Days after announcing that Iran had successfully enriched uranium, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday called Israel a "rotten, dried tree" that will be annihilated by "one storm." . . . "Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihiliation," Ahmadinejad said. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm," he said.
Haaratz.com, April 14, 2006 --- Click Here
Also see http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1615069/posts
I think the current Iranian President was planted by Israel --- nothing better could help defense of Israel more in world opinion than to have Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's tongue continue to remind the world of Hitler's oratory in the 1930s. The danger is that he, like Hitler, may whip a sector of the world into a frenzy that really pushes the world to the brink of mass destruction. Is Mein Kamph required reading in Iran? --- http://www.hitler.org/writings/Mein_Kampf/
People were unprepared for it. I was unprepared
for it. What I grew up with was the "rational actor" model of foreign policy
— the idea that you're dealing with someone who is going through a rational
process and not a spiritual process.
Madeleine Albright responding to a question from Deborah Solomon on "having underestimated the role that religion would come to play in foreign affairs." In her new book, Clinton's Secretary of State (Albright) admits to having underestimated the important role of religion. Her new book is entitled The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs. The interview appeared in The New York Times Magazine, April 23, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/23/magazine/23wwln_q4.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Responding to polls showing that a strong
majority of Americans support building a wall across the U.S.-Mexican
border, 2008 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton announced Saturday that
she backs a border wall plan that would be supplemented by a "smart fence."
"A physical structure is obviously important," Mrs. Clinton told the New
York Daily News. "A wall in certain areas would be appropriate." The News
said she also supported deploying a high-tech "smart fence" that could spot
people approaching from 200 or 300 yards. Clinton also said the deployment
of surveillance drones and infrared cameras should also be considered.
Carl Limbacher, "Hillary Clinton Comes Out for Border Wall," NewsMax, April 23, 2006 --- http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/4/23/90825.shtml?s=ic
There is also evidence of declining support in both political parties for the amnesty plan still being actively promoted by President Bush but out of touch with the majority of voters --- See the Los Angeles Times, April 23, 2006 --- Click Here
Of course there is still active business and political support for both amnesty and the guest worker program. See the New York Post, April 23, 2006 --- http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/64942.htm
Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton Disagree on Tightening
Howard Dean and Bush agree on the legislation at the heart of the debate. Both support a Senate bill that would expand guest-worker programs for an estimated 400,000 immigrants each year. However, at a speech in an Oakland union hall, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate sought to tie Bush to a much tougher House bill that would tighten borders . . .
Howard Lindlaw, "Howard Dean accuses Bush, GOP of exploiting immigration issue," The Mecury News, March 31, 2006 --- Click Here
"What this means is that Americans will tolerate
or even welcome immigrants as long as they show loyalty to this country and
behave like the Americans already here," Straughn says. "Where newcomers
were born or how long they've lived here is secondary." Eighty-six percent
feel that immigrants make the United States more open to new ideas and
cultures, while about the same proportion believe it is better if different
groups adapt and blend into the larger community.
Professor Jeremy Straughn, "Sociologist Asks What It Means to be American," PhysOrg, April 23, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news64938913.html
The only way to keep your health is to
eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather
Mark Twain (1835-1910) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain
A California judge has rejected legal challenges
to the new state agency, created in a statewide vote, to promote stem-cell
research for which the Bush administration bars federal support, the
Associated Press reported.
Inside Higher Ed, April 24, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/04/24/qt
One impulse from a vernal wood
Can teach us more of man
Of moral evil and of good
Than all the sages can.
I need more help from the sages and pages.
I don't have a girlfriend. But I do know a woman
who'd be mad at me for saying that.
Mitch Hedberg --- http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Mitch_Hedberg/
The depressing thing about tennis is that no
matter how good I get, I'll never be as good as a wall.
You know, you can't please all the people all
the time... and last night, all those people were at my show.
of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're going and
hook up with them later.
The difference between sex and death is that
with death you can do it alone and no one is going to make fun of you.
Jean Anouilh, "The Lark"
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Mutability"
It is so easy to miss pretty trivial
solutions to problems deemed complicated. The goal of a scientist is to
find an interesting problem, and live off it for a while. The goal of an
engineer is to evade interesting problems.
Unix gives you enough rope to shoot yourself
in the foot.
H. Peter Anvin
I knew the gratuitous bra scene had to be
CGI. The curve of Julia Roberts' breasts was too reminiscent of the
Sterns-Rahaja pertness algorithm.
It's really amazing to me how much crap
Kevin, your wit is tepid and lacking in
spirit. You are as a small flower which, when carried upon the wind's
harrowing passages, is thrown hither and thither, never reaching safe
ground to spread its roots. And therefore, just as the flower, your
feeble witicisms die from lack of nitrogen.
My friend Stew says I don't qualify for Gen
X because I've never done any telemarketing.
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
The Road to Fairness and Beyond
PG.# 56 FOLGER The turning point in events that led to my dissertation's themes, however, came indirectly. At some point while perusing the social-comparison literature, I read the Adams (1965) chapter on inequity. Here was something I could sink my teeth into! Unlike ideas that seemed to go several directions at once, the Adams material had a focus that seemed promising. Also, I saw significant "holes" in the research. For one thing, Adam's own research stream had concentrated almost exclusively on the counterintuitive aspects of advantageous inequity ("overpay"), whereas I found the relative deprivation of disadvantageous inequity more interesting. I also thought the lack of systematic investigations into the latter left a large number of questions unanswered. Moreover, the Adams framework seemed well formulated in ways that would make useful operationalizations of the relevant constructs reasonably straightforward. The more I read, the more convinced I became that predictions about reactions to underpayment were problematic because of these unanswered questions. A series of early studies by Karl Weick (e.g., 1966) only confirmed this impression.
PG# 67, 68, & 69 FOLGER At the time, the mainstream journals reacted negatively to the presentation of results from those surveys in terms of procedural justice because the items referred not to choice or voice but to the demeanor and conduct of the police. Having been influenced by Leventhal's (1980) approach to procedural variables, however, Tom conceived of procedures more inclusively. Hindsight indicates we had addressed what Bob Bies later termed interactional justice (e.g., treating people with dignity and respect), but his writings on that topic had not yet appeared in print.
Bob became the next source for my recognizing the incompleteness of outcome-dominated thinking because of the frequency with which people care as much or more "how" things transpire as they do "what" they receive as tangible benefits. The evolution of my thinking did not move in a linear fashion; various side-ways investigations also occurred (e.g., Folger and Konovksy, 1989; Folger, Konovsky, and Cropanzano, 1992). I only realized gradually that traditionally conceived "outcomes" (e.g., pay amounts) often fail to have the psychic and symbolic impact of impersonal misconduct that demeans (e.g., publicly insulting subordinates in front of their peers).
Work by Bies influenced me in several ways. His notion of interactional justice had a lasting impact not only on me but also on organizational science. He also stressed social accounts, however, in ways that linger at least as much in my case. Here, I saw that my RCT manipulations of "procedural" factors (e.g., Folger, Rosenfield, and Robinson, 1982; Folger and Martin, 1986) did not actually manipulate the structural aspects of procedures but instead applied social accounts to influence the participants' perceptions of procedures. Bob's, having made that explicit, let to a follow-up study (Cropanzano and Folger, 1989) showing that the effects of both accounts and structural elements nonetheless paralleled one another. Bies also reinforced my thinking that notions regarding legitimacy stretched beyond the structural design features of formal procedures per se--the very intuition that had guided me in using justification as the key non-outcome element in RCT rather than procedures or procedural justice. In addition, I saw this beyond-structure impact as coming from social conduct, such as choices of how, when, and what to communicate (the accounts emphasis) but also including a range of interpersonal behaviors whether explicitly linked with communication efforts or not (such as giving someone the "cold shoulder," deliberately ignoring someone or taking pains to have nothing to do with them; e.g., Folger, 1993).
Having given an historical background on RCT, I turn now to Fairness Theory as an outgrowth from that line of thought.
4.3 FAIRNESS THEORY Fairness Theory or FT (e.g., Folger and Cropanzano, 1998, 2001; Folger, Cropanzano, and Goldman, forthcoming), herein reflects as yet unpublished developments in that model. It stresses the theme of accountability impressions (not necessarily from conscious, deliberative thought--at least for some instances of initial reactions to events and persons) in relation to counterfactuals. Accountability regarding blameworthiness can, in principle, reflect a continuum but in practice tends towards such poles as innocence versus guilt, blame versus credit, merit versus demerit. FT posits that the motives and intentions presumed to underlie a person's mode of conduct can influence impressions about unfairness when the person seems at fault for wrongdoing.
The relevant counterfactuals--Would, Could, and Should--align roughly with elements from Schlenker's (e.g., 1997) triangle model of moral accountability as three interlocked components. FT treats unfairness (holding someone accountable and blameworthy) as derived from a conjunction among these three facets relevant to impressions about human conduct. Blame for unfairness amounts to a negative impression concerning each facet: What actually happened appears detrimental vis-à-vis three counterfactual representations (what did not happen) that each, in some sense, seem positive by comparison.
Pain contrasts negatively with pleasure as its (implicit) counterfactual, for example, just as guilt contrasts negatively with innocence. Perceived unfairness metaphorically mirrors the "pain" associated with a perceiver's impressions about an incident (e.g., one person scathingly belittles another) that Would NOT have generated concern "if only" the incident had never taken place. Blame also constitutes a negative (e.g., disapproving) impression related to at-least implicitly activated counterfactual representations concerning how the blamed person did not behave but Could and Should have behaved.
An example of an employee treating a customer in a rudely unfair manner (adapted from McColl-Kennedy and Sparks, 2003) illustrates these abstractions. The rudely treated customer perceives unfairness with regard to the following conjunction of counterfactual standards or referents: "what could have occurred (being served with a smile), what should have occurred (being treated politely), and how it would have felt had an alternative action been taken (feeling happier)" (McColl-Kennedy and Sparks, 2003, 254). Similarly, a third-party observer might consider the rudeness unfair and blame the employee for it if that perceiver's impressions include the sense that (a) the employee Could have smiled (e.g., did not have his or her mouth wired shut), (b) the employee Should have had more respect for the customer (e.g., by virtue of service-employees' duly assign responsibilities and obligations toward customers in general), and (c) the situation Would not have aroused any concern on the observer's part in the absence of the kind of incident that occurred.
PG.# 81 FOLGER Adams, J. S. (1965). Inequity on social exchange. In I. Berkowitz (ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology: 267-299. New York: Academic Press.
Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm
As a faculty member, are you earning above average?
"The Eroding Faculty Paycheck," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, April 24, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/04/24/salaries
Maybe Mississippi, following Wyoming's lead, will at last close down
some of its diploma mills
Mississippi has a new law that allows the state’s higher education board to go to court to try to shut down diploma mills in the state, the Associated Press reported. Mississippi has been among the states in which unaccredited institutions flourish.
Inside Higher Ed, April 24, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/04/24/qt
When you fly this summer, take lots of dollar bills to pay for
unexpected nuisance fees
Ask for a pillow and blanket to help get through a long flight and you may be out of luck. Or you may be able to buy a "comfort package" from Air Canada for $2. Like to check your luggage curbside? That could cost up to $3 a bag. Airlines are starting to charge for many services that once were free -- such as assigned seating, paper tickets and blankets. Air travelers who don't fly often may be in for some unpleasant surprises when they reach the airport this summer.
"$1 for a bag of airline pretzels? Carriers add a bundle of new charges," CNN, April 4, 2006 --- http://www.cnn.com/2006/TRAVEL/04/03/airline.charges.ap/index.html
The First History Course: It's no longer a lecture course
Stopping short of criticizing the conventional lecture format, Shanahan, speaking during a session at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians, said that history classes — even introductory courses — need an infusion of creative lesson plans that deviate from the chronological information dump. While her touch-taste-smell approach is perhaps extreme for the college setting, her concept of diversifying the curriculum drew a uniformly positive response from panelists. “There’s a thought among historians that classrooms are just about delivering a rubric of information,” said David Settje, a history professor at Concordia University, in Illinois. “That model is old,” he said, and encourages straight memorization rather than critical thinking. “We were boring the crap out of students,” he said. “The acknowledgment is finally out there that we have to talk about how to teach.”
Elia Powers, "Spicing Up U.S. History," Inside Higher Ed, April 24, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/04/24/history
Scientists find brain cells linked to choice
If choosing the right outfit or whether to invest in stocks or bonds is difficult, it may not be just indecisiveness but how brain cells assign values to different items, scientists said on Sunday. Researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston have identified neurons, or brain cells, that seem to play a role in how a person selects different items or goods. Scientists have known that cells in different parts of the brain react to attributes such as color, taste or quantity. Dr Camillo Padaoa-Schioppa and John Assad, an associate professor of neurobiology, found neurons involved in assigning values that help people to make choices. "The neurons we have identified encode the value individuals assign to the available items when they make choices based on subjective preferences, a behavior called economic choice," Padoa-Schioppa said in a statement.
"Scientists find brain cells linked to choice," Yahoo News, April 23, 2006 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060423/sc_nm/science_choice_dc_2
"Zimbabwe 'asks farmers to return'," BBC News, April 21, 2006 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4932060.stm
Zimbabwe's white farmers say they have been invited to apply for land - in an apparent U-turn by the government which has seized their land. All but 300 of the 4,000 white farmers have been forced off their land since President Robert Mugabe started his "fast-track" land reform in 2000.
A farmers' leader says some 200 applications have already been made and more are coming in.
Critics say the reforms have devastated the economy and led to massive hunger.
Much of the formerly white-owned land is no longer being productively used - either because the beneficiaries have no experience of farming or they lack finance and tools.
Many farms were wrecked when they were invaded by government supporters.
Continued in article
The 10 Wackiest E-Commerce Sites
To help bring some diversity to your online spending sprees, Wired News asked around for suggestions in order to present you this limited, biased but gem-packed list of some of the coolest online stores.
Ryan Singel, "The 10 Wackiest E-Commerce Sites," Wired News, April 20, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70695-0.html?tw=wn_index_1
Bad news from the McComb's School of Business at the University of
Texas at Austin
Nearly 200,000 records of students, alumni, and faculty and staff members at the University of Texas at Austin’s business school were illegally viewed by someone outside the institution, the Daily Texan reported. More than 106,000 of the records contained Social Security numbers.
Inside Higher Ed, April 25, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/04/25/qt
When does Barbie become a "sex toy" in South Carolina?
Lucy’s Love Shop employee Wanda Gillespie said she was flabbergasted that South Carolina’s Legislature is considering outlawing sex toys. But banning the sale of sex toys is actually quite common in some Southern states. The South Carolina bill, proposed by Republican Rep. Ralph Davenport, would make it a felony to sell devices used primarily for sexual stimulation and allow law enforcement to seize sex toys from raided businesses. "That would be the most terrible thing in the world," said Ms. Gillespie, an employee the Anderson shop. "That is just flabbergasting to me. We are supposed to be in a free country, and we’re supposed to be adults who can decide what want to do and don’t want to do in the privacy of our own homes." Ms. Gillespie, 49, said she has worked in the store for nearly 20 years and has seen people from every walk of life, including "every Sunday churchgoers."
Seanna Adcox, "Bill would make sale of sex toys illegal in South Carolina," Anderson Independent Mail, April 21, 2006 --- http://www.independentmail.com/and/home/article/0,1886,AND_8195_4641568,00.html
Regina Lynn says most of the new devices don't work anyway
"A Long, Strange Trip to Orgasm," Regina Lynn, Wired News, April 21, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/columns/0,70708-0.html?tw=wn_index_4
Three rare conditions coincided recently. I had time alone in the San Francisco apartment where I rent a room part time. I had my new sex gadgets and all of their parts with me, including lube and an extra wing nut. And I had an entire day free of deadlines, deliverables and dinner plans.
One of those sex gadgets was the Je Joue, the iPodesque sensual massager. Another was the Jack Hammer Johnson shipped to me by its inventor after I called it a ridiculous, expensive and gimmicky device while promising to "give it a whirl" if they sent me one.
I think he had it in the mail that very afternoon.
I hate assembling things and vowed years ago I would never again buy anything at Ikea, but even I am competent enough to put the JHJ together. As I secured the dildo in its holder, I wondered if I would take this much effort for a penetration toy if I weren't doing it for work.
Continued in article (where you can find out more about how well these work)
Scientists devise means to test for phony technical papers
Authors of bogus technical articles beware. A team of researchers at the Indiana University School of Informatics has designed a tool that distinguishes between real and fake papers. It's called the Inauthentic Paper Detector -- one of the first of its kind anywhere -- and it uses compression to determine whether technical texts are generated by man or machine.
"Scientists devise means to test for phony technical papers," PhysOrg, April 24, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news65101797.html
The tongue bone connected to the eye bone;
The eye bone connected to the brain bone;
The brain bone connected to the trigger bone;
Now here's the soldier of the world
"'Taste' of wars to come," Al Jazeera, April 24, 2006 --- Click Here
Military researchers in the United States are trying to create super-warriors by focusing on the tongue.
By routing signals from helmet-mounted cameras, sonar and other equipment through the tongue to the brain, they hope to give elite soldiers superhuman senses similar to owls, snakes and fish.
Researchers at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition hope to turn fiction into reality by giving army rangers 360-degree unobstructed vision at night and allowing Navy Seals to sense sonar in their heads while maintaining normal vision underwater.
The device, known as "Brain Port", was pioneered more than 30 years ago by Dr Paul Bach-y-Rita, a University of Wisconsin neuroscientist.
Bach-y-Rita began routing images from a camera through electrodes taped to people's backs, discovering that the tongue was a superior transmitter.
A narrow strip of red plastic connects the Brain Port to the tongue, where 144 microelectrodes transmit information through nerve fibres to the brain.
Navy Seals may soon be able to see through their tongues
Dr Anil Raj, the project's lead scientist, said instead of holding and looking at compasses and bulky hand-held sonar devices, the divers can process the information through their tongues.
Continued in article
Bob Dylan's New Career: Radio DJ
After decades as music's most enigmatic icon, Bob Dylan has stunned his fans by becoming a DJ for an American station. Once the most iconic recluse in the music business, Dylan will spring a surprise on fans next month by broadcasting a weekly music show across America. His debut behind the mic, due to be broadcast on 3 May, . . .
David Smith, "Hey Mister DJ ...," The Guardian, April 23, 2006 --- http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1759452,00.html
The Ambitious and Controversial Rumsfeld Plan for Fighting Terrorists:
A Special Operations Command
The new Department of Defense plans, which the Post calls the "most ambitious" in the fight against terrorism, were developed by the Special Operations Command and follow Rumsfeld's long-repeated goals to modernize the military and increase the role of elite Special Operations troops. The WP says there are three plans: a main one that describes priorities and strategies, and two offshoots, one that focuses on al-Qaida as well as other terrorist groups, and another one that details what the military role could be if there is another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
Daniel Politi, "Elite Takeover," Slate, April 23, 2006 --- http://www.slate.com/id/2140485/
High End versus Low End Voice Recording (e.g., for Podcasting)
At the low end (and free) alternatives for sound recording I recommend Audacity --- http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
There are some good non-free alternatives. The company that offers the great Camtasia for video capturing of computer screens with audio narration also has an audio recording product called DubIt --- http://www.techsmith.com/snagit/accessories/dubit.asp
At the high end there are various alternatives, including MicroTrack --- http://www.microtrack.com/
"High-Quality Voice Recorder In the market for a professional-quality voice recorder for, say, podcasting? by James A. Martin, PC World via The Washington Post, April 14, 2006 --- Click Here
During recent podcasting classes and seminars I attended, I asked some audio pros for their recommendations. No single device earned a unanimous thumbs-up, unfortunately. But one recorder, M-Audio's recently released MicroTrack 24/96, was mentioned several times as an intriguing new contender.
I tested the MicroTrack and found a lot to like. The recorder has a few drawbacks, however. Here's the story.
The MicroTrack ( about $499 ) is designed for audio professionals seeking to record high-quality sound on the go (or "in the field," as the pros say), and for consumers who want an easy-to-use digital audio recorder with above-average sound quality.
The MicroTrack records audio onto CompactFlash cards. With no moving parts, flash memory doesn't add noise to recordings. And flash memory is durable, whereas tape wears out with repeated play. Plus, digital audio files are easy to share and archive, unlike tape recordings.
The audio experts I spoke to liked the MicroTrack's professional features, such as two-channel recording, microphone and line-level inputs, and the ability to record uncompressed audio as .wav files. They were impressed with the device's compact size, and they liked the easy-to-use, on-screen menus.
In my tests, the MicroTrack's audio recordings were exceptionally clear. The T-shaped microphone included in the box does an excellent job of picking up detailed, warm sound. The device measures 4.3 by 2.4 by 1.1 inches and weighs 4.9 ounces, not including the memory card.
In my recording tests, the MicroTrack's built-in battery lasted about 4 hours on a single charge. Though not stellar, that's probably fine for most casual users. However, the MicroTrack's nonremovable battery is a potentially big drawback for anyone who regularly records for hours at a time, without access to a power source.
M-Audio pointed me to a workaround: Apple's iPod Shuffle External Battery Pack ($30). Inserting two standard AA batteries into the battery pack and connecting the pack to the MicroTrack via USB cable can extend the recorder's internal battery charge. In my informal tests, the iPod Shuffle's add-on battery pack added about an hour to the MicroTrack battery's charge.
However, the USB battery packs aren't powerful enough to actually recharge the MicroTrack's battery, according to an M-Audio technical marketing specialist. Rather, a USB battery pack simply prolongs what's left of the MicroTrack battery's existing charge.
I encountered a more significant problem with the MicroTrack: On several occasions, the device froze while I was recording. To restart it, I had to turn the recorder off, then back on. Unfortunately, this wiped out an hour-long recording I had been making.
Since my initial tests, M-Audio released a firmware update, version 1.3.3, designed to fix this and other known problems. I retested the MicroTrack with the new firmware. All but one subsequent recording continued without a hitch; in one instance, the MicroTrack froze after about 4 minutes of recording.
"Buying a Digital Camera: Our Annual Guide: New Features Fight Blurring, Allow In-Camera Editing; The Truth About Megapixels," Walter S. Mossberg and Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2006; Page D1--- http://online.wsj.com/article/the_mossberg_solution.html
"Two Challengers Enter The Smartphone Wars: Microsoft-Based Devices Aren't a Match for the Treo; Reaching for the Stylus," by Walter S. Mossberg and Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2006; Page D5 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/the_mossberg_solution.html
Walt Mossberg tests the Sony Vaio SZ160 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X60s, and says for road warriors, these small, light, well-designed laptops are worth their hefty price tags. Neither can match Apple when it comes to the quality of its built-in software. Lenovo's is too geeky and is aimed more at corporate than consumer customers. Sony's is more consumer-oriented, but it's inconsistent and confusing.
"Sony, Lenovo Laptops Are Pricey, but Offer Lots of Features, Power," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, April 20, 2006; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114549122721730616.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
I like both machines, but they have different benefits and downsides. The ThinkPad is the latest entry in a long line of small, rugged laptops with great keyboards and strong battery life. It has a speedy, optional, internal cellphone modem for connecting to the Internet over a cellphone network. But it lacks an internal optical (CD or DVD) drive.
At the cost of just a little more weight and size, the Sony I tested includes an optical drive and a bigger screen, but it lacks a cellphone modem and has weaker battery life than the Lenovo configuration I tested. For enhanced security, both laptops have built-in fingerprint readers that can bolster or replace typed passwords. Neither is a bargain-basement laptop. The Sony SZ series starts at $2,000, and the ThinkPad X60 series starts at $1,900. They come in many different configurations, and thus many different prices. The ThinkPad X60s I tested, which included a cellphone modem, an extra-strength battery and a dock with an optical drive, costs $2,300. The Sony SZ I tested, which didn't include a dock, an extended battery or a cellphone modem -- but did have that internal optical drive -- costs $2,500.
The Thinkpad X60S I tested weighed 3.46 pounds, while my Sony SZ160 test model weighed just 3.72 pounds, even with the bigger screen and optical drive. The ThinkPad is 10.5 inches wide by 8.3 inches deep, and it's between 0.8 inch and 1.11 inches thick. The Sony is 12.5 inches wide by 9.3 inches deep, and it's between 0.9 inch and 1.3 inches thick. The Sony's larger dimensions are mainly a result of its bigger screen -- 13.3 inches, versus 12.1 inches for the Lenovo. The Sony screen is also higher resolution.
I put both laptops through my usual tough battery test, wherein I turn off all power-saving software, crank up the screen brightness to the max, turn on the wireless networking, and then play an endless loop of music.
My test ThinkPad, with its double-capacity battery, lasted a very impressive four hours and 49 minutes. In normal use, with power-saving turned on and a more typical work pattern, I'd expect it to last six hours or more, which is excellent. My test Sony, which had a normal-size battery, lasted just three hours and two minutes, even though the machine was running on its so-called Stamina setting. In normal use, the Sony would likely top four hours. Presumably, a Lenovo with a standard battery would do worse, and a Sony with an extended battery would do better.
Neither can match Apple when it comes to the quality of its built-in software. Lenovo's is too geeky and is aimed more at corporate than consumer customers. Sony's is more consumer-oriented, but it's inconsistent and confusing.
Continued in article
Updates from WebMD
Latest Headlines on April 20, 2006
Latest Headlines on April 22, 2006
A Simple Home Test to Predict Drug Effects
An international group of scientists has demonstrated a new tool for personalized medicine that makes it possible to predict nearly any adverse reaction an individual might have to drugs. Rather than being based on genetic screening, which up to now has been the dominant approach to personalized medicine, the new test relies on profiling an individual's metabolic products.
"A Simple Way to Predict Drug Effects: Experiments with rats suggest that a urine test could accurately predict how an individual will react to medications," by Duncan Graham-Rowe, MIT's Technology Review, April 20, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16719,259,p1.html
"It’s Time to End ‘Physics for Poets’," by Edward Morley (a psuedonym of an assistant professor of physics), Inside Higher Ed, April 13, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/04/13/morley
Science for non-majors offers an important chance to reach out to students outside the sciences, and try to give them some appreciation for scientific inquiry. This is critically important, as we live in a time where science itself is under political assault from both the left and right. People with political agendas are constantly peddling distorted views of science, from conspiracy theories regarding pharmaceutical companies and drug development, to industry-backed attempts to challenge the scientific findings regarding global climate change, to the well-documented attempts to force religion into science curricula under the guise of “intelligent design.” It’s more important than ever for our students to be able to understand and critically evaluate competing claims about science.
I worry, however, that our approach to teaching science as a part of a liberal education is undermining the goals we have set for our classes. Despite the effort we put into providing classes that are both relevant and informative, I am troubled by the subtext of these classes. By their very existence, these classes send two damaging messages to students in other disciplines: first, that science is something alien and difficult, the exclusive province of nerds and geeks; and second, that we will happily accommodate their distaste for science and mathematics, by providing them with special classes that minimize the difficult aspects of the subject.
The first of these messages is sadly misguided. Science is more than just a collection of difficult facts to be learned. It’s a way of looking at the universe, a systematic approach to studying the world around us, and understanding how things work. As such, it’s as fundamental a part of human civilization as anything to be found in art or literature. The skills needed to do science are the same skills needed to excel in most other fields: careful observation, critical thinking, and an ability to support arguments with evidence.
The second subtext, however, is disturbingly accurate. We do make special accommodations for students who are uncomfortable with science, and particularly mathematics. We offer special classes that teach science with a minimum of math, and we offer math classes at a level below what ought to be expected of college students. Admissions officers and student tour guides go out of their way to reassure prospective students that they won’t be expected to complete rigorous major-level science classes, but will be provided with options more to their liking.
It’s difficult to imagine similar accommodations being made for students uncomfortable with other disciplines. The expectations for student ability in the humanities are much higher than in the sciences. If a student announced that he or she was not comfortable with reading and analyzing literary texts, we would question whether that student belonged in college at all (and rightly so). We take the existence of “Physics for Poets” for granted, but nobody would consider advocating a “Poetry for Physicists” class for science majors who are uncomfortable with reading and analyzing literature.
The disparity in expectations goes well beyond simple literacy. I was absolutely stunned to hear a colleague suggest, to many approving nods, that all first-year students should be required to read The Theory Toolbox. We would never consider asking all entering students to read H. M. Schey’s Div, Grad, Curl, and All That: An Informal Text on Vector Calculus, even though the critical theory described in The Theory Toolbox is every bit as much a specialized tool for literary analysis as vector calculus is a specialized tool for scientific analysis. Yet faculty members in the humanities can seriously propose one as essential for all students in all disciplines, while recoiling from the other.
This distaste for and fear of mathematics extends beyond the student body, into the faculty, and our society as a whole. Richard Cohen, writing in The Washington Post, wrote a column in February in which he dismissed algebra as unimportant, and proclaimed his own innumeracy.
“I confess to be one of those people who hate math. I can do my basic arithmetic all right (although not percentages) but I flunked algebra (once), barely passed it the second time — the only proof I’ve ever seen of divine intervention — somehow passed geometry and resolved, with a grateful exhale of breath, that I would never go near math again.”
It’s a sad commentary on the state of our society that a public intellectual (even a low-level one like Cohen) can write such a paragraph and be confident that it will be met with as many nods of agreement as howls of derision. If a scientist or mathematician were to say “I can handle simple declarative sentences all right (although not transitive verbs),” they could never expect to be taken seriously again. Illiteracy among the general public is viewed as a crisis, but innumeracy is largely ignored, because everybody knows that Math is Hard.
Fundamentally, this problem begins well below the college level, with the sorry state of science and math teaching in our middle schools and high schools. The ultimate solution will need to involve a large-scale reform of math and science teaching, from the early grades all the way through college. As college professors, though, we can begin the process by demanding a little more of our students, and not being quite so quick to accommodate gaps in their knowledge of math and science. We should recognize that mathematical and scientific literacy are every bit as important for an educated citizen as knowledge of history and literature, and insist that our students meet high standards in all areas of knowledge.
Of course, the science faculties are not without responsibilities in this situation. Forcing non-science majors to take the same courses as science majors seems like an unappealing prospect in large part because so many introductory science courses are unappealing. If we are to force non-science majors to take introductory science major courses, we will also need to commit to making those courses more acceptable to a broader range of students. One good start is the teaching initiative being promoted by Carl Wieman, a Nobel laureate in physics Carl Wieman who is leaving the University of Colorado to pursue educational reforms at the University of British Columbia, but more effort is needed. If we improve the quality of introductory science teaching and push for greater rigor in the science classes offered to non-majors, we should see benefits well outside the sciences, extending to society as a whole.
As academics, we are constantly asked to look below the surface to the implications of our actions. We are told that we need to consider the hidden messages sent by who we hire, what we assign, how we speak to students, and even what we wear. Shouldn’t we also consider the hidden message sent by the classes we offer, and what they say about our educational priorities?
A Theory of Relativity for Poets?
"The one sentence statement of general relativity is that ‘gravity is the curvature of spacetime," explains Dr. Sean Carroll, assistant professor of physics at the University of Chicago. “Really, the differences come in understanding what that sentence means.”
"Generally Speaking: A Primer on General Relativity," PhysOrg, April 13, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news64168756.html
Carroll says that origin of the theory of general relativity dates to 1905, when scientists, notably including Albert Einstein, realized that space and time are related characteristics of a four-dimensional existence. “When you meet someone for coffee,” says Carroll, “you have to give four numbers of where to meet. Three of them are in space — latitude, longitude, and height above ground — and the fourth is what time to meet.”
However, within this new 4-D framework, says Carroll, Einstein could not understand gravity, and how it worked in spacetime. He decided that rather than being a force, like electromagnetism, gravity must be a property: a geometric curvature. Even though we agree that the angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees, this rule changes when a curve is involved. When that same triangle is put on a sphere, the angles add up to more than 180 degrees. Likewise, when the curvature of spacetime is recognized, the basic rules thought to apply to gravity are changed.
Lately, though, general relativity has been looked at closely. Carroll says that while no evidence exists for the overthrow of the theory of general relativity, there are some points where general relativity may not apply. “General relativity is doing really well,” he explains to PhysOrg.com, “but there are two places where it might break down.”
These two places, Carroll says, have to do with very short distances and on very large scales. With very short distances, in terms of quantum mechanics, there are problems with gravity and with general relativity. The theory does not apply in the same way as it does with longer spacetime distances. “In classical general relativity, spacetime has a geometry; in quantum gravity, there should be a wave function that tells us what the likelihood is that spacetime has one of various geometries,” Carroll explains. Even though no experiment exists yet that has cracked the theory of quantum gravity, a new test is being developed in Europe to try and work toward just that (read about it on PhysOrg.com: http://www.physorg.com/news12054.html) .
The other breakdown might occur on large scales. There is still much about the larger scales that remain hypothetical. General relativity is one of those things. “There is still a question of how much curvature is caused by a certain amount of energy and mass,” says Carroll. “Einstein suggested an equation that related energy to the curvature of spacetime, but it may be right in some circumstances and not in others.” He explains that breaking down dark energy and matter is necessary to understand the implications, but that, so far, their existence is only known through their gravity. “That could be a sign that general relativity breaks down at this scale.”
Carroll also addresses the case of special relativity. “Special relativity is special because it is a special case of general relativity. General relativity is, well, general, and special relativity is one particular case.”
In the case of special relativity, gravity is “turned off.” Carroll explains that gravity can be ignored in this subset because it is such a weak force. “Special relativity deals with the idea that different people moving at different velocities will have different perceptions of what they see, and gravity is not taken into account.” But, he continues, work with particle accelerators show that special relativity is extremely accurate for many experiments.
Understanding general relativity is more a function of realizing that gravity is a property of spacetime, and one of its properties is gravity, which is actually a curvature. The effects we see, explains Carroll, comes from the fact that particles cannot move in a straight line. “Particles are trying to move in straight lines,” he says, “but there are no straight lines because spacetime is curved.”
From MIT: Why are some people better adapted for making money in the financial markets?
"Survival of the Richest: Why are some people better adapted for making money in the financial markets? MIT Sloan School's Andrew W. Lo explains," by Michael Fitzgerald, MIT's Technology Review, April 19, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BizTech/wtr_16714,295,p1.html
Financial markets are supposed to pool the knowledge of market participants to come to the most efficient decision about matters like what a stock is worth. They're supposed to be rational -- driven by the numbers and facts. But, in fact, financial markets are better understood as biological systems, argues Andrew W. Lo, professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management and director of the MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering.
Lo, also a partner in the AlphaSimplex hedge fund, combines mathematics, neurology, and psychology to study how markets work. One of his research projects actually involves putting traders in an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine and measuring their brain activity. Once a disciple of the Efficient Markets Hypothesis -- the premise that markets operate rationally and efficiently -- Lo wants to replace that model with the biologically driven Adaptive Markets Hypothesis.
Technology Review: When did you decide that biology might help you to understand how markets behave?
Andrew W. Lo: I've always been interested in biology, and evolution is one of most important topics in modern science and society. So little by little I tried to think about how it is that evolution affects economic interactions. I remember about ten years ago, where at the end of the year I felt so frustrated that [the Efficient Market Hypothesis] didn't make sense to me. And then the year after, when I started really taking more seriously the notion of evolution and its impact on financial markets, it somehow all fell into place. It's such a simple idea: namely, that financial market participants adapt to changing market conditions. That seemed to explain pretty much everything. In the last five or six years I've used this paradigm to explain one anomaly after another. And at this point I really feel like there isn't a single anomaly that financial market participants have documented that I cannot explain with this framework.
TR: Can you give us an example of evolution working in financial markets?
AL: An example of behavioral bias is what psychologists like to call "loss aversion." When you're faced with losses you become much more risk-seeking; and when you're faced with large gains, you become much more conservative, much more risk-averse. And that, people have documented, is generally not conducive to building wealth. It's rational to cut your losses and ride your gains. Instead, in practice what people do when they're losing is to double their bets in the hopes of getting back to even -- traders call it doubling down. And when you're making money you cash out right away and preserve your gains. That is irrational behavior in financial markets.
I've derived a simple mathematical model to show that loss aversion is really the outcome of a survival instinct. This notion of loss aversion, being more aggressive when you're losing and more conservative when you're winning, is a very, very smart thing to do when you're being hunted on the plains of the African savannah. However, it's not a smart thing to do when you're on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Continued in article
From The Washington Post on April 21, 2006
Do those dubious college rankings really matter?
"Resigned Over Rankings," by Rob Capriccioso, "Inside Higher Ed, April 19, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/04/19/dean
In 2002, the University of Houston Law Center was ranked 50th in the U.S. News & World Report annual law school rankings.
Today, it’s ranked number 70.
Some faculty members and students at the institution believe that the downward slide may have been the cause of Monday’s resignation of Nancy Rapoport, the center’s dean since 2000. Others say that notion — and the rankings themselves — are phooey.
“After six years as dean, I don’t think this is a really big deal,” says Michael A. Olivas, a law professor at Houston and director of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance at the school. “There is a shelf life for deans, you know. These rankings are definitely not how I measure the success of a dean.”
But, according to students who attended a faculty member meeting last week, some professors directly criticized the dean for the drop. While the U.S. News rankings are regularly derided by educators as poor measures of quality, many of those same educators worry about how their institutions fare.
Joy N. Hermansen, who has seven more months before she graduates from the school, was reluctant to give names of faculty members who were particularly critical of the dean. “I know that most deans don’t stay longer than six years, and maybe it was time for the dean to move on anyway,” she says. “However, I doubt she would have resigned but for the recent events related to the rankings because our school is up for accreditation next year. That’s a really bad time to not have a dean.”
One professor, who wished to remain anonymous, said that faculty members and student groups had been meeting regularly since the most recent rankings came out to discuss what could be done to boost them. The professor indicated that none of these meetings involved the dean.
Hermansen says that students began to concurrently rebel against Rapoport. “I’m sure the fact that a few irresponsible people, not thinking about the consequences of their actions, posted messages seriously criticizing her and her actions on public Internet forums bothered her,” says Hermansen.
“Dean Rapoport, as one faculty member described her, prides herself on being an ‘outside’ dean — one who spends most of her time meeting with people outside the law school to try to improve its reputation,” she adds. “This would be in contrast to an ‘inside’ dean who spends his or her time mingling with students and is very visible on campus. Therefore, we really don’t have much insight into her thought processes or most of her decisions.”
While Rapoport did not respond to calls for comment for this story, there is evidence that the magazine rankings have, in recent years, weighed heavily on the minds of administrators and faculty members. In an article published by Rapoport in the Illinois Law Review in 2005, she detailed a plan called Project Magellan, which was begun after the law school dropped below the 50th spot in the U.S. News rankings.
“Magellan is raising important issues and forcing us to make some hard choices,” wrote the dean. “In our last few brown-bag discussions, we’ve talked about making some changes that may, over time, improve our rankings — at least as long as every other school above us in the rankings doesn’t make these changes at the same time that we do. Most of those changes (to improve placement, to reconsider how we award financial aid, to change the curriculum slightly, and to encourage different choices for placement of articles by faculty) are likely to make our school better than our rankings will demonstrate.”
Donald J. Foss, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the university, cautioned against putting too much stock in the rankings in a recent Houston Chronicle story regarding the dean’s departure. In a press release, he stated that plans to appoint an interim dean and a search committee in the immediate future.
Olivas also cautions against putting too much stock in a dean’s ability to affect the rankings of the school. He says that funding shortcomings resulting from the state’s Enron scandal as well as continued and rebuilding efforts from Tropical Storm Allison are challenges that will not soon go away. He says that these situations have affected the magazine’s ranking of the school, but that the school is actually doing much better than the drop would indicate.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen;s threads on controversies in higher education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm
The Federal Government Maintains Two Sets of Accounting Books
"The Safety Valve Has Become a Fire Hose," by Judd Gregg,
The Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2006; Page A18 ---
If Benjamin Disraeli were around today, he would need to revise his famous quote: "There are four types of lies . . . lies, damned lies, statistics and budget estimates." Controlling the federal budget and reducing the deficit are difficult enough without obscuring the numbers. But, that is exactly what is happening today -- the federal government is keeping two sets of books.
Back in 1990, Congress and the executive branch agreed on a new framework to govern the federal budget. The Budget Enforcement Act, which essentially replaced the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings balanced budget law, created statutory budget limits or "caps" to control annual appropriation bills and force both branches to live within financial constraints. Before finalizing the law, some questioned the lack of flexibility to accommodate unforeseen natural or man-made disasters. In response, the then-Democratic congressional leadership and the administration of President George H.W. Bush included a safety valve providing for "emergency" spending if necessary.
The safety valve has become a fire hose, so much so that to understand budget estimates one needs to know not only the budget, but the "shadow budget" as well. We discuss regular spending "within the caps" and emergency spending "outside the caps"; but emergency spending is considered "free money" because it is not controlled or offset vis-à-vis other federal spending. The White House regularly transmits and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees report bills containing "emergency" spending above budget allocations and controls. This emergency spending is charged straight to the U.S. government's deficit and debt, like a credit card, with our kids and future generations paying the interest.
During the 1990s, even taking into account Operation Desert Storm and Kosovo operations, Congress and the administration averaged $22 billion of emergency spending per year. More recently, emergency spending is averaging over $100 billion in spending per year. Just two weeks ago, on a vote of 27-1, the Senate Appropriations Committee not only approved $92.2 billion in additional spending justified by the administration as "emergency," but it added a mere $14.3 billion more in amendments! Included were such highly important items as oyster restoration, more foreign aid, relocation of a library on a military base and ongoing regular Army procurement programs that the Pentagon moved to the "emergency" supplemental ledger so they do not have to compete with ships, aircraft and personnel costs.
On a bipartisan basis, the nation's elected leaders are abusing the process. If a program doesn't compete well against other priorities, one need only shift it to the next emergency supplemental appropriations request.
The defense budget is a good example. One set of books said the Defense Department and related national security functions would require $434 billion this year, about a 3% increase over the previous year. When emergency funding is factored into the equation, the true set of books show that defense will be provided at least $558 billion, or almost a 12% increase above the previous year. For fiscal 2007, the president's budget states that Defense Department spending will decline by 8.7%! The Defense Department freely admits that the budget is intentionally understated, as they intend to pick up the difference in the next emergency supplemental.
Another example is Hurricane Katrina. Emergency relief has totaled over $100 billion and an additional $27 billion has been proposed. Clearly, this was a huge national disaster. But just as clearly, federal spending for this disaster is unprecedented and still growing. Each "special" disaster program, such as Katrina tax relief, will become the benchmark for what the federal government will be expected to provide in response to future natural disasters.
Is spending for the Iraq War and natural disasters important? Of course. But there is no such thing as free spending, even in Washington. These emergency supplemental appropriations bills are added to the nation's debt and our kids are handed the bill.
So what should be done? First, we have to restructure the budget rules again. They have been bent so many times, they have been rendered meaningless. The Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Resolution passed by the Senate proposes to limit the use of the "emergency loophole." Our budget allocated $90 billion for high priority emergency spending in 2007, such as operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, border security and supplies to prepare for the avian flu threat. That number represents the average cost of the war over the last four years. The budget resolution was transparent and counted the cost of the war "on budget." Our budget provides the Congress and the president with $963 billion for discretionary spending next year and requires that three-fifths of the Senate approve any spending above this ceiling.
Second, we need to move forward with overall budget process reform. President Bush's line item veto/expedited recission proposal is a good start. Many have suggested we need "two year budgeting." I would respectfully suggest that a better approach would be to require "one year budgeting" -- that is, force Congress and the president to live within this year's budget -- period. Let's recreate a Gramm-Rudman-Hollings-type sequester if the deficit limits are exceeded.
Uncontrolled federal spending could derail our nation's economic growth and our economy. It should not require an external event, like the 1987 stock market plummet, for America's elected leadership to step up and control federal spending.
Budget process reform alone cannot force fiscal responsibility, but it can help drive action. It is time to rein in so called "emergency spending" and to adopt substantive budget reform. It is time to plug the hole in the budget and maintain just one set of books.
Continued in article
Elite colleges are for the rich and the
poor and selected minorities,
but no longer for middle income families
Lucas Puente has been accepted at Stanford, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania. But to attend any one of the prestigious universities would cost a total of about $48,000 a year, and he wouldn't qualify for need-based aid. The University of Georgia, meanwhile, has offered him a Foundation Fellowship, which would cover not only his out-of-state tuition of $16,000, but also other costs. Total value of the package over four years: roughly $125,000 . . . More middle- and upper-income families are in a similar bind -- trying to assess the value of a degree from a top-tier school. Even as the price of attending an elite college approaches $50,000 a year, less-prestigious schools are offering more merit aid, making the cost differences starker. Nationwide, $7.3 billion in merit scholarships was awarded in 2003-2004, up from $1.2 billion in 1993-1994, according to the latest data available from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. And college officials say the trend is growing.
"Saying 'No' to the Ivy League: Families Face Tough Choice As Back-Up Schools Boost Merit Aid for Top Students," by Robert Tomsho, The Wall Street Journal, April 20, 2006; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114549432060630668.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal
Bob Jensen's threads on controversies in higher education --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm
Career Opportunities Explode in Internal Auditing
"Internal Auditing Gaining in Popularity,"
AccountingWeb, April 17, 2006 ---
With internal auditors taking a more prominent role in U.S. companies, the popularity of the field is surging. "Our membership has more than doubled in the last 10 years," said Trish Harris, director of communications for The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). "There's been huge growth."
The IIA's membership has grown 38 percent since 2000, and the number of people taking the certified internal auditor exam rose from 30,634 to 38,000 in 2005, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported.
The Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform legislation brought internal auditing out of the back rooms of corporate headquarters. Now, internal auditors are reporting directly to the CEO or board of directors, and their visibility makes it easier for them to get promoted.
"People who work in internal auditing have the opportunity to see every corner of the enterprise and interact with executives throughout the company," said Bill Strait, director of internal audit for Respironics Inc., which makes sleep apnea devices. "Because of (Sarbanes-Oxley), because of business failures, it's become even more of a launching pad for people moving into important areas of the company."
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on career opportunities are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers
"Needed: An 'Apollo Program' for Energy: The world's critical energy problems require solutions beyond those that policymakers are exploring now," by David Talbot , MIT's Technology Review, April 20, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BizTech/wtr_16718,296,p1.html
"Suitable Attire? Suit Goes in Washer, Dryer;
But Traditionalists Recoil: 'This is the Antichrist',"
by Cecilie Rohwedder, The Wall Street Journal, April
20, 2006; Page B1 ---
How to lose the rights to yourself
"The Graduate's not-so-happy sequel," by Jack Malvern, The London Times, April 18, 2006 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0%2C%2C2-2138646%2C00.html
SO WHAT did happen to Dustin Hoffman and Katharine Ross when they boarded that bus and travelled into the sunset of 1967 at the end of The Graduate?
The outcome was left to the cinemagoer’s imagination — but there is nothing imaginary about the fate of the real-life couple on whom Benjamin Braddock and Elaine Robinson were based. They are stony broke and facing eviction from their flat in Hove, East Sussex.
Charles Webb, the novelist who based the couple on himself and his long-term female partner, Fred, wrote the basis for a hugely successful film but made one serious tactical error. He accepted a £14,000 one-off payment for his work, and then watched the film take £60 million at the box office. The wise generally go for the percentage, but material wealth, he says defensively, has never meant much to him.
It is just that he could do with some right now.
Webb and Fred, who settled in Britain six years ago after emigrating from America, received a letter from their landlord last week telling them to expect an eviction notice because they are two months behind in their rent. Webb is hoping that a well-wisher will offer them a place to stay while he finds a buyer for his latest works.
One project that would earn him money would be his sequel to The Graduate, entitled Home School. The story it tells could hardly be more different from the original, and is nothing if not quirky.
The pair were so disenchanted with their own education that they removed their children from school so that they could teach them at home, an illegal act in California at the time. They fled the authorities by hiding in a succession of nudist camps.
Fred, who was given the name Eve by her parents, changed her name as a gesture of solidarity with a men’s support group. She and Charles divorced, not out of personal differences, but in protest against the institution of marriage. The pair eventually came to Britain to settle in Newhaven, in a flat above a pet shop. They have since moved to less frugal accommodation in Hove, but still live with as little furniture as possible.
But he is reluctant to publish the somewhat bizarre story of the rest of his life because, thanks to a legal quirk, he no longer owns the rights to the characters. According to the agreement under which the rights to The Graduate were sold, Canal Plus, the French media company, would be able to make a film of Home School without his consent. Webb declared that he would rather have the book published after his death than risk a poor adaptation being made during his lifetime.
Continued in article
"Clean Up, Korea," by Donald Kirk, The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114478999509023276.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Scandals in South Korea tend to come in pairs. No sooner are prosecutors finished pursuing the Samsung group for wiretapping, stock manipulation and bribery, for instance, than it's Hyundai's turn to face investigation for alleged payoffs to politicians. The details may be different, but the pattern is dishearteningly familiar: Year after year, corruption on an extraordinary scale slows South Korea's productivity and hinders its economic competitiveness. It's time for the country to take a hard look at the root of the problem: its all-powerful conglomerates, the chaebol.
Ironically, the empire currently under investigation, Hyundai, has slimmed down a bit in recent years. Unlike Samsung, Hyundai was broken up into separate groups several years ago. But the process wasn't done competitively. Rather, Hyundai's founder, Chung Ju-yung, divvied up his sprawling conglomerate among his sons and heirs before his death in 2001. The biggest, most visibly successful of them, Hyundai Automotive, is the principal target of the current inquiry, though some others bearing the Hyundai name are also under investigation.
Continued in article
Political Bribes and Other Wrong Doings by South
With apologies to Elton John, "sorry" doesn't seem to be the hardest word in South Korea these days. In fact, the heads of Samsung and Hyundai Motor are chock full of contrition for alleged wrongdoings. But letting the justice system work, while admirable, isn't enough. Until South Korea tackles its clubby corporate culture and truly throws open its markets to competition, more and more of these cases will surface . . . South Korea simply isn't in a position to play this kind of game. The country remains heavily dependent on exports, and while per capita income is rising, it's still not in the big leagues with, say, neighboring Japan. Mr. Roh's government needs to tackle the root of the problem; namely, the environment in which these companies operate. Only then can South Korea stop saying "sorry."
"Sorry Isn't Enough," The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114479190783523313.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
From Opinion Journal on April 13, 2006
The Seattle Times reports that a racist question appeared on a math test at Bellevue Community College:
*** QUOTE ***
[Student Chelsey] Richardson, 25, said she found the question on a practice test for a math final she was studying for in March. The question read, "Condoleezza holds a watermelon just over the edge of the roof of the 300-foot Federal Building, and tosses it up with a velocity of 20 feet per second." The question went on to ask when the watermelon will hit the ground, based on a formula provided. The question propagates a racial stereotype and denigrates[ ** ] Secretary of State Rice, said [the Rev. Wayne] Perryman [a civil rights activist Richardson contacted]. While Rice's last name wasn't mentioned, the reference was clear, he said.
"How many Condoleezzas spell their name that way and how many Condoleezzas are associated with a federal building? It doesn't take much to connect the dotted lines," he said.
Richardson, along with her friend Ilays Aden, met with the chairman of the math department who agreed to remove the question from the department's files. But the women left feeling the school needed to take a deeper look at how a racist stereotype could be inserted into the curriculum.
*** END QUOTE ***
Liberals are always telling us that racism is everywhere, "just beneath the surface," and perhaps this reflects a degree of self-knowledge. Many white liberals are astonishingly uninhibited about attacking black conservatives or Republicans on racial grounds, and that is what appears to have happened here. (We don't know for sure, since Bellevue is not revealing the identity of the professor who wrote the question.)
The good news is that the college president, Jean Floten, is taking the complaint seriously. According to the Times, she "apologized Wednesday at an emotional open-campus meeting" and "praised the courage of the students who brought the question to the college's attention."
** A curious choice of words, since denigrate means "to blacken."
Bob Jensen's communications on "Hypocrisy in Academia and the Media" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisy.htm
Some Mac Boot Camp questions and answers
Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2006; Page B6 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/mossberg_mailbox.html
Q: I know that with Apple's Boot Camp, the Mac and Windows operating systems occupy their own distinct "partitions" on the machine's hard disk. But can they view and use each other's data files?
A: Yes, but it takes careful setup plus add-on software. Here's how to do it.
When you run Boot Camp, you should make sure that the Windows partition you create on your hard disk is under 32 gigabytes. Then, when you install Windows, you should choose to format the Windows partition as "FAT32," not "NTFS." The FAT32 choice will allow your Mac to read and write to the Windows portion of the hard disk.
If you pick NTFS, the Mac will be able to read Windows files, but not write them. Note: You can't choose FAT32 if the Windows segment of your hard disk exceeds 32 gigabytes.
After that, when you start up in Mac OS X, you'll see the Windows drive and be able to access it from the Mac side. But, when you boot up in Windows, you won't see, and can't access, the Mac drive.
After the whole system is running fine, you should install a product called MacDrive on the Windows side. MacDrive, which costs $50 from a company called Mediafour, allows Windows PCs to access Mac disks.
The company says that MacDrive works on Boot Camp-equipped Macs. For more information, see: www.mediafour.com/bootcamp.
Q: Will Boot Camp work on my iMac G5, or my PowerBook G4?
A: No, it works only on the very latest crop of Mac models, which began appearing this year, including the newest iMac and Mac Mini and the new MacBook Pro.
They are powered by Intel processors. If your Mac was bought before January 2006, or if its name includes the words G4, G5, iBook or PowerBook, it won't work with Boot Camp.
Q: Can I upgrade my older Mac to the Intel chips so I can run Windows on it?
A: No. Apple hasn't made this kind of upgrade available. And, even if another company did, it would likely involve replacing most of the computer's guts, not just one chip, and would likely cost almost as much as buying a new computer.
Q: After I run Boot Camp, can I install my copy of Windows 2000? Can I use a copy of Windows I got with my Dell, or that I got from work?
A: No. Boot Camp works only with fresh copies of Windows XP, purchased at retail, that include the "SP2" update from Microsoft in the box. It won't work with upgrade versions of XP, or with copies that came with another PC, or that you got from friends or the office. And it won't work with Windows 2000, or any other pre-XP version of Windows. You also can't use Windows XP and then add the SP2 update later.
Those Redneck Rats
"Why Industrious Rats Put Up With Lazy Ones," by Henry Fountain, The New York Times, April 11, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/11/science/11find.html
Eusocial organisms often divide up other kinds of labor as well, with castes of workers. But not all of the mole rats are pulling their weight. South African researchers say there is a caste of lazybones, referred to, charitably, as "infrequent workers." These slothful mole rats can make up as much as 40 percent of a colony yet do only about 5 percent of the work.
Michael Scantlebury and Nigel C. Bennett of the University of Pretoria analyzed the energy expended by the lazy mole rats and their more industrious counterparts, using biological tracers for the animals' metabolism. Their study, published in the journal Nature, found that the two groups had very different levels of energy consumption. Most of the time the lazy animals did little besides eat.
In eusocial insects, castes are recognized by anatomical differences. "This is the first time it's been shown that things are happening physiologically as well as morphologically," he said.
The researchers also found that there was a method to the mole rats' laziness. Anecdotal evidence had suggested that when the soil was moistened by rain, the fat animals would dig new tunnels, looking for love by connecting with another colony. The energy studies provided further evidence that this occurs: the lazy rats' energy expenditure increased markedly after rainfall.
So although the mole rats sit around most of the time, draining the colony of resources, they are actually building up their reserves for those brief periods when they act as dispersers. "The colony puts up with them," Dr. Scantlebury said, "because they offer the chance of spreading the genes and creating future colonies."
"Books a Million The best advice on personal investment," by Jonathan Clements, The Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110008247
1. "Money Masters of Our Time" by John Train (HarperCollins, 2000).
I am an advocate of market-tracking index funds, so this might seem like an odd book for me to recommend. John Train profiles 17 renowned money managers, combining entertaining biographical sketches with breezy descriptions of their investment strategies. The folks profiled, including Warren Buffett, T. Rowe Price, George Soros and John Templeton, all made their names by generating outsized investment returns. Meanwhile, I am convinced that the financial markets are reasonably efficient and that investors are better off avoiding costly efforts to beat the market averages. Still, early in my career, I read a slightly different version of this book--and it was maybe the first book that got me truly excited about investing. And besides, even if you're going to index, it is important to know how the enemy thinks.
2. "Capital Ideas" by Peter Bernstein (Free Press, 1991).
If John Train gives you a great introduction to traditional active investing, then Mr. Bernstein's book is the antidote, telling the story of how finance professors turned Wall Street upside down by bringing academic rigor to the investment process. Sure, a book devoted to the capital-asset pricing model and the Black-Scholes formula might sound like heavy going. Yet it's a gripping tale. Before the 1970s, professional money managers were assumed to beat the market and controlling investment risk was a rough-and-ready business. But as the insights of Harry Markowitz, William Sharpe, Eugene Fama and other academics took hold, the business of managing money was forever changed.
3. "Winning the Loser's Game" by Charles Ellis (McGraw-Hill, 2002).
When novice investors ask what to read, this is the book I usually suggest. Charles Ellis provides an easily digestible introduction to sensible investing--in other words, he is a fan of indexing--and he does it in a brisk 182 pages. The book's title reflects Mr. Ellis's contention that investment management has become a loser's game, where trying to win is the surest way to lose, because you are competing against so many other talented investors and because of all the investment costs you incur. My only complaint: Earlier versions of "Winning the Loser's Game" were even shorter and hence more digestible. In fact, on my desk, I have the 1985 version of the book, which I borrowed from the Dow Jones company library in 1990 and somehow neglected to return. That one is a wonderfully brief 81 pages.
4. "The Four Pillars of Investing" by William Bernstein (McGraw-Hill, 2002).
Mr. Bernstein (no relation to Peter) is a semiretired neurologist in North Bend, Ore., who didn't get around to applying his considerable intellect to finance until he was in his 40s. Yet over the past decade I have probably learned more from chatting and emailing with him than from anybody else. This book will give you a taste of his thinking, including what to expect from different asset classes and how to build a winning portfolio. Think of Charley Ellis's book as your introduction to investing and Bill Bernstein's tome as the second semester. Full disclosure: Before publication, I read and commented on the manuscript of both this book and the fourth edition of "Winning the Loser's Game."
5. "Fooled by Randomness" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Thomson Texere, 2004).
If you're going to survive on Wall Street, you don't just need to be wary of brokers, insurance agents, financial journalists and overhyped mutual funds. You also need to guard against your own self-confidence. That is where Mr. Taleb's quirky book comes in. "Fooled by Randomness" is a delightful mix of mathematical insights, philosophical ruminations and intriguing anecdotes. Think you've found the next superstar mutual fund? Convinced you've detected some stock-market pattern that foretells fabulous returns in the months ahead? Spend a few minutes with Mr. Taleb's book, and he should be able to talk you down.
Mr. Clements's latest book is "You've Lost It, Now What?" (Portfolio, 2003).
Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at
Forwarded by Dick Wolff
Snopes concurs with these findings, but takes the study further, showing that our "allies" voting record is not much better. There is no record of how much money is being given to our "allies."
How they vote in the United Nations:
Below are the actual voting records of various Arabic/Islamic States which are recorded in both the US State Department and United Nations records:
Kuwait votes against the United States 67% of the time
Qatar votes against the United States 67% of the time
Morocco votes against the United States 70% of the time
United Arab Emirates votes against the U. S. 70% of the time.
Jordan votes against the United States 71% of the time.
Tunisia votes against the United States 71% of the time.
Saudi Arabia votes against the United States 73% of the time.
Yemen votes against the United States 74% of the time.
Algeria votes against the United States 74% of the time.
Oman votes against the United States 74% of the time.
Sudan votes against the United States 75% of the time.
Pakistan votes against the United States 75% of the time.
Libya votes against the United States 76% of the time.
Egypt votes against the United States 79% of the time.
Lebanon votes against the United States 80% of the time.
India votes against the United States 81% of the time.
Syria votes against the United States 84% of the time.
Mauritania votes against the United States 87% of the time.
U S Foreign Aid to those that hate us:
Egypt, for example, after voting 79% of the time against
the United States,
still receives $2 billion annually in US Foreign Aid.
Jordan votes 71% against the United States
And receives $192,814,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.
Pakistan votes 75% against the United States
Receives $6,721,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.
India votes 81% against the United States
Receives $143,699,000 annually.
More facts forwarded by Dick Haar
More than half of the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska.
The Amazon rain forest produces more than 20% the world's oxygen supply. The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that, more than one hundred miles at sea, off the mouth of the river, one can dip fresh water out of the ocean. The volume of water in the Amazon river is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all rivers in the United States.
Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country. Ninety percent of the world's ice covers Antarctica. This ice also represents seventy percent of all the fresh water in the world. As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert. The average yearly total precipitation is about two inches. Although covered with ice (all but 0.4% of it, i.e.), Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.
Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.
Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Canada is an Indian word meaning "Big Village."
CHICAGO Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.
Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan carries the designation M - 1, named so because it was the first paved road anywhere.
Damascus, Syria, was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.
Istanbul, Turkey is the only city in the world located on two continents.
Los Angeles full name is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size: L.A.
NEW YORK CITY
The term "The Big Apple" was coined by touring jazz musicians of the 1930s who used the slang expression "apple" for any town or city. Therefore, to play New York City is to play the big time- The Big Apple. There are more Irish in New York City than in Dublin, Ireland; more Italians in New York City than in Rome, Italy; and more Jewish people in New York City than in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28. Percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38.
There are no natural lakes in the state of Ohio; every one is man made.
The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia, at just 1.75 sq. miles/4.53 sq km.
ROME The first city to reach a population of one million people was Rome, Italy in 133 B.C. There is a city called Rome on every continent.
Siberia contains more than 25% of the world's forests.
The actual smallest sovereign entity in the world is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (S.M.O.M.). It is located in the city of Rome, Italy, has an area of two tennis courts, and as of 2001, has a population of eighty, twenty less people than the Vatican. It is a sovereign entity under international law, just as the Vatican is.
In the Sahara Desert, there is a town named Tidikelt, which did not receive a drop of rain for ten years.
Spain literally means 'the land of rabbits.'
ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA
St. Paul, Minnesota was originally called Pig's Eye after a man named Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant who set up the first business there.
Chances that a road is unpaved in the U.S.A.: 1%, in Canada: 75%.
The deepest hole ever made in the world is in Texas. It is as deep as 20 empire state buildings but only 3 inches wide.
The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one-mile in every five must be straight These straight sections are usable as airstrips and in times of war or other emergencies.
The water of Angel Falls (the World's highest) in Venezuela drops 3,212 feet (979 meters). They are 15 times higher than Niagara Falls.