defense and homeland security, plus domestic discretionary programs) will grow by only 1.1 percent in fiscal 2006, which is below the likely rate of inflation. G. William Hoagland, the director of budget and appropriations for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) notes that domestic discretionary spending (which excludes defense and homeland security) is budgeted to decline a little, a feat not seen in Washington for years.
But, again, the Republicans missed the haystack. Domestic discretionary spending accounts for only a sixth of the budget, and the other five-sixths are growing. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Congress reduced nondefense discretionary spending by $106 billion over five years, but it more than offset those cuts with $237 billion in added spending on defense, Iraq, and emergencies like Katrina and bird flu.
All of that is before counting billions more in likely supplemental appropriations, notably for the Iraq war, which is being conducted off the books. "Appropriations represented some success this year, in that the line was held on nondefense discretionary spending," says Brian Riedl, a senior budget analyst at the Heritage Foundation. "At the same time, Congress continues to put $100 billion to $150 billion a year into emergency supplemental bills, and those never get counted in the final number."
If your paramount concern is reducing the federal deficit, then the best that can be said for the 2006 budget is that it may do less fiscal damage than the budgets of 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, and 2001. But, as has become pretty obvious, deficit reduction is not the paramount concern of today's conservative Republicans. Their concern, rather, is to scrape away at the calcified mass of programs that constitute Big Government. On that measure, how did they do?
Not particularly well. Riedl says, "I didn't find much in the reconciliation bill that will have a substantial impact on the budget or on the programs themselves." Many of the reductions involved fee increases, spectrum-auction proceeds, and other measures short of fundamental programmatic reform.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on the pending collapse of the United States (and Europe) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Entitlements.htm
Best Academic Program Does Not Always Equate to Highest Media Ranked Program
Forwarded on January 31, 2006 by David Albrecht
"Graduates of Best Business Schools Don't Always Draw Top Pay, Study Finds," by Katherine S. Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2006 --- http://chronicle.com/daily/2006/01/2006013102n.htm
Companies pay higher salaries to graduates of the most prominent business schools, even when they believe that lesser-known schools offer better educations, according to a study described in the December/January issue of the Academy of Management Journal.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, found that those two variables do not always go hand in hand. In their analysis of data from a poll of 1,600 professional recruiters, the researchers found that the business schools considered to be the most prominent didn't always get top marks for quality.
The biggest bucks went to graduates of high-profile schools -- the kind that top the charts in national magazine ratings or have faculty members with lofty pedigrees. A report on the study does not give the names of any of the schools mentioned by the recruiters.
"There's an old cliché that nobody got fired for buying from IBM," said Violina P. Rindova, an assistant professor of strategy at the Maryland business school and one of the study's authors. "There's a certain reassurance that if you recruit someone from a prominent school, the boss won't be upset and that you'll have a stronger guarantee."
Continued in article at http://chronicle.com/daily/2006/01/2006013102n.htm
Paid subscription required for access.
Bob Jensen's threads on Media Rankings, and Other Problems of Higher Education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm
Science fiction that might become reality
Could Terrorists Hijack Your Brain?
Security experts need to prepare for a much broader spectrum of potential bioterror agents, according to a report released this week by the Washington, DC-based National Academies. Most bioweapons research has focused on traditional biological agents, such as anthrax and smallpox. But that focus is dangerously narrow, the report says; emerging technologies in biotechnology and the life sciences could be hijacked to take control of genes, immune systems, and even brains. "The threat is extremely broad, and it is increasingly global," says Stanley M. Lemon, cochair of the advisory committee and director of the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX.
Emilsy Singer, "Could Terrorists Hijack Your Brain? According to a new report on biosecurity, technological advances in the not-so-distant future may make it a possibility," MIT's Technology Review, February 1, 2006 ---
Mark Twain vs. Tom Sawyer: The bold deconstruction of a national
It’s hard to read Ron Powers’ engaging new Mark Twain: A Life (Free Press) and not conclude that there’s a congenital defect in the very heart of American literature. Powers, a Pulitzer Prize winner for Flags of Our Fathers, argues that the man born Samuel Clemens “democratized the national voice by availing it of vernacular; rough action that sprawled over waterway and open terrain; comedy political consciousness, and skepticism toward the very idea of lofty instruction.”
Nick Gillespie, "Mark Twain vs. Tom Sawyer: The bold deconstruction of a national icon," Reason Magazine, February 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/0602/cr.ng.mark.shtml
Scandal and Sex Journalism
"Wonking Off : Ana Marie Cox dishes about scandal, sex, journalism, and leaving her popular blog for the literary life. A Reason interview.," by Kerry Howley, Reason Magazine, January 6, 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/links/links010606.shtml
You sea shore cottage won't float off in your lifetime:
Scientists play down rising seas
Researchers say melting glaciers and ice caps will cause just a 0.1m rise in global sea levels by 2100 – less than half the increase of several earlier predictions. But they show that melting of glacial and mountain areas is accelerating fast leading to flooding and land slides in mountainous regions such as Nepal. Dr Sarah Raper, a climatologist from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for Aviation Transport and the Environment, said: “Our research predicts a relatively low sea-level rise from glaciers and icecaps, compared with earlier work, but the local effect of accelerated glacier melt is going to be very important and may already be increasing catastrophic damage in the form of glacier lake outbursts in high mountain regions.”
"Scientists play down rising seas: Manchester scientists studying global warming are predicting a much lower rise in sea levels than previously feared," Innovations Report, January 20, 2006 ---
What's the point of going to school if you can't be around girls?
Today there are more than 160 co-ed public schools around the country with a single-gender option--up from 27 four years ago, Sax's group estimates. (No federal statistics exist.) At 716-student Woodward, parents have enrolled 162 children in single-gender classes for core subjects on a voluntary basis. Boys and girls still have ample time to mix--at lunch, gym and in arts classes. Required to meet the same standards, the classes offer a study in contrasts. When Roberts recently taught a history lesson on the Alamo, the boys "got out of their chairs and pretended to shoot an imaginary enemy." In Stomberg's girls' class, a lesson on the Holocaust consisted of reading about a Jewish girl during the war and talking about "how they would feel if it happened to them." . . . Only time, test scores and experience will tell whether the single-gender class is here to stay or just a passing educational fad. Roncalli counselor Michael Horton says the approach elicited criticism--from none other than his son Nick, 19, who, Horton recalls, pointedly asked, "What's the point of going to school if you can't be around girls?"
"Should Boys and Girls Be Taught Separately?" People Magazine, January 30, 2006, pp. 83-84.
Walt Mossberg tests a $5,000 exercise bike
Unlike the typical exercise bike, the Spark has movable handlebars to steer you through the three-dimensional virtual trails on its screen, and a gearshift for tackling the many hills you encounter. When you climb a hill on the screen, the pedaling really feels like you're climbing a hill.
"Test-Riding a $5,000 Indoor Bike: Web-Linked Exercise Cycle On 3-D Trails Isn't Boring, But Don't Expect to Coast," Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2006; Page D11
A revolutionary technology that could standardize the way corporate results are reported and speed up trading decisions is facing a big problem -- few people are interested. The technology, known as XBRL or Extensible Business Reporting Language, has been around for about eight years and is touted as a development as important for financial reporting as the bar code was for retail pricing. It works by labeling financial information with computer-readable tags so regulators, investors, managers and other stakeholders can make apples-to-apples comparisons in financial statements. XBRL has the support of about 400 organizations, including some of the biggest players on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley, as well as a ringing endorsement from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox.But despite five years of marketing, few companies are using the technology and investors are not exactly clamoring for it. Only about 200 people showed up at an XBRL convention this week in San Jose, where it was clear much of the investment community and corporate America are giving the technology the cold shoulder.
Emily Chasen, "Lifting the Lid: New accounting technology gets cold shoulder," Yahoo News, January 20, 2006 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060121/tc_nm/column_lifting_dc
Bob Jensen's threads on XBRL are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm
Internet Society --- http://www.isoc.org/
Time Warp? Surgery performed on baby aged -.0356 years old
Performing a procedure that had never been done anywhere in the world, doctors sliced a hole in Grace's grape-sized heart and propped it open with a stint. Then, 13 days later she was born naturally.
Opinion Journal, February 1, 2006
Also see http://www.wired.com/news/wireservice/0,70125-0.html?tw=wn_index_9
Know Your Enemy Better Than You Know Your Friends
American troops in Iraq are seeing increasing evidence of professional training being provided to the terrorists and anti-government forces they face. Some ambushes are carried out with precision and planning that is very uncharacteristic of the Iraqis, even the elite professional troops that used to serve Saddam. Enemy snipers are becoming more effective, by using discipline and professional techniques . . . What has been going on is small scale training programs, and more selectivity in which men the terrorists allow to participate in combat operations. Most of these attacks are driven by money (along with ideological, nationalistic and religious reasons). The fighters are paid, and the paymasters are demanding more for their money. The number of attacks is down, and more of the attackers are getting killed or captured. But there is a growing hard core of very skillful men, who, by having survived so many battles, paid attention to what worked, and have become much more lethal.
"The Enemy Professionals in Iraq," Strategy Page, January 20, 2006 --- http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htinf/articles/20060120.aspx
If a contractor planting a cable TV line can
accidentally cut off millions of cell-phone customers for three hours,
imagine what an organized attack might do.
Kevin Poulsen, "The Backhoe: A Real Cyberthreat," Wired News, January 21, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70040-0.html?tw=wn_tophead_11
Article about a former professor’s arrest on prostitution charges
inspires a poem from Will Hochman
"Tenure Decision," by Will Hochman, Inside Higher Ed, January 23, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/01/23/hochman
From The Washington Post on January 27, 2006
Of course Congress does not want to limit the amount of drinking at lunch
The Wall Street Journal Flashback, January 27, 1978
President Carter's plan to end the "three martini" business lunch isn't going down well in Congress. Al Ullman (D., Ore.) already has called the idea "too controversial" for Congress to tackle in this election year. Mr. Carter wants to limit the deduction to 50%.
Peerage Fraud in the U.K. --- http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2006 January.htm
Fear not! There is a new scheme that offers even greater recognition. The idea is to move into a tent, sell the house and buy a peerage. When Lloyd George was caught selling peerages, there was a great scandal. Now all the parties are at it. Of course, there are those who think it is a disgrace to a once great nation that membership of the upper house can be bought for the price of a modest dwelling, but it is a tribute to the achievements of one Great Leader that he can not only change the moral climate in a few short years, but he also makes such a facility available at such a modest cost.
The way the scheme works is that you make your donation to one of the three main parties. You also have to give a small amount to charity, as that is the best official excuse for the award. You get the money back from the taxpayer over the years in attendance allowances at the House. The beauty of this scheme is that taxpayers’ money is transferred to the party machines without the mechanism being obvious. It is better than that, though, because you also become qualified for various City directorships, which require very little effort for a substantial screw.
There is one remaining problem for those of us that suffer from the Hamlet syndrome (the inability to make up one’s mind). With three indistinguishable parties available (not to mention the Official Green Party) how is one to choose?
Survey: Unrealistic Business Goals, Deadlines Cause Unethical Behavior
Pressure from management or the Board to meet unrealistic business objectives and deadlines is the leading factor most likely to cause unethical corporate behavior, according to a new survey on business ethics.
SmartPros, January 18, 2006 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x51403.xml
Bob Jensen's threads on professionalism in accounting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#Professionalism
In this case generic drugs are safer
A widely used heart-surgery medicine that is standard treatment in many hospitals has been found to carry serious health risks, according to a new study. The drug, Trasylol from Bayer AG, of Germany, is used to stem blood loss in patients undergoing heart-bypass surgery. Approved in the U.S. in 1993, the drug is given to about a quarter of the one million people world-wide who undergo bypass surgery each year, the study's author estimates.
David Armstrong, "Serious Risks Are Found in Heart Drug: Widely Used Medicine Increases Chance of Kidney Failure, Stroke; Generics Are as Effective and Safer," The Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2006; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113824252116356643.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal
Websites promoting anorexia and bulimia continue to proliferate.
In a Q&A, physician Rebecka Peebles, an instructor in adolescent medicine, and third-year medical student Jenny Wilson, '01, describe the phenomenon and what it means for people fighting eating disorders.
"Is It Healthy When Anorexics Network?" Stanford Magazine, January 2006 --- http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2006/janfeb/farm/news/ana.html
What do you find on pro-eating disorder websites?
They give tips and techniques on how to purge better, or how to hide it from your parents. They also have “thinspirations,” which are images of anorexic women. And a lot of them have message boards. We found that two-thirds [of patients] learned about new weight-loss and purging techniques from the websites, and one-third learned about diet pills, laxatives and supplements. So there is an indication that they are learning about unhealthy behaviors that are impacting their health.
A Remedial High School Alternative
PLATO Learning Inc. ( http://www.plato.com ) has announced the release of PLATO Courses, which are semester-long online courses that provide schools and districts a way to deliver rigorous credit-recovery solutions, alternatives for students not succeeding in the traditional environment, credit-granting distance learning programs, and home school curricula. The PLATO Courses cover math, science, and social studies, and are aligned to national standards in each subject area. Each course provides a comprehensive course curriculum, including exemptive assessments, instructional content, cumulative final exams, and state standards coverage reports. To promote the successful use of PLATO Courses, PLATO Education Consultants provide both on-site and electronic professional development sessions. Each PLATO Course also includes teacher support materials in the form of a Teacher's Guide and an Implementation Guide. Pricing varies.
Bob Jensen's threads on distance education alternatives are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm
Eerroneous idea that the glasshouse is heated solely by inhibition of radiation?
"Wikiphobia," NumberWatch, January 2006 --- http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2006 January.htm
While in a paranoid mood, one of the worst things about sticking your neck out in various fields of controversy is being attacked for something you did not say. Number Watch receives periodic hits from a Wikipedia article on The Greenhouse Effect claiming that the Number Watch account of the same subject gives support to the erroneous idea that the glasshouse is heated solely by inhibition of radiation. It quite specifically does not do this (If in doubt look for the words major and so-called). Glass was introduced in the first paragraph simply to explain the misnomer. In retrospect this was a mistake, as many people jump to conclusions and never get past the first two paragraphs. They are like the old time drama critic who always watched the first act, then retired to the bar to write his critique and get drunk. It does not help to rewrite to clarify the meaning, because you then come under attack for covertly backing down,
Some seem to claim that the inhibition of convection is the whole story in the glasshouse. This oversimplification derives from an experiment by R W Wood in 1929. He took two black boxes, one with a glass lid and the other with a quartz one (which is transparent to the whole spectrum) and showed that there was little difference in the heating effect.
If you take two parallel plates (with area much larger than the separation) and a fluid between them, then gradually raise the temperature of the lower one, at first there is no convection, merely conduction. Then at a critical temperature determined by the physical constants of the fluid, convection starts in the form of cellular motion and the cell size is determined by the geometry and the said constants. The motion is always such as to maximise the heat flow. The critical condition can be theoretically determined with some accuracy by perturbing the linearised Navier Stokes Equations. A cardboard box has much more restrictive boundary conditions and probably inhibits convection more effectively. A glasshouse presents even more complicated boundary conditions, so the flow will be chaotic, though it will still be such as to maximise the heat transfer. Nevertheless, the selective re-radiation effect must occur, though, as stated in the Number Watch article, it will not be the major component.
Other comments were made following the last such attack last August. Incidentally, the Wikipedia article contains a nice example of what we might call Tablemanship. By tabulating the amount left after the previous entry they make the bottom numbers look enormous to the innumerate, when they are, in fact, very small. Nice one!
Social Computing Facts and Figures
Social-computing tools and mobile technologies are becoming more important for colleges, according to a report issued Tuesday by the New Media Consortium and Educause. The report — an annual look at technology and higher education — also suggests that colleges not assume technological literacy, even by the generation of students arriving on campuses now.
Inside Higher Education, February 1, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/02/01/qt
Trivia questions about the Oscars ---
Paula explains how to understand the Texan language
Saying: The engine's runnin' but ain't nobody driving.
Translation: Not overly-intelligent.
More with the same translation:
Lights are on but nobody's home.
He's one log short of a cord.
He's one taco short of a combination plate.
Saying: Tighter than bark on a tree.
Translation: Not very generous.
Saying: All hat, no cattle.
Translation: All talk and no action.
Saying: We've howdied but we ain't shook yet.
Translation: We've made a brief acquaintance, but not been formally introduced.
Saying: He thinks the sun come up just to hear him crow.
Translation: He has a pretty high opinion of himself.
Saying: As welcome as a skunk at a lawn party.
Saying: S/He's got tongue enough for 10 rows of teeth.
Translation: Talks a lot.
Alternate saying: S/He's a grackle (of a magpie).
Saying: It's so dry the trees are bribin' the dogs.
Translation: We really could use a little rain around here
Saying: Just because a chicken has wings don't mean it can fly.
Translation: Appearances can be deceptive.
Saying: This ain't my first rodeo.
Translation: I've been around awhile.
Saying: He looks like the dog's been keepin' him under the porch.
Translation: Not the most handsome of men.
Fell out of an ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
Saying: They ate supper before they said grace.
Translation: Living in sin.
Saying: As full of wind as a corn-eating horse.
Translation: Rather prone to boasting.
Example: Romantic Sleigh Ride with Bud Lite ---
Saying: You can put your boots in the oven, but that don't make 'em
Translation: You can say whatever you want about something, but that doesn't change what it is.