Tidbits on April 11, 2006
Bob Jensen
at Trinity University 

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

Bob Jensen's various threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm
       (Also scroll down to the table at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ )

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

Internet News (The News Show) --- http://www.thenewsshow.tv/daily/

New
Informercial Scams
(even those carried on the main TV networks)--- http://www.infomercialscams.com/

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

25 Hottest Urban Legends (hoaxes) --- http://www.snopes.com/info/top25uls.asp 
Hoax Busters --- http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/ 
Stay up on the latest and the oldest hoaxes --- http://www.snopes.com/

Most Popular eBusiness Sites 2006 - 2007 --- http://www.webtrafficstation.com/directory/
WebbieWorld Picks --- http://www.webbieworld.com/default.asp

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


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

The Ultimate Cell Phone Buying Guide, Digital Duo Video --- http://www.pcworld.com/digitalduo/video/0,segid,159,00.asp

From NPR
Laughing Along with Lily Tomlin Comic Reflects on a Career Honored by Mark Twain Prize by Scott Simon --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1477875
Watch Videos of Lily Tomlin's Classic Performances

Toot Tone:  Turn embarrassing farts into cell phone tones ---
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_TXMuNiMUg&search=tone


Free music downloads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

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

Gladiator American Style (slide show) --- http://objflicks.com/GladiatorAmericanStyle.htm

United We Stand --- http://jbreck.com/newyork.html

America (Elvis) --- http://jbreck.com/legendelvis.html  

Song of the Patriot (Johnny Cash) --- http://www.goodolddogs.com/  

May You Be Blessed (Slide Show) --- http://www.mayyoubeblessedmovie.com/

The Light of His Word --- http://jbreck.com/thelightofhisword.html  
I dare you to sit still while listening to this one. Go ahead and clap your hands! Maybe dance around a little.
Others --- http://jbreck.com/janieswebsiteIII.html  

My Favorite
The Irish Blessing --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/blessing.htm   
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on.
Then scroll back to the top for the Irish countryside slide show.

My Two Other Favorites
The Rose --- http://jbreck.com/LadyInBlack.html  
(You may have to turn your speakers up a bit for this one.)

Hope Has Place --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/pity.htm
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on.

Happy Easter Egged --- http://d21c.com/scratch/holidays/egg.swf
Also on http://scratch.amishhosting.com/egg.swf

 


Photographs and Art

The Hubble Heritage Project --- http://heritage.stsci.edu/2006/01/index.html

Paris by Night (with music) --- http://framboise781.free.fr/Paris.htm

From NPR
Paintings Stolen by Nazis Find New Home in L.A. --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5325035

Monster Waves in Australia --- http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,18760807-2,00.html
Biggest surf in 30 years --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2006/04/08/1143916763293.html

The Eastman Project: Images of California Life  --- http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf6w100646

Bitterman Gallery (photographs) ---
http://www.gittermangallery.com/html/Detail.asp?WorkInvNum=45681&whatpage=exhib

Click on the Icons that you may save to your computer --- http://miroska781.free.fr/index.htm

Blake Flynn Paintings --- http://home.comcast.net/~blake.flynn/paintings/landscapeinabox.html

Hokusai: Mad About Painting --- http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/current/Hokusai.htm

Digital Camera Photographer of the Year --- http://poty2006.dcmag.co.uk/

Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the Iranian Resistance, shows photographs as she attends a meeting of the liberal group at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, eastern France ---
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/060410/481/str10204101229
 


Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Best of History Websites --- http://www.besthistorysites.net/ArtHistory.shtml

Literature Mania --- http://www.literaturemania.com/

April 2006 National Poetry Month --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5323934

Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” --- http://webpages.charter.net/classicpoetry/dtdonotgogentle.htm

American Poems --- http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/poe/1504

Allen Ginsberg. Howl and Other Poems --- http://www.people.virginia.edu/~jng2d/enlt255/texts/howl/howl.htm

The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft --- http://www.noveltynet.org/content/books/lovecraft/index.php





Motivation Nothing happens unless first a dream.
Carl Sandburg --- http://quotes.prolix.nu/Motivation/

Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.
Constantin Brancusi --- http://quotes.prolix.nu/Motivation/

Without fear and illness, I could never have accomplished all I have.
Edvard Munch --- http://quotes.prolix.nu/Motivation/

You don't drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.
Edwin Louis Cole --- http://quotes.prolix.nu/Motivation/

Nobody is stronger, nobody is weaker than someone who came back. There is nothing you can do to such a person because whatever you could do is less than what has already been done to him. We have already paid the price.
Elie Wiesel --- http://quotes.prolix.nu/Motivation/

What is the feeling when you're driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? -it's the too huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.
Jack Kerouac --- http://quotes.prolix.nu/Motivation/

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
Jack London --- http://quotes.prolix.nu/Motivation/

A South American Scientist, from Argentina, after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient sexual activity in their lives tend to read their e-mails with their hand still on the mouse.
Forwarded by Doug Jenson

Mistakes are the portals for discovery.
James Joyce --- http://quotes.prolix.nu/Motivation/

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Thomas Edison --- http://quotes.prolix.nu/Motivation/

The price of self-destiny is never cheap, and in certain situations it is unthinkable. But to achieve the marvelous, it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought.
Tom Robbins, "Jitterbug Perfume" --- http://quotes.prolix.nu/Motivation/

Infidel: in New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does.
Ambrose Bierce (1842 1914) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrose_Bierce

 




Great Minds in Management:  The Process of Theory Development --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/GreatMinds.htm

In April 2006 I commenced reading a heavy book entitled Great Minds in Management:  The Process of Theory Development, Edited by Ken G. Smith and Michael A. Hitt (Oxford Press, 2006).

The essays are somewhat personalized in terms of how theory development is perceived by each author and how these perceptions changed over time.

In Tidbits I will share some of the key quotations as I proceed through this book. The book is somewhat heavy going, so it will take some time to add selected quotations to the list of quotations at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/GreatMinds.htm 

PG.#24 BANDURA
Scientific advances are promoted by two kinds of theories (Nagel, 1961).  One form seeks relations between directly observable events but shies away from the mechanisms subserving the observable events.  The second form focuses on the mechanisms that explain the functional relations between observable events.  The fight over cognitive determinants was not about the legitimacy of inner causes, but about the types of inner determinants that are favored (Bandura, 1996).  For example, operant analysts increasingly place the explanatory burden on determinants inside the organism, namely the implanted history of reinforcements.

PG.#27 BANDURA
Not only are cultures not monolithic entities, but they are no longer insular.  Global connectivity is shrinking cross-cultural uniqueness.  Moreover, people worldwide are becoming increasingly enmeshed in a cyberworld that transcends time, distance, place, and national borders.  In addition, mass transnational influences are homogenizing some aspects of life, polarizing other aspects, and creating a lot of cultural hybridizations fusing elements from diverse cultures.

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm




"7 Tips for Protecting Yourself from the Health Hazards of Air Travel," AccountingWeb, March 23, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101943

Flying is hazardous. It not just the one in thousands or one in millions chances of crashes or terrorism, it’s physical effects of travel that are far more common and potentially just as serious. Whether traveling on business or pleasure, here are some tips from Harvard Men’s Health Watch for reducing the health hazards of flying:

How to Lie With Statistics:  How many illegal immigrants are in the U.S.?

"Fuzzy Math on Illegal Immigration," by Carl Bailik, The Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/numbers_guy.html

New York Democrat Charles Schumer said legislation is needed "to solve the problem of millions of foreigners who live here illegally and unprotected" as well as "to alleviate the problem of the millions more who enter illegally every year." He kept his estimate of the number of illegal immigrants vague because "no one knows for sure how many are really here," the National Journal reported. "Nor can anyone give a reliable estimate of how fast that unknown figure is growing each year."

A sound bite from last week? Nope. The year was 1985, Mr. Schumer was in the House of Representatives and debate was raging over how to address the growing number of illegal immigrants, then estimated at somewhere between 3 million and 12 million.

Twenty-one years later, several amnesties granted to undocumented immigrants have failed to keep the number of illegal immigrants from growing. And estimates of their numbers remain fuzzy and full of pitfalls, even as lawmakers toss them around in the latest round of debates over whether to offer guest-worker status to illegal immigrants.

At the core of the problem is the fact that undocumented immigrants don't generally come forward to be counted. The most widely quoted estimate of 11 million to 12 million is derived indirectly, using what's called a residual method: Researchers subtract the number of immigrants who were authorized to come to the U.S. from the number of foreign-born residents counted by the Census Bureau, then adjust the number using estimates of immigrants' deaths and migration, and of Census undercounting. Some critics say that estimate understates the degree of undercounting: Another estimate making the rounds holds that there are 20 million illegal immigrants.

That was the upper range Bear Stearns analysts Robert Justice and Betty Ng estimated last year, citing high growth rates in foreign remittances and in school enrollments in localities with high illegal-immigrant populations. The analysts added, "According to our discussions with illegal immigrants, they avoid responding to census questionnaires."

And there are still-higher estimates to be found online: The Web site of the "immigration crime-fighting" group American Resistance Foundation estimates there are more than 28 million illegal immigrants, based largely on border-patrol apprehension rates; however, there is little reliable data on how many border-crossers who are caught trying to enter a second time.

"No one really knows," says Bill Strassberger, a spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security.

Of those citing the 20 million figure, Mr. Strassberger says that "the number seems to be agenda-driven." But if so, it's not always the same agenda doing the driving.

On CNN last Sunday, anchor Lou Dobbs, who has argued for tighter border controls, spoke of "the toll that 20 million illegal aliens take on the infrastructure of the United States and on local, state, and federal taxpayer budgets." (At other times during his recent broadcasts, Mr. Dobbs has cited a range between 11 million and 20 million. A CNN spokeswoman says Mr. Dobbs is relying on the Bear Stearns report for the higher number.)

But talk-show host Tony Snow, arguing that immigrants are a boon to the economy, wrote Monday, "The United States somehow has managed to absorb 10 million to 20 million illegal immigrants not only without turning into Animal Farm, but while cranking up the most impressive economic recovery in two decades."

In 2000, before it was folded into DHS, the Immigration and Naturalization Service used the residual method to estimate there were seven million illegal immigrants and their numbers were growing by 250,000 to 300,000 per year. Mr. Strassberger says that remains the government's best estimate, though he concedes it's out of date.

Continued in article

" U.S. jobless claims fall to 299,000:  Continuing claims drop by 22,000 in latest week, " by Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch, April 6, 2006 --- Click Here


"Hamas in call to end suicide bombings," Observer Guardian, April 9, 2006 --- http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0%2C%2C1750028%2C00.html?gusrc=rss

Hamas is to abandon its use of suicide bombers, who have killed almost 300 Israelis, in any future confrontations with Israel, its activists have told The Observer. The Islamic group, which leads the Palestinian Authority, says, however, that it may resort to other forms of violence if there is no progress towards Palestinian statehood.

Yihiyeh Musa, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said Hamas had moved into a 'new era' which did not require suicide attacks.

'The suicide bombings happened in an exceptional period and they have now stopped,' he said. 'They came to an end as a change of belief.'

As Hamas toned down its rhetoric, Israel increased pressure on the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza. Two militants were killed in an airstrike near Gaza City yesterday and five men and a five-year-old boy were killed on Friday night.

Each day hundreds of artillery shells are fired by Israel at northern Gaza. Palestinian factional tension is also high and the price of commodities such as flour and sugar has more than doubled as a result of Israel closing border crossings.

Hamas is keen to gain acceptance from the international community. On Friday the European Union announced it was stopping direct funding of the PA, while the United States has halted aid projects. Hamas needs outside funding of $150m each month to pay PA wages or else the Palestinian economy will collapse.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, warned in an interview published yesterday that any attempt by Israel unilaterally to impose unjust borders on the Palestinians would lead to another war within 10 years.

Continued in article


Gays chow down at the University of New Hampshire: Light-Hearted Pancake Breakfast
In a light-hearted opening of the 14th Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Allies (LGBTQIA) Pancake Breakfast, [Toni] Bisconti, Associate Professor of psychology and Master of Ceremonies, welcomed guests with a karaoke rendition, along with a slide show, of Nelson's new, controversial, pro-gay rights song . . .
Rebecca LeHoullier, "Pancakes, support served in GLBT celebration," April 7, 2006 ---  Click Here
 


Colleges Chow Down on Congressional Pork
The annual report documents Congressional “pet projects” that, the group argues, waste taxpayer dollars. This year’s book names 375 examples of pork, including colleges and universities that are recipients of federal funds. Earmarking, a practice that federal lawmakers commonly use to direct funds to specific recipients, rather than allocating them through the traditional peer review process, has become a hot issue on Capitol Hill and across the country in the wake of recent influence-peddling scandals involving Duke Cunningham, the former California Congressman, and the lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Elia Powers, "Bringing Home the Bacon," Inside Higher Ed, April 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/04/06/pork
 


From Canada:  Things you can't find in the U.S. media
Despite a variety of unparalleled challenges to American life and liberty, the direct result of eight years of irresponsible gross mismanagement under the panty-raid administration of the 90s, the Bush Administration has managed to prevent 911 follow-up attacks, liberated 24 million in Afghanistan from the brutality of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, another 25 million from the brutality of the Hussein Regime in Iraq, delivered the lowest unemployment rate and the highest home ownership rate, while leading the country to record numbers in the stock market. Yet the Administrations approval rating stands between 36 and 39%, according to the press. How is that possible? It’s possible because the press doesn’t report any of the facts I just listed. What they do report is whatever Bush Administration adversaries want them to report. The average American relies upon the lamestream press for their daily dose of "reality", but reality is not what they are getting.
 J.B. Williams, "The Verdict is In--It's Official!: America is in Deep Trouble," Canada Free Press, April 10, 2006 --- http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/williams041006.htm
 

"Three Years, Few Regrets:  Iraqi writer Kanan Makiya on what's gone right and wrong, and what the possibilities are, on the third anniversary of Saddam Hussein's fall Michael Young," Reason Magazine, April 6, 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/links/links040606.shtml


Trial set in civil suit against Bill Clinton
A judge in Los Angeles yesterday dismissed Sen. Hillary Clinton from a lawsuit by business mogul Peter Franklin Paul that alleges her husband, former President Bill Clinton, reneged on a $17 million business deal. President Clinton however, remains a defendant and will be subpoenaed early next week to testify in a deposition. A trial date has been set, and Paul plans to depose Sen. Clinton as well.
Art Moore, "Trial set in civil suit against Bill Clinton:  Judge dismisses Hillary as defendant, but she'll likely testify with ex-president," World Net Daily, April 10, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49651

 


Poems showing the absurdities of English spelling --- http://www.spellingsociety.org/news/media/poems.php

April 12, 2006 reply from Eric Press [eric.press@temple.edu]

Bob,

Though you're well informed, it's impossible, of course, to know everything. I see you've stumbled upon a quaint movement that mostly trades on ignorance--spelling reform. Apparently, the popularity of such stuff indicates it's not to easy to learn why spelling is apparently so arcane. Actually, it is fun and enlightening to learn why. Listen to this guy:

http://www.teach12.com/store/professor.asp?ID=80&d=Seth+Lerer 

In his history of the English language CD, Professor Lerer explains how phenomena such as vowel shifting, word encounters at different periods, conflict between North and South England, and the impact of Normans, Germans, and Vikings, give us our crazy-quilt spelling. He also teaches a bit on pronouncing words as originally spoken, so that their spelling makes sense.

Thus, e.g., there is no poem about "knight" if you understand that once, the word was pronounced "ken-ich-te." The above CD has dozens of entertaining hours of instruction about where English comes from. Perhaps in your retirement you'd have time to listen and learn.

Regards,

Eric
 


Repeated over and over again: Executives keep bonuses after getting caught cooking the books
Even when ConAgra restated its financial results, which lowered earnings in 2003 and 2004, Mr. Rohde's $16.4 million in bonuses for those two years stayed the same.
Eric Dash, "Off to the Races Again, Leaving Many Behind," The New York Times, April 9, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/09/business/businessspecial/09pay.html?_r=1&oref=slogin


Bill of Health:  Bad Math in Massachusetts
The question is this: What insurance company will provide coverage with $0 deductible, at an annual premium of $295, for someone whose health care costs on average $6,000 a year? The numbers imply losses of over $5,700, not counting administrative costs. To subsidize zero-deductible health insurance, state taxpayers might have to pay out about $6,000 per recipient. There is no reason to expect firms to rush to offer a policy to uninsured employees. It makes more sense for them to pay their $295 penalty and hand the health-insurance problem back to the individual -- and ultimately to the taxpayers of Massachusetts. Economically, consumers who face deductibles of $0 have no incentive to restrain health-care spending. They are only constrained by the time and discomfort involved in obtaining medical care.
"Bill of Health," by Arnold Kling, The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2006; Page A12 --- Click Here

The Massachusetts health plan promises to provide health-insurance companies with subsidies in order to induce them to offer these low-deductible insurance plans. The arithmetic suggests that these subsidies will have to be large -- thousands of dollars larger than the $295 per worker that the state plans to collect from employers that do not provide health insurance.

The problem of paying for health-care coverage, which politicians are declaring they have "solved," is really just beginning. The only way to make zero-deductible health insurance available at low cost is with a large subsidy; how much will depend on negotiations with insurance companies. Only when the size of the necessary tax increase becomes clear will Massachusetts's leaders learn the laws of arithmetic.

Mr. Kling, an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute, is the author of "Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care," forthcoming from Cato.

Also see http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa565.pdf

Massachusetts: Give me your tired, poor, sick, and uninsured
If all goes as planned, poor people will be offered free or heavily subsidized coverage; those who can afford insurance but refuse to get it will face increasing tax penalties until they obtain coverage; and those already insured will see a modest drop in their premiums ... The state's poorest — single adults making $9,500 or less a year — will have access to health coverage with no premiums or deductibles . . . The only other state to come close to the Massachusetts plan is Maine, which passed a law in 2003 to dramatically expand health care. That (Maine) plan relies largely on voluntary compliance (and resulted in a huge tax increase to fund unexpected cost overages).
"Romney to Sign Mandatory Health Bill," Newsmax, April 5, 2006 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
These plans would work better if they applied to all 50 states since free medical care, like generous welfare benefits, encourages migration of the most needy to a state offering the most free benefits. Another complication is that this will increase unemployment since many small business employers such as day care centers, beauty parlors, painters, carpet layers, and home repair contractors will close down or outsource to "independent contractors" for the services, including the firing of legal state residents and the hiring of illegal immigrants.  Those "poorest single adults making $9,500 or less a year" are often young people who did not finish high school and desperately need any type of work. Many of them will have free heath care but no job and training opportunities in Massachusetts unless the state eventually gives more relief to pay for medical care from the state treasury rather than employer contributions.

If states bordering Mexico adopt insurance benefits like those in Massachusetts, thousands upon thousands of U.S. citizens will become unemployed. The real test case for Massachusetts-styled legislation might be the financially strapped state of California where illegal immigrants cluster in enormous numbers awaiting job opportunities.

High workers' compensation insurance (which covers medical care for job-related injuries) and unemployment compensation mandatory insurance has already raised havoc with employment and motivated fraud in most states. For example, the firm that put on a new roof and new siding for me in New Hampshire fired all its hourly workers and then forced most of the the former workers to become uninsured independent contractors. Frauds explode when workers scheme to get lifetime benefits for faked injuries or injuries that truly did not happen on the job.

When Bill Clinton first took office as President of the U.S., his wife headed a commission proposing national health coverage funded by employers. Her plan flew over Washington DC like a lead balloon in the face of the small business lobby. It seems to me that this nation must first solve the problem of illegal immigration before national health care coverage can be adopted. It will be interesting, however, to see how this plays out in Massachusetts.

There is no doubt that if elected President, she will work tirelessly for a national health plan.
"Romney's health care plan draws praise from Hillary Clinton" --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1610125/posts

 


Question
What two states discourage business by having the highest workers' compensation rates and fraudulent abuse?

Another union-driven business cost is workers' compensation, and in New York the average cost per claim is second highest in the nation (after Louisiana) and 72% higher than the national average. Governor George Pataki has proposed a reform that would lower costs while actually raising the average payout for the truly disabled, but he's run up against a French-like union roadblock in the legislature. Thanks to immigration, as well as America's continuing advantage in financial services, New York City has so far been able to avoid another fiscal collapse of the kind it had in the 1970s. But upstate is a different story, with jobs and young people fleeing to better business climes. New York manufacturing employment fell by 41% between 1990 and 2005, or double the national rate.
"GM, France and Albany What the declines of all three have in common," The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/hottopic/?id=110008207
 


Question: Why is the unemployment rate so high in France?
In 1974 the rate of unemployment in France was 2.8% and 5.5% in the U.S; now U.S. joblessness is 4.7% while in France it is 9.6%, and youth unemployment exceeds 20%. The U.S. over the last 20 years created more net new jobs than the total employment of France. The French riposte has been the 35-hour work week (without proportional reductions in wages), strict layoff rules, more vacations and longer maternity leaves: If jobs cannot be created they must be shared and employers must bear the burden of higher benefit costs. In recent weeks, virulent protests against a rather benign reform has confirmed not only the French preference for entitlements and leisure, but more importantly the widespread belief that economic growth is a zero-sum game manipulated by arbitrary employers. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's "first contract law" was effectively annulled by President Jacques Chirac, who agreed to sign it only if it was amended to allow employers of more than 20 people to hire and fire, with cause, young mostly unskilled workers under the age of 26 during their first year of employment.
"Contract With France," by Marie-Josee Kravis, The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2006; Page A19 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114462840563021391.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

French President Jacques Chirac on Monday scrapped a planned youth job law that provoked weeks of protests, in a climbdown opponents celebrated as an unqualified victory.
Elizabeth Pineau, "France scraps youth job law," Yahoo News, April 10, 2006 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060410/ts_nm/france_contract_dc_7

Also see "Chirac caves in on controversial youth jobs law," Sydney Morning Herald, April 11 2006 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2006/04/10/1144521269066.html
 


Updates from WebMD --- http://www.webmd.com/

 


8-25 Years for Burning a Woman Alive in France:  Not Much of a Legal Deterrent
French prosecutors called Friday for a 25-year prison sentence for a young man accused of burning a 17-year-old woman to death in a Paris suburb. Sohane Benziane, a Frenchwoman of Algerian origin, was doused with lighter fuel, set on fire and left to die in the basement of a run-down housing estate in Vitry-sur-Seine near Paris, in October 2002. Jamal Derrar, 22, is accused of acts of torture and barbarity leading to death and faces 25 years' imprisonment, while his co-defendant Tony Rocca, 23, faces eight to 10 years in jail.
"Frenchman faces 25 years for burning girl alive," Expatica, April 7, 2006 --- Click Here
 


Please Sign Me Up for the Fountain of Youth:  But is a longer life worth it on this diet?
"The Fountain of Health -- Part 1: Antiaging research could provide a powerful approach to treating the many diseases of old age," by David Rotman, MIT's Technology Review, April 3, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16649,312,p1.html 

For the better part of two decades, Richard Weindruch, a professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has fed half of a colony of 78 rhesus monkeys a diet adequate in nutrition but severely limited in calories -- 30 percent fewer calories than are fed to the control group. Scientists have known for nearly 70 years that such calorie restriction extends the life span of rodents, and Weindruch is determined to find out whether it can extend the life span of one of man's closest relatives, too.

It's too early to know the answer for certain. The monkeys in Weindruch's lab are only now growing elderly. And with 80 percent of them still alive, "there are too few deaths" to indicate whether the animals on the restricted diet will live longer, says Weindruch. But one thing is already clear: the monkeys on the restricted diet are healthier. Roughly twice as many of the monkeys in the control group have died from age-related diseases, and perhaps most dramatically, none of the animals on the restricted diet have developed diabetes, a leading cause of death in rhesus monkeys.

These encouraging, albeit preliminary, results are sure to cheer those few who have adopted severe calorie-restricted diets in hopes of living longer. But their real significance is the further evidence they provide that calorie restriction affects the molecular and genetic events that govern aging and the diseases of aging. Indeed, while calorie restriction remains impractical for all but the most determined dieters, it is providing an invaluable window on the molecular and cellular biology of disease resistance and the aging process.

Up until a decade or so ago, most biologists believed that the aging process was not only immensely complex but also inevitable. People aged, they assumed, much the way an old car does: eventually, everything just falls apart. Then in the early 1990s, Cynthia Kenyon, a young molecular biologist at the University of California, San Francisco, found that mutating a single gene, called daf-2, in worms doubled their life spans. Before the discovery, says Kenyon, "everyone thought aging just happened. To control aging, you had to fix everything, so it was impossible." Kenyon's research suggested a compelling alternative: that a relatively simple genetic network controlled the rate of aging.

The race to find the genetic fountain of youth was on. Within a few years, Leonard Guarente, a biologist at MIT, found that in yeast, another gene produced a similar dramatic increase in life span. Soon after, Guarente and his MIT coworkers made another startling discovery: the yeast antiaging gene, called sir2, required for its activity a common molecule that is involved in numerous metabolic reactions. Guarente, it seemed, had found a possible connection between an antiaging gene and diet. The gene, Guarente thought, might be responsible for the health benefits of calorie restriction; and indeed, the lab soon confirmed that calorie restriction in yeast had life-extending effects only when sir2 was present.

Continued in article

"The Fountain of Health -- Part2:  Antiaging research could provide a powerful approach to treating the many diseases of old age," by David Rotman,  MIT's Technology Review, April 4, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16652,312,p1.html

 


"Antisocial Networking Gets Hip," by Joanna Glasner, Wired News, April 5, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70557-0.html?tw=wn_index_2

Online social networks are usually all about bringing together people who like the same things.

The founder of a new anti-social networking site, however, is finding that shared hates can be an equally effective bonding tool.

Software engineer Bryant Choung intended to satirize social discovery services when he launched his beta site, Snubster, last month. The site lets members create public lists of people and things that rankle them.

"The whole concept of online social networking was really starting to irk me," said Choung, who initially envisioned Snubster as a way to stem the often irritating flow of invitations to join networking sites like Friendster and LinkedIn. While such sites seemed like a good idea at first, their usage too often devolves into "an attempt to get as many fake friends as possible."

Continued in article

The Snubster home page is at http://www.snubster.com/


Bravo John
ABC Television's John Stossel does "not get a break" from the United Federation of Teachers
"
They kicked me out of school," by John Stossel, Jewish World Review, April 5, 2006 --- http://jewishworldreview.com/0406/stossel040506.php3
Jensen Comment
John (Give-Us-a-Break) Stossel is one of my heroes.

Stossel explains how ambitious bureaucrats, intellectually lazy reporters, and greedy lawyers make your life worse even as they claim to protect your interests. Taking on such sacred cows as the FDA, the War on Drugs, and scaremongering environmental activists -- and backing up his trademark irreverence with careful reasoning and research -- he shows how the problems that government tries and fails to fix can be solved better by the extraordinary power of the free market.


What the Teachers Union Does Not Want to Hear
"Program on Vouchers Draws Minority Support," by Diana Jean Schemo, The New York Times, April 6, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/06/education/06voucher.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Amie is one of about 1,700 low-income, mostly minority students in Washington who at taxpayer expense are attending 58 private and parochial schools through the nation's first federal voucher program, now in its second year.

Last year, parents appeared lukewarm toward the program, which was put in place by Congressional Republicans as a five-year pilot program, But this year, it is attracting more participation, illustrating how school-choice programs are winning over minority parents, traditionally a Democratic constituency.

Washington's African-American mayor, Anthony A. Williams, joined Republicans in supporting the program, prompted in part by a concession from Congress that pumped more money into public and charter schools. In doing so, Mr. Williams ignored the ire of fellow Democrats, labor unions and advocates of public schools.

"As mayor, if I can't get the city together, people move out," said Mr. Williams, who attended Catholic schools as a child. "If I can't get the schools together, why should there be a barrier programmatically to people exercising their choice and moving their children out?"

School-choice programs have fervent opponents, and here, public school officials worry that the voucher program will diminish the importance of the neighborhood school, though the program serves only a relative few of the district's 58,000 students. National critics of school choice like Reg Weaver, president of the country's largest teachers' union, the National Education Association, accused voucher supporters of "exploiting the frustration of these minority parents to push for a political agenda" intended to undermine public schools.

Continued in article


Podcasting Roils NPR Fund Raising
Her local Las Vegas affiliate, KNPR, kicked off its spring membership drive last week with program interruptions pleading for donations, so Michaels is bypassing that semiannual annoyance by loading up her MP3 player with various National Public Radio programs available in whole or in part for free as podcasts. "Why would I sit through all of that if I can get what I like for free online, listen to it on my own time and not be guilted for weeks into giving money?" says Michaels, a real estate agent who says her husband donates to the station on behalf of her family. "I've even found a whole bunch of NPR shows online that aren't on NPR here, which is so great."
Steve Friess, "Podcasting Roils NPR Fund Raising," Wired News, April 5, 2006 ---
http://www.wired.com/news/culture/media/0,70583-0.html?tw=wn_index_1 


Just give me enough to sound well-read at a cocktail party
"Latest Books, Boiled Down:  For Readers Pressed for Time, Services Provide Summaries Of New Works in a Few Pages," by Emily Brown, The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2006; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114351480028709733.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

Maj. Moore is among a growing number of readers who, instead of buying or borrowing new titles, have turned to book-summary services to feed their interests.

Summaries, mostly sent by email, generally range between eight and 12 pages, and some publishers see them as a threat to sales. (A service can't summarize a book without its publisher's permission.) However, most major houses have agreed to work with the services, providing free books in hopes that the added exposure the services provide might lead to sales.

Reader services are increasingly taking a place alongside the traditional newspaper and magazine book review to alert readers to new titles, industry officials say. Book summaries "level the playing field for a book fighting for space on a table at Barnes & Noble," says Bill Smith, a domestic rights manager at The Perseus Books Group, based in New York.

The most popular sites cater to specific groups such as business executives, political wonks, self-help enthusiasts and evangelical Christians. Christian Book Summaries, an evangelical reader service based in Colorado Springs, Colo., offers its summaries free of charge. Launched in 2000, the service now boasts 2,880 readers who regularly visit its Web site to view its biweekly postings.

Capitol Reader is a younger service. Darrin Donnelly, 28 years old, started it two years ago to serve the interest of political aficionados like himself. Studying journalism at the University of Kansas, he left school in his senior year to start Shamrock New Media Inc., a company that runs a number of Web sites and newsletters covering sports and investing. He hadn't planned to start a summary service, much less one on politics, until a visit to a local bookstore, where he noticed the burgeoning selection of books on current events and the 2004 presidential campaign.

Capitol Reader's subscribers receive an email report on a new political book every Thursday. The summary presents the book's theme and main points and highlights interesting sections. Subscribers also have access to an archive of previous summaries.

"Readers want to keep up with new books, arguments and viewpoints, but with so many new books coming out, it's almost impossible to really stay on top of them all," Mr. Donnelly says. The number of new political books doubled in 2004, rising to 298 from 147 the year before, according to Simba Information, a market-research firm in Stamford, Conn.

The Capitol Reader home page is at http://www.capitolreader.com/

Capitol Reader FAQs are at http://www.capitolreader.com/faq.htm


Medical Advances in Pattern Recognition
With the database now largely in place, testing is imminent. Buetow's team has set up a website accessible to cancer specialists. The next goal is to enable software that will automatically compare new images of lungs with those already aggregated in the database. Algorithms will search for commonalities and build a directory of the likeliest matches. Clinicians in offices and hospitals will be able to contrast the resulting lung images with the scans they need to evaluate.
"Cancer's "World Wide Web":  A lung image database is breathing life into 'medical grid' vision," by Tom Mashberg, MIT's Technology Review, March/April, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16440,304,p1.html


April 4, 2006 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

FREE ACCESS TO SOME FOR-FEE ARTICLES

Congoo, a search engine launched this month and partnered with Google, gives registered users free online access to a selection of publications that normally required a subscription or a pay-per-view fee to read. After downloading the Congoo plug-in and registering, users can get access to "between four and 15 articles per month per publisher." Publications available include the Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, Financial Times, BusinessWire, Editor & Publisher, The New Republic, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer and other major U.S. newspapers. Congoo is available at http://www.congoo.com/.

Critics of Congoo note that many public libraries, such as the San Francisco Public Library
( http://www.sfpl.org/sfplonline/dbcategories.htm ), also offer free access to subscription databases. And your own college and university library may also have online subscriptions that you can access at no additional fee.

See also:

"Internet Technology--Going Beyond Google" by Tom Warger UNIVERSITY BUSINESS, August 2005 http://www.universitybusiness.com/page.cfm?p=906

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm


April 4, 2006 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

BEYOND E-LEARNING

"Just when we thought we had e-learning all figured out, it's changing again. After years of experimentation and the irrational exuberance that characterized the late 1990s, we find our views of e-learning more sober and realistic." In "What Lies Beyond E-Learning?" (LEARNING CIRCUITS, March 2006), Marc J. Rosenberg suggests that over the next few years we will see six transformations in the field of e-learning:

1. E-learning will become more than "e-training."

2. E-learning will move to the workplace.

3. Blended learning will be redefined.

4. E-learning will be less course-centric and more knowledge-centric.

5. E-learning will adapt differently to different levels of mastery.

6. Technology will become a secondary issue.

This article, online at

http://www.learningcircuits.org/2006/March/rosenberg.htm, is based on Rosenberg's book, BEYOND E-LEARNING: APPROACHES AND TECHNOLOGIES TO ENHANCE ORGANIZATIONAL KNOWLEDGE, LEARNING AND PERFORMANCE. (Pfeiffer, 2005; ISBN: 0787977578). For more information about the book and a sample chapter, go to http://www.pfeiffer.com/WileyCDA/PfeifferTitle/productCd-0787977578.html.

......................................................................

RECOMMENDED READING

"Recommended Reading" lists items that have been recommended to me or that Infobits readers have found particularly interesting and/or useful, including books, articles, and websites published by Infobits subscribers. Send your recommendations to carolyn_kotlas@unc.edu  for possible inclusion in this column.

21st Century Information Fluency Project Sponsored by the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy http://21cif.imsa.edu/tutorials/challenge

Bob Jensen's threads on the future of education technology and distance learning --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm


On the Dark Side of the Higher Education Academy: 
Generation Gaps, Collegial Apathy or Hostility, and Loneliness

On issue after issue — from workload, to how research should be conducted, to the preferred structure of tenure reviews — Gen X faculty members have radically different ideas about higher education should work, Trower said. And these younger faculty members are willing to give up both money and prestige to find institutions that provide “a good fit,” Trower said, potentially changing the way colleges recruit and strive to retain faculty talent.
Scott Jaschik, "The Gen X Professor," Inside Higher Ed, April 5, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/04/05/genx

My story, then, felt unique, until I heard everyone else’s stories. There are an awful lot of people out there who live their lives in a constant state of low-level despondence: They have too many papers to grade, their colleagues are not interested in their work, their colleges are in constant crisis, they didn’t get promoted, they live in the middle of nowhere, they can’t find a date in the middle of nowhere, their partners live hundreds of miles away. These may sound like the complaints that make older faculty members tell us to pull up our bootstraps and remember that they didn’t even have boots to pull up when they walked 10 miles barefoot in the snow to MLA, but I wonder how many of those older faculty members have spent too long repressing the details of their own unhappiness. And then there are the people, like me, who don’t complain, but live their lives atop a constant undercurrent of despair.
"The Apparently Bearable Unhappiness of Academe," by Rebecca Steinitz, Inside Higher Ed, March 28, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/workplace/2006/03/28/steinitz

It's Lonely in the Academy. Yes indeed is is lonely
"The Isolated Academic," by Shari Wilson, Inside Higher Ed, March 24, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/03/24/wilson 

And it’s not just the hours. My discipline creates a division, too. Yes, I feel at home in my department meeting. I even feel at home in the liberal arts building. When I traverse the campus to the health professions building to teach my afternoon class, I feel a bit like an interloper.

Passing a man with an attaché in the hall, I nod a teacher’s hello and walk confidently to my classroom. As I write on the board the day’s lesson, I wonder if he teaches something in the medical field since we have pre-med classes here. Or maybe something scientific. I realize that unless I throw myself in his path with an awkward introduction, I will never find out what this man is doing on campus. At the big meetings, faculty members are very friendly. Disciplines seem more permeable; small talk abounds. We feel as if we are meeting extended family for the first time. Deans move about making introductions. Yet the next week, there is no contact.

Yes, our choice of career makes us special. While talking to a science instructor at my university cafeteria, I realize that students at adjoining tables must think we are crazy. “Pegagogy” and “curriculum” may mean something to education majors; but to most, it’s a secret teacher language. I realize that I subscribe to the adult/child split when on campus — that staff, administrators and faculty are of one kind; students are another.

I’m sure it seems unfair to some. And it also lends to a feeling of separateness that engulfs some instructors. A professor friend who teaches upper-level literature claims it’s not that bad. He then admits that his students are older and more accomplished; at times they seem more like colleagues than students. But over the course of years, I’ve noticed that those who teach must keep some distance from those we teach. Faculty handbooks caution against close friendships or love relationships between students and instructors. Many professors find it better to cultivate peers or those outside of academia for friendships.

And those who relocate for a position have another hurdle to overcome. Here in the Midwest, many of my colleagues are married. Others are more established. We who relocate for positions often find ourselves trying to horn our way into circles of friends who have lasted for 10, 20 or 30 years. An ex-colleague of mine in Northern California confessed that she is going to approach an office mate and his wife and ask point blank if they’d be interested in cultivating something more than an acquaintanceship.

Another friend of mine who relocated from California to the Mid-Atlantic for a position said that she and her husband have never been more lonely. This is their third semester — and she is already talking about the possibility of going “back home” — if only to reestablish old friendships that feel as if they are fading over the phone. It’s heartbreaking to think of the effort that they’ve put into this move. Her new tenure-track position is the envy of all of our friends; he finally found a good corporate job. Their children are in good schools. And he was contemplating bringing out his father from a neighboring state. I’m hoping that in time their mid-sized city will open up to this valuable couple. Yet I know from experience that smaller towns are tough. Even here in the Midwest, friendliness only goes so far. And then we outsiders sometimes feel locked out as locals discuss long bloodlines and who went to high school with whom.

And what about what we bring to our situation? Is it possible that we lonely academics have a hand in our own fate? How many of us have secretly felt superior to those around us simply because of our specialized knowledge? Is it easy to cultivate friendships when we have high expectations that simply cannot be met? And when we do start to form acquaintanceships, how many of us realize we are too afraid to take the next step? When I think about it from an objective point of view, I have to admit that like many academics, I’m socially awkward.

After decades with my head in books, I sometimes trip over my tongue and stand around looking foolish when more socially accomplished adults make contact. A girlfriend of mine on the East coast confessed that she and her husband often find themselves talking to each other at faculty gatherings. He is painfully shy; she is in a specialty field that makes her feel cast out. Making friends — especially in smaller towns — can be difficult at best and painful at worst for the most accomplished academic.

The solution? I’ve found that I have to be willing to let my guard down and squelch “better than” thinking. Reaching out in more than one area has helped. Other professors who have relocated seem more approachable — if only because they are suffering from loneliness, too. Staff are a possibility — which has the added advantage of diminishing the “us vs. them” gap. Social service organizations and volunteer work can provide contacts outside of academia.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on controversies in higher education are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm


From the AAUP (with higher education in mind)
Campus Copyright Rights and Responsibilities: A Basic Guide to Policy Considerations --- http://www.aaupnet.org/aboutup/issues/Campus_Copyright.pdf

New Guidelines for Copyright Policies in Universities
Four associations have released a guide for colleges to use in reviewing whether their copyright policies reflect recent legal and technological developments. The guide notes that colleges and their faculty members are major producers of copyrighted material, and that professors and students also are big users of such material — sometimes in ways that create legal difficulties. The groups that prepared the guide are the Association of American Universities, the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of American University Presses, and the Association of American Publishers.
Inside Higher Ed, December 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/12/07/qt

A report released yesterday by a pair of free-expression advocates at New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice claims Web site owners and remix artists alike are finding free-expression rights squelched because of ambiguities in copyright law. The study argues that so-called "fair use" rights are under attack. It suggests six major steps for change, including reducing penalties for infringement and making a greater number of pro-bono lawyers available to defend alleged fair users. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 12/6/2005
Coverage at http://news.com.com/2100-1030_3-5983072.html"> 
Report at http://www.fepproject.org/policyreports/WillFairUseSurvive.pdf">a>
From the University of Illinois Scholarly Communication Blog on December 7, 2005 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/ 

Bob Jensen's threads on copyright issues are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm#Copyright


With a Big Nuclear Push, France Transforms Its Energy Equation
France's push into nuclear power and away from fossil fuel holds important lessons for other countries gripped by a fierce debate over how to break their dependency on Middle Eastern oil . . . Over the past three decades, the French government has transformed this 15-mile finger of land from a provincial backwater into one of the world's most concentrated patches of nuclear infrastructure. On an earthen pad carved from the cliffs squats a power plant with two nuclear reactors. It's expected to get a third. At the tip of the peninsula, which juts into the English Channel, sprawls a tightly guarded factory that processes spent nuclear fuel -- not just from France, but from throughout the world.
"With a Big Nuclear Push, France Transforms Its Energy Equation: A 30-Year Program Has Cut Oil Use, Greenhouse Gases; Safety Concerns Linger," The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114351504186809745.html?mod=todays_us_page_one
Jensen Comment
It's the "tightly guarded" bit that worries me with France.


From Wired News:  The 10 Best Spoofs --- http://wiredblogs.tripod.com/internetspoofs/


Maine Fisherman on the Penobscot Bay
They can't remember their wives' names," but they can tell you where they got that big run years ago.

Seated on a 5-gallon bucket in a shack near Maine's Penobscot Bay, Ted Ames is chatting with a friend about better days - when commercial cod and haddock fishermen like the two of them could still pull big catches out of the local waters. The scene might look like nothing more than two salty seamen idly trading fishing secrets in their thick New England accents. But Ames has his tape recorder running. He's taking notes for a massive scientific study to see whether the steel-trap memories of local fishermen can help restock the woefully depleted Gulf of Maine. "They can't remember their wives' names," Ames says, "but they can tell you where they got that big run years ago."
"A Fish Tale," Wired News, April 6, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.04/posts.html?pg=3


Drilling Teeth Before the Days of Anesthesia
Anthropologists discover evidence of dental drilling dating back as far as 7000 B.C., proving that primitive man had a certain sophistication -- and an amazing tolerance for pain.
"9,000-Year-Old Dentistry," Wired News, April 5, 2006 ---
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70599-0.html?tw=wn_index_7


The Invisible Man at the University of Connecticut
Greg Sotzing, associate professor of the University of Connecticut at Storrs has invented threads of so-called electrochromic polymers that change colour in response to an applied electrical field, the British weekly says. The threads work because the electrons in their chemical bonds can absorb light across a range of visible wavelengths. When a voltage is applied, it changes the energy levels of the electrons, causing them to absorb light in a different wavelength and thus changing the material's colour. So far, Sotzing has been able to change fibres from orange to blue and from red to blue. His next step is to create threads that switch from red, blue and green to white. Ultimately, says New Scientist, Sotzing hopes to weave differently coloured threads into a criss-cross pattern so that, connected by metal wires to a battery pack, each crosspoint becomes a pixel -- the tiny point of light in a TV or computer screen.
"Chameleon clothing lets you vanish into the background," PhysOrg, April 5, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news63465246.html


From the Scout Report on March 31, 2006

Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction --- http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/ 

In recent years, community and technical colleges have quietly been developing a number of curriculum and instruction centers designed to provide a number of excellent resources for their faculty. The Maricopa Community College District has its own Maricopa Center For Learning and Instruction (MCLI) and their website is real find for those teaching at community colleges as well as those generally involved with teaching in institutions of higher education. Visitors can start by perusing their “Programs” section, which contains information about their teaching and learning assessment resources and initiatives. For most visitors, the “Projects” area on their homepage will be the most useful part of the site. This area includes an online weblogging workshop, information about creating a valuable creative writing assignment, and a template for creating web- based slide shows. Finally, the site also includes the Community College Web, which contains over 1200 links to various community colleges around the world.


The Tom Regan Animal Rights Archive ---  http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/animalrights/ 

Tom Regan has taught at North Carolina State University since 1967, and he is well-known for his work in the field of animal rights within the discipline of philosophy. In 2000, the North Carolina State University Libraries received a large gift to establish an archive of his personal papers and books, and since then, they have also created this online collection for the general public. First-time visitors can perform an advanced search on the documents contained here, or they may also want to browse through categories that include animal rights legislation, animals in the news, diet ethics, and farmed animals. Within each section, visitors can view a list of related web sites and also learn about other external resources. Additionally, visitors can also learn about research opportunities at the Center.


Sacred Destinations --- http://www.sacred-destinations.com 

Around the world, there are thousands of sites that hold great importance to the world’s different faiths and religions. It would be quite a task to document all these sites, but Holly Hayes (a graduate student in religious history) has created this website to serve as a destination for those persons who might like to learn a bit about such places. Currently, the site contains information on more than 1500 sites, and visitors can peruse these locales at their leisure. The sites are organized by country and category, and of course, visitors can also search the entire site as well. The categories theme is a good way to start browsing, as it contains Buddhist temples, Jewish museums, sacred mountains, and Shinto shrines. No such site would be complete without a substantial offering of photos, and this site has visitors covered all the way from St. David’s Cathedral in Wales to the Hagia Sophia.


Chaos Manager 2.23 --- http://www.chaosmanager.net/ 

As any physicist will tell you, managing chaos is difficult, if not impossible. Fortunately, this type of “chaos” refers primarily to the chaotic nature of maintaining an orderly and logical desktop calendar on one’s computer. With Chaos Manager, users can create their own organizer, which includes an Internet sync feature, a notebook, pop-up appointment reminders and so on. This particular version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98, Me, NT, 2000, and XP.

Image Well 2.1 --- http://www.xtralean.com/IWOverview.html 

Within the world of image editing programs, there are a number of fine applications, and Image Well is definitely one that it is worth taking a look at. Image Well 2.1 allows users to resize, crop, shape, and rotate images. Visitors can also add a number of novel visual touches, such as a thought or word balloon for humorous or ironic effect. This version is compatible with all computers running Mac OS X 10.3.9 and newer.


Database Systems for Faculty Activity Reporting

March 30, 2006 message from Ed Scribner [escribne@NMSU.EDU]

Pardon me if I’ve missed a similar discussion in the past, but does anyone have direct experience with database systems that store and report on faculty activities? Two we are considering that are apparently “AACSB-enabled” are Sedona ( https://www.sedona.bz/ ) and Digital Measures ( http://www.digitalmeasures.com/ ) .

Just reply privately to escribne@nmsu.edu

Thanks!

Ed Scribner
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM, USA



Proposition 13 Deja Vou?
Across the country, the hottest money issue at the state and local level is property taxes. Tax collectors are reaping giant windfalls from the national housing boom, as the average property tax on an American home has climbed to just shy of $3,000 a year. The National Taxpayers Union reports that Texas is one of at least 20 states -- including Arizona, Idaho, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina -- where homeowners are rebelling against soaring assessments that in some cases are taxing people out of their homes. The discontent is reminiscent of the anxiety that led to California's famous Proposition 13 property tax cut 27 years ago.
"Texas-Sized Tax Revolt," The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2006; Page A22 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114411560766116119.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
 

What do big-time athletics programs spend? A New Database
Public colleges and universities with big-time athletics programs spent at least $1 billion on them last year, according to an analysis published Thursday in
The Indianapolis Star. The newspaper based its analysis on information that the colleges report to the National Collegiate Athletic Association — information that The Star obtained through freedom-of-information requests. The Star also created a database allowing for searches of the information it obtained.
Inside HigherEd, March 31, 2006

Bob Jensen's threads on athletics controversies in higher education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Athletics
 


LearningSoft Awarded Patent for Adaptive Assessment System

From T.H.E. Journal Newsletter on March 30, 2006
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted LearningSoft LLC ( http://www.learningsoft.net ) a patent titled "Adaptive Content Delivery System and Method," which covers the company's proprietary Learningtrac adaptive assessment system. Learningtrac uses artificial intelligence to optimize assessment and test preparation for individual students' strengths and weaknesses. The system uses a student's own knowledge base, learning patterns, and measures of attention to the material to continually adapt curriculum content to the student's needs and spur skill development. Educators are then able to monitor individual student assessments as well as track classroom progress. Later this year, Learningtrac will be integrated into LearningSoft's Indigo Learning System, which is debuting at the 2006 Florida Educational Technology Conference.

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm


"A contraceptive pill that can beat cancer," by Mark Hendersen, London Times, March 28, 2006 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2106558,00.html

A NEW generation of contraceptive medication that guards against breast cancer as well as pregnancy could be available within five years, scientists predicted yesterday. Patient trials of a drug that is used in higher doses to cause abortions have shown it to be an effective contraceptive with few side-effects, and animal and cell models have even suggested that it can protect against breast tumours.

Women taking the new Pill, which contains no female hormones, would have no periods and would thus be unlikely to suffer from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). The contraceptive is also thought to carry a lower risk of blood clots than existing varieties.

If the early results are confirmed by larger studies, the research, led by the University of Edinburgh, would provide millions of women with a safe, reliable way of controlling fertility. While the Pill is the most effective form of contraception, many are put off by side-effects from the female hormones on which it is based.

About 3.5 million British women — approximately a third of those of reproductive age — take the Pill, more than 90 per cent of whom are on the combined form that contains oestrogen and progesterone, the two female hormones. The rest take the mini-Pill, which contains progesterone only. Its popularity has largely recovered from the 1995 scare that prompted hundreds of thousands to give up oral contraception after “third-generation” Pills that contain different kinds of progesterone were linked to a higher risk of thrombosis.

The combined Pill protects against ovarian and endometrial tumours, but its oestrogen content is thought to contribute to a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. While the mini-Pill does not have this drawback, it is less effective and has other side-effects such as heavy bleeding. The new Pill works on a completely different principle, using a chemical called mifepristone to block the action of progesterone, which the body needs to ovulate and support a pregnancy.

As it contains no oestrogen it should not promote breast cancer, and by inhibiting progesterone it is thought that it may even reduce the risk. It is also unlikely to cause other hormonal side-effects, and has the added benefit of stopping periods, which should prevent PMS.

Mifepristone, also known as RU486, is licensed for use in abortions, though it is used at doses 100 times lower for contraception. David Baird, Professor of Reproductive Endocrinology at the University of Edinburgh, said that this could be the biggest obstacle to bringing it to the market, as anti- abortion activists have vociferously objected to it.

“If it was decided just on scientific grounds, and the pharmaceutical industry did not respond to all sorts of irrational factors, it could be developed within five years,” he said. “As it is, I would expect it to be within five to ten years.”

Mifepristone works by binding to progesterone receptors, so that the body cannot respond to the hormone. If given in high doses when a woman is pregnant, it causes miscarriage, but smaller doses can prevent ovulation and conception. Two trials, each involving about 90 women in Scotland, South Africa, China and Nigeria, have now shown that it is well tolerated with few side-effects, and is at least as effective as conventional Pills.

The effect on breast cancer is predicted because some kinds of breast tumour appear to be sensitive to progesterone, so blocking its action should inhibit their growth. “Certain breast cancer studies suggest that progesterone can promote cancer as well as oestrogen,” Professor Baird said. “There are also some preliminary clinical data on women with advanced breast cancer which suggests that this could be helpful.”

Anna Glasier, Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh, said: “If we can come up with a Pill that reduces the risk of breast cancer, we will all be taking it, whether or not we need contraception.”


Sure wish they'd have made bacon a health food earlier in my life
"A microscopic worm may be the key to heart-friendly bacon. Geneticists have mixed DNA from the roundworm C. elegans and pigs to produce swine with significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids -- the kind believed to stave off heart disease. Researchers hope they can improve the technique in pork and do the same in chickens and cows. In the process, they also want to better understand human disease.
"Healthier Bacon Geneticists are pursuing healthier foods through genetic engineering and cloning," MIT's Technology Review, March 28, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/TR/wtr_16636,323,p1.html



"Jell-O Fix for Spinal Cords," by Elizabeth Svoboda, Wired News, March 29, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/medtech/0,70513-0.html?tw=wn_index_1

Stem cells embedded in futuristic materials may heal decades-old spinal cord injuries and rescue patients from paralysis, if recent experiments in rodents can be replicated in humans.

Stem cells have cured many rats of spinal cord injuries, but the treatment has yet to benefit humans. When it does, most scientists say the first treatments will benefit only the newly injured.

But Pavla Jendelova, a biologist at the Institute of Experimental Medicine in Prague, Czech Republic, found that adding stem cells to spinal implants made of hydrogels -- jelly-like polymers consisting of latticed networks of amino acids -- could build a bridge in spinal cords even with older injuries, and help patients to regain function.

"In chronic spinal cord injuries, there's a large cavity that develops over time in the injured area," she said. "We want to see if the hydrogels can breach this gap."

Continued in article


March 31, 2006 message from Chuck White

I really appreciated your remark about what your print publications have meant to you as compared to the web based stuff. I have mentioned that to many since and pointed out how anachronistic paper publishing seems to be. Check out the new Sony book reader. Uses the electronic ink technology developed at MIT several years ago to render the screen infinitely more readable and brighter than the LCD screens and brighter than ink on paper. I am hoping this is the e-book reader that will end the talk of "I can't read from a computer screen."

chuck

Charles B. White
V.P. Information Resources and Administrative Affairs,
Trinity University

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books (e-books) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ebooks.htm

Bob Jensen's links to electronic literature are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm


"Nano-scale fuel cells may be closer than we think, thanks to an inexpensive new manufacturing method," PhysOrg, March 12, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news11654.html


Question
Where are the greatest risks of forest fires?

"The African continent leads the globe in the frequency of forest fires, the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission learned at its meeting in Mozambique," PhysOrg, April 2, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news63169415.html


Economic History Services ---  http://eh.net/

Bob Jensen's threads on both history and economics electronic literature are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks


"Iran Hard-Line Regime Cracks Down on Blogs," by Lara Sukhtian, The Washington Post, March 30, 2006 ---
Click Here 

The Iranian blogging community, known as Weblogistan, is relatively new. It sprang to life in 2001 after hard-liners _ fighting back against a reformist president _ shut down more than 100 newspapers and magazines and detained writers. At the time, Derakhshan posted instructions on the Internet in Farsi on how to set up a weblog.

Since then, the community has grown dramatically. Although exact figures are not known, experts estimate there are between 70,000 and 100,000 active weblogs in Iran. The vast majority are in Farsi but a few are in English.

Overall, the percentage of Iranians now blogging is "gigantic," said Curt Hopkins, director of an online group called the Committee to Protect Bloggers, who lives in Seattle.

"They are a talking people, very intellectual, social, and have a lot to say. And they are up against a small group (in the government) that are trying to shut everyone up," said Hopkins.

To bolster its campaign, the Iranian government has one of the most extensive and sophisticated operations to censor and filter Internet content of any country in the world _ second only to China, Hopkins said.

It also is one of a growing number of Mideast countries that rely on U.S. commercial software to do the filtering, according to a 2004 study by a group called the OpenNet Initiative. The software that Iran uses blocks both internationally hosted sites in English and local sites in Farsi, the study found.

The filtering process is backed by laws that force individuals who subscribe to Internet service providers to sign a promise not to access non-Islamic sites. The same laws also force the providers to install filtering mechanisms.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on blogs are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Weblog


The Two-Year Truce in Kashmir
Separatists opposed to India's rule over nearly half of Kashmir have waged an insurgency that has killed more than 45,000 people since 1989 and devastated the region's tourism-dependent economy. But a two-year-old peace process between India and Pakistan, both of which claim the region, has led to a drop in violence and visitors have begun to return.
"Shrinking lake perturbs Kashmiris," Al Jazeera, March 29, 2006 --- Click Here


Now that I'm retiring, I think the read outs from this machine should be appended to all course evaluations

Scientists are developing an "emotion sensor" to show if someone is finding your conversation interesting or not.
It is being developed to help people with autism, who tend to be less skilled at interacting with others. New Scientist magazine reports researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed the headset. A camera on a pair of glasses is linked to a hand-held computer which "reads" the emotional reactions of a listener.
"Emotion sensor 'detects boredom'," BBC News,  March 29, 2006 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4856050.stm
 


Question
Should there be national examinations of undergraduate learning?

"From Foxes to Hedgehogs," by W. Robert Connor, Inside Higher Ed, March 31, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/03/31/connor

A new federal commission formed by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has been pushing the idea of holding colleges more accountable for the outcomes of their undergraduate education, which has prompted talk of a federally mandated assessment. I don’t know anything that would make it harder to improve student learning than a national or federal assessment. And that’s where Archilochus can help.

Years ago Sir Isaiah Berlin picked up the Greek poet’s famous aphorism, “The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one thing,” and used it as the title of his famous essay, and now Philip Tetlock, in his new book, Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is it? (Princeton University Press, 2005) has classified pundits into two categories: Hedgehogs, who have a single big idea or explanation, and Foxes, who look for a lot of intersecting causes. (He found that, by and large, the Foxes do better at predicting what’s to come, except once in a while when the prickly Hedgehogs see something really important, and don’t get distracted, no matter what.)

Most of us in academe are foxes, but I want to suggest that we think like hedgehogs for a while, and concentrate on one thing and one thing only — student learning. Although we can’t ignore the political context, we shouldn’t do this in reaction to the perceived pressure from the federal commission. We should do it, instead, because it’s the one thing on which the flourishing of liberal education most depends right now. We need to do it for our students and for ourselves as educators.

When I became president of the Teagle Foundation two and a half years ago, I worried a lot about the alleged decline and fall of liberal education. The figures I studied showed a decreasing percentage of undergraduates majoring in the traditional disciplines of the liberal arts; some colleges that I visited, or whose leaders I met, seemed to be turning their backs on liberal education; short term marketing strategies seemed to be eclipsing long term educational values.

Recently, however, I’ve experienced another eclipse, one in which three tendencies I have been observing block out my old worries. The three trends are:

A shift in goals from content to cognition

The demand for accountability

A new knowledge base for teaching

None of these is an unambiguous Good Thing, and there are enough tricks and traps in each of these trends to challenge both foxes and hedgehogs. But in my view — on balance — the collision of these trends present the opportunity to take liberal education to a new level.

It is now possible, in ways that were out of our reach just a few years ago, to teach better and greatly to invigorate student engagement and learning. We can do that, I am convinced, while recommitting ourselves and our institutions to the core educational values of liberal education.

This all comes with a big “IF.” We can reach that higher level only if we focus, focus, focus on student learning — all of us, faculty, deans, presidents, foundation officers. We all have to become hedgehogs.

Let me explain why I feel so confident that if we focus in this way, liberal education can reach that new level of excellence. In my explanation I will say a few words about each of the three tendencies to which I just alluded, and then try to imagine what liberal education could be like if they are brought together in an integrated system.

Continued in article


"Apple unveils software for Macs to run Windows (Update)," PhysOrg, April 5, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news63452286.html

"Have Your Mac and Windows XP, Too," by Rob Pegoraro, The Washington Post, April 6, 2006, Page D01 ---
Click Here

Because the Mac becomes a true Windows computer when in Windows mode, it is susceptible to all of the viruses and spyware that plague regular Windows machines, but not Macs running the Mac operating system. While these viruses can't infect the Mac side of the machine, you do have to install antivirus and antispyware programs on the Windows side.
"Boot Camp Turns Your Mac Into a Reliable Windows PC," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2006; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/personal_technology.html

For mainstream computer users doing typical tasks, Apple Computer's Macintosh models have huge advantages over the prevalent Windows computers from companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard. The Macs have sleeker hardware designs, a superior operating system, much better built-in software, and virtually no exposure to viruses and spyware. Apple's flagship model, the iMac, is the best consumer desktop on the market.

But, there's a big barrier for Windows users tempted to switch to the Mac: software. While there are thousands of programs for the Mac's operating system, called OS X, potential Mac buyers often find they have one or two Windows programs they must use that have no Mac equivalent. These range from custom software required by their employers, to niche programs for specific industries or hobbies, to games.

Yesterday, Apple took a historic, and potentially huge, step to remove that obstacle to switching. It introduced free software that makes it easy to install and run Windows on the latest Mac models as a complement to the Mac operating system. With this new software, called Boot Camp, you can turn your Mac into a fast, full-fledged Windows computer for those occasions when you must run a Windows program. That makes the iMac, the Mac Mini and the MacBook Pro laptop the only computers in the world that allow mainstream users to run both operating systems at full speed.

I've been testing Windows on a new iMac for several days and except for a couple of trifling annoyances, it runs perfectly, just like a stand-alone Windows PC. I was able to install Boot Camp and Windows XP Pro on the Mac in under an hour. After that, I installed 15 Windows programs, most unavailable in Mac versions, and all ran properly.

In Windows mode, the iMac was blazingly fast -- far faster than my two-year-old H-P Windows computer. And every function of Windows I tested, including Web browsing, email and music playback, ran flawlessly.

In fact, I wrote this column in Windows on the iMac, using the Windows version of Microsoft Word. And I emailed it to my editors using Outlook Express, the built-in email program in Windows. When I was done using Windows, I just restarted the Mac and the machine turned back into a regular Macintosh, running the Mac operating system and Mac software.

Boot Camp (downloadable at www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp ) allows you to "boot up," or start up, the Mac in either operating system. You can designate which one gets loaded when the machine boots up. Or, by simply holding down the Option (or Alt) key while starting or restarting the computer, you get a screen showing icons for the two operating systems. Click on the Mac icon and the machine runs the Mac OS. Click on the Windows icon and it runs Windows.

Each operating system gets its own dedicated portion, or "partition," of the Mac's hard disk, so they don't interfere with one another. Programs you install in each operating system, and files you create with them, are stored in the part of the hard disk devoted to that operating system.

All of this is possible because the latest Macs use the same Intel chips as Windows machines. Boot Camp runs only on these new Intel-based Macs, which have been available since January. Older Macs can also run Windows, in a fashion, but only via a clumsy Microsoft program that creates a painfully slow "virtual" Windows computer that can't handle some demanding programs, like games. By contrast, with Boot Camp, the new Intel-based Macs can become true, fast, full-fledged Windows computers that are essentially identical to standard Windows computers, yet still retain the ability to operate as normal Macs.

It's important to note that Apple isn't abandoning its OS X operating system, or adopting Windows. The company says it won't sell, preinstall, or support Windows. In fact, while Boot Camp is free Apple software, anyone using it must supply his own copy of Windows to install. Boot Camp is technically beta, or test, software. But in my tests, it operated exactly as advertised. It will be built into the next version of the Mac operating system, called Leopard, due early next year.

You can't run both operating systems at the same time. Switching between the two requires you to restart the Mac; the operating system you're not using is shut down. That makes switching a little slow, but it also means that each operating system runs like a separate computer, with full control of the hardware. This allows Windows to run at full speed and protects your Mac files from the effects of Windows viruses.

With Boot Camp, you could choose to run a Mac solely as a Windows machine, with good results. But Apple doesn't expect many people to do this. Instead, it assumes Boot Camp users will still use the Mac operating system and Mac software 90% of the time, switching into Windows mode only to run a few Windows programs. Some customers may never use Windows on their Macs, and just see Boot Camp as a sort of insurance policy that allows them to switch to the Mac without fear that they'd lose future access to Windows programs.

Apple's move is only the first in what will likely be a series of new programs that allow the Intel Macs to run Windows. Today, a small Virginia company called Parallels plans to release a beta version of its own software to run Windows on an Intel Mac. It's called Parallels Workstation for OS X and will cost $49, plus the cost of Windows itself. Unlike Boot Camp, Parallels creates a "virtual machine" that simulates a Windows computer inside the Mac OS. I haven't had a chance to test this product, but may do so in coming months.

Last month, two hackers caused a stir by posting online their own method for running Windows on the Intel Macs. But, unlike Boot Camp, it requires technical skills far beyond those of the average user, and it doesn't enable all of the Mac's key hardware in Windows.

Until now, subtle hardware differences between Mac and Windows made it impossible to simply buy a copy of Windows and install it in a Mac, even the new models using Intel chips. Apple's Boot Camp allows Windows to overcome these hardware differences, and also includes "drivers" -- hardware-enabling programs -- so that Windows can work smoothly with Apple keyboards, video systems and networking hardware.

Because the Mac becomes a true Windows computer when in Windows mode, it is susceptible to all of the viruses and spyware that plague regular Windows machines, but not Macs running the Mac operating system. While these viruses can't infect the Mac side of the machine, you do have to install antivirus and antispyware programs on the Windows side.

To install Windows on a Mac with Boot Camp, you first must upgrade to the latest version of Mac OS X and perform what's called a "firmware update." Both are easy.

Next, you download the Boot Camp program, and install it. Boot Camp first guides you through the process of burning a CD with driver software you will later install in Windows. Then, it lets you divide the hard disk into separate Mac and Windows partitions. Finally, it starts up your Windows installation disk.

Jensen Comment
I'm not an expert, but it would seem that it is best to unplug your computer from the Internet when running Windows. The Mac version provides much more protection from Internet invaders such as spyware, trojan horses, and the like plague Microsoft. In both the Mac and the Windows versions, you still need firewall protection --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/firewall.htm


"How to Wipe a Hard Drive Clean and Security on Public Wireless Networks," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2006; Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/mossberg_mailbox.html

Q: The community where I live has a one-month period (April this year) where you can dispose of your old computers. I have several old PCs around the house, but want to clean out the hard drives. Can you recommend a good program that can clean sensitive data off a hard drive?

A: There are a number of such "file wiper" programs, which permanently delete files so that they can't be recovered. Some are free, but the one I recommend is called Window Washer and costs $30 from Webroot Software Inc. It can be purchased at Webroot.com and elsewhere. The program, which also performs other tasks, has a file-wiping function called "bleaching." It can be used multiple times.


Q: Does the security I've installed for my home wireless network protect me when I take my laptop to a public hot spot? If no, what can I do to protect against snoopers there? I run both Windows and Apple laptops.

A: No. The wireless security in your home is a network feature, not a laptop feature. It doesn't come along with your computers when you use another wireless network. At a public hot spot, you are sharing a network with strangers. So you can't entirely guarantee your security and privacy from prying or malicious people in the vicinity. However, I would turn off all file-sharing features on the laptop, make sure a firewall is running, and avoid doing anything sensitive online, such as financial transactions.

Q: If one has a box of unlabeled USB cables, is there any way to sort USB 1.1 cables from the USB 2.0 cables? Or is there even a difference?

A: You can't sort them, and in most cases there is no difference. Older USB cables that were certified to work on the older 1.1 ports should also work perfectly with the faster USB 2.0 ports. The USB 2.0 standard was designed to work with the same cables as USB 1.1. In fact, I have never seen or used a USB cable, no matter how old, that couldn't be used at full speed with USB 2.0. However, some cheaply made older cables that weren't certified might fail.

 


Plagiarism at Ohio University
Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering has confirmed at least 30 cases of “verbatim plagiarism” by graduates of the college’s mechanical engineering department, based on accusations raised last year by another former student. The dean of the college, Dennis Irwin, said Tuesday that a preliminary report from a faculty investigative committee had found evidence of plagiarism in many of the 44 master’s theses that Thomas A. Matrka had brought to the attention of college officials. Irwin said the committee’s final report — which is due by week’s end — would include recommendations for punishment that would in some cases include revocation of the master’s degrees if the plagiarists do not resubmit their theses. Matrka accused college officials of not taking his charges seriously and said that faculty members had looked the other way; Irwin said Tuesday that the committee’s findings do not suggest that professors condoned the plagiarism.
Inside Higher Ed,
March 29, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/03/29/qt
 


Top-tier management always wants to please its Board of Directors. It would seem that making Board compensation contingent on meeting earnings forecasts has two types of moral hazard

1. There's an incentive to keep forecasts unrealistically low. This may hurt some traders.

2. There's an incentive to cook the books if the company is having difficulty meeting forecasted
     targets.

"Coke Directors Agree to Give Up Pay If Company Misses Earnings Goals," by Chad Terhune and Joann S. Lublen, the Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2006; Page A1 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114425815357517878.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 


Make Work Stance of Labor Unions: To Hell With Saving 1.6 Million Gallons of Water Per Year
But the union put out the word it doesn't like the idea of waterless urinals — fewer pipes mean less work.

"Philly Plumbers Upset by Waterless Urinals," by Deborah Yao,  The San Francisco Chronicle, March 30, 2006 --- http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/03/30/national/a110813S24.DTL&type=bondage

This city's hoped-for bragging rights as home of America's tallest environmentally friendly building could go down the toilet.

In a city where organized labor is a force to be reckoned with, the plumbers union has been raising a stink about a developer's plans to install 116 waterless, no-flush urinals in what will be Philadelphia's biggest skyscraper.

Developer Liberty Property Trust says the urinals would save 1.6 million gallons of water a year at the 57-story Comcast Center, expected to open next year.

But the union put out the word it doesn't like the idea of waterless urinals — fewer pipes mean less work.

Continued in article


"Why Is New Orleans Sinking?" by Katherine Unger, Science Now, March 28, 2006 --- http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2006/328/2?rss=1

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it's become widely known that New Orleans has been slowly sinking. Geologists have blamed oil drilling, groundwater pumping, and young, soft sediments for much of the region's subsidence, but a new study implicates another culprit. The deep shifting of tectonic plates may be causing the land to sink faster than the shallower manipulations of humans. That could mean more drastic measures need to be taken to protect New Orleans from another storm. Geologist Roy Dokka of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge focused his study on an area of the city known as the Michoud, on the southeastern shore of Lake Pontchartrain. The Michoud has no oil, gas, or water extraction, which causes sediments to compact, but is underlain by a 7-km-deep fault. It also has some of the highest subsidence rates in the south-central United States. Could nature be to blame?

Dokka sought the answer by taking advantage of 50 years of data. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had conducted multiple surveys of the Michoud region, beginning in 1955. One key benchmark was a 2000-meter-deep solid steel well. Because human activities such as drilling and the natural settling of soil occur within the first 2000 meters of Earth's surface, the well would stay at the same elevation unless movements were occurring underneath it--where the Michoud fault lies.

The study area was sinking an average of 16.9 millimeters per year between 1969 and '71 and 7.1 millimeters per year between 1971 and '77, Dokka reports in the April issue of Geology. Using his deep benchmark, Dokka calculated that tectonic activity was responsible for 73% and 50% of the subsidence in those two periods; the rest was likely due to sediments compressing and recently deposited soils draining. This indicates "that there's a big chunk of subsidence occurring in a place that cannot be explained by other activities," says Dokka. Merely stopping water extraction and oil drilling off the coast might not help protect New Orleans from being inundated by future hurricanes, he says.

Continued in article


Trading Taiwan for a Visit From the Pope

"Benedict's Chinese Flock," The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2006; Page A16 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114376667478712993.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

The Vatican is the only European government that still holds an official diplomatic relationship with Taiwan. It will be tempting for Pope Benedict to trade recognition for access to China's 12 million Catholics. The moral aspects of such a bargain are not as clear-cut as they might seem at first, particularly if a relationship with Beijing might enable the Vatican to swing more weight in defending religious and civil rights on the mainland.

Nonetheless, the Vatican would be well-advised to demand some serious concessions in return. China boasts an "official" Catholic Church of around five million, whose priests pledge fealty to the Communist Party as a condition of serving their congregations. The unofficial "underground" church that is repressed and recognizes the pope is likely much larger.

Both sides might do well to agree to a Vietnam-like compromise. In Vietnam the Holy See is recognized, but must consult with the Communist government before naming new clergy. While that offends Catholic purists, it's given Vietnam's Communist Party a better image; the Church, a new flock; and the people of Vietnam, a moral purpose the party can't provide.

It's important not to forget how brutal Beijing has been to people who dare to promote religious freedom. One recent victim is Hao Wu, a 34-year-old Chinese filmmaker making a movie about underground Christian congregations. He was arrested in February without explanation and hasn't been heard from since. Since we're on the subject of religion, he might take comfort from the Book of Matthew: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."



The Wall Street Journal Flashback, March 31, 1953
The efficient well-trained "Girl Friday" can pick her job and working conditions most places. Most employment agencies agree that good secretaries are scarce. One girl taking dictation from a mechanical recorder faithfully typed "quote" and "unquote."

"The Playboy Legacy," by Matthew Scully, The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2006; Page W11 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114377872970113290.html?mod=todays_us_weekend_journal

Hugh Hefner turns 80 next Sunday, and The Mansion is once again the place to be. "A major pajama party" is planned, as he told Maclean's, along with other observances equal to the dignity of the occasion. But this milestone also has "Hef" in a reflective mood, wondering how he will be remembered and trying to sum up "the major message in my life."

The founder of Playboy, says a Reuters profile, has become "utterly obsessed with his own legacy" and lately has "filled some 1,500 leather-bound scrapbooks about his life and history to date." From the first issue of Playboy to appear on Chicago newsstands in 1953 right up to the latest clippings on his current reality show, "The Girls Next Door," no trace of Mr. Hefner's storied adventures will be lost to posterity.

Lest we forget that there was actually a "Playboy Philosophy" to go with the pictures, Mr. Hefner has also reissued, online, all 250,000 words of his early-1960s disquisition on the good life and the evils of sexual inhibition. Still endlessly indulged by reporters, he has slipped into his best bathrobe for another round of clubby interviews in which to showcase his three salaried "girlfriends" and to reminisce about the original Playboy "dream."

Always a "dreamer" and "romantic at heart," in Hef's telling of the story, he dared to challenge the repressive attitudes of his day and left America a freer, happier place. He is guilty only of living out "every man's dream," and if anyone thinks otherwise it must be envy. "I consider myself the luckiest cat on the planet," he often says -- a sort of graying libertine's version of the Lou Gehrig line. Hef is also devoted these days to various charitable causes and, he eagerly notes, was recently voted American Charity Events Man of the Year.

Looking to the day when Shangri-La falls silent and dust returns to dust, he has even made arrangements for a final resting place, with that exquisite Hefner touch. It turns out that there is a tomb in Los Angeles's Westwood Memorial Park directly adjacent to that of Marilyn Monroe -- the first "girl next door" to appear nude in Playboy -- and no one had yet claimed it. "When I found the vault next door to Marilyn was available," he explained to the Daily Telegraph, "it seemed natural." So there, next-door to Marilyn, his permanently pajamaed remains will lie, and all who come to remember her can cast a glance at his name, too.

One might have thought that the woman, in life, had enough trouble with users and operators. But of course Hef, an exploiter to the end, doesn't see himself that way, and what's clear from all his legacy projects is that he wants to be remembered as anything other than what he is. We're to think of him as Hugh Hefner, social philosopher and cultural revolutionary. Hugh Hefner, entrepreneur and Charity Events Man of the Year. Hugh Hefner, friend of Marilyn. Hugh Hefner, luckiest cat on the planet. Anything, please, but the truth about Hugh Hefner, pornographer.

He is certainly right to believe that he has left his mark in the world. Richard Corliss in Time magazine is overstating it a bit when he writes that "porn doesn't affront contemporary community standards. It is a contemporary community standard." But he is close enough, and we have Hugh Marston Hefner, more than anyone else, to thank for the great plenitude of porn we take for granted today.

Continued in article
 


Jason Hardin's Recommended Genealogy Sites

Best (free) resources that I know of are…

RootsWeb WorldConnect ( http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/ )

The US GenWeb Project ( http://www.usgenweb.com/ )

Census Online ( http://www.census-online.com/ )

Ellis Island Passenger Arrival Records ( http://www.ellisisland.org/ )

HeritageQuest Online ( http://www.heritagequestonline.com/ ) --- one of (Trinity's) Library databases, accessible under “Articles & More” on the Library web page

FamilySearch.Org ( http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/frameset_search.asp ) --- Run by the LDS Church). Warning: rife with unsourced and/or downright bad information, but a good source for clues to follow up on. Has a complete index to the 1880 US census, though, including all family members (not just heads of household).

Ancestry.com is arguably the best pay site, with comprehensive holdings in the federal censuses, Social Security Death Index, military records, family histories/biographies, and a lot of other material, and a very sophisticated search function. But try the free sources first. If you decide to buy access to Ancestry.com, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into in terms of a subscription contract. Sometimes they offer seven-day free trials, but if you don’t cancel by the end of that period, you’ll often be charged for a full year’s access, which can run into the hundreds of dollars. So plan ahead, and figure out which information you absolutely can’t get anywhere else before you subscribe to a pay site. Doing so will help you maximize the efficiency of your free trial.

March 30, 2006 reply from Barbara Hessel [hesselbh@comcast.net]

Ancestry.com is very expensive. If you have an LDS church near or a federal building with public access to records, usually you can access Ancestry.com free. I have gone to the federal center in the Denver area as well as an LDS church to use Ancestry.com

Barb


Defense lawyers are closely watching an accounting-fraud case that they see as the latest government effort to stop companies from paying the legal fees of indicted employees.
"U.S. Pressures Firms Not to Pay Staff Legal Fees," by Nathan Koppel, The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2006; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114352166837109875.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse counters that "the government does not force corporations to do anything." If a company declines to advance fees, he adds, "that is a business decision made after weighing all of the costs and benefits of cooperation."

The cost of a trial is out of the financial reach of many white-collar defendants. "It is hard to defend a white-collar case for less than $100,000, and most cost much, much more than that," says John Hasnas, a professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.

In the New Hampshire case, five former executives of technology company Enterasys Networks Inc. charged with accounting fraud were set to stand trial in Concord this month but got a three-month reprieve after federal prosecutors were accused of misconduct. Government lawyers pressured the company to cut off legal fees to the defendants to weaken the employees' ability to fight the charges, defense lawyers allege in court filings.

New Hampshire U.S. Attorney William Morse, the lead prosecutor in the case and one of three accused of misconduct, denies wrongdoing. In pretrial testimony, when asked why he inquired about the company's payment of legal fees, he said, he simply wanted to inform Enterasys that the "payment of attorneys' fees for defendants was something that the Department of Justice had instructed its line prosecutors to consider" when assessing a company's cooperation with prosecutors. In an interview, he says, "Enterasys's decision to stop paying legal fees had nothing to do with government pressure." He says that he last spoke to Enterasys about the reimbursement of fees in the summer of 2004, and that the company didn't cut off funding until a year later.

Mr. Morse says he notified the Justice Department in 2004 that he had asked Enterasys about its payment of legal fees. He says he made the inquiry to determine whether the company was living up to its cooperation agreement. The Justice Department approved his actions, he says. A Justice Department spokeswoman declines to comment.

Continued in the article


Delayed sleep-phase syndrome

"Health Mailbox, by Tara Parker-Pope, " The Wall Street Journal,  March 28, 2006; Page D4 --- Click Here

Q: I just read your article about teens and delayed sleep-phase syndrome. Does this problem also play a part in the teenagers getting migraine headaches? My daughter is 18 and has missed much school with migraines. She also complains at times of not being able to get to sleep. Sometimes she will come home from school and take a nap, which also affects her sleeping at night.

--E.C.

A: Migraines and sleep disorders can be linked. Sometimes migraines can cause sleep disorders. A sleep disorder can trigger migraines, but so can sleeping too much or not sleeping enough. Young women sometimes develop migraines as a result of fluctuating hormone levels. Fluctuating hormones can also interfere with sleep.


March 31, 2006 message from Richard Newmark [richard.newmark@PHDUH.COM]

I think this transcript is very informative about Sox and 404. It includes cost figures for compliance for different size companies. It notes that despite the high cost, more small companies have gone public after Sox went into effect. It also discusses the pros and cons of some of the alternatives being discussed for small companies.

http://www.exchange-handbook.co.uk/news_story.cfm?id=58462 

Rick
Richard Newmark

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting reforms are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudProposedReforms.htm


I think all college libraries should consider this announcement from the American Accounting Association
April 3, 2006 message from Tracey E. Sutherland [traceysutherland@aaahq.org]

The American Accounting Association is proud to announce the launch of a NEW online platform for association-wide and section journals. Everyone can view abstracts and if you selected and paid for online access with your membership you can view full text in PDF format. If you would like to add or change what you have access to, please contact Mary Cole at Mary@aaahq.org. Any other questions should be directed to Peggy Turczyn at Peggy@aaahq.org.

This new platform includes two versions of the full text. The first is a straight forward plain PDF file. The second includes reference links where available.

We would like to encourage you to talk to your librarians about subscribing to AAA Publications through our new platform. ABI/INFORM (ProQuest) and Business Source Premier (EBSCO) will continue to include AAA journals in their collection. However, their collection does NOT include the current year. The only way to receive the current issues is through AAA online access.

You are already set up in the new system with access. You can access association-wide and section journals by clicking on the link below, then clicking on the "Browse AAA Journals" link, and using the username and password below.

URL: http://aaahq.org/pubs/electpubs.htm

Remember that back issues of The Accounting Review are currently free at http://maaw.info/TheAccountingReview.htm


Corporate law firms are, essentially, giant pyramid scheme
The associates at the bottom funnel money to the partners at the top. At Sullivan & Cromwell, for example, according to the American Lawyer, the average partner earned $2.35 million last year. A young lawyer who bills 2,200 hours at $250 per hour generates $550,000 for the firm, only $145,000 of which pays his salary. The more the associates, the richer the partners (assuming there's enough work to keep them billing -- and, presumably, cooing). Thus, law firms have a vested interest in growing the base of the pyramid.
"
Cut My Salary, Please!," b Cameron Stracher, The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2006; Page A7 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114384471634713946.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep


"Balm for the Brain: Top books on the turning points in modern medicine," by Sherwin Nuland, The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110008176 

1. "The Interpretation Of Dreams" by Sigmund Freud (1899).

In these days of relentless Freud-bashing, it borders on heresy to suggest reading the master's own words. But "The Interpretation of Dreams" is a stunning book. Freud (who won the Goethe Prize, Germany's highest literary award, in 1930) writes in a pleasantly conversational tone that belies the explosive significance of the concepts he's broaching: the Oedipus complex, childhood sexuality and his thesis that our nighttime dreams are the fulfillment of our daytime wishes. Those who know but little about the details of Freud's contributions will be astonished at how easy they are to comprehend when presented by the man himself.

2. "The Double Helix" by James Watson (Atheneum, 1968).

Who says that reading about molecular biology can't be fun? James Watson's highly subjective account is a romp through the ups, downs, tangents and trickery of making what was doubtless the greatest biological discovery of the 20th century, the elucidation of the molecular structure of DNA. The brilliant Watson and his perhaps even more brilliant associate, Francis Crick, are hardly the polite Hardy Boys of the laboratory--there was plenty of backbiting and elbowing as they raced against some of the leading biologists of their time, most particularly Linus Pauling, the two-time Nobelist. The unsparing character sketches alone are worth the read.

3. "The Silent World of Doctor and Patient" by Jay Katz (Free Press, 1984).

If it is true, as some say, that physicians are the least introspective or self-doubting of the learned professionals, the reason may be that they are convinced of their own good intentions and of their ability to make correct therapeutic choices. But many physicians' eyes were opened by the publication two decades ago of "The Silent World of Doctor and Patient," in which Jay Katz demonstrates the ways in which a paternalistic system of medical care is encouraged by a surprising lack of communication between doctor and patient, too often resulting in inappropriate treatment. The publication of this classic of medical ethics--by one of the discipline's most respected pioneers--was a major factor in the current movement for patient autonomy. Things are much better than they were back then, but we still have a long way to go.

4. "Microbe Hunters" by Paul de Kruif (Harcourt, Brace, 1926).

For decades after its publication, Paul de Kruif's collection of fascinating essays on the careers of bacteriological discoverers was the volume most commonly cited by medical students when they were asked if the reading of any single book had drawn them to their choice of profession. De Kruif presents one stirring story after another--from Anton von Leeuwenhoek's invention of the microscope in the 17th century to Theobald Smith's detection of the role of animals and ticks in the spread of microbes in the 20th. We also see intrepid investigators pursuing the notion of germ theory and identifying the causes and methods of transmission of such diseases as diphtheria, yellow fever and sleeping sickness. This is heady stuff, and de Kruif is a gifted storyteller.

5. "The Merck Manual of Medical Information: Home Edition" edited by Robert Berkow, Mark H. Beers and Andrew J. Fletcher (Merck, 1997).

Americans have been consulting home medical manuals for more than 300 years, but this one is unlike any other. The legendary "Merck Manual," first published in 1899, has always been a highly practical volume of diagnosis and therapy, but one intended for physicians. In 1997, recognizing the increasing public demand for sophisticated and yet understandable medical information, its publishers brought forth this version for the general reader, and it is a gem. In an era of exhausting Internet searches, it is refreshing to curl up in an armchair with a book discussing more than 3,000 medical conditions and to savor its clear, unhurried prose.

Dr. Nuland is a clinical professor of surgery at the Yale University School of Medicine and the author of "How We Die" (Knopf, 1994; winner of the National Book Award) and of "Maimonides" (Schocken, 2005).

 




Toot Tone:  Turn embarrassing farts into cell phone tones ---
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_TXMuNiMUg&search=tone


Forwarded by Doug Jenson

I was a very happy person. My wonderful girlfriend and I had been dating for over a year, and so we decided to get married. There was only one little thing bothering me ... it was her beautiful younger sister.

My prospective sister-in-law was twenty-two, wore very tight miniskirts, and generally was braless. She would regularly bend down when she was near me, and I always got more than a pleasant view. It had to be deliberate. She never did it when she was near anyone else.

One day "little" sister called and asked me to come over to check the wedding invitations. She was alone when I arrived, and she whispered to me that she had feelings and desires for me that she couldn't overcome. She told me that she wanted to make love to me just once before I got married and committed my life to her sister. Well, I was in total shock, and couldn't say a word. She said, "I'm going upstairs to my bedroom, and if you want one last wild fling, just come up and get me."

I was stunned and frozen in shock as I watched her go up the stairs. When she reached the top she pulled off her panties and threw them down the stairs at me. I stood there for a moment, then turned and made a beeline straight to the front door. I opened the door, and headed straight towards my car. Lo and behold, my entire future family was standing outside, all clapping! With tears in his eyes, my father-in-law hugged me and said, "We are very happy that you have passed our little test..... we couldn't ask for better man for our daughter. Welcome to our family!!!"

And the moral of this story is: Always keep your condoms in your car.
 




More Tidbits from the Chronicle of Higher Education --- http://www.aldaily.com/

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

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

International Accounting News (including the U.S.)

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

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

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

 

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