Fewer than 1 in 5 Catholics in Boston attend
Mass Shifts in church teachings emphasize God's loving nature, not his
Jay Linsey, "Fewer Than 1 in 5 Attend Mass in Boston," Chron.com, April 28, 2006 --- http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/nation/3824790.html
Also see Boston Globe's Pictures of the Year --- Click Here
How bad is inflation in Zimbabwe?
Well, consider this: at a supermarket near the center of this tatterdemalion capital, toilet paper costs $417. No, not per roll. Four hundred seventeen Zimbabwean dollars is the value of a single two-ply sheet. A roll costs $145,750 — in American currency, about 69 cents. The price of toilet paper, like everything else here, soars almost daily, spawning jokes about an impending better use for Zimbabwe's $500 bill, now the smallest in circulation.
Michael Wines, "How Bad Is Inflation in Zimbabwe?" The New York Times, May 2, 2006 --- Click Here
That's 69 cents for each sheet. For some people that comes out to about $6.90 in U.S. dollars for each and every wipe. Kinda makes you think twice about shaking hands. Bowing seems like a better greeting in high inflation nations.
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
Upper Echelons Theory: Origins, Twists and Turns, and
DONALD C. HAMBRICK
PG.# 109 HAMBRICK The central idea of upper echelons theory is that executives act on the basis of their highly personalized interpretations of the situations and options they face. That is, executives inject a great deal of themselves--their experiences, personalities, and values--into their behaviors. To the extent those behaviors are of consequence, say in shaping strategy or influencing the actions of others, organizations then become reflections of their top managers.
PG.# 120 & 121 HAMBRICK While doing field research in the early 1990s, interviewing CEOs about their top management teams (TMTs), an unsettling fact become clear: Many, many top management teams have few "team" properties. They consist primarily of solo operators who are largely allowed to run their own shows, who interact minimally, sometimes rarely seeing each other. Such a condition poses a problem for upper echelons theory, or at least for that aspect that deals with how TMT characteristics affect firm outcomes. For, if TMTs are highly fragmented, then team characteristics will matter very little to firm outcomes. Instead, firm outcomes are the outgrowth of a host of narrow, specialized choices made by various individual executives (Hambrick, 1994).
These observations lead me to develop and elaborate on the concept of "behavioral integration" within TMTs. Behavioral integration is the degree to which mutual and collective interaction exists within a group, and it has three main elements or manifestations: information exchange, collaborative behavior, and joint decision making. That is, a behaviorally integrated TMT shares information, shares resources, and shares decisions. In its focus on substantive interaction, behavioral integration is related to, but distinct from, "social integration," a concept that places more emphasis on members' sense of group pride or team spirit (Shaw, 1981).
In my initial presentation of behavioral integration, I proposed an array of factors that will determine the degree of behavioral integration that will exist in a given TMT. These factors included environmental factors, organizational factors, and the CEO's own personality or performance. Recently, Simsek, et al. (forthcoming) collected data on TMTs in 402 small- and mid-sized companies, verifying some of the key predictors of TMT behavioral integration. In particular, they found that behavioral integration was positively related to the CEO's own collectivist orientation and tenure, and negatively related to TMT size and several types of TMT diversity.
PG.# 122 & 123 HAMBRICK Even though upper echelons theory has made its mark on the organizational sciences, I have some lingering disappointments about our shortcomings in testing and verifying the theory. Foremost, I am disappointed that we have not done a better job of directly examining the psychological and social processes that stand between executive characteristics on the one hand and executive behavior on the other. Namely, we have done a poor job of getting inside "the black box" (Lawrence, 1997; Markoczy, 1997). For example, when we observe that long-tenured executives engage in strategic persistence, why is that? Are they committed to the status quo? Risk-averse? Tired? or What? Even examination of executive psychological properties is not exempt from such questions. So, for example, when we find that executives who have a high tolerance for ambiguity perform well when they pursue growth-oriented strategies (as opposed to harvest-oriented strategies) (Gupta and Govindarajan, 1984), why is that? What's going on? How does tolerance for ambiguity affect executive behaviors? Even though we have talked for a long time about the need to get inside the black box (to the point that it has become a cliché to express the need), we still have made exceedingly little progress in doing so.
In this same vein, we have little evidence that executives filter the information they confront in any way that resembles the three-stage process depicted here as Figure 6.1. For example, do executives with technology backgrounds scan more technology-oriented information sources than those who don't have technology backgrounds? Do they notice, or perceive, more of the technology information they scan? Do they require fewer pieces of information to form an opinion about a technology trend? In short, there is a pressing need to gather data on the actual information-processing behaviors of individuals (and teams) in strategic decision-making situations. Pursuing this perspective will certainly require laboratory-type or experimental research designs, as well as the tools and concepts of the psychologist.
A related disappointment is that we have done an inadequate job of disentangling causality in upper echelons studies. Do executives make strategic choices that follow from their own experiences, personalities, and biases, as posited by the theory? Or do certain organizational characteristics lead to certain kinds of executive profiles? Over time, a reinforcing spiral probably occurs: managers select strategies that follow from their beliefs and preferences; successors are then selected according to how well their qualities suit that strategy; and so on. Thus far, relatively few upper echelons studies have been designed in ways as to allow convincing conclusions about casual direction.
Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm
Residents of the Remote Afghan Village Wept (and will soon weep even more)
"Navy Corpsman’s Good Works Live On: U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class John Fralish is remembered and revered not only by fellow servicemembers, but also by residents of a tiny Afghan village," by .S. Marine Sgt. Joe Lindsay, Defend America, April 2006 --- http://www.defendamerica.mil/articles/apr2006/a040406ms1.html
When U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class John Fralish was killed Feb. 6 during a firefight with insurgents in Laghman Province, in eastern Afghanistan, it was by no means the end of his remarkable story – or his legacy.
Fralish, of New Kingstown, Pa., is revered by not only his fellow corpsmen and the Marines and soldiers with whom he served, but also by residents of a tiny village high in the mountains near the forward operating base at Mehtar Lam.
“The name of John Fralish lives on in the mountains of Afghanistan among the local population,” said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. David Schneider, a first sergeant of E Company of the 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry of the Michigan Army National Guard. “Just before he died, John risked his life to save the life of a little Afghan girl on the brink of death.”
Fralish was patrolling with A Company of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment – to which he was attached – when he got word from an elderly Afghan man that a little girl was badly injured a few miles away.
And with that, Fralish, Schneider, two Afghan National Army soldiers and an interpreter left with the elderly man to find the girl.
“When John heard that there was a child who needed help, he was going to do everything he could to see to it that she got that help,” said Schneider, a native of Dimondale, Mich. “John wanted to help everyone who was hurt. It’s just the way he was. Keep in mind we were in hostile territory, and it was the middle of the night, but John wanted to go.”
“The old man led us to this little mud hut in the middle of nowhere up in the mountains,” Schneider continued. “There was a small fire going on in the hut, for light and warmth. John went to where the little girl was. She had fallen in the mountains a while back and was missing a chunk of her calf muscle. Her leg was hurt real bad. The cut was six inches long and five inches wide down to the bone. Fabric from an old dress was being used as a bandage, and it was soaked through not with blood, but with puss. Infection had set in, and she probably had no more than a couple of days to live if she would have remained in that state.”
Fralish made sure she didn’t remain in that state for long. He cleaned the wound, applied antibiotics and redressed it.
“Still, that was only going to buy her a couple of more days of life at best. She needed immediate surgery in a hospital,” Schneider said. “We were on a combat mission that we had to get back to, but John wasn’t just going to sit by and let this girl die.”
Fralish took off his rank insignia and gave it to the elderly man, along with a note he wrote explaining who he was and what the situation was, so that the girl and her family could be given safe passage to the medical facility at Mehtar Lam.
“Over the next couple of days, while we were in the field, the girl’s family got her to Mehtar Lam on the back of a donkey,” Schneider said. “When we returned to the [forward operating base] at Mehtar Lam, the girl was there being treated. Her family was overjoyed to see John again, and they rightfully credited him with making this all possible.”
Still, the girl’s wound and infection were too serious to be adequately treated at Mehtar Lam, Schneider said. Nothing short of amputation of her lower leg – which could not be performed locally – would save her life.
“When we heard that, everyone passed the hat around, and we got enough money together so the family could hire a car to take them to the hospital at Bagram Airfield,” Schneider said. “It was airmen, soldiers, Marines and sailors -- everyone chipping in together.
“Well, the girl’s family showed the note John had written, along with his rank insignia, at every check point, and it got their car through to Bagram where the little girl underwent successful surgery,” Schneider said. “She made it, and she’s recovering nicely and is alive and well now directly because of John. She has a second chance at life.”
Around the time of the girl’s surgery, Fralish was killed in action.
Continued in article
NATO makes it worse in Afghanistan
The fact that American troops are pulling out of southern Afghanistan in the coming months, and handing matters over to NATO peacekeepers, who have repeatedly stated that they are not going to fight terrorists, has given a lift to the insurgents, and increased the fears of Afghans.
The New York Times, May 3, 2006
Read the Fine Print in Your Life Insurance Policy and Its Amendments
Many life insurers, including Allstate Corp., AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co., Fidelity Investments, Lincoln Financial Group, MetLife Inc., New York Life Insurance Co. and Prudential Financial Inc., use customers' overseas-travel plans as a factor in making underwriting decisions, and some may deny a policy or increase premiums to customers going to countries deemed dangerous. Some companies even deny coverage based on previous travel to a dangerous region. The countries that trigger denials are often on the State Department's travel warning list, which includes popular destinations such as Israel, Indonesia and Kenya.
Rachel Emma Silverman, "Life Insurers Face Backlash Over Policy on Foreign Travel: New Laws Curb Practice Of Denying Coverage to People Who Visit Certain Countries," The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2006; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114670871469043437.html?mod=todays_us_nonsub_pj
Advances in Text to Speech
Type in some text and hear it read back to you ---
Hint: Try some words that are not in the dictionary.
The Oddcast homepage is at http://vhost.oddcast.com/vhost_minisite/
This may be very useful as an aid to teaching sight impaired students in your courses.
May 3, 2006 reply from Stephen Field (Professor of Chinese at Trinity University)
Bob, for your information it also works when I type Chinese characters into the window.
Even the tones are correct when spoken!
The new $130 Pure Digital Point & Shoot Video Camcorder's
quality is remarkable for how small and simple the device is.
"The Video Camera Revised: Radical New Design, Lower Cost Simplifies Shooting and Sharing; Image Quality Can Be an Issue," by Walter S. Mossberg and Katherine Boheret, The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2006; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114661430004242045.html?mod=todays_us_nonsub_pj
When someone whips out a video camera at a school play or family reunion, two thoughts probably run through your head. One: I really should get a video camera for moments just like this. Two: Who am I kidding? I have no clue how to use a video camera or what to do with the digital video files.
For all their popularity, video cameras are a pain to use, especially on the spur of the moment. Most require a supply of tapes, and the discipline to have expensive, charged batteries at the ready. For casual users, video cameras are also intimidating, filled with buttons and controls whose purpose isn't always obvious.
Not only that, but it's a challenge figuring out how to transfer your videos to a computer, for editing and sharing with others. And the price tags on most camcorders, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, don't help.
But what if somebody invented a dead-simple, point-and-shoot video camera -- the video equivalent of a point-and-shoot digital still camera? What if it had only a few simple buttons; didn't require tapes; used standard AA batteries; and cost under $150? And what if it had the built-in ability to easily transfer your videos to a computer, and an easy way to convert them into a DVD?
Well, a small company has invented just such a video camera, and we've been testing it. It's a radical new design, unlike any other video camera we've tested, and has the potential to expand the video-camera market to people who, until now, have been reluctant to use one, or to use one very often. Not only that, but this simple, low-priced new design is due to spread by the end of this year, because it has been licensed to several big-name camera makers, who plan their own versions.
Continued in article
How to reduce health care costs the Texas way
In the summer of 2003 the Texas legislature enacted important medical litigation reform. A voter-approved constitutional amendment, Proposition 12, followed later that year to solidify the changes. As a result, physicians are returning to the state, particularly in underserved specialties and counties. Insurance premiums to protect against frivolous lawsuits have declined dramatically, with the state's largest carrier reporting declines up to 22% and other carriers reducing premiums by an average of 13%. The number of lawsuits filed against doctors has been cut almost in half.
Newt Gingrich and John T. Gill, "Prodigal State," The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2006; Page A15 ---
The immigration protest movement is no longer just about amnesty and
But only one newspaper, to its credit, reported that illegal aliens and their supporters' boycott of the national economy on the First of May is clear evidence that radical elements have seized control of the movement. The Washington Post, alone among national papers, reported that ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) has become an active promoter of the national boycott. Some illegal immigration and open borders activists in the Hispanic community are deeply concerned about the involvement of the left-wing radical group. But others, like Juan Jose Gutierrez, whom I've interviewed a number of times over the past several months, manages to be both director of Latino Movement USA and a representative of ANSWER.
Lou Dobbs, "Radical groups taking control of immigrant movement, CNN, May 1, 2006 --- http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/05/01/dobbs.immigrantprotests/index.html
Will we still be able to watch the 1958 classic movie Gigi where the M-word is used repeatedly?
Kerstin Gehmlich, "Don't call me mademoiselle, French women say," ABC News, May 3, 2006 --- http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1917742
In the U.S. we replaced Miss with Ms., but the married Mrs. is still common in the media and in new literature.
"The Real Reasons Students Can’t Write," by Laurence Musgrove, Inside Higher Ed, April 28, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/04/28/musgrove
At my university, I chair a faculty committee charged with reviewing and revising our general education curriculum. Over the past two and a half years, we have examined programs at similar colleges and studied best practices nationwide. In response, we have begun to propose a new curriculum that responds to some of the weaknesses in our current program (few shared courses and little curricular oversight), and adds what we believe will be some new strengths (first-year seminars and a junior-level multidisciplinary seminar).
In addition, we are proposing that we dispense with our standard second course in research writing, revise our English 101 into an introduction to academic writing, and institute a writing-across-the-curriculum program. Our intention is to infuse the general education curriculum with additional writing practice and to prompt departments to take more responsibility for teaching the conventions of research and writing in their disciplines. As you might imagine, this change has fostered quite a bit of anxiety (and in some cases, outright outrage) on the part of a few colleagues who believe that if we drop a course in writing, we have dodged our duty to ensure that all students can write clearly and correctly. They claim that their students don’t know how to write as it is, and our proposal will only make matters worse.
I believe most faculty think that when they find an error in grammar or logic or format, it is because their students don’t know “how” to write. When I find significant errors in student writing, I chalk it up to one of three reasons: they don’t care, they don’t know, or they didn’t see it. And I believe that the first and last are the most frequent causes of error. In other words, when push comes to shove, I’ve found that most students really do know how to write — that is, if we can help them learn to value and care about what they are writing and then help them manage the time they need to compose effectively.
Still, I sympathize with my colleagues who are frustrated with the quality of writing they encounter. I have been teaching first-year writing for many years, and I have directed rhetoric and compositions programs at two universities. During this time, I have had many students who demonstrate passive aggressive behavior when it comes to completing writing projects. The least they can get away with or the later they can turn it in, the better. I have also had students with little interest in writing because they have had no personally satisfying experiences in writing in high school. Then there are those students who fail to give themselves enough time to handle the complex process of planning, drafting, revising, and editing their work.
But let’s not just blame the students. Most college professors would prefer to complain about poor writing than simply refuse to accept it. Therefore, students rarely experience any significant penalties for their bad behaviors in writing. They may get a low mark on an assignment, but it would a rare event indeed if a student failed a course for an inadequate writing performance. Just imagine the line at the dean’s door!
This leads me to my modest proposal. First, let me draw a quick analogy between driving and writing. Most drivers are good drivers because the rules of the road are public and shared, they are consistently enforced, and the consequences of bad driving are clear. I believe most students would become better writers if the rules of writing were public and shared, they were consistently enforced, and the consequences of bad writing were made clear.
Therefore, I propose that all institutions of higher learning adopt the following policy. All faculty members are hereby authorized to challenge their students’ writing proficiency. Students who fail to demonstrate the generally accepted minimum standards of proficiency in writing may be issued a “writing ticket” by their instructors. Writing tickets become part of students’ institutional “writing records.” Students may have tickets removed from their writing records by completing requirements identified by their instructors. These requirements may include substantially revising the paper, attending a writing workshop, taking a writing proficiency examination, or registering for a developmental writing course. Students who fail to have tickets removed from their records will receive additional penalties, such as a failing grade for the course, academic probation, or the inability to register for classes.
What would the consequences of such a policy be? First of all, it would mean that we would have to take writing-across-the curriculum more seriously than most of us do now. We would have to institute placement and assessment procedures to ensure that students receive effective introductory instruction and can demonstrate proficiency in writing at an appropriate level before moving forward.
Professors would also be required to get together, talk seriously and openly, and come to agreements about what they think are “generally accepted minimum standards of proficiency in writing” at various levels, in each discipline, and across the board. We would be required to develop more consistent ways of assigning, responding to, and evaluating writing. We would also have to join with our colleagues in academic support services to recruit, hire, and train effective tutors.
And we would have to issue tickets. Lots of them. But not so many after awhile when students soon learn the consequences of going too fast, too slow, or in the wrong direction, stopping in the wrong place or failing to stop altogether, forgetting to signal when making a turn, or just ending up in a wreck. Then there is that increasing problem of students who take someone else’s car for a joy ride.
Here’s your badge.
Laurence Musgrove is an associate professor of English and foreign languages at Saint Xavier University, in Chicago.
Bob Jensen's threads on controversies in higher education are at
"What Good Are the Arts? A brilliant case for literature," by Nick Gillespie, Reason Magazine, April 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/0604/cr.ng.what.shtml
“Literature does not make you a better person, though it may help you to criticize what you are,” writes Carey, a former Oxford professor and author of, among other books, The Intellectuals and the Masses (1992), a stunning reappraisal of British modernists as hate-filled class warriors terrified by the breakdown of social hierarchy and the rise of widespread literacy. “But it enlarges your mind, and it gives you thoughts, words and rhythms that will last you for life.”
In making his case for the arts, Carey spends most of his book tearing down what he considers specious justifications for them. While Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer argued for art as sacred, spiritual, and transcendent, Carey insists simply that “anything can be a work of art” and that standards of taste and beauty are irreducibly subjective. David Hume famously argued that classic art is that which has been “universally found to please in all countries and in all ages.” Carey wryly notes, “There is nothing on earth that meets this criterion, except perhaps sexual intercourse and eating.”
"Not So Open CourseWare," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, May 1, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/05/01/mit
One of the many classes that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shares with the world through its pioneering OpenCourseWare initiative is “Visualizing Cultures,” an esteemed, interdisciplinary look at “how images have been used to shape the identity of peoples and cultures,” notably Japan. Among the hundreds of images displayed on the site are wood-block prints that Japan used as propaganda during the 1894-95 Sino-Japanese war, which captions and other text on the site criticize for their “derision of the Chinese” and the “shocking” contempt they reveal for Japan’s Asian counterpart.The three-year-old course and its Web site, creations of John W. Dower, a Pulitzer Prize winning historian, and Shigeru Miyagawa, a professor of linguistics and of foreign languages and literature, do just what good scholarship is supposed to do: They present, explain and analyze sometimes difficult and even occasionally offensive material.
But while MIT’s OpenCourseWare project has been lauded for sharing course materials freely in an effort to inform and educate the world, a controversy that exploded at the university last week suggests that the institution has a ways to go in educating and informing some of its own students about the purpose of history, scholarship and higher education.
Last Sunday, April 20, MIT featured the “Visualizing Cultures” course on the home page of its central Web site, and seemingly as a result of that increased attention, some of the wood-block images — particularly one entitled “Illustration of the Decapitation of Violent Chinese Soldiers,” which depicted just such a scene — circulated on the Internet, without the captions and other material explaining their meaning (and criticizing them as dangerous Japanese propaganda) that accompanied them on the MIT site.
Within a day, screeds criticizing the prints, Dower and Miyagawa, and MIT appeared on Chinese Web sites, and the university and the professors received e-mail messages (from people outside the institution, reportedly including some MIT alumni) that accused them of cultural insensitivity, called them racist, and urged their firing.
The Chinese Students and Scholars Association, a group made up mostly of MIT graduate students from mainland China, wrote a letter to President Susan Hockfield in which they reportedly asked the university post warnings that the images were graphic and racist. “We do understand the historical significance of these woodprints and respect the authors’ academic freedom to pursue this study,” they wrote. “However, we are appalled at the lack of accessible explanations and the proper historical context that ought to accompany these images.”
As the complaints mounted, the professors and MIT officials met with the Chinese students, who described the images as “hurtful,” said Pamela Dumas Serfes, interim director of MIT’s news service. On Thursday, she said, Dower and Miyagawa decided that the “best thing to do to bridge this misunderstanding was to take down that unit” from the MIT site, while the scholars worked with the Chinese students to figure out “how we fix this.” Among the options, she said, were including captions in several languages, posting a disclaimer about the graphic nature of some of the images, and placing on the site an 88-page study guide that the scholars have been preparing.
“They felt it was responsible to take it down temporarily so they could hear these concerns,” Dumas Serfes said.
Dower and Miyagawa were not available for comment. But in a statement posted on MIT’s Web site (to which all links to the original course site now point), the two scholars expressed their “deep regret over the emotional distress caused by some of the imagery” and said they were “genuinely sorry that the Web site has caused pain within the Chinese community. This was completely contrary to our intention. Our purpose is to look at history in the broadest possible manner and to try to learn from this.”
Of the images on the site, they said: “These historical images do not reflect our beliefs. To the contrary, our intent was to illuminate aspects of the human experience — including imperialism, racism, violence and war — that we must confront squarely if we are to create a better world.”
“Many people who have seen the Web site, however, have indicated that the purpose of the project is not sufficiently clear to counteract the negative messages contained in the historical images portrayed on the site,” they added. “We have temporarily taken down this Web site while these community concerns are being addressed.”
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on open courseware are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI
Programs Teach Savings to Ease Poverty
Some organizations have found a way for low-income people to save money, then build on those savings over time. One such program in Tulsa, Okla., has brought life-changing financial security to some residents.
Gregg Allen, "Programs Teach Savings to Ease Poverty," NPR, April 24, 2006 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5356754
The Lone Ranger always shot the gun out of a bad guy's hand.
But even the Lone Ranger never could put his bullet into the barrel of the bad guy's gun.
A highly improbable shot left an officer's bullet in the
cylinder of a gunman's revolver, and police say it's a
pretty clear sign that the officers who shot the man faced a
deadly threat. "Physically, it is impossible to conclude
anything other than the fact the suspect was pointing
directly at the officers," Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer said
Wednesday, adding, "I've not seen anything quite like that
in my 24 years."
Hector Castro, "Amazing shot cited as self-defense: Police bullet lodged in gunman's weapon," Seattle P.I., April 27, 2006 --- http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/268168_shootingfollow27.html?source=mypi
You would not believe this if it happened in the
One minute, Harold Bennett, 65, was smiling in the street as a light rain fell. The next, a bolt of lightning dropped from the sky, killing him instantly. The neighbors had been chatting outside around 6:30 p.m. about the upcoming hurricane season when Bennett, shirtless and in sandals, hiked up his shorts an inch and took three steps toward Thompson. He was smiling when the sky lit up with electricity. The lightning bolt struck his head from behind, and yellow sparks formed inside his mouth, Thompson said. Standing about 25 feet away, Thompson watched in horror...
Kevin Deutch, "Lightning kills man chatting with friend," Palm Beach Post, April 27, 2006 --- Click Here
Sold on eBay: MiG-21f fighter plane
A Chinese businessman has bought a MiG-21f plane from a U.S. seller on the online auction website eBay for $24,730 and plans to use it to decorate an empty space at his offices, a newspaper reported Sunday.
"Chinese Man Buys eBay Fighter Jet," Wired News, April 30, 2006 ---
Historic leadership of the United States in particle
physics is in danger
A new report by the National Research Council says that the historic leadership of the United States in particle physics is in danger, and calls for the United States to push to be the site of the next major particle accelerator --- http://www4.nationalacademies.org/news.nsf/isbn/0309101948?OpenDocument
The real reason for faculty concern about the recent
Duke University incident
There is a lacrosse culture at Duke University, but it’s not entirely what it’s been made out to be, according to a report released Monday evening by a faculty panel. Despite widespread assumptions that the team is full of racist, sexist, dumb jocks, the faculty panel found that team members perform well in the classroom (and on the field) and that there was not evidence of sexist or racist behavior. The panel did find repeated and serious violations of the university’s alcohol policies — and said that these problems were so widespread and severe that they warranted much more attention than Duke gave them prior to the recent controversy. And some of the report’s harshest words were for Duke officials, not the team. The university’s monitoring of athlete misconduct that isn’t cause for suspension is “informal to the point of being casual,” the report said, and results in a process that is “arbitrary and often ineffective.” . . . More broadly, the report said that Duke needs to confront its “ambivalence” about drinking, which is evident in the “tolerance of egregious violations of its own policies.” While calling the alcohol-related misconduct of the lacrosse players “deplorable,” the faculty panel added that “the university is, by its lack of leadership in this area of deep concern, implicated in the alcohol excesses of lacrosse players and Duke students more generally.”
Scott Jaschik, "Booze Blamed at Duke," Inside Higher Ed, May 2, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/05/02/duke
"Duke’s Poisoned Campus Culture," by KC Johnson, Inside Higher Ed, May 1, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/05/01/johnson
Few would deny that several players on Duke’s lacrosse team have behaved repulsively. Two team captains hired exotic dancers, supplied alcohol to underage team members, and concluded a public argument with one of the dancers with racial epithets. In response, Brodhead appropriately cancelled the team’s season and demanded the coach’s resignation. Yet the faculty members’ statement ignored Brodhead’s actions, and instead contributed to the feeding frenzy in the weeks before the district attorney’s decision to indict two players on the team.
The 88 signatories affirmed that they were “listening” to a select group of students troubled by sexism and racism at Duke. Yet 8 of the 11 quotes supplied from students to whom these professors had been talking, 8 contained no attribution — of any sort, even to the extent of claiming to come from anonymous Duke students. Nonetheless, according to the faculty members, “The disaster didn’t begin on March 13th and won’t end with what the police say or the court decides.” It’s hard to imagine that college professors could openly dismiss how the ultimate legal judgment would shape this case’s legacy. Such sentiments perhaps explain why no member of the Duke Law School faculty signed the letter.
More disturbingly, the group of 88 committed themselves to “turning up the volume.” They told campus protesters, “Thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.” These demonstrators needed no encouragement: They were already vocal, and had already judged the lacrosse players were guilty. One student group produced a “wanted” poster containing photographs of 43 of the 46 white lacrosse players. At an event outside a house rented by several lacrosse team members, organized by a visiting instructor in English Department, protesters held signs reading, “It’s Sunday morning, time to confess.” They demanded that the university force the players to testify or dismiss them from school.
The public silence of most Duke professors allowed the group of 88 to become, in essence, the voice of the faculty. In a local climate that has featured an appointed district attorney whose behavior, at the very least, has been erratic, the Duke faculty might have forcefully advocated respecting the due process rights of all concerned. After all, fair play and procedural integrity are supposed to be cardinal principles of the academy. In no way would such a position have endorsed the players’ claim to innocence: Due process exists because the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition has determined it elemental to achieving the truth. But such process-based arguments have remained in short supply from the Duke faculty. Instead, the group of 88 celebrated “turning up the volume” and proclaimed that legal findings would not deter their campaign for justice.
When faced with outside criticism — about, for example, a professor who has plagiarized or engaged in some other form of professional misconduct, or in recent high-profile controversies like those involving Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado — academics regularly condemn pressure for quick resolutions and celebrate their respect for addressing matters through time-tested procedures. Such an approach, as we have frequently heard since the 9/11 attacks, is essential to prevent a revival of McCarthyism on college campuses.
Yet for unapologetically urging expulsion on the basis of group membership and unproven allegations, few professors have more clearly demonstrated a McCarthyite spirit better than another signatory to of the faculty statement, Houston Baker, a professor of English and Afro-American Studies. Lamenting the “college and university blind-eying of male athletes, veritably given license to rape, maraud, deploy hate speech, and feel proud of themselves in the bargain,” Baker issued a public letter denouncing the “abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us.” To act against “violent, white, male, athletic privilege,” he urged the “immediate dismissals” of “the team itself and its players.”
Duke Provost Peter Lange correctly termed Baker’s diatribe “a form of prejudice,” the “act of prejudgment: to presume that one knows something ‘must’ have been done by or done to someone because of his or her race, religion or other characteristic.” It’s hard to escape the conclusion that, for Baker and many others who signed the faculty statement, the race, class, and gender of the men’s lacrosse team produced a guilty-until-proven-innocent mentality.
Continued in article
You would not believe this if it happened in the
movies: They stole the money he was saving for his dinner
Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar has had $450,000 stolen from his hotel room during his current visit to Kuwait, the Itim news agency quoted the Kuwaiti media as saying Wednesday. According to the report, al-Zahar had asked the Kuwaiti authorities to keep the theft under wraps, but the incident was confirmed by a security official at the hotel.
"$450,000 said stolen from PA foreign minister during visit to Kuwait," Haaretz.com, April 27, 2006 --- http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/709679.html
College baseball players strike out a lot in courses
Also Thursday, the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors initiated a year-long study aimed at identifying ways to improve the academic performance of baseball players, who fared comparatively poorly in March when the association, for the first time, began punishing sports teams based on members’ failure to proceed toward a degree.
Doug Lederman, "NCAA Homes In on High Schools," Inside Higher Ed, April 28, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/04/28/mills
Bob Jensen's threads on academic problems of college athletes are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Athletics
When the left side at UC Berkeley engages in battle
against the left side at UC Berkeley
Students from PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, drew an angry crowd at the University of California at Berkeley after displaying images that compared animal treatment to the lynching and enslavement of black Americans. About a dozen Berkeley students furiously engaged the PETA members, accusing the animal rights group of racism. The situation intensified when one member of the crowd threw ketchup and mustard on the PETA display and another tore down part of the exhibit. One image presented by PETA featured a chained elephant foot juxtaposed with the chained foot of a slave. Another showed black individuals hanging from a tree by their necks contrasted with the image of a cow being hung by its hind legs. Several black students shouted down the PETA students and called for the display to be taken down. One student who was upset by PETA’s comparison of slavery to animal mistreatment shouted amid tears, “I’m not trying to say that people should eat meat. I understand you, but the way you’re depicting our history, the way you are depicting the things that happened to us, the thing that happened to our ancestors, it’s not ok, it’s not ok!”
"People for the Exploitation of Terrorized African-Americans," by Andrew R. Quinio, CalPatriot, April 28, 2006 --- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=22244
Trouble at Home for the Nation's Highest Paid College CEO
"Division at RPI," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed,
April 28, 2006 ---
It would be hard to beat Shirley Ann Jackson’s résumé: First black woman to receive a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a physicist who led impressive research teams at Rutgers University and AT&T Bell Laboratories, chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and — since 1999 — president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
When national commissions or universities want an expert on science and especially on diversifying the research work force (a topic on many minds since a certain university president managed to offend women nationwide with his thoughts on the topic), Jackson is the person to call. She publishes papers and captivates conferences.
Back in Troy, however, it turns out a lot of people are less than impressed. The faculty held a no confidence vote this week and while Jackson in some sense won the vote, the margin was quite narrow: 155 to 149 in her favor.
According to critics, Jackson has favored new professors over more senior scholars, allowed the engineering programs to decline, squelched criticism, and enjoyed too many perks in office. Professors say that her national reputation has hidden the anger at home, which has been growing for years. “She talks a good story, but she doesn’t know how to run a university,” says E. Bruce Nauman, a professor of chemical engineering who recently finished a term leading the Faculty Senate.
As the faculty opposition has come to a head — in part over discussion of possible cuts in RPI’s contribution to the faculty pension plan — student anger at the administration has also grown, but over a completely different issue. Students are up in arms over administration plans to curb alcohol in fraternities and sororities and hundreds backing the Save RPI Greeks movement say they would have left the institution, but for the houses that they say Jackson’s administration is about to destroy.
While the quality of RPI engineering and the quality of frat parties are obviously very different issues, there may be a common thread. “Aside from what the policy is, we weren’t talked to about it — we feel stepped upon,” said one student leader who asked not to be identified and who said he finds that his professors share that feeling.
While Jackson is not talking, the board at RPI has given her strong support, with the chair, Samuel Heffner, releasing a statement praising Jackson, and saying that while “circumstances of dramatic change create challenges for all engaged,” the board “stands firmly” behind the president.
In the debate about Jackson, critics and supporters can’t agree on the relevant numbers or priorities. Critics say that graduate enrollments are falling rapidly; supporters say that reforms of graduate education gave Ph.D. totals a false spike a few years ago, so that the real numbers are better. Critics — citing U.S. News rankings, which are viewed as educationally dubious by many, although they are used by many applicants — say that RPI is no longer the engineering powerhouse it once was. Supporters say Jackson has pushed interdisciplinary work and made progress in newer areas like biotechnology. Critics respond that she has failed to attract faculty talent in some of the fields that she is building, while letting historic strengths erode.
Some of the tensions at RPI are not unique to the institute. Institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology have greatly broadened their areas of expertise in the last generation away from the traditional base in the physical sciences and engineering to include much more of an emphasis on the biological sciences. The shift reflects where much of the hot science is taking place these days. But critics at RPI say that places like MIT and Caltech pulled off the broadening without hurting their base, and in a more collaborative way.
As at many institutions, money is a factor, but here too, the question is which numbers count. Jackson’s supporters say that average faculty salaries increased by about 16 percent in the last four years. But her critics say that many faculty members who have devoted their careers to RPI have been getting raises in the 1-2 percent range, falling behind inflation, with the institute using the funds saved to pay top dollar to new faculty members. The institution has also been paying top dollar to Jackson, whose compensation topped $900,000 two years ago (the last year for which data are available).
Nauman said that because of his outside business interests, his take-home pay from RPI doesn’t have a big impact on his standard of living. But he said that when Jackson favors unequal raises “she divides the faculty into old and new and is persecuting the old.” There are ways to recruit good talent, he said, that don’t have the impact of destroying faculty morale. The gaps are large enough, he said, that many professors are afraid of speaking out (and he points to a survey conducted by RPI that backs up his claim.)
But other professors — especially those who are recent arrivals — are quite happy with the institution and with Jackson’s leadership. Linda B. McGown, chair of the chemistry and chemical biology department, was recruited to RPI two years ago, after 17 years at Duke University. McGown said that there aren’t many science departments that recruit external candidates who are women to become chairs, so she was surprised and pleased when RPI came after her.
Since being recruited, McGown said she’s been impressed with the commitment to interdisciplinary work, which she said has created an environment “in which I could really revitalize my work.” She considers RPI an exciting place to be a scientist, where people feel “caught up in a sense of being at a place on an upward trajectory.”
As for salaries, McGown said that RPI is hardly unique in giving more money to new recruits. She said she had her best raises at Duke when she had other offers. “That’s the nature of academia,” she said.
Both McGown and Nauman took pains to say that they didn’t view the situation at RPI as strictly a case of new vs. old, with McGown noting the quality of talent there for a long time and Nauman the talent that is arriving.
But whatever the nature of the divide, Nauman said it was significant to see how divided the campus is. Throughout Jackson’s tenure, one constant from her supporters has been to characterize critics as a disgruntled few, and the fear of speaking out has meant that — in public, at least — the numbers may have been small, he said.
“But that supposed few is essentially half the faculty,” Nauman said, and needs to be listened to.
Already this year, Harvard University’s president quit after losing one no confidence vote and expecting another, and the president of Case Western Reserve University quit two weeks after losing a vote.
Although she won hers, Jackson has invited faculty members to meet her today to talk about campus issues.
Bob Jensen's threads on controversies in higher education --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm
Updates from WebMD --- http://www.webmd.com/
Latest Headlines on April 28, 2006
Latest Headlines on April 30, 2006
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Latest Headlines on May 3, 2006
Can the blind now have their sight restored?
A new type of polymer nano electrode could make brain implants, including those used to treat severe cases of Parkinson's, far safer, and it could also make attempts to restore vision and movement with direct brain-machine interfaces more feasible. Rudolph Llinas, professor of neuroscience at New York University, and researchers at MIT have developed a nanowire electrode just 600 nanometers wide that can send and receive signals to the brain.
Kevin Bullis, "Tiny Electrodes for the Brain: Nanowires could make brain-machine interfaces safer and cochlear implants more effective," MIT's Technology Review, May 1, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16755&ch=nanotech
Genetic tests are poised to revolutionize prescription
The age of “personalized medicine” has arrived, but chances are your doctor doesn’t know it yet. Existing tests can analyze patients’ genetic makeup to provide guidance on whether certain drugs—such as codeine, antidepressants, and even some cancer medications—will help them, harm them, or do nothing. And a host of even newer “pharmacogenetic” tests are now in the R&D pipeline. But the existing tests aren’t widely ordered by doctors, a fact that bothers David Flockhart, chief of clinical pharmacology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Flockhart, who has developed genetic tests to help guide the prescription of diabetes and high-blood-pressure drugs, says doctors are generally uneducated about the availability of such tests. But he predicts that that will change if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that doctors test two specific genes in all patients prescribed a widely used anticoagulant.
Erika Jonietz, "Getting Personal about Drugs: Genetic tests are poised to revolutionize prescription writing," MIT's Technology Review, May 1, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16445&ch=biotech
Man weighing 1,200 pounds seeks life-saving surgery in
A Mexican man who at 550 kg (1,200 lb) is possibly the heaviest person in the world hopes to travel to Italy for a life-saving operation to shed weight. Manuel Uribe, bedridden for the past five years, cannot stand on his own and will need a special flight to take him from Monterrey, Mexico to Modena, where a surgical team has offered to perform an intestinal bypass free of charge.
Phil Stewart, "Man weighing 1,200 pounds seeks life-saving surgery in Italy," myway, May 3, 2006 --- Click Here
Mixed Result in Treating Schizophrenia Pre-Diagnosis
In recent years, psychiatric researchers have been experimenting with a bold and controversial treatment strategy: they are prescribing drugs to young people at risk for schizophrenia who have not yet developed the full-blown disorder. The hope is that while exposing some to drugs unnecessarily, preemptive treatment may help others ward off or even prevent psychosis, sparing them the agonizing flights of paranoia and confusion that torment the three million American who suffer schizophrenia. Yet the findings from the first long-term trial of early drug treatment, appearing today in The American Journal of Psychiatry, suggest that this preventive approach is more difficult to put into effect — and more treacherous — than scientists had hoped. Benedict Carey, "Mixed Result in Treating Schizophrenia Pre-Diagnosis," The New York Times," May 1, 2006 ---
"Our Universe: A Quantum Loop," PhysOrg, April 25, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news65200818.html
“There are two classical branches of the universe connected by a quantum bridge. This connects the former collapse with the current expansion.” While Abhay Ashtekar and his colleagues, Tomasz Pawlowski and Parampreet Singh, may not have come with a completely new theory, what they have done is create a systematic way, through quantum equations, to look back in time to the birth of our current universe.Ashtekar’s team from Pennsylvania State University’s Institute for Gravitational Physics and Geometry published a Letter in Physical Review Letters on April 12th, detailing what was found, and shedding a little more light on what actually happened at the time the universe began expanding.
“The idea of a bounce has been around for a while,” Ashtekar explains to PhysOrg.com, “and it has been looked at in many contexts. One of them is String Theory.” He continues: “The pre-Big Bang cosmology considered the idea that a branch of the universe existed before the Big Bang, and in the Ekpyrotic scenario, a `brane’ collides with another `brane,’ causing a bounce.”
What makes the PSU explanation different, says Ashtekar, is the fact that while it was assumed that there might possibly be something before the Big Bang, a systematic determination of what that might have been was missing. Additionally, “one never had systematic equations that are determinate, leading from the pre- to post-Big Bang branches of the universe.”
Ashtekar and his colleagues use Einstein’s quantum equations from Loop Quantum (LQC), an approach to the unification of general relativity and LQC does not presuppose the existence of a space-time continuum. Ashtekar and his fellow team members find that quite likely there is a classical universe, one that looks and behaves pretty much like our currently universe, on the other side of the Big Bang, which he describes as more of a Big Bounce. In these classical universes, spacetime is a continuum and Einstein’s theory of general relativity is mostly accurate. But between these two classical universes, Ashtekar says, is a point at which general relativity doesn’t apply. “We know that on the quantum level the theory of general relativity breaks down,” he explains, “and this quantum bridge, which lasts for such a small period of `time,’ connects the two branches of the universe.” .
Continued in article
Also see the following:
There has long been a serious dissatisfaction with our scientific knowledge and beliefs, both from mainstream scientists and science enthusiasts alike. Our scientists' response is to merely invent often wild, abstract, fanciful theories (warped space-time, quantum mechanics, time-dilation, and now "Dark Matter", "Dark Energy", etc.), while amateur enthusiasts often invent their own "alternate theories" that typically end up in the "crank" or "crackpot" category. Either way, both approaches have left us with quite a scientific mess.
The Final Theory is a new science book that breaks the mold entirely. It does not align itself with today's fanciful science, yet is a best-selling science book based on very sound logic and solid scientific principles. It is the first truly viable answer to all the confusion, mysteries, and head-scratching found in today's science.
This non-fiction science book deals with a famous science theory known as the Theory Of Everything, sometimes called the Unified Field Theory, which surpasses the understanding provided by even Newton and Einstein. The book exposes the many flaws in today's science paradigm and presents clear solutions in solid logical and scientific terms. It is a very compelling and controversial read that engages scientists and laymen alike, demonstrating a new science principle that gives us an entirely new outlook on our world and our science that may well prove to be the famous Theory Of Everything.
. . .
We often hear about paradigm shifts, but rarely do we have the opportunity to experience a major shift in the accepted scientific paradigm first-hand in our lifetime. Read this book if you have ever wondered what Galileo or Newton or Einstein must have felt as they uncovered revolutionary new ideas about their world.
* What actually is gravity
* and how does it work?
* Is anti-gravity possible?
* Is the speed of light truly a limit?
* Is faster-than-light communication possible?
* What does Einstein's E = mc2 equation actually mean?
* Are Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity correct?
The Final Theory Rethinking Our Scientific Legacy
by Mark McCutcheon Email the Author
Number of Pages: 423
Publisher: Universal Publishers Year: 2004
"The big point is that IE's been losing market share to Mozilla's Firefox," and now Microsoft is trying to catch up and regain user loyalty from people who have embraced Firefox's simple and more secure format, said Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray.
"Microsoft Tries for Safer Surfing Internet Explorer Revised in Response to Security Concerns, Loss of Users," by Yuki Noguchi, The Washington Post, April 26, 2006 --- Click Here
Internet users were given a peek yesterday at a revamped version of Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer, a response to criticism that the most popular tool for Web surfing and hacking made users vulnerable to the Internet's dangers and caused them to defect to alternative browsers.
Earlier versions of Internet Explorer, which comes standard on most Windows computers, are still how most users access and view Web pages. But being the leader in the browser game, with almost 85 percent market share, means that it's also the most vulnerable to malicious programs such as viruses, worms and phishing scams.
That, along with the limited features built into earlier versions of the Internet Explorer browser, or IE, has sent a growing number of users to alternative browsers.
The Redmond, Wash., company designed Internet Explorer 7, a test version available for download from its Web site, with tighter security protection and more advanced tools to give the user greater control in navigating the Web, said Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Internet Explorer.
"Overall, for IE7, the principles we used were safer, easier and more powerful," Hachamovitch said.
But Microsoft's real motivation is to try to stem the defections to smaller providers, analysts said.
"The big point is that IE's been losing market share to Mozilla's Firefox," and now Microsoft is trying to catch up and regain user loyalty from people who have embraced Firefox's simple and more secure format, said Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray.
"Perception of security is of the highest level" of concern for Microsoft, Munster said. With its new operating system, called Vista, slated for release early next year, Microsoft is trying to offer security reassurances to its customers.
A year ago, Internet Explorer commanded 88.6 percent of the market and Firefox had a mere 6.7 percent, according to Web statistician Net Applications. Last month, Microsoft's share was down to 84.7 percent and Firefox had jumped beyond 10 percent.
Firefox's increasing popularity was partially driven by Microsoft's worsening reputation for security, said Bruce Schneier, chief technical officer at Counterpane Internet Security Inc., a computer security firm.
"IE was the big target; if you're a virus writer, you chose the big target," he said.
The company has improved its ability to write secure code, he said, but it's unclear if the latest tools will address other dangers on the Internet, which require users to be more savvy.
For example, the new version of Internet Explorer will provide color-coded warnings when a user tries to access a Web site that is suspicious or known as fraudulent. But users already encounter -- and ignore -- many Internet warnings because they're hard for beginners to understand, Schneier said.
Internet Explorer's other new features include the abilities to automatically open several frequently used Web sites at once and print Web pages so the content doesn't get cut off on the right side. The new browser also allows users to tailor search functions, aggregating searches from various sources. It can also magnify pages so fonts are larger and easier to read.
A final version of the browser is expected to be released later this year.
The Beta version can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/downloads/default.mspx
Also note Windows Defender is now available in Beta from Microsoft --- Click Here
Windows Defender (Beta 2) is a free program that helps you stay productive by protecting your computer against pop-ups, slow performance and security threats caused by spyware and other potentially unwanted software.
April 27, 2006 reply from Pacter, Paul (CN - Hong Kong) [paupacter@DELOITTE.COM.HK]
MSIE may be losing some users to Firefox, but it is still dominant among the last million or so visitors to www.iasplus.com :
IE 6 IE 5.5 IE 5.0 Firefox NS 3.0 Others
80% 8% 6% 2% 1% 3%
Global data. I don't have browser data by country, and Firefox may be more dominant in USA.
April 27, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
It’s important to note that it is not an either or choice. People can have both IE and Firefox browsers on their computers connected to the Internet. There are some things that will only work in IE such as interactive DHTML spreadsheets ---- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/dhtml/excel01.htm
IE is plagued by spyware. Firefox, to my knowledge, is currently immune to spyware. The current upsurge of Firefox use has been explosive and results might soon show up in your more recent tracking data. Firefox is free at http://download-firefox.org/
I advise people to use Firefox (Windows) or Safari (Mac) at home where protections against spyware and other bad stuff may not be as great as at work where companies and colleges invest much more in security protection systems. Your data may be somewhat biased since most visitors to IAS Plus probably do so at work where the only browser available is probably IE.
Given Microsoft’s dismal track record in dealing with security issues, I have my doubts whether IE’s Version 7 will be as protective as Firefox. However, Firefox on Windows is vulnerable if it attracts more attention from the spyware bad guys. The most secure alternative is the Safari browser on a Mac.
By the way, congratulations at reaching the 1 million visitor mark at IAS Plus You created a masterful site that is helpful to accountants in every part of the world (well maybe not at the South Pole) --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
April 27, 2006 reply from Pacter, Paul (CN - Hong Kong) [paupacter@DELOITTE.COM.HK]
Thanks, Bob. I use MSIE 6, Firefox 188.8.131.52, and Netscape 8.0 happily together. In fact, I check most IASPlus pages in all three, because each renders pages a bit differently.
At home I've taken PC Magazine's recommendation and recently purchased Zone Alarm for virus, firewall, spyware, etc. Seems to be working fine though every once in a while I think it degrades performance slightly. On top of that I use AdAware for additional spyware removal, though I've turned off their AdWatch. I just downloaded Microsoft's Windows Defender and will check it out in the next few days. You will definitely regard me as paranoid in the extreme when I also tell you that I have installed at home, and periodically run, Advanced Spyware Detector, Spyware Doctor, and Spybot Search and Destroy!
I suspect you're right that the IASPlus data is a bit biased for the reasons you suggest.
Actually IASPlus has had about 3.5 million visitors from 206 countries -- though our tracking service doesn't seem to track the South Pole. I wonder which country visitors from the SP would be included in?
Warm regards from Hong Kong,
April 27, 2006 reply from Scott Bonacker [aecm@BONACKER.US]
There is an interesting article on this general subject at:
The article ends with a quote - "Ah, this is obviously some strange use of the word 'safe' that I wasn't previously aware of."
Scott Bonacker, CPA
Springfield, MO 65804
From The Washington Post on April 27, 2006
Bob Jensen's threads on computing and network security are available at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection
Seagate is rolling out hard drives for PCs and other media
equipment that can hold 50 percent more than ever before.
"A Giant Leap: the 750-Gigabyte Hard Drive," MIT's Technology Review, April 27, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16748
From Jim Mahar's finance blog on April 25, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
Quoting from http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20060425/1036686.asp
"Podcasting - audio or video recordings posted online for use on computers or devices like iPods - has become a trendy academic tool on the nation's campuses, including UB, St. Bonaventure University and Buffalo State College......Why attend class if you can view or listen to the podcast? "That hasn't been an issue, at least not yet," said James Mahar, an assistant professor of finance at St. Bonaventure, who introduced podcasting in his class last semester.
Mahar - who has audio recordings of his finance management classes posted to his web site - sees the technology more as a course supplement for the students who miss a class or want to review.
It's ideal for students who are falling behind or who speak English as a second language.
"It will enable people to learn in a way that they are most comfortable," Mahar said. "Some people like to read, whereas others are better auditory learners. This will enable each to pick the way that best suits them."