I recently sent out an "Appeal" for accounting educators, researchers, and practitioners to actively support what I call The Accounting Review (TAR) Diversity Initiative as initiated by American Accounting Association President Judy Rayburn --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/395wpTAR/Web/TAR.htm


I released the June 6 edition of Tidbits a day early because June 6 is the 666 day of apocalypse!

"Apocalypse tomorrow? 666 arrives," by Seth Borenstein, Washington Times, June 5, 2006 --- http://washingtontimes.com/national/20060605-121953-9265r.htm

Is tomorrow's date -- 6-6-6 -- merely a curious number, or could it mean our number is up?

    There's a devilishly odd nexus of theology, mathematics and commercialism on the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year. OK, it's just the sixth year of this millennium, but insisting on calling it 2006 takes the devil-may-care fun out of calendar-gazing.

    Something about the number 666 brings out the worry, the hope and even the humor in people, said the Rev. Felix Just, a professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Francisco. A Jesuit priest, Father Just has taught both apocalyptic theory and mathematics and maintains a "666-Numbers of the Beast" Web site that contains history, theology, math and precisely 66 one-line jokes about 666.

    One can even make sport of it, betting online if the apocalypse will happen on that date. The good news is that one online oddsmaker has made the world a 100,000-to-1 favorite to survive tomorrow -- something that Father Just said is supported by theology.

    "Many people avoid the number. They're afraid of it almost, and there's absolutely no reason to be afraid of it," he said. "It is not a prediction of future events. It is not supposed to be taken as a timetable for when the world is going to end."

    It all started with Revelation 13:18 in the Bible: "This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six."

    The beast is also known as the Antichrist, according to some apocalyptic theories.

    Many scholars, such as Father Just, say the beast is really a coded reference -- using Hebrew letters for numbers -- for the despotic Roman emperor Nero, and 616 appears instead of 666 in some ancient manuscripts. The Book of Revelation isn't prophesying a specific end of times but "is about the overall cosmic struggle of good versus evil," Father Just said.

    But for some more apocalyptic theologians, the end of times is coming, even if not specifically tomorrow. The evangelical Raptureready.com Web site puts its "rapture index" at 156, calling that "fasten your seat belts" time.

    It's not the date June 6 that's worrisome, but the signs in our society of the approach of the 666 Antichrist, said the Rev. Tim LaHaye, founder of a self-named ministry and co-author of the best-selling "Left Behind" series of apocalyptic novels.

    "I don't think that people understand that 666 is not a good time," Mr. LaHaye said. He said he sees signs of an upcoming "tribulation period" that leads to the Antichrist's arrival in a movement toward one-world government, a single economic system and single religion.

    Apocalyptic culture and theology, especially those surrounding 666, "is especially appealing for people in an underdog situation," said Father Just.

    So people have looked for -- and found -- 666 in all sorts of places. Believers in the number's power have used a biblical letter-numeric code to convert the names of countless political leaders, including many popes, to come out 666, marking them as that generation's Antichrist. That includes Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

    The math of 666 is also open to biblical interpretation and manipulation. Father Just points out that 666 is the sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel. Other oddities include variations on pi and products of prime number multiplication.

    There's also something special about the number 6, which in the Bible stands for man, said Brian C. Jones, a religion professor at Wartburg College in Iowa.

    "People need to lighten up about this," Mr. Jones said, adding that it's hard to take tomorrow seriously as a day of reckoning. "Monday, we always hate Mondays. Wednesday is hump day. Friday sometimes has the 13th attached to it. But Tuesdays and Thursdays, they don't ring for me as days when bad things happen or good things happen. They're filler days."

June 6, 2006 update from Kurt C. Wilner [kwilner@OPTONLINE.NET]

As usual, so-called "religious" wackos have it wrong: today is 6/6/2006 -- or, in the way of Excel defaults, 06/06/2006. As I explained it to my 15- year-old yesterday -- after some of her peers tried to impress that 'point' upon her, despite the fact that she's performed a Bat Mitzvah -- there are four "haloes" trumping those three 6's (plus a 2 I just don't know what to make of, having given numerology as much credence as astrology for all my adult life). My daughter enjoyed learning this quasi-numerological rebuttal to offensively proselyte peers -- and I confidently expect she'll enjoy asking every one of them, today, "so why aren't we toast yet?" I still have no hope that my daughter would like to learn to play bridge, but I am quite satisfied that she appreciates that analogy. Secularly, hopefully yours,

Kurt Wilner




Tidbits on June 6, 2006
Bob Jensen

Interesting Online Clock --- http://home.tiscali.nl/annejan/swf/timeline.swf
Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

From The New Yorker
The New Yorker publishes a selection of letters, journal entries, and personal essays by soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines who served in the current war in Iraq. Here, five of the servicemen read from their work, accompanied by their photographs.
"The Home Front" The New Yorker, June 5, 2006 --- http://www.newyorker.com/online/content/articles/060612on_onlineonly01 

The (Humorous) History Of Dance (during my lifetime) --- http://www.youtube.com/v/dMH0bHeiRNg 

Fantastic Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell Tap Dancing  --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/ 

Documenting the American South: Oral Histories of the American South ---  http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/

National Academy of Engineering --- http://www.nae.edu/ 

Virtual Visit of the Canadian Space Agency --- http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/virtual_visit.asp


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

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

Center for Black Music Research --- http://www.cbmr.org/

From the Scout Report
Two on J.S. Bach
Bach Cantatas --- http://www.bach-cantatas.com/ 
J.S. Bach: Texts of the Complete Vocal Works with English Translation and Commentary http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/

New Music Files from Janie Breck
June 2, 2006 message from Janie

http://mjbreck.com/IBelieve506.html
 
http://jbreck.com/itsshardtokiss.html     (Revised)
 
http://jbreck.com/gbwishiwas.html
 
http://jbreck.com/gbeverybodyneedsarainbow.html

http://www.bab25.com/marriageis.html    (one of my favorite songs  :-))

 
http://jbreck.com/bootscootinboogie.html
 
http://www.jbreck.com/romeo.html
 
Thanks!
 
Love Your Links !!!
 
Janie
http://mjbreck.com/index.html

Photographs and Art

Royal Photographic Society --- http://www.rps.org

A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way ---
http://www.library.gatech.edu/about_us/digital/barnard/index.html

Sinking of the Oriskany (Aircraft Carrier) on May 17, 2006 --- http://www.irishmansoftware.com/Oriskany.htm

JAMESTOWN'S 400th ANNIVERSARY --- http://www.americas400thanniversary.com/

From Time Magazine (What do people look out upon from inside their houses around the world?)
Readers of Andrew Sullivan’s Blog, The Daily Dish, sent him images of the views from their windows ---
Through the Looking Glass

Photographer James Nachtwey shows how the health crises created by the war in Congo
can kill long after the shooting stops ---
The Congo's Hidden Killers

 


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

Rewards And Fairies - Rudyard Kipling (1865 1936) --- Click Here

The Dynamiter by  Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 1894) --- Click Here

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1775-1817) --- Click Here

May 25, 2006 message from Marsha@perryweb.com

I wanted to let you know about a link-worthy site featuring quotations from literature. The site is LitQuotes at: http://www.litquotes.com 

I thought it might be a nice addition to this page on your site: http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Quotations 

At http://www.litquotes.com  you can:

Enjoy two types of daily quotes Search quotes by topic View quotes by author Explore quotes by title Email quotes to yourself or to a friend Search by word or phrase

Best wishes,

Marsha Perry
Webmaster -
LitQuotes
http://www.litquotes.com/




Nations that welcome immigrants are the most dynamic in the world.
Kofi A. Annan, "In Praise of Migration," The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008473

The tactful aspect of audacity is knowing to what extent one can go too far.
Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Cocteau

The art of winning is learned from defeats.
Simón Bolívar (1783 - 1830) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sim%C3%B3n_Bol%C3%ADvar

Gilberts, Illinois- David Thomson and Jim Bourassa of the Quantum AetherDynamics Institute (QADI) released a new theory which mathematically predicts and explains the measured values of physics with striking precision. Their Aether Physics Model includes the "Holy Grail" of physics sought by Albert Einstein; the Unified Force Theory. "Our model shows the forces are unified by a simple set of general laws explainable as the fabric of space-time itself, which is a dynamic, quantum-scale Aether," said Bourassa.
Jim D. Bourassa (listed as the contact), "New unified force theory predicts measured values of physics," Eurekalert, June 5, 2006 --- http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-06/qai-nuf060106.php




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 Experience of Theorizing: Sensemaking as Topic and Resource

KARL E. WEICK

PG. #395 WEICK 19.1 ON SENSEMAKING
Sensemaking, viewed as central both to the process of theorizing and to the conduct of everyday organizational life, is a sprawling collection of ongoing interpretive actions.  To define this "sprawl" is to walk a thin line between trying to put plausible boundaries around a diverse set of actions that seem to cohere, while also trying to include enough properties so that the coherence is seen as distinctive and significant but something less than the totality of the human condition.  This bounding is a crucial move in theory construction.  It starts early, but it never stops.  Theorizing involves continuously resetting the boundaries of the phenomenon and continuously rejustifying what has newly been included and excluded.  In theorizing, as in everyday life, meanings always seem to become clear a little too late.  Accounts, cognitions, and categories all lie in the path of earlier action, which means that definitions and theories tend to be retrospective summaries of ongoing inquiring rather than definitive constraints on future inquiring.  These complications are evident in efforts to define sensemaking.

Some portraits of sensemaking suggest that it resembles an evolutionary process of blind variation and selective retention.  "An evolutionary epistemology is implicit in organizational sensemaking, which consists of retrospective interpretations built during interaction" (Weick 1995b: 67).  Hence we see sensemaking being aligned with the insight that "a system can respond adaptively to its environment by mimicking inside itself the basic dynamics of evolutionary processes" (Warglien, 2002, 110), an insight that is tied directly to theory development when theorizing is described as "disciplined imagination" (Weick, 1989).

PG. #405 WEICK
The "known facts" and "empirical findings" that theories "explain" can precede theory construction or follow it.  The fact that theory construction is a form of retrospective sensemaking, does not decouple it from facts.  Rather, it means that facticity is often an achievement.  Having first said something, theorists discover what they have been thinking about when they look more closely at that talk.  A close look at the talk often suggests that the talk is about examples, experiences, and stories that had previously been understood though not articulated.  The talk enacts facts because it makes that understanding visible, explicit, and available for reflective thinking, but the talk doesn't create the understanding.  Instead, it articulates the understanding by converting "know how" into "know that."  Sensemaking, with its insistence on retrospective sensemaking, is a valuable standpoint for theorizing because it preserves the proper order for understanding and explanation (understanding precedes explanation: Sandelands, 1990: 241-247).  It reminds the investigator to keep saying and writing so that he or she can have something to see in order then to think theoretically.

PG. #406 WEICK
This is not haphazard as it sounds.  Instead, these stop rules for theory simply recognize that theories are coherent orientations to events, sets of abstractions, consensually validated explanations and embodiments of aphoristic thinking.

Reber's definition is also intriguing because it talks about theory as a label that is "awarded" to almost any honest attempt at explanation.  Here we get a hint that theory is a continuum and an approximation.  The image of theory as continuum comes from Runkel.

Theory belongs to the family of words that includes guess, speculation, supposition, conjecture, proposition, hypothesis, conception, explanation, model.  The dictionaries permit us to use theory for anything from "guess" to a system of assumptions...(Social scientists) will naturally want to underpin their theories with more empirical data than they need for a speculation.  They will naturally want a theory to incorporate more than one hypothesis.  We plead only that they do not save theory to label their ultimate triumph, but use it as well to label their interim struggles.  Runkel and Runkel, 1984; 130)

As we have seen, most products that are labeled theory actually approximate theory.  Robert Merton (1967: 143-149) was sensitive to this point and suggested that there were at least four ways in which theory was approximated.  These were (1) general orientation in which broad frameworks specify types of variables people should take into account without any specification of relationships among these variables (e.g., Scott, 1998 analyzes rational, natural, and open systems); (2) analysis of concepts in which concepts are specified but not interrelated (Perrow, 1984 analyzes the concept of normal accident); (3) post factum interpretation in which ad hoc hypotheses are derived from a single observation, with no effort to explore new observations or alternative explanations (e.g., Weick, 1990 analyzes behavioral regression in the Tenerife air disaster); and (4) empirical generalization in which an isolated proposition summarizes the relationship between two variables, but further interrelations are not attempted (e.g., Pfeffer and Salancik, 1977) analyze how power flows to those who reduce significant uncertainties.


"Management needs fewer fads, more reflection," Stanford Magazine, May/June 2006 --- http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2006/mayjun/dept/management.html

Jeffrey Pfeffer, PhD ’72, and Robert I. Sutton would like to foment a little revolution—one in which leaders in business and the world at large base their decisions on facts and logic, not ideology, hunches, management fads or poorly understood experience. Pfeffer, the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior, and Sutton, a professor of management science and engineering and, by courtesy, of organizational behavior in the Graduate School of Business, are the authors of Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management (Harvard Business School Press, 2006). STANFORD asked them about bringing more reason to organizational life.

What’s some of the total nonsense that occurs in companies?

Sutton: Probably the biggest single problem for human decision making is that when people have ingrained beliefs, they will put a much higher bar for evidence for things they don’t believe than for things they do believe. Confirmation-seeking bias, I think, is what social psychologists call it. Organizations can have amazingly good evidence, but it has no effect on the decisions they make if it conflicts with their ideology.

Do you have a favorite unsupported belief?

Pfeffer: One would be stock options. There are more than 200 studies that show no evidence that there is a relationship between the amount of equity senior executives have and a company’s financial performance. . . . Just as you would never bet on a point spread on a football game because it encourages bad behavior, you should not reward people for increasing the spread in an expectations market.

Overreliance on financial incentives of all sorts drives all kinds of counterproductive behavior.

Evidence-based management derives from evidence-based medicine. Explain what kind of decision making we’re talking about.

Continued in interview




Question
Is education suffering from a self-injury epidemic?

17% of Students at Cornell and Princeton Practice Self Abuse
Nearly 1 in 5 students at two Ivy League schools say they have purposely injured themselves by cutting, burning or other methods, a disturbing phenomenon that psychologists say they are hearing about more often. For some young people, self-abuse is an extreme coping mechanism that seems to help relieve stress; for others it's a way to make deep emotional wounds more visible. The results of the survey at Cornell and Princeton are similar to other estimates on this frightening behavior. Counselors say it's happening at colleges, high schools and middle schools across the country.
Lindsey Tanner, "17 Pct. at 2 Schools Practice Self-Abuse," ABC News, June 5, 2006 --- http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=2039503

According to a new study, published today in the June issue of Pediatrics, the Real World alum is just one of thousands of college-aged individuals — both males and females — who are engaging in self-injurious behavior, including cutting, biting, bruising, breaking one’s own bones, and ripping off one’s skin or hair. Clinicians and researchers say that there’s a need to promote awareness about this seemingly growing problem, and to treat the underlying causes.
Rob Capriccioso, "Self-Injury Epidemic," Inside Higher Ed, June 5, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/05/injury

While the annual American College Health Association conference in New York City was filled with many questions this year where the profession is headed and how to assist mentally ill students looming large among them – the problem that is attracting ever more attention from many health professionals continues to be the ever-present risk of suicide on campus.
Rob Capriccioso, "Suicide on the Mind," Inside Higher Ed, June 5, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/05/acha

Jensen Comment
This indicates that grade inflation is not relieving stress, although there are more complicated and interactive causes beyond stress to attain perfect grade averages.


Author John Updike asserts "liberals will never understand this age in which we live"
The New York Times recently conducted an interview with author John Updike about his newest novel. This interview was revealing of why liberals will never understand this age in which we live. It is indicative of how they just don’t understand the evil we face in Islamofascism. (See story - Click here) Updike, as obsessed with fallen Christianity as he is with prurient sex scenes, must have seen the writing on the wall while in the midst of penning his newest novel, a sort of thriller titled Terrorist.
Charles McGrath, "In 'Terrorist,' a Cautious Novelist Takes On a New Fear," Newsbusters, June 5, 2006 --- http://newsbusters.org/node/5677


I wish legislators themselves all had to read all 24,000 pages of GE's Tax Return

Forwarded by Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU]

GE E-Files Nation's Largest Tax Return

General Electric Corp. and the Internal Revenue Service offered each other a mutual pat on the back for their joint efforts in getting the company's tax return filed, and accepted, electronically. On paper, the return would have been approximately 24,000 pages long. Instead, GE submitted the return as a 237 MB file.

http://www.webcpa.com/article.cfm?articleid=20437&pg=news 


Important New Open Sharing College Course Site

From the Scout Report on May 19, 2006

Webcast.Berkeley [iTunes, Real Player] http://webcast.berkeley.edu/

Over the past few years, a number of colleges and universities have created initiatives to place some of their course materials online for the general public. MIT was one of the first to do so, and Berkeley has also started to offer a number of webcasts and podcasts of select courses on this website.

Drawing on the strengths of the Berkeley Multimedia Research Center, they have begun to place some of these excellent materials on this site. On their well-designed homepage, visitors can either look at an archive of course webcasts and podcasts or take a gander at the archived webcasts that feature prominent speakers who have visited the campus. The events archive dates back to a January 2002 appearance by Bill Clinton, and includes dozens of interesting talks and lectures. Visitors can learn about each event in the information section, and for some, they have the option to download the audio portion of each event. The course section is equally delightful, as visitors can view webcasts here, and also download podcasts. The range of courses here is quite broad, and includes lectures on general chemistry, wildlife ecology, and surprise, surprise: foundations of American cyberculture. Finally, visitors can also subscribe to event and course podcasts.

I did not see any accounting or business courses listed at this point in time. Economics 100A (Micro) is available.
Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing of college course materials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI


New Technology for Proctoring Distance Education Examinations

"Proctor 2.0," by Elia Powers, Inside Higher Ed, June 2, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/02/proctor

It’s time for final exams. You’re a student in Tokyo and your professor works in Alabama. It’s after midnight and you’re ready to take the test from your bedroom. No problem. Flip open your laptop, plug in special hardware, take a fingerprint, answer the questions and you’re good to go.

Just know this: Your professor can watch your every move ... and see the pile of laundry building up in the corner of the room.

Distance learning programs – no matter their structure or locations – have always wrestled with the issue of student authentication. How do you verify that the person who signed up for a class is the one taking the test if that student is hundreds, often thousands, of miles away?

Human oversight, in the form of proctors who administer exams from a variety of places, has long been the solution. But for some of the larger distance education programs — such as Troy University, with about 17,000 eCampus students in 13 time zones — finding willing proctors and centralized testing locations has become cumbersome.

New hardware being developed for Troy would allow faculty members to monitor online test takers and give students the freedom to take the exam anywhere and at any time. In principle, it is intended to defend against cheating. But some say the technology is going overboard.

Sallie Johnson, director of instructional design and education technologies for Troy’s eCampus, approached Cambridge, Mass.-based Software Secure Inc. less than two years ago to develop a unit that would eliminate the need for a human proctor. Johnson said the hardware is the university’s response to the urgings of both Congress and regional accrediting boards to make authentication a priority.

The product, called Securexam Remote Proctor, would likely cost students about $200. The unit hooks into a USB port and does not contain the student’s personal information, allowing people to share the product. The authentication is done through a server, so once a student is in the database, he or she can take an exam from any computer that is hardware compatible.

A fingerprint sensor is built into the base of the remote proctor, and professors can choose when and how often they want students to identify themselves during the test, Johnson said. In the prototype, a small camera with 360-degree-view capabilities is attached to the base of the unit. Real-time audio and video is taken from the test taker’s room, and any unusual activity — another person walking into the room, an unfamiliar voice speaking — leads to a red-flag message that something might be awry.

Professors need not watch students taking the test live; they can view the streaming audio or video at any time.

“We can see them and hear them, periodically do a thumb print and have voice verification,” Johnson said. “This allows faculty members to have total control over their exams.”

Douglas Winneg, president of Software Secure, said the new hardware is the first the company has developed with the distance learning market in mind. It has developed software tools that filter material so that students taking tests can’t access any unauthorized material.

Winneg, whose company works with a range of colleges, said authentication is “a painful issue for institutions, both traditional brick-and-mortar schools and distance learning programs.”

Troy is conducting beta tests of the product at its home campus. Johnson said by next spring, the Securexam Remote Proctor could commonly be used in distance learning classes at the university, with the eventual expectation that it will be mandatory for students enrolled in eCampus classes.

Bob Jensen's threads on onsite versus online proctoring are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#OnsiteVersusOnline

Bob Jensen's threads on emerging tools of our trade --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm


"Harvard profs lay down Law: No laptops in class," by Marie Szaniszlo, Boston Herald, June 4, 2006 --- http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=142079

Harvard Law School, the world’s self-described “premier center for legal education and research,” may ban Internet use in the classroom this fall because so many students are frittering away time surfing the Web.
    The school’s faculty has yet to vote on the proposal. But several professors, fed up with students shopping online or checking Red Sox scores when they should be heeding lectures, have gone so far as to outlaw laptops in class.
 
    “They interfere with discussion,” Harvard law professor Bruce L. Hay said. “When you add to that the fact that many students have trouble resisting the temptation to check their e-mail or cruise the Internet, laptops become intolerable.”
    The electronic paper chase has become enough of a problem that Harvard Health Services has added “computer and Internet distraction and overuse” to its list of leading health concerns, alongside depression, stress, eating disorders and alcohol and drug abuse.
 
    In a 2004 National College Health Assessment, in fact, nearly 1 out of 4 Harvard undergraduates reported that computer or Internet use was an impediment to their academic performance.
 
    In this respect, Harvard is hardly unique.
 
    “Students on the Web in class is a bane of professors everywhere,” said David Olson, a 2000 Harvard Law School graduate and fellow at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. “Stanford professors would love a ban. But as one faculty member said, they’re afraid of the riot that would ensue if they tried to impose one.”
 
    In a recent survey by the Harvard Law School Student Council, nearly 2 out of 3 students opposed a ban. And nearly 1 in 4 said they would actually attend class less often if the faculty instituted one.
 
    “People are already talking about how to get around it,” said council President Michael Sevi. If all else fails, he said, they could always fall back on that old standby: passing notes in class.
 
    “People will always find something to distract themselves,” said Regina Fitzpatrick, 26, who just finished her first year at Harvard Law. “If they aren’t paying attention, that’s their own fault. We’re adults, and people should be free to make their own choice.”
 
    But while the majority of students may not like the idea of having to give up the Web during class, 39 percent of those surveyed admitted they would probably pay more attention in class.  

Continued in article

 


The Condition of Education 2006
The Education Department on Thursday released “The Condition of Education 2006,” this year’s version of an annual compilation of statistics on a range of issues at all levels of education. The report provides the latest data on enrollment trends, most of them consistent with previous projections about enrollment increases and about the growing gender gap in which more women than men enroll.
Inside Higher Ed, June 2, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/02/qt

Bob Jensen's threads on the incredible shrinking men in higher education --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Men


Google's New Contribution to Data Visualization

June 1, 2006 message from Brown, Curtis [cbrown@trinity.edu]

I just stumbled across some very interesting tools for visualizing data that I can't resist sharing. There's a wild play-with-it-yourself tool at http://tools.google.com/gapminder/ , and some prepackaged presentations at http://www.gapminder.org

I went through the "Human Development Trends 2005" presentation at the second link above and found it fascinating and informative (and also helpful for developing a sense of the significance of the images in the do-it-yourself tool at the first link).

A minor frustration: toward the end, the presentation includes data on income and child mortality distribution within 42 different countries (it gives the income and child mortality rates of the poorest 20% of the population of the country, the next richest 20%, etc.), but it only has average data for the United States (as far as I could see). I wonder why? Anyone know how to find comparable data for the US?

Curtis

Curtis Brown
Philosophy Department
Trinity University
One Trinity Place
San Antonio, TX 78212

Jensen Comment
For many years I've been especially interested in multivariate data visualization and analysis --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/352wpvisual/000datavisualization.htm


More Bias and Inaccuracy in the Media

"UK TIMES SMEARS OUR MARINES," by Michelle Malkin, June 3, 2006  --- http://www.michellemalkin.com/

If you are left with the impression that the dead bodies on the ground were massacred by our Marines, that is exactly what the Times intends. Note the caption: "Victims in al-Haditha. The US is carrying out two inquiries (AP)."

Now, look at this photo closely:

Insert Photo Here

It is clearly the same location. The same set of dead bodies. The second is a wider shot with three additional bodies in the foreground.

But guess what? The photo, according to this Newsweek caption of the scene, is not of the Nov. 19 incident in Haditha involving our Marines, as the UK Times would have you believe.

Read the caption:

"Insurgents in Haditha executed 19 Shiite fishermen and National Guardsmen in a sports stadium."

Our Marines did not kill these people.

The terrorists did.

Here's more from the Newsweek article from last May--that is, six months before the incident involving our Marines:

Hussein Hashimi has a CD-ROM full of pictures of the dead. For the last two months, the young Shiite says, Sunni extremists rampaged through his hometown of Madaen. They torched the local police stations, abducted dozens of members of the local Shiite minority, burned down the mosque and killed not only the imam but his 8-year-old son. Many Shiite families fled; others barricaded themselves in their homes. Last week Iraqi security forces finally came in and restored order. Hashimi has lists of the missing and of the dead who have been identified. He has the names of the alleged perpetrators and a map showing the home of the Sunni he accuses of being responsible for the atrocities.

So is Hashimi fighting back? Not at all. "We just ran away," he says without a trace of embarrassment. "Sistani and the religious authorities in Najaf decided not to use force, so we couldn't do anything." To the Shiites of Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani's word is law. "We must obey."

Their obedience was tested yet again last week—and again it held firm. In Madaen and villages nearby, corpses bobbed to the surface of the Tigris River until police counted 60. Hashimi and his friends photographed 55 of the bodies and delivered the pictures and lists to Baghdad. Shiite politicians accused the insurgents of ethnic cleansing, and demanded that the caretaker government act. Insurgents in another town near Baghdad, Haditha, responded by kidnapping 19 Shiite fishermen and National Guardsmen, lining them up against a wall in a sports stadium and shooting them dead.

And more from an LA Times article from April 2005 (reprinted at SFGate.com):

In Baghdad, the Ministry of Defense said that 19 Iraqis who were kidnapped, taken to a soccer stadium in Haditha, lined up against the wall and fatally shot on Wednesday were actually Shiite fishermen, and not Iraqi troops, as previously described by an Interior Ministry official.

Saleh Sarhan, the ministry's chief spokesman, described the victims as fishermen from the Shiite cities of Najaf and Diwaniya who had traveled to the huge Lake Tharthar in the Sunni-dominated Anbar province, northwest of Baghdad and east of Haditha. He offered no explanation for why insurgents would target the fishermen, or how they had been identified.

As Joe G., who blogged his discovery of this obvious, unconscionable error, writes:

"I think this goes beyond a slant, this is slander."

Reader Eric. T adds:

Notice in the photo that the slain people have their hands tied i.e. murdered assassination style. This makes it seem even more of an outrage against the Marines!

This must not stand. And the Times must not be allowed to make a covert correction without a public acknowledgement. The editors must apologize for this blatant smear.

Send a letter to the editor here (include postal address and daytime telephone number for publication):

letters@thetimes.co.uk 

Also e-mail:

Gerard Baker, US editor of the UK
Times...gerard.baker@the-times.co.uk


An Internet Casualty:  The Losing Research Edge of Elite Universities

"Losing Their Edge?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/01/edge

As the Internet changed the nature of higher education in the last decade or so, considerable research has examined the question of whether students were changing enrollment patterns. But three scholars whose findings were just published by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggest that there has been a significant and largely overlooked relocation going on since learning went online: among faculty members.

n “Are Elite Universities Losing Their Competitive Edge?,” the scholars examine evidence that the Internet — by allowing professors to work with ease with scholars across the country and not just across the quad — is leading to a spreading of academic talent at many more institutions than has been the case in the past.

The research by E. Han Kim, Adair Morse and Luigi Zingales is based on an analysis of faculty members in economics and finance departments, but many of the conclusions do not appear to be factors that would apply only in those disciplines. ( An abstract of the findings is available online, where the full paper may be ordered for $5).

The basic approach of the research was to examine the productivity of professors at elite universities (defined as the top 25 in economics and finance) in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. What the scholars found isn’t good news for those top departments. In the 1970s, a faculty member moving from a non-top 25 university to Harvard University would nearly double in productivity (based on various measures of journal publishing, which is where most economics research appears). By the 1990s, this impact had almost entirely disappeared.

Beyond Harvard, the study found that moving to 17 of the top economics departments would have had a significant positive impact on productivity during the 1970s, while moving only to 5 of them had a significant negative impact on productivity. By the 1990s, only 2 such departments were having a positive impact on productivity while 9 had a significant negative impact. Finance departments also saw a decline in productivity impact.

The findings do not necessarily mean that top economics departments are full of deadwood. But they do suggest a “de-localization of the externality produced by more productive researchers.” In other words, these days professors are no longer likely to be more productive just because there is a genius down the hall. The cultural norms of departments still matter, the authors write, and being surrounded by non-productive colleagues has a negative impact on productivity.

But you no longer need a critical mass on your own campus to do good work. Part of this, the authors suggest, is that databases can now be shared more easily across campuses, and so there is less of a distinct advantage to being physically located at the top universities, which also tend to be the places where more databases, library collections, etc., reside.

And as more people are spread out at more institutions, the elite professors work with them. At the start of the 1970s, the authors write, only 32 percent of the articles in top economics journals that were written by a professor at an elite institution had a co-author from a non-elite institution. That percentage had increased to 61 percent by 2004.

The implications of these shifts, the authors write, can be seen at both non-elite and elite departments. Faculty members are now “more mobile,” the authors write, “making it easier for a new place to attract away the most talented researchers with higher salary.”

But the “universal access to knowledge” is also having a benefit for faculty members at the top 25 departments. Prior to the Internet, the authors write, the benefits of working in a top department were greater, so professors might accept slightly lower pay because of such benefits. With the disappearance of such benefits, data on salaries indicate greater increases at the top 25 institutions that experienced the greatest losses in productivity.

The authors of the piece work at top universities. Kim is professor of business administration at the University of Michigan. Morse is a graduate student in business at Michigan. Zingales is a visiting professor of economics at Harvard.

June 1, 2006 message form Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

IS THE INTERNET WEAKENING THE ELITES' EDGE?

In a study of economics and finance faculty affiliated with the top 25 U.S. universities, E. Han Kim, Adair Morse, and Luigi Zingales looked at the changes on scholarly research brought about by the Internet. They sought answers to several questions: "How did these changes modify the nature of the production of academic research? Did local interaction become less important? If so, how does this decline affect the value added of elite universities and hence their competitive edge?" Their findings are published in the report "Are Elite Universities Losing Their Competitive Edge?" (National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 12245, May 2006). The complete report is available online at http://papers.nber.org/papers/W12245 

Founded in 1920, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is a "private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works." For more information, contact: National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc., 1050 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138-5398 USA; tel: 617-868-3900; fax: 617-868-2742;
email: info@nber.org 
Web: http://www.nber.org/ 

Stanford University Experiments With the Latest Classroom Technology and Building Design

"Wallenberg Hall:  Opening the Door to New Technologies," by Melinda Sacks, Syllabus, September 2004, pp. 13-16 --- http://www.syllabus.com/article.asp?id=9936 

 

Each Wallenberg Hall classroom offers a platform for a new level of teaching, at the same time serving as a laboratory for testing and analyzing the value and potential of new technology. Some of the tools will prove invaluable, SCIL researchers believe, while other tools may not be worth their expense. Such information could prove useful to everyone, from an academic department deciding whether to invest a small amount of money in several tablet PCs for the classroom, to a university redesigning or creating a new multimedia auditorium, to a college seeking funding to reinvent its learning spaces.

“The teaching and research happening here in Wallenberg Hall could be of enormous value to our colleagues at all levels of education regardless of their geography,” says Steinhardt. “Wallenberg Hall represents the university’s commitment to explore new ways of enhancing learning and education through targeted investments in technology.”

Research and Teaching at Wallenberg

Research

The broad range of multidisciplinary projects includes:

  • High-Performance Learning Spaces: A multidisciplinary team of researchers is examining two years’ worth of audio and video records of Wallenberg classes, related interviews, activity surveys, and focus group data to assess the effects of technology on teaching and learning. Results will assist educators at all levels in how to best employ technology in the classroom.
  • DIVER: Created by a team led by SCIL co-director Roy Pea, DIVER software enables users to focus attention on relevant portions of any video footage, then annotate and analyze the video to share it with colleagues and peers. This year, student teachers utilized DIVER to reflect on tapings of their own teaching to evaluate their performances through “guided noticing.” DIVER also has promising applications in the fields of law, medicine, film study, and architecture.
  • Folio Thinking: Based on the hypothesis that documenting and tracking learning through the use of an electronic portfolio deepens learning, students in an engineering class in Wallenberg Hall are the focus of SCIL’s current research on ePortfolios. Findings will help researchers understand more about how students learn and what tools most complement their experience.
  • Virtual Video Collaboratory: Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, a team of SCIL researchers is creating the world’s first Digital Video Collaboratory—a multimedia library that will be available on the Internet. The library will allow the viewing, annotating, and editing of a vast array of useful footage collected and catalogued from sources around the world.
  • Teachable agents: The CAT2 Lab at SCIL, which has developed its own “learn by teaching” software, is studying the idea that a powerful way to learn is by teaching.
  • Interactive toys and robots: This broad project involves the development and testing of interactive toys and robots that teach and entertain, utilizing concepts and ideas from psychology, sociology, linguistics, computer science, robotics, communication, and education.
  • Social responses to communication technology: This new research is examining the extent to which human interactions with computers, television, and new communication technologies are conditioned by real social relationships and the navigation of real physical spaces.
Teaching

Since Wallenberg Hall first opened its doors to classes in 2002, it has grown from a magnet for early adopters to a widely sought-after learning center for faculty and students from more than 20 departments and schools at Stanford University. Courses offered in the high-performance learning spaces of the hall have included anthropology, history, biochemistry, classic Greek, engineering, and Hebrew, reflecting the fact that virtually any subject can benefit from a well-designed, technology-enriched environment.

Every day from early in the morning until late into the evening, teachers and students utilize the frequently updated classroom equipment such as interactive Webster boards, video conferencing tools, in-class laptops, tablet PCs, and reconfigurable furnishings to create a seamless multimedia experience. As faculty and students employ these technologies, researchers from the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning (SCIL), who also reside in Wallenberg Hall, evaluate and analyze the impact in an ongoing study of technology in education.

Highlights from some of the innovative courses taught in Wallenberg Hall include:

  • Using iRoom software, Prof. Russ Altman had his students download Web pages on particular diseases each was studying, then asked them to share the material with the class. PointRight, experimental software, allowed them to “beam” their material to the computerized Webster white board. During discussion, the Webster screens were jointly controlled by the students from their own computers so that anyone could point out highlights and issues without passing around a keyboard or leaving their seats.
  • In her course, “Introduction to Hebrew,” instructor Vered Shemtov used the three large screens in the Peter Wallenberg Learning Theater to present diverse content, from written poems, to music, to video clips, maps, and artwork. One screen could display the course outline for the day, while another showed a piece of literature and a third ran a related video clip. Moving from one medium to another occurred without hesitation, all controlled by one remote computer mouse.
  • The Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR), directed by Prof. Andrea Lunsford, is a requirement of all freshmen and sophomores at Stanford. Freshmen practice everything from working individually on their laptops, to working collaboratively in small groups with one computer and a large plasma display, to whole class discussions utilizing the Webster smart boards. The PWR program is an excellent example of how Wallenberg Hall allows teaching and learning to keep pace with technological advances.

Bob Jensen's threads on classroom, building, and campus design are in a module at  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

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


Accreditation: Why We Must Change
Accreditation has been high on the agenda of the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Educationand not in very flattering ways. In “issue papers” and in-person discussions, members of the commission and others have offered many criticisms of current accreditation practice and expressed little faith or trust in accreditation as a viable force for quality for the future.
Judith S. Eaton, "Accreditation: Why We Must Change," Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/06/01/eaton

"Accreditation: A Flawed Proposal," by Alan L. Contreras, Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/06/01/contreras

A recent report released by the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education recommends some major changes in the way accreditation operates in the United States. Perhaps the most significant of these is a proposal that a new accrediting framework “require institutions and programs to move toward world-class quality” using best practices and peer institution comparisons on a national and world basis. Lovely words, and utterly fatal to the proposal.

he principal difficulty with this lofty goal is that outside of a few rarefied contexts, most people do not want our educational standards to get higher. They want the standards to get lower. The difficulty faced by the commission is that public commissions are not allowed to say this out loud because we who make policy and serve in leadership roles are supposed to pretend that people want higher standards.

In fact, postsecondary education for most people is becoming a commodity. Degrees are all but generic, except for those people who want to become professors or enter high-income professions and who therefore need to get their degrees from a name-brand graduate school.

The brutal truth is that higher standards, applied without regard for politics or any kind of screeching in the hinterlands, would result in fewer colleges, fewer programs, and an enormous decrease in the number and size of the schools now accredited by national accreditors. The commission’s report pretends that the concept of regional accreditation is outmoded and that accreditors ought to in essence be lumped together in the new Great Big Accreditor, which is really Congress in drag.

This idea, when combined with the commitment to uniform high standards set at a national or international level, results in an educational cul-de-sac: It is not possible to put the Wharton School into the same category as a nationally accredited degree-granting business college and say “aspire to the same goals.”

The commission attempts to build a paper wall around this problem by paying nominal rhetorical attention to the notion of differing institutional missions. However, this is a classic question-begging situation: if the missions are so different, why should the accreditor be the same for the sake of sameness? And if all business schools should aspire to the same high standards based on national and international norms, do we need the smaller and the nationally accredited business colleges at all?

The state of Oregon made a similar attempt to establish genuine, meaningful standards for all high school graduates starting in 1991 and ending, for most purposes, in 2006, with little but wasted money and damaged reputations to show for it. Why did it fail? Statements of educational quality goals issued by the central bureaucracy collided with the desire of communities to have every student get good grades and a diploma, whether or not they could read, write or meet minimal standards. Woe to any who challenge the Lake Wobegon Effect.

So let us watch the commission, and its Congressional handlers, as it posits a nation and world in which the desire for higher standards represents what Americans want. This amiable fiction follows in a long history of such romans a clef written by the elite, for the elite and of the elite while pretending to be what most people want. They have no choice but to declare victory, but the playing field will not change.

Alan L. Contreras has been administrator of the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization, a unit of the Oregon Student Assistance Commission, since 1999. His views do not necessarily represent those of the commission.

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


Manchester B-school grads are enjoying higher salaries and more opportunity, thanks to an improving economy and new opportunities to work in Britain
"Manchester's Mojo Rising," Business Week, May 26, 2006 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
Large international accounting firms are among the active list of recruiters.


"Your Photos, Your Rights, and the Law: Answers to questions about copyright and your rights as a photographer," by Dave Johnson, PC World via The Washington Post, May 31, 2006 --- Click Here

Ironically, the answer to this simple question is not so simple anymore. But for almost any digital photo you take today, you can count on the copyright lasting for 70 years.

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that has pioneered a new way to share creative works. The group offers a number of licenses with names like Attribution, NoDerivs, NonCommercial, and ShareAlike.

If you choose to share your photos with a Creative Commons license, you're telling the world that you're offering to let other people use your photos in ways that are traditionally not supported by standard copyright law. Using an Attribution license, for example, is like releasing your photo in the public domain, though it requires anyone using your photo to give you credit. Attribution-NonCommercial is similar, but specifically prohibits people from using your photo for commercial use.

While using a Creative Commons license is a nice idea, and you'll find a lot of people using them on sites like Flickr.com, keep in mind that Creative Commons has no legal teeth. Only copyright law has that.

There are three ways to copyright a photo (or any other creative work).

Here's the easy way: Any work you create is automatically copyrighted. In other words, you don't need to do anything at all to receive some protection under copyright law.

However, there are copyrights--and then there are copyrights. While technically you never have to take action to copyright a creative work, simply putting a copyright notice on your work strengthens your copyright protection. To assert your claim to a digital photo, for example, just place a copyright notice somewhere on the picture. Commonly, photographers use the text tool in a photo editing program to do this in the lower-right corner.

The most aggressive copyright action you can take is to register your photo with the Registrar of Copyrights in Washington, DC. There is a form to fill out and a $30 fee to pay, but this approach provides you with the highest level of protection available. For more info go to the U.S. Copyright Office's Web site.

Continued in article

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


The 100 Best Products of the Year
This year's edition--"The 100 Best Products of the Year" --starts here . Once again, the festivities span both print and online. to see an expanded version offering extras such as video clips and, on June 6, a live chat session with Senior Writer Alan Stafford, who edited the feature and spearheaded the weeks of meetings, ballots, and impromptu hallway dialogues that determined our winners.
"How the 100 Best Products Got That Way Eclectic. Inventive. Essential. Our World Class winners are all that and more," by Harry McCracken,  PC World via The Washington Post, May 31, 2006 --- Click Here


Questions
What should you do if you think you're a possible victim of ID theft?
What are the best things you can do to prevent ID theft?

Answer
There are a number of things to do, especially the following:
Fill out an identity theft report with your local, state or federal law enforcement agency. It's unclear if the mere loss or theft of personal information constitutes identity theft, but filing a report may offer additional protections. The FTC makes an affidavit available at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/pdf/affidavit.pdf

"Tips for Preventing or Catching Identity Theft:  Contacting one of three credit reporting agencies is the key to monitoring possible fraud," MIT's Technology Review, May 24, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16923

Consumer advocates have some advice for the 26.5 million veterans whose personal information was stolen from the home of a Veterans Affairs employee: Don't panic.

Identity theft may be a growing problem that affected 9.3 million Americans last year, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. But consumer advocates say a few precautions can lessen the chances of becoming a victim, even for people whose personal information has been stolen.

The first thing to do if you think your Social Security number, birth date or other sensitive data has fallen into the wrong hands is to place an initial fraud alert on your credit reports. There are three major credit reporting agencies, but a call to one -- for instance, Equifax at 800-525-6285 -- will ensure the other two are notified.

A fraud alert entitles you to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three companies. Order one from each and scrutinize them carefully for accounts you didn't open or debts you don't recognize. Also, make sure that information such as your Social Security number and employer are correct on each report.

If you discover accounts or transactions you didn't authorize, call and speak with someone in the fraud department of each company involved. Keep a log of each person contacted, along with the date, time and topics discussed on each call.

An initial fraud alert also requires businesses to take additional steps to confirm your identity before issuing loans or opening accounts in your name. Be prepared for loan and credit card applications to take slightly longer to be processed.

It's important to understand that an initial fraud alert, as the name implies, is only a temporary fix. That's because it remains in effect for only 90 days. To prevent becoming a victim after the three months are up, you'll need to take additional steps.

Next, fill out an identity theft report with your local, state or federal law enforcement agency. It's unclear if the mere loss or theft of personal information constitutes identity theft, but filing a report may offer additional protections. The FTC makes an affidavit available at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/pdf/affidavit.pdf 

Ask each of the three credit reporting companies to place a freeze or extended alert on your account. Seventeen states have enacted laws that require the reporting companies to block access to your files in most instances. Check with the Consumers Union Web site or attorney general in your state to see if this is available where you live.

Even if your state doesn't offer this protection, ask Equifax, TransUnion and Experian to give you an extended alert anyway. This option will entitle you to two free credit reports per year, and it will also require the credit reporting companies to remove you from lists marketers use to send prescreened credit offers for five years.

To qualify for an extended alert, the reporting companies will require you to prove you've been the victim of identity theft, even though it is not always clear how the law defines a victim in this case. Be sure to include the FTC affidavit or other law enforcement report you filed. It is legal documentation that your personal identification has been stolen.

Finally, recognize that safeguarding your privacy is a never-ending task, even for people who have no reason to believe their personal information has been stolen. A little education and prevention, say consumer advocates, can go a long way.

''You need an ongoing vigilance,'' says Paul Stephens, a policy analyst with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego. ''We want people to be proactive, to be vigilant, but we also don't want to have people panicking.''

On the Net:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/idtheft.htm 

http://privacyrights.org 

http://www.consumersunion.org/creditmatters/creditmatterslearnmore/002583.html

Some other contact sites are provided at Bob Jensen's fraud reporting site at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm

Especially note http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#IdentityTheft


"The Dangerous Side of Search Engines:  Popular search engines may lead you to rogue sites. Here's what you need to know to avoid dangerous downloads, bogus sites, and spam," by Tom Spring, PC World via The Washington Post, May 27, 2006 --- Click Here

Who knew an innocent search for "screensavers" could be so dangerous? It may actually be the riskiest word to type into Google's search engine. Odds are, more than half of the links that Google returns take you to Web sites loaded with either spyware or adware. You might also face getting bombarded with spam if you register at one of those sites with your e-mail address.

A recently released study, coauthored by McAfee and anti-spyware activist Ben Edelman , found that sponsored results from top search engines AOL, Ask.com, Google, MSN, and Yahoo can often lead to Web sites that contain spyware and scams, and are operated by people who love to send out spam.

The study concluded that an average of 9 percent of sponsored results and 3 of organic search results link to questionable Web sites. The study was based on analysis of the first five pages of search results for each keyword tested.

According to the results of the study, the top four most dangerous searches on Google are:

The study defined dangerous sites as those that have one or a combination of the following characteristics: its downloads contain spyware and/or adware; its pages contain embedded code that performs browser exploits; the content is meant to deceive visitors in some way; it sends out inordinate amounts of spam to e-mail accounts registered at the site.

These results are a sobering wake-up call to Web surfers, and they illustrate the changing nature of Internet threats today. It used to be that most viruses and scams made their way to our PCs via our inboxes . But thanks to security software that's getting better at filtering out viruses, spam, and phishing attacks from our e-mail, rogue elements are having a difficult time booby-trapping our PCs.

"Scammers and spammers have clearly turned to search engines to practice their trade," says Shane Keats, market strategist for McAfee.

McAfee says that of the 1394 popular keywords it typed into Google and AOL alone, 5 percent of the results returned links to dangerous Web sites. Overall, MSN search results had the lowest percentage of dangerous sites (3.9 percent) while Ask search results had the highest percentage (6.1 percent).

Given the study's findings, it shouldn't come as a big surprise that the company has a free tool, called McAfee SiteAdvisor, for tackling the problems. In my tests I found it does a great job of protecting you from the Web's dark side.

Since March McAfee has been offering a browser plug-in that works with Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer. SiteAdvisor puts a little rectangular button in the bottom corner of the browser. If a site you're visiting is safe, the SiteAdvisor button stays green. When you visit a questionable Web site the button turns red or yellow (depending on the risk level) and a little balloon expands with details on why SiteAdvisor has rated the site as such.

SiteAdvisor ratings are based on threats that include software downloads loaded with adware or spyware, malicious code embedded in Web pages, phishing attempts and scams, and the amount of spam that a registered user gets.

SiteAdvisor takes it a step further with Google, MSN, and Yahoo. With these search engines, it puts a rating icon next to individual results. This is a great safety feature and time saver, steering you clear of dangerous sites before you make the mistake of clicking on a link.

Continued in article

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

Bob Jensen's threads on computer and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm


"Checking the Validity of Web Sites:  What can browsers tell me about how safe an e-commerce site is?" MIT's Technology Review, May 31, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16946

Q. What can browsers tell me about how safe an e-commerce site is?

A. Security experts have long recommended that you look for the closed padlock at the bottom of the browser window to make sure your transactions are safe.

Unfortunately, the presence of a padlock is no longer enough.

Sites wishing to enable the padlock must obtain a digital certificate from any number of private companies known as certificate authorities.

In the early days, the certificate authority performed a series of checks to make sure sites were really who they said they were. The authority may have asked for ID or a copy of a business license, or it may have checked information a site submitted against state business databases.

Older authorities still do that, but some newer ones try to cut costs and corners by checking only that the site owns the domain name -- not the business said to run on that domain, said Johannes Ullrich, chief technology officer with the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center.

The difference in cost can be significant: Ullrich said a site may spend $20 for the domain-only check, compared with $100 or more for a traditional certificate. Consumers have no easy way to tell the difference.

That doesn't mean the cheaper certificates are all suspect -- Ullrich's group even has one. But the variation opens the door for scammers known as phishers to easily obtain one and create a site that mimics a real bank's. Customers can then be tricked into revealing passwords and other sensitive details.

Scammers ''realize that as awareness of phishing increases, one thing customers are doing is looking for a lock,'' said Tim Callan, group product marketing manager for VeriSign Inc., one of the old-style certificate authorities. ''As an anti-phishing measure, the padlock has become increasingly unimportant.''

Melih Abdulhayoglu, chief executive of Comodo, another issuer of traditional certificates, said the padlock is still a good sign that a site is encrypted so sensitive information won't be leaked in transit, but ''you could be encrypting for the fraudsters for all you know.''

So all certificates -- those with and without thorough checks -- are being put into question, because a customer is not likely to know what went on behind the scenes.

Fortunately, change is on the way.

Later this year, the certificate authorities that undergo thorough checks will mark their certificates differently. Browsers could then highlight sites with such high-assurance certificates. The address bar might turn green, for instance, when visiting such sites, distinguishing them from ones that carry only a padlock.

Until then, still look for the closed padlock.

If it's missing, or if a warning appears about a missing or expired certificate, that's a sign that something could be wrong. Newer browsers are trying to make the padlock easier to see -- in Firefox and Opera, for instance, the padlock is moved up top, next to the address bar.

''Just because you see the padlock, it doesn't mean it's meaningful, but it's not meaningless,'' said Greg Hughes, chief security executive at Corillian Corp., a provider of online banking technology.

Comodo, meanwhile, has a free tool at http://www.vengine.com to help identify legitimate sites.

But ultimately, it comes down to common sense.

Ask yourself, is it a site you've done business with before? Is it a big operation located in the United States? Did you type in the Web address directly into the browser rather than click on an e-mail link? Is the address a familiar one, one that appears in a bank's brochure?

Beau Brendler, director of Consumer Reports WebWatch, suggests that people also look for ''https'' -- the ''s'' for secure -- instead of just ''http'' in the address bar.

''If you see the padlock and more importantly the https, you've got a fairly good indication that the page is secure,'' he said. ''They are one element of several things to possibly look for.''

But of course, he said, ''you're never necessarily guaranteed anything. There's a certain amount of risk in any transaction.''

Bob Jensen's threads on spoofing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#Phishing


Global Principles for College Rankings by the Media
Higher education officials from more than a dozen countries have crafted a set of principles designed to standardize what they call “the global phenomenon of college and university rankings.” The “Berlin Principles,” as the series of good practices are called, touch on the purposes and goals of such rankings, the design and weighting of the measures used, collection and processing of data, and presentation. The principles were drafted at a meeting in Berlin this month convened by the UNESCO-European Center for Higher Education and the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
Inside Higher Ed, May 31, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/05/31/qt

Best Academic Program Does Not Always Equate to Highest Media Ranking Program

Forwarded on January 31, 2006 by David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]
"Graduates of Best Business Schools Don't Always Draw Top Pay, Study Finds," by Katherine S. Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2006 --- http://chronicle.com/daily/2006/01/2006013102n.htm 

Companies pay higher salaries to graduates of the most prominent business schools, even when they believe that lesser-known schools offer better educations, according to a study described in the December/January issue of the Academy of Management Journal.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, found that those two variables do not always go hand in hand. In their analysis of data from a poll of 1,600 professional recruiters, the researchers found that the business schools considered to be the most prominent didn't always get top marks for quality.

The biggest bucks went to graduates of high-profile schools -- the kind that top the charts in national magazine ratings or have faculty members with lofty pedigrees. A report on the study does not give the names of any of the schools mentioned by the recruiters.

"There's an old cliché that nobody got fired for buying from IBM," said Violina P. Rindova, an assistant professor of strategy at the Maryland business school and one of the study's authors. "There's a certain reassurance that if you recruit someone from a prominent school, the boss won't be upset and that you'll have a stronger guarantee."

Continued in article at http://chronicle.com/daily/2006/01/2006013102n.htm 
Paid subscription required for access.

Bob Jensen's threads on college ranking controversies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#BusinessSchoolRankings


From The Washington Post on May 30, 2006

XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. says it won't reach its subscriber target this year, and will likely end 2006 with 8.5 million subscribers. Approximately how many subscribers does its rival, Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., have now?

A. 1 million
B. 3 million
C. 6 million
D. 9 million
 


Student Plagiarism, Faculty Responsibility
A review by two Ohio University officials has found “rampant and flagrant plagiarism” by graduate students in the institution’s mechanical engineering department — and concluded that three faculty members either “failed to monitor” their advisees’ writing or “basically supported academic fraudulence” by ignoring the dishonesty. The report by the two-person review team called for the dismissal of two professors, and university officials said they would bring in a national expert on plagiarism to advise them.
Doug Lederman, "Student Plagiarism, Faculty Responsibility," Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/01/plagiarism

June 2, 2006 reply from Linda Kidwell, University of Wyoming [lkidwell@UWYO.EDU]

Bob's post reminded me of an interesting article I recently read:

Woessner, M.C. (2004). "Beating the house: How inadequate penalties for cheating make plagiarism an excellent gamble." PS: Political Science & Politics, 37 (2): 313 – 320.

His article is interesting in two ways. First, he argues that "it is unethical for faculty to knowingly entice students to plagiarize by promoting policies that actually reward dishonesty." He maintains that we may entice our students by anything from active neglect to ineffective enforcement, and he even throws in some Biblical support from Leviticus: You shall not place a stumbling block before the blind.

Second, he uses expected value functions to illustrate how ineffective policies make it an excellent gamble for students to plagiarize, using different combinations of probabilities of being caught, severities of punishment, and weighting of plagiarized assignments. I fault the paper for assuming all students are value neutral, in that he does not include any factor for the cost of compromising your standards (internal social control in some studies) or, for that matter, the benefit of going along with the crowd (culture conflict theory in others).

Nonetheless, if we assume away any moral or ethical component to the decision to cheat, he demonstrates that unless probabilities of detection are high due to vigilence and penalities are severe (F in the course, not just on the assignment), students have a strong incentive to cheat.

So back to Bob's post, Woessner certainly implies that the faculty are at least as culpable as the students when massive cheating such as that in the engineering department at Ohio University takes place.

I'm not sure I agree on an individual student level, but it's food for thought.

Linda

June 2, 2006 message from John Brozovsky [jbrozovs@VT.EDU]

Faculty are only culpable if you accept the premise that students are inherently amoral. If our accounting students are amoral then Enron is the tip of the iceberg as they will all behave the same way in a similar circumstance (you would have to assume they are just waiting on the ideal time to pull shenaigans).

[We do have a fairly decent honor code with reasonable penalties for those judged guilty by a jury of their peers (4 students 1 faculty member). The peers are typically very willing to find for guilt in the juries I have served on.]

John

June 3, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

Trinity University adopted an honor code that has a student court investigate cheating and assess penalties. The students are more apt to be tougher on cheating students.

But for faculty it has been a little like rape in that the hassle involved in reporting it discourages the reporting in some suspected instances of cheating (in truth I've not made a formal study of this).

On several occasions in the past (before the new Honor Code) I've simply flunked the student and reported the incident to the Academic Vice President who maintained a file of reported incidents and could, for repeat offenders, inflict more serious punishments. Now faculty must appear in "court." More significantly, the authority to sign the F grade for cheating is thereby taken out of the hands of the faculty member responsible for grades in a course.

Bob Jensen

June 2, 2006 reply from Jagdish S. Gangolly [gangolly@INFOTOC.COM]

I have been following this thread with some interest.

Medical schools have a pompous ceremony for orientation for all entering students. It is usually called "white coat" ceremony.

While the pomp and circumstance at such a ceremony is incidental, the main objective is to make sure that the students are being inducted into a noble and learned profession, that their behaviour after should be different, that they have responsibilities that transcend averything else, life is precious, their ethical behaviour determines the future of the profession, etc., etc.,,,

In my own department, I have for a long time suggested that we desperately need something like that. This is especially important to accounting, since unlike medical schools that get mature adults (22-30+ years old), we get juveniles who are less worldly experienced and more prone to making wrong choices simply because they are younger (if one agrees with Kohlberg).

The question is, what do we do in such a pompous but solemn ceremony? What do we call it? Where is our equivalent of the Hippocratic oath?

I reproduce below both the classic oath and the modern oaths below. May be we can come up with one of our own.

Jagdish

____________________________________________________
Hippocratic Oath -- Classical Version

"I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfil according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art - if they desire to learn it - without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot."

Translation from the Greek by Ludwig Edelstein. From The Hippocratic Oath: Text, Translation, and Interpretation, by Ludwig Edelstein. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1943. ____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________ Hippocratic Oath—Modern Version

"I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help."

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


Disabled Iraq veteran sues Michael Moore over 9/11 film
A veteran who lost both arms in the war in Iraq is suing filmmaker Michael Moore for $85 million, alleging that Moore used snippets of a television interview without his permission to falsely portray him as anti-war in "Fahrenheit 9/11." Sgt. Peter Damon, a National Guardsman from Middleborough, is asking for damages because of "loss of reputation, emotional distress, embarrassment, and personal humiliation," according to the lawsuit filed in Suffolk Superior Court last week. Damon, 33, claims that Moore never asked for his consent to use a clip from an interview Damon did with NBC's "Nightly News." He lost his arms when a tire on a Black Hawk helicopter exploded while he and another reservist were servicing the aircraft on the ground. Another reservist was killed in the explosion. In his interview with NBC, Damon was asked about a new painkiller the military was using on wounded veterans. He claims in his lawsuit that the way Moore used the film clip in "Fahrenheit 9/11" - Moore's scathing 2004 documentary criticizing the Bush administration and the war in Iraq - makes him appear to "voice a complaint about the war effort" when he was actually complaining about "the excruciating type of pain" that comes with the injury he suffered.
Denise Lavois, "Iraq veteran sues Moore over 9/11 film," TheState.com, May 31, 2006 --- http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/entertainment/movies/14709855.htm

Michael Moore is silent about this event --- http://www.michaelmoore.com/


It's called "Michael & Me," and, as you might imagine, it emulates the style of Michael Moore's documentaries and turns the tables on the filmmaker responsible for "Bowling for Columbine." This time it's Moore who is hunted down for an ambush interview the way he famously stalked Roger Smith, the chief executive officer of General Motors, in "Roger & Me," and an ailing Charlton Heston in "Columbine." This time it's Elder scoring all the propaganda points – with the truth and facts, rather than distortions and cinematic gimmicks.
"Michael & Me', by Joseph Farah," WorldNetDaily --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46707


The truth about America’s oil refineries
Unfortunately, the lack of capacity that Washington sees as a crisis looks like an ideal business model to oil refiners. There are so few refineries in the U.S. now that they are run tight to the bone, typically using about ninety per cent of their total capacity. The result is that refining—which, until recently, was a tough, low-margin business—has become tremendously lucrative. Last year, refiners’ profits jumped thirty-nine per cent, to twenty-four billion dollars, and this year should be even better. In California, gasoline prices have risen forty-eight per cent since the end of last year, even though crude-oil prices are up just seventeen per cent. Most of that difference has gone straight into refiners’ pockets.
 James Surowiecki, "The truth about America’s oil refineries," The New Yorker, June 12, 2006 --- http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/060612ta_talk_surowiecki


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

Latest Headlines on May 31, 2006

Latest Headlines on June 3, 2006

 


"Ultrasensitive Test for Heart Attacks, Alzheimer's:  A powerful but cheap tool available this year could test for everything from genetic diseases to heart-attack signs," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, May 31, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16938&ch=biztech

An ultrasensitive DNA and protein detector, expected to be widely available later this year, could save lives by detecting genetic and infectious diseases early, before they turn deadly or spread. Its relatively low cost and simplicity will make diagnostic tests that today can be done only in specialized labs available at local hospitals. Furthermore, because it's extremely sensitive, it could detect signs of disease invisible to current tools.

The device, which has been developed by Nanosphere, Northbrook, IL, based on research by Chad Mirkin, professor of chemistry at Northwestern University, is already being in used in several research labs and is awaiting Food and Drug Administration approval before it enters general use.

[Click here for illustrations of the process used by the Nanosphere protein and DNA detector.]

In its first application, the gold nanoparticle-based detector will tell doctors whether patients have a genetic trait that makes them likely to develop blood clots during surgery, helping doctors prevent strokes. Soon after, pending the results of ongoing clinical trials, it could diagnose previously undetected heart disease and help researchers diagnose and develop treatments for Alzheimer's disease by detecting levels of telltale proteins in the blood at concentrations "undetectable by any other technology," says Bill Moffitt, CEO of Nanosphere.

Each year 100,000 patients complaining of heart attack-like symptoms are sent home without treatment because current methods cannot diagnose some heart attacks, Moffitt says. Of these people, 20 percent die within a month, he says. And the rest have a much greater risk of dying from a heart attack in the coming year. Moffitt says that by detecting concentrations a thousand times lower that current methods of a protein released in the body during a heart attack, the Nanosphere technology may help doctors diagnose and treat these attacks.

Continued in article


From the Scout Report on May 26, 2006

Trail Runner 1.0 http://www.trailrunnerx.com/english.html 

For those who enjoy a run of some distance across a variety of terrains, this application is definitely worth a look. With Trail Runner, users can create a geographic display of their workout area, plan routes interactively, and also export route descriptions onto their iPod. While the application does not actually contain digital maps itself, it does offer ample directions and instructions on where to obtain such maps online. This version of Trail Runner is compatible with all computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer.

Bob Jensen's travel helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Travel


KlipFolio 3 --- http://www.klipfolio.com/index.php?action=downloads,download 

Dashboards on a car are essential. Dashboards on one’s computer screen aren’t always essential, but they can certainly make monitoring different sets of information quite a bit easier. Essentially users of this program create a collection of “klips”, which collect and display weather information, email notifications, and stocks. And in an age of user- interface customization, it is not surprising to find that the program also contains a number of skins which can be used at the users’ discretion. Finally, the program can be used in a variety of different languages, including German, Dutch, and Spanish. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and XP.

 


"What Are We Willing to Do to Improve Education?" by Georganne Spruce, The Irascible Professor, May 30, 2006 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-05-30-06.htm

Education – what a mess! Everyone is looking for someone to blame and for a quick fix to improve the system. In my view there's only one thing to blame: change. And there's only one solution: change that solves the problem holistically.

If you have a food processor that has a faulty power cord and you've lost the blades and broken the cover, just buying a set of blades won't fix the problem. The same is true of education. Requiring more standardized testing and better preparation for teachers isn't adequate repair. Society has changed greatly in the last forty years and those changes have affected who our students have become.

I began teaching high school in 1966. With the draft in place, grade inflation became a way of life to avoid failing a student who would be sent to Vietnam. After the draft ended, schools continued to expect less of students instead of challenging them and raising standards.

In 1975 the Education for All Handicapped Children's Act became law. It required schools to provide a "free, appropriate, public education to children with disabilities." These children were given an Individualized Educational Plan, which guided teachers in implementing the child's education. Despite this law, many children with disabilities didn't receive "appropriate" education and most were segregated from regular classes. After the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) schools were closely monitored to assure their compliance.

Now most disabled students are mainstreamed into regular classes where many flourish and develop social and academic skills that help them to function more successfully in society. But their inclusion creates a classroom where teachers are stretched to meet a greater diversity of student needs. Unfortunately, many teachers aren't trained to teach these exceptional children who require methods that are different from those used to teach the average student. In addition to these special needs students, teachers in some schools also may be working with large numbers of non-English speakers.

Today there are more students in the regular classrooms who have behavior problems and who frequently disrupt classes. They're not, by any means, all exceptional children with behavior disorders. In the past, these were the kids who were expelled or who dropped out because schools didn't tolerate disobedience and disrespect, and parents supported that attitude. Too many hours of learning time are wasted while teachers deal with such disruptive students and the paperwork these incidents generate.

As our society has grown more legalistic and less willing to accept personal responsibility, school administrators have become more compliant in dealing with complaining parents. This puts teachers in an untenable position. If the teacher insists on disciplining a student for misbehaving, it may be seen as a challenge to the administrator's authority and an affront to the parent. But if the student isn't disciplined, the teacher's authority is undermined, and in most cases the student continues to be a problem in class.

Once I was asked to adjust my grading so that a high school senior who had attended only half my classes and had done very few assignments could graduate. He was the son of a prominent community leader, and the principal didn't want any "trouble." When I refused, the principal was outraged! It's difficult to convince students to make the effort to learn when they know someone will rescue them from their bad decisions.

Drug and alcohol abuse and early sexual experiences are significant problems among the young in every strata of society. These behaviors seriously interfere with learning, impair judgment, and create depressive and aggressive behaviors that often disrupt the classroom. To make matters worse, students are constantly sent messages through the media and video games that violence, overt sexual expression, and disrespectful behaviors are "cool." To be "bad" is good, so we have more students who seek to disrupt the learning environment in order to get attention and earn the respect of their peers through misbehavior. To make matters worse, the laws make it virtually impossible to suspend or expel disruptive “exceptional students” even when they are capable of understanding the consequences of their actions. This creates an inequity that undermines discipline in the classroom and teaches the students that they don't have to be responsible.

The most significant influence on a child's ability to learn is the parent and the home environment. Today many parents have less time available to spend with their children monitoring homework, teaching social skills, self-discipline and responsibility. Many must work longer hours sometimes on multiple jobs just to make ends meet. As the income of an increasing number of families falls below the poverty line, more children lack the nutrition they need for normal brain function and development. Even among those who are not poor, poor eating and exercise habits take their toll on learning.

Continued in article


"Business Ethics Magazine Lists Top Corporate Citizens:  Environmental awareness is boon for high-tech firms," SmartPros, May 4, 2006 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x52863.xml

Business Ethics Magazine has released its annual survey of the "100 Best Corporate Citizens," with Waterbury, Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee Roasters topping the list.

The coffee company was cited for its "meticulous attention to corporate social responsibility," including its pioneering work in the fair trade movement, which pays coffee growers stable, fair prices. Green Mountain has been among the top 10 companies on Business Ethics' list for four years running.

Now in its seventh year, the list for 2006 is striking because of the dominance of technology firms among the top 10, including Hewlett-Packard, Advanced Micro Devices, Motorola and Agilent Technologies.

Why the strong showing by tech? "Surprisingly, it's not due to financial out-performance," said Marjorie Kelly, editor of Business Ethics, "since none of the top tech companies ranked in the top 10 in financial returns." Instead, Kelly noted, most top tech companies do well on environmental issues. They also tend to be active in their communities and score high in employee relations, she said. "These firms know that to attract and retain talent, it pays to be socially enlightened. High-tech seems to be a genuinely socially responsible sector."

The list saw quite a bit of turnover from 2005, with 33 companies appearing for the first time. Newcomers Johnson & Johnson and McGraw-Hill Companiesscore particularly high in workforce diversity. Newcomer Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls rates high marks because of products that help conserve energy.

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens list puts a numerical rating on service to these various stakeholders. Environmental, social and governance ratings are drawn from an online social research database created by KLD Research & Analytics, Inc.

More details regarding the 100 Best Corporate Citizens list are available at
http://www.business-ethics.com/whats_new/100best.html


"Improved Visual Search:  Researchers are trying to make computers see as we do," by Neil Savage, MIT's Technology Review, May 25, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16926&ch=infotech

Search engines work wonderfully when you want to find something in a long stretch of text. Just type in a word or phrase, and the computer quickly scans through a Web page or Word document and picks it out. But for a computer to do the same thing with an image -- find a particular person or object somewhere in a video recording, for instance -- is much more difficult. Whereas a human eye instantly distinguishes a tree from a cat, it's a lot of work to teach a computer to do the same.

That challenge is being tackled by researchers at MIT's Center for Biological and Computational Learning (CBCL), led by Tomaso Poggio, the Eugene McDermott Professor in the Brain Sciences and Human Behavior. Some students at the center are proposing software that could work, say, with surveillance cameras in an office building or military base, eliminating the need for a human to watch monitors or review videotapes. Other applications might automate computer editing of home movies, or sort and retrieve photos from a vast database of images. It might also be possible to train a computer to perform preliminary medical diagnoses based on an MRI or CT scan image.

But the work to make such exciting applications possible is daunting. "The fact that it seems so easy to do for a human is part of our greatest illusion," says Stanley Bileschi, who this month earned his PhD in electrical engineering and computer science at the CBCL. Processing visual data is computationally complex, he says, noting that people use about 40 percent of their brains just on that task. There are many variables to take into account when identifying an object: color, lighting, spatial orientation, distance, and texture. And vision both stimulates and is influenced by other brain functions, such as memory and reasoning, which are not fully understood. "Evolution has spent four billion years developing vision," Poggio says.

Scientists have traditionally used statistical learning systems to teach computers to recognize objects. In such systems, a scientist tells a machine that certain images are faces, then tells it that certain other images are not faces. The computer examines the images pixel by pixel to figure out, statistically, what the face images have in common that the nonface images do not.

For instance, it might learn that a set of pixels representing the brow is a brighter than the pixels representing the pupils, and that the two sets are a standard distance apart. It might notice that the mouth tends to be horizontal, and that there is a sharp change in brightness where the head stops and the background begins. Once trained, it can look at new images and see how closely they match the rules.


Compare these numbers with the total body count in Iraq
Simmering conflict in Congo has killed 4 million people since 1998, yet few choose to cover the story. TIME looks at a forgotten nation--and what's needed to prevent the deaths of millions more.
Simon Robinson and Vivienne Walt, "The Deadliest War In The World:  Simmering conflict in Congo has killed 4 million people since 1998, yet few choose to cover the story," Time Magazine Cover Story, May 20, 2006 --- Click Here


There's a spouse out there for almost everyone of any age

"An Iconic Report 20 Years Later:  Many of Those Women Married After All," by Jeff Zaslow, The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2006; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114852403706762691.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

Twenty years ago, unmarried, college-educated women over age 30 got some bad news, and America took great pity on them.

The impetus was a Newsweek cover story in June 1986 titled "Too Late for Prince Charming?" It showcased a study by Yale and Harvard researchers suggesting that 30-year-old white, college-educated single women had only a 20% chance of finding husbands. At age 40, the probability fell to 2.6%. Using hyperbole and humor that became infamous then, and sound far more awful today, Newsweek said those 40-year-olds were "more likely to be killed by a terrorist" than land a mate.

A lot of us recall the hand wringing over that study, the countless articles and TV debates, the tearful conversations between single women and their mothers. The statistics were later challenged by U.S. Census Bureau demographer Jeanne Moorman, who calculated that those 30-year-olds actually had a 58% to 66% likelihood of finding a husband; for 40-year-olds it was 17% to 23%. But the Harvard-Yale study's core message -- that educated, career-focused women risk spending their lives alone -- still reverberates today.

Well, it turns out that less than 10% of college-educated women now ages 50 to 60 have never been married, census records show. And I did something far less scientific: I checked in with 10 women who in 1986 appeared in Newsweek and other media reports about the study. Eight of them had found a husband. Two others were single by choice.

Continued in article


Journal of Religion and Popular Culture (a Web-based refereed journal) --- http://www.usask.ca/relst/jrpc/


Dysfunctional Families:  Should they run or stay and fight?

"Home Remedy," by Paul Raiburn, The New York Times, May 28, 2006 --- Click Here

Three years ago, Mary Beth Towell, a counselor in Canton, Ohio, was assigned to a family in a crumbling neighborhood of dilapidated houses, drug dealers and gangs. Even in that tough neighborhood, this family stood out as desperate. In a single month, child-protective services fielded more than 30 calls from teachers, police officers and others demanding that the children be removed.

The mother had bipolar disorder and was a heavy marijuana user. The children's father no longer lived in the home. Two of the girls, 15 and 10, and a boy, 11, were violent and suicidal. They threatened one another with knives and fought viciously. (The remaining child, a 14-year-old girl, was somehow O.K.)

Few families in such bad shape survive intact. The children may be sent to residential treatment centers or juvenile corrections facilities. "These programs generate high recidivism rates," says Bart Lubow, director of the program for high-risk young people at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore. And they can cost at least $50,000 a year per child. "That would be O.K. if you were getting a reasonable return on your investment," Lubow says. "But the outcomes are very poor."

Stark County in Ohio is trying something different. Towell was part of a team using an innovative antiviolence program called multisystemic therapy, or MST. Developed over the last 30 years by Scott Henggeler, a clinical psychologist and a professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina, it is based on the assumptions that families should remain together and that all of the causes of antisocial behavior should be attacked at once.

Taking his cues from family therapy as well as from social ecology, which emphasizes that behavior is shaped by multiple aspects of the environment, Henggeler studies the ecosystem composed by family, neighborhood, schools, peer groups and the broader community. Instead of removing children from that ecosystem, he tries to change it: solve the drug problems and the legal problems, get kids away from delinquent peers and encourage academic success.

A central idea is to focus on the parents. "We want the therapist to build the competency of the parents, because the parents are going to be there after the therapist leaves," he says. If the parents can't handle the job, he might ask an uncle, aunt or grandparent to fill in.

MST therapists like Towell have small caseloads — four to six families at a time. They visit the families every day, if necessary, and are always on call. If the police grab a child at 2 a.m., the therapist can help sort things out. Because of this intensive effort, MST isn't cheap. It typically lasts four to five months and costs between $5,000 to $7,500 per child. To make it cost-effective, it is directed at kids at high risk of expensive out-of-home placements. If enough of them can be kept at home, the program can pay for itself — and even save communities money.

MST is one of only a handful of "evidence based" programs that have been shown to be effective for violent children. In a recent 14-year evaluation, kids who had been through MST programs had 54 percent fewer arrests and spent 57 percent fewer days in jail. "These programs have a higher success rate than what else is out there," Henggeler says. The single most important piece of the treatment is getting children away from deviant peers.

While the program has become more popular in recent years, it is still relatively small. Edward Latessa, head of the division of criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati, contends that MST is one of the best programs for delinquent kids, but he adds that it isn't for everyone. "The problem with MST is it's a difficult model to implement," he says. "It requires a caregiver that's really committed. It's not easy, so some agencies give up." With such concerns in mind, Henggeler has set up a private company called MST Services to help communities develop programs, train therapists and make sure they stick with the program. Meanwhile, he is extending MST-style programs to other arenas, like the treatment of sexual offenders and abused or maltreated kids.

Towell had surprisingly good luck with the Canton family. She discovered that the children liked to draw, and she helped them join art classes. There they met the sort of other kids she wanted them to associate with. With pressure from Towell, the mother cleaned herself up and made the commitment to turn things around. It wasn't easy, but it worked. "She was willing to do whatever it took," Towell says. "That's when we have the most successful cases."

Paul Raeburn is the author of "Acquainted With the Night," a memoir of raising children who have depression and bipolar disorder.


From the Scout Report on May 19, 2006

Economic Statistics Briefing Room --- http://www.whitehouse.gov/fsbr/money.html 

While more than a few curmudgeons have offered their honest opinions about statistics, we here at the Scout Report like to provide our readers with the facts and let them decide on their own. Fortunately, there are sites like the Economic Statistics Briefing Room provided by the White House. Here, visitors can peruse sections that offer information on income, output, transportation, and prices. Drawing on the research and statistical databases of several dozen federal agencies (including the National Agricultural Statistics Services), visitors can view tables and charts that offer such timely material as crude oil prices, poverty rates, and household wealth. Within each section, visitors can view summary statistics, and then if they wish, they can proceed to the homepage of the agency that provided each set of information.

Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#EconStatistics


Congratulations to Neal!

I knew about this earlier but I waited until Neal gave me permission to announce it. I think the FAF made a good choice.

From: Neal Hannon [mailto:njhannon@f-a-f.org]
Sent: Friday, June 02, 2006 12:20 PM
To: Jensen, Robert
Subject: FAF

Hi Bob,

Here’s an update on my new job.  As of June 1, 2006, I joined the FAF as Director, Financial Reporting Technologies.  In my new role, I will guide the Foundation, the FASB and the GASB in their efforts relating to XBRL and other reporting technologies.  The challenges in the new position are many and I will need the support of the entire financial community to be successful.  Thank you for all your help and support and I look forward to a continuing relationship in my new role.

Neal

Neal J. Hannon
Director, Financial Reporting Technologies
Financial Accounting Foundation
Norwalk, CT  06856
Work: 203-956-5219   Cell: 401-225-6082

 

 


Fighting Words
A former Marine's favorite books on the military.

BY JAMES WEBB
Saturday, May 27, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110008438

1. "Once an Eagle" by Anton Myrer (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1968).

Quite simply, America's "War and Peace." "Once an Eagle" is the finest novel ever written about what it means to spend a career in the military, and how the military relates to the civilian world. Myrer traces the career and personal life of a talented, often selfless career soldier from the 1916 Pershing expedition along the Mexican border to the beginnings of the Vietnam War, skillfully blending in human foibles, political debates and the moral dilemmas that leaders always must face. A Marine veteran of Iwo Jima, Myrer writes with great skill about combat and with intelligence about a variety of societal and human issues.

2. "Hell In a Very Small Place" by Bernard Fall (Lippincott, 1966).

For anyone who believes that France's Dien Bien Phu operation in Vietnam in 1954 was little more than a blunder, and for anyone who believes that the French were not capable fighters in Vietnam, this comprehensive and often surprising nonfiction account of the siege that brought France to its knees will be a deserved surprise. Bernard Fall, the Frenchman who was the most perceptive observer of Vietnam's shaky march away from French colonialism, wrote several books about Vietnam; he was killed while on a patrol with the U.S. Marines in 1966. This book--his best--shows us the underappreciated complexities of that war, the regional issues that drove many local decisions and the tragic heroism of France's finest fighting forces.

3. "History of the Second World War" by B.H. Liddell Hart (Putnam, 1970).

Liddell Hart is most remembered for his essays on strategy (he largely coined the doctrine of the "indirect approach") and for his early advocacy of armored warfare in the years following World War I. It was an advocacy ignored by the British, studied and adapted by the Germans. But this book, which he was still working on at his death in 1970, is his masterpiece. Leaving politics behind, Hart gives us a splendid chronology of the war from a military context, which allows the reader to cover the entire global landscape of the war from beginning to end. The book's only defect is Hart's forgivable imbalance of attention paid to the European theater as opposed to Asia. Americans who have not read beyond our own military experiences in World War II emphatically need to read this book, in order to comprehend the ferocity of the German-Russian warfare, which is too frequently overlooked in our own discourse.

4. "The Forgotten Soldier" by Guy Sajer (Harper & Row, 1971).

This memoir from the perspective of one who fought on the German side in World War II is probably the most overwhelming book ever written about ground combat. Guy Sajer, an Alsatian drafted into the German army, fought for three years as an infantry soldier, mostly on the Russian front. Germany fielded an army of 12 million soldiers and lost 3.7 million combat dead, a preponderance of those casualties occurring in the mind-boggling, massive engagements with the Soviets. Sajer, who had no politics and little enthusiasm for soldiering, nonetheless demands an understanding of the immensity of this human experience, and is the perfect voice to ask for it.

5. "The Guns of August" by Barbara W. Tuchman (Macmillan, 1962).

This is the book that every policy maker pushing for the invasion of Iraq should have read, marked, learned from and digested before sending the U.S. off to war. Barbara Tuchman's brilliant analysis of how World War I began in the summer of 1914 is remarkable not only for her understanding of the issues at play among national leaders, but also for her descriptions of how the trenches became immediately bogged down, resulting in a four-year war from which Europe has never fully recovered. The Germans were certain that World War I would be over in six weeks, but unforeseen circumstances and unintended consequences are the rule in warfare. Instead of a quick march to Paris, the summer of 1914 saw, horribly, several nations begin the process of bleeding and spending themselves away from greatness.

Mr. Webb, former secretary of the Navy, is the author of eight books, including "Fields of Fire," a novel about the Vietnam War. He is now a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Virginia.

 




What gratitude is all about

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

The Whale

If you read the front page story of the SF Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.

She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the FarraloneIslands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help.

Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her ... a very dangerous proposition.

One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.

She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed gently around-she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate ... to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.

And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.

I pass this on to you, my friend, in the same spirit.




Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Here is a math trick so unbelievable that it will stump you. Personally I would like to know who came up with this and why that person is not running the country.

The easy way: Click on your calculator and do it while you read it.

1. Grab a calculator. (you won't be able to do this one in your head)

2. Key in the first three digits of your phone number (NOT the area code)

3. Multiply by 80

4. Add 1

5. Multiply by 250

6. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number

7. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number again.

8. Subtract 250

9. Divide number by 2

Do you recognize the answer?

 




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

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

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

International Accounting News (including the U.S.)

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

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

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

I highly recommend TheFinanceProfessor (an absolutely fabulous and totally free newsletter from a very smart finance professor, Jim Mahar from St. Bonaventure University) --- http://www.financeprofessor.com/ 
Jim's great blog is at http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

 

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