Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dogs --- http://www.i-love-dogs.com/
What subscription was recently cancelled with fanfare by the University of Incarnate Word?
The library dean at the University of Incarnate
Word has canceled the library’s subscription to The New York Times to
protest the newspaper’s recent scoops about some secret elements of the Bush
administration’s anti-terrorism activities, The San Antonio Express-News
reported. Many faculty members at the university are outraged, the newspaper
Inside Higher Ed, June 30, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/30/qt
For a very long time this university has also had a large banner on the edge of campus that reads
"Support the Coalition Troops in Iraq."
What is an "out of sample" test?
Hint: It's related to the concept of "replication" that almost seems to be unheard of in academic accounting research?
From Jim Mahar's Blog on June 29, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
I am a big fan of so called "out of sample" tests. When researchers find some anomaly within a data set and then others test for the presence in the same data set, we really do not learn much if they find the same thing. But when a new data set is used for the test, we have a much better understanding of the possible anomaly.
In the current JFQA there is just such an article by Richard Grossman and Stephen Shore. Using a data set that goes from 1870 to 1913 for British stocks, the authors find no small firm effect, and only a limited value effect.
In their own words:
"Unlike modern CRSP data, stocks that do not pay dividends do not outperform stocks that pay small dividends during this period. But like modern CRSP data, there is a weak relationship between dividend yield and performance for stocks that pay dividends. In sum, the size and reversal anomalies present in modern data are not present in our historical data, while there is some evidence for a value anomaly."Which makes me wonder how many other things we think we "know" we really don't.
The current version of the paper is not listed on SSRN, but a past version of the paper is available (at least right now) here.
Bob Jensen's threads on the replication controversy in academic
accounting research are at
Colorado Moves to Fire Churchill
It’s possible that Ward Churchill may never again teach a class at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The interim chancellor at Boulder on Monday issued a “notice of intent to dismiss” the controversial professor, citing findings of serious and repeated research misconduct. Churchill still has appeal rights — and has 10 days to take his case to a faculty review committee. After any appeal, a final decision rests with the president of the University of Colorado System and the Board of Regents. And Churchill has vowed to sue the university to block any firing.
Scott Jaschik, "Colorado Moves to Fire Churchill," Inside Higher Ed, June 27, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/27/churchill
Bob Jensen's threads on Ward Churchill are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HypocrisyChurchill.htm
- Blackballed at Yale, June 5
- Churchill Fallout: There Are More Like Him, May 26
- Vanderbilt Rising, May 22
- The Footnote Police vs. Ward Churchill, May 19
- Truth and Consequences, May 17
The Denver Post article about this on June 26, 2006 is at http://www.denverpost.com/ci_3982474
Also see the article about this in The New York Times, June 27, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/27/education/27churchill.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Everyone is entitled to their own
opinion, but not their own facts.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Was the recommendation to fire Ward Churchill based mainly on plagiarism, biased research, or politics?
Ward Churchill should be fired for academic
misconduct — that’s
the decision made by the interim chancellor at
the University of Colorado at Boulder, after receiving
a report from a faculty committee concluding
that Churchill is guilty of falsification, fabrication and plagiarism. That
report shows that, even under difficult political conditions, it’s possible
to do a good job dealing with charges of research misconduct. The Colorado
report on Churchill provides a striking contrast to the flawed 2002
Emory University report on Michael Bellesiles,
the historian of gun culture in America, who was found guilty of
“falsification” in one table. The contrast says a lot about the ways
universities deal with outside pressure demanding that particular professors
Jon Wiener, "A Lesson From the Churchill Inquiry," Inside Higher Ed, June 30, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/06/30/wiener
"Churchill Fallout: There Are More Like Him," by Anne D. Neal, Inside Higher Ed, May 26, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/05/26/neal
Jon Wiener clearly takes the side that plagiarism discoveries in Churchill's writings are relatively minor and that politics played the major role in this decision by the interim chancellor at the University of Colorado. What's more clear is that what Churchill and Bellesiles call academic "research" is unethically called "research" writing rather than "persuasive" writing with cherry picking of facts used in support of opinion. If cherry picking is grounds for firing in academe, an enormous number of professors would be fired around the world, although this bias in academic "research" is one of my pet peeves with the academy. Clearly this bias has not been grounds for firing in most instances in our academy.
Bob Jensen's threads on the Ward Churchill saga are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HypocrisyChurchill.htm
Appearance Versus the Realities of Research Independence and Freedom
"Let the Chips Fall Where They May," Mark Shapiro, The Irascible Professor, June 28, 2006 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-06-28-06.htm
Political interference in academic research seems to be on the rise lately. We have seen this in the recent attempts to harass and intimidate researchers in such diverse fields as climate change and medicine whose results conflict with a particular political philosophy or ideology. The latest attempt to discredit the results of scientific research that uncovers uncomfortable facts is not in the cutting edge areas of global warming or stem cell research, but in the rather mundane area of forest management.
This time it's an Oregon State University graduate student in forestry who has been hauled before a congressional committee to defend research that has proven to be a bit uncomfortable for some in the logging industry. The graduate student, Daniel Donato, discovered that salvage logging following a forest fire can hinder the regrowth of the forest.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the finer points of forest management, salvage logging refers to the process of cutting down the dead trees that remain after a forest fire for commercial use. Salvage logging, which accounts for about one-third of the timber sales from national forests, is based on the assumption that clearing the burned over land of dead trees then replanting it with seedlings is the best way to help the forest recover. Donato and his team examined areas that were burned in the Biscuit Fire that raged through Rogue River - Siskiyou National Forest in southern Oregon two years before the research was carried out. Donato's group found that in burned areas where no salvage logging had taken place there was abundant natural regrowth, while in areas that had been logged the number of seedlings per acre was much less. In addition, Donato's team found that in areas where salvage logging took place there was a substantial amount of fallen timber from the logging operations that remained on the forest floor. This material could fuel future fires.
Much of the area that was burned in the Biscuit Fire is rugged and roadless. Salvage logging there is carried out mostly by helicopter. Logging crews are brought in by helicopter and the cut timber is removed by helicopter. This is difficult and costly work, and there is no incentive to remove slash timber that has little economic value. It also is more efficient and profitable to cut all the dead timber in a burned over area and then replant it than it would be to thin the standing dead wood and let natural regeneration take place.
Ordinarily, the one-page research note that Donato's group published on their work in an online edition of the journal Science would have gathered scant notice. After all, it was a study that was limited both in scope and duration, and the conclusions were hardly earthshaking. However, their publication sparked a firestorm of criticism because it came just as logging industry interests were pressing for the passage of a bill that would ease federal regulations on salvage logging in national forests. Some of those interests were well connected both politically and to the leadership of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University. The Dean of the college, Hal Salwasser, is a former U.S. Forest Service official who publicly supported the salvage logging bill, which was sponsored by Greg Walden (R, OR) and Brian Baird (D, WA). The college, itself receives substantial support from the logging industry, and recently had received a $1 million donation from the wife of the founder of Columbia Helicopters - a company that is heavily involved in salvage logging and had a strong interest in the passage of the bill. Columbia Helicopters and its executives, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times, also had donated $22,000 to Representative Walden.
Dean Salwasser and senior faculty members in the OSU College of Forestry attempted to discredit the Donato group's research, going so far as to attempt to prevent publication of the work in the print edition of Science. The Bureau of Land Management briefly pulled funding from Donato's project, and Representatives Walden and Baird hauled Donato before a congressional field hearing in Oregon to explain his results. Oregon State Senator Charlie Ringo made public several email messages from Salwasser to logging industry representatives that showed he was firmly in their camp.
To his great credit Donald Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief of Science and former president of Stanford University, refused to be intimidated. According to the Los Angeles Times, Kennedy stated that "It certainly was an attempt at censorship..." He decided to run the paper by Donato's group because it presented "sound, peer-reviewed research on a subject of considerable interest."
Donato's critics have responded that they were not attempting to censor the work, but were just responding to what they viewed as shoddy and incomplete research. In particular, they have raised questions about the statistical analysis in the Donato paper. Donato's group countered that six independent statisticians have examined their methods and have supported their conclusions. (Science is planning to publish the critique of Donato's work along with a response from Donato's group.)
The important point that seems to have been lost on the politicians and the industry representatives is that disputes over the validity of scientific results need to be addressed in the setting of a peer-reviewed journal such as Science rather than in congressional hearings.
Academic researchers like Donato and his group who provide objective information on politically charged issues often find themselves under attack from all sides. In this case they ended up in the middle of a dispute between environmentalists who would like to ban all salvage logging, and industry interests whose livelihood depends on logging. Objective research results can help to inform policy debates, and in this case could lead to sound forest management practices. However, academic researchers who provide objective information need to be able to gather and present this information without interference from vested interests on either side. Deans and other university officials have an obligation to support that kind of independence. Unfortunately, it's not so easy to maintain that independence when the powerful interests that are pressing the politicians to pass legislation favorable to them also are funding academic institutions.
"Charities Tied to Doctors Get Drug Industry Gifts," by Reed
Abelson, The New York Times, June 28, 2006 ---
Although outside researchers raised questions about the study's conclusions, the doctor betrayed little doubt. "We believe these results challenge current medical practice and recommendations," said Dr. Costanzo, who predicted many patients might benefit.
Dr. Costanzo did disclose to the audience that she was a paid consultant with stock in the device's maker, a Minnesota company called CHF Solutions. But she omitted another potentially important detail: CHF Solutions was also one of the largest donors to the nonprofit research foundation that had overseen the study. The company contributed about $180,000 in 2004, according to the foundation's federal filings.
Nor did she note that the nonprofit entity, the Midwest Heart Foundation, was in turn an arm of the thriving for-profit medical group outside of Chicago where Dr. Costanzo and more than 50 of her fellow doctors treat heart patients — in many cases using products and drugs made by CHF Solutions and other big donors to their charity. Although the CHF Solutions device has generally been slow to catch on, physicians at Dr. Costanzo's medical group have treated many patients with the company's filtration system.
The Midwest Heart Foundation, and the way it has become quietly interwoven into its doctors' professional lives, is far from unique. Around the country, doctors in private practice have set up tax-exempt charities into which drug companies and medical device makers are, with little fanfare, pouring donations — money that adds up to millions of dollars a year. And some medical experts see that as a big problem.
The charities are typically set up to engage in medical research or education, and the doctors involved defend those efforts as legitimate charitable activities that benefit the public. But because they operate mainly under the radar, the tax-exempt organizations represent what some other doctors, as well as regulators and industry consultants, say is a growing conduit for industry money. The payments, they say, can bias the treatment decisions of physicians, may lead to suspect research findings and at times may even risk running afoul of anti-kickback laws.
Federal officials are starting to take notice of such tax-exempt charities, which critics say are becoming increasingly popular as other forms of industry support to physicians — like lucrative consulting agreements that involve little actual work — have come under scrutiny from regulators and others worried about the potential conflicts.
The potential for abuse by these charities is clear, critics say. "It obviously sets a fertile ground for conflict of interest and misuse of funds," said Dr. Robert M. Califf, vice chancellor for clinical research at Duke University Medical Center.
The charities at issue are not philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that dispense grants for medical research but remain independent of any one group of doctors or medical practice. Instead, the charities drawing scrutiny are set up by doctors in private practice and are closely linked to those doctors' for-profit medical groups.
The Midwest Heart Foundation, which has received millions of dollars from medical industry donors, including the drug makers Amgen and AstraZeneca, and the Cordis and Scios units of Johnson & Johnson, says it stands behind its charitable work, which currently involves about 30 studies and dozens of doctor-education lectures each year.
Dr. Mark Goodwin, a managing partner for the Midwest Heart for-profit practice, said the foundation was created to help prevent potential conflicts by keeping the industry money separate from the doctors' private practice. Companies contribute to the foundation, he said, because they can rely on its research and the doctors involved can enroll large numbers of patients in studies. "We are able to deliver excellent research to our community in a timely fashion," Dr. Goodwin said, "and we are proud of it."
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
Bob Jensen's threads
on Controversies in Higher Education ---
Why is forcing the resignation of Larry Summers costing Harvard $115 million (what would have been Harvard's largest philanthropic donation in history)?
Lawrence J. Ellison, chief executive of the
Oracle Corporation and one of the world's wealthiest people, has decided not
to donate $115 million to Harvard as he announced he would last year, the
company confirmed yesterday. Harvard had planned to use the donation, which
would have been the largest single philanthropic donation the university had
ever received, to establish the Ellison Institute for World Health, a
research organization devoted to examining the efficiency of global health
projects. Mr. Ellison decided to cancel his plans for the donation after the
resignation in February of Lawrence H. Summers, the president of Harvard,
amid a storm of controversy.
Laurie J. Flynn, "Oracle Chief Withdraws a Donation to Harvard," The New York Times, June 18, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/28/business/28donate.html
But what is also true, some at Harvard noted, is
that Ellison may be be developing a pattern for undelivered big gifts. In
2001, he told The Wall Street Journal that he would give $150 million to
either Harvard or Stanford Universities for a center to study the interplay
of technology, politics and economics. That gift never materialized.
Doug Lederman, "A Withdrawn Gift Rankles at Harvard," Inside Higher Ed, June 29, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/29/ellison
Compute the odds of this, especially the odd of having wives with identical names
Ronald Wayne Blankenship, a candidate
in the runoff for the Democratic nomination for Jefferson County sheriff,
says it's coincidence that a man with a criminal past shares his name and
birthdate. It's strange but true, he says, that both he and a man who faked
his own death in 1990 are married to women named Judy Ruth Green Stonecipher
Carol Robinson and Robert K. Gordon, "Candidate says criminal past not his," The Birmingham News, June 13, 2006 ---
Would a proud Baptist Baylor University lie with statistics?
One of the multitude of grievances regarding the
annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of institutions of higher education
is that there are ways to cheat — something that no individual student would
be able to do when applying to, say, law school, without facing some mighty
consequences. A researcher with the magazine says that officials with Baylor
University School of Law have repeatedly submitted misleading answers to the
magazine’s questions involving LSAT scores and grade-point averages of
first-year students. Baylor officials, meanwhile, insist they’ve done
nothing wrong.“We will be scrutinizing their data much more closely,” said
Robert J. Morse, director of data research at U.S. News. “We’ll make sure
that it doesn’t happen again.”
Rob Capriccioso, "False Rank," Inside Higher Ed, June 28, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/28/baylor
Believe it or Not: Ants Count the Steps Between Home and a Target
"When Ants Go Marching, They Count Their Steps," by Bjorn Carey, Yahoo News, June 29, 2006 --- Click Here
Ants use an internal pedometer to find their way home without getting sidetracked, a new study reports.
Desert ants on foraging expeditions use celestial cues to orient themselves in the homeward direction, but with few landmarks in the barren land, scientists have wondered how the insects always take the most direct route and know exactly how far to march.
The new study reveals that counting their steps is a crucial part of the scheme.
Over the years, scientists have proposed several theories for how ants find their way home.
One is that they do it like honeybees and remember visual cues, but experiments revealed ants can navigate in the dark and even blindfolded. Another disproved hypothesis was that because ants scurry at a steady pace, they could time how long it took them to get to and fro. Other studies have shown that once ants find a good source of food, they teach other ants how to find it.
The ant "pedometer" technique was first proposed in 1904, but it remained untested until now.
Scientists trained desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis, to walk along a straight path from their nest entrance to a feeder 30 feet away. If the nest or feeder was moved, the ants would break from their straight path after reaching the anticipated spot and search for their goal.
Try that on stilts
Next, the researchers performed a little cosmetic surgery.
They glued stilt-like extensions to the legs of some ants to lengthen stride. The researchers shortened other ants' stride length by cutting off the critters' feet and lower legs, reducing their legs to stumps.
By manipulating the ants' stride lengths, the researchers could determine whether the insects were using an odometer-like mechanism to measure the distance, or counting off steps with an internal pedometer.
The ants on stilts took the right number of steps, but because of their increased stride length, marched past their goal. Stump-legged ants, meanwhile, fell short of the goal.
After getting used to their new legs, the ants were able to adjust their pedometer and zero in on home more precisely, suggesting that stride length serves as an ant pedometer.
The study is detailed in the June 30 issue of the journal Science.
- Why Ants Rule the World
- Ants Ambush Prey from Foxholes
- Hope for Eradicating Red Fire Ants
- Ant School: The First Formal Classroom Found in Nature
- Ants 'Fly' When They Fall
- How Ants Navigate
Visit LiveScience.com for more daily news, views and scientific inquiry with an original, provocative point of view. LiveScience reports amazing, real world breakthroughs, made simple and stimulating for people on the go.
Updates from WebMD --- http://www.webmd.com/
Latest Headlines on June 20, 2006
- Painkillers Risky After Heart Attack?
- Carb-Starved Brain Fights Alzheimer's
- Type 2 Diabetes: New Cases Rising
- Triaminic Vapor Patch Recalled
- Lifestyle Vital to New Heart Diet
- Melanoma Risk Not Just for Whites
- Eat Your Veggies, Help Your Arteries
- RSS WebMD Health News
Latest Headlines on June 23, 2006
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Tougher in Women
- Overweight Kids: Prone to Headaches?
- Pulse Away Migraine Pain
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Latest Headlines on June 26, 2006
Better to be a dirty rat than a sanitized rat
Gritty rats and mice living in sewers and farms seem to have healthier immune systems than their squeaky clean cousins that frolic in cushy antiseptic labs, two studies indicate. The lesson for humans: Clean living may make us sick. The studies give more weight to a 17-year-old theory that the sanitized Western world may be partly to blame for soaring rates of human allergy and asthma cases and some autoimmune diseases, such as Type I diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. The theory, called the hygiene hypothesis, figures that people's immune systems aren't being challenged by disease and dirt early in life, so the body's natural defenses overreact to small irritants such as pollen.
"You Dirty, Healthy Rat," Wired News, June 17, 2006 ---
"International Academy of Life Sciences Applauds Novel Product for Diarrhea," PR Web, June 24, 2006 --- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/6/prweb403604.htm
Hanover, Germany June 24, 2006 -- A new approach to fighting diarrhea that fortifies the standard product, oral rehydration solution, with two key protective breast milk proteins is a revolutionary development that could save the lives of millions of children around the world, the head of an international group of medical and academic researchers said today.
The proteins were developed by U.S.-based Ventria Bioscience, which through a plant-based system is able to cost-efficiently produce significant quantities of lactoferrin and lysozyme, two proteins found naturally in breast milk.
"Our academic community supports the development of plant-made pharmaceuticals because of their tremendous potential to treat life-threatening illness," said Hilmar Stolte, M.D., president of the International Academy of Life Sciences (IALS). "Now we have a study that provides tangible proof of what is possible with this technology."
Diarrhea is the number-two infectious killer of children under five in the world and its effects are particularly acute in developing countries such as Peru, where more than 20 percent of the 36,000 children who die every year are victims of diarrhea.
A study conducted by investigators in the US and Peru found that by adding Ventria’s proteins to the standard treatment for diarrhea, oral rehydration solution, both the length and the severity of diarrhea decreased.
The study, which was conducted following World Health Organization protocols, found that children consuming oral rehydration solution with lactoferrin and lysozyme were sick for 3.67 days on average, as compared to 5.21 days for children receiving oral rehydration solution without the added proteins. Children receiving the enhanced oral rehydration solution had 30 percent shorter duration of the diarrhea. In addition, the children who received Ventria’s proteins had a higher rate of recovery and reduced incidence of another episode of diarrhea.
Leading researchers in the field have said that the development is a significant breakthrough in a condition that kills more than 2 million children every year.
"We know that babies that drink breast milk do not get diarrhea with anywhere near the same frequency as children who are not breast fed, so if you can take the important components of breast milk and extend them to children who are not breastfeeding and older people this would be a huge advantage," William Greenough III, MD, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University and an international expert in pediatric and geriatric diarrhea, has said. "This is what we call the Holy Grail: We’d like to have something that both hydrated people and could shorten the illness."
According to the World Health Organization there are 4 billion episodes of diarrhea in children each year. Many of these are repeat instances that can create chronic health problems including malnutrition, which in turn can weaken children’s immune systems and expose them to additional health risks such as infection, pneumonia and anemia.
"Diarrhea is a dreadful disease that preys worldwide upon the most innocent and the most vulnerable groups of people: children, the elderly and the poor," Dr. Stolte said. "This innovative science promises to provide new solutions to a long-standing public health problem. We applaud this effort."
Stolte, IALS and its U.S. partner, the Biomedical Exchange Program (BMEP), host http://www.plantpharma.org, an online community dedicated to a science-based, medically oriented discussion on PMPs and their potential to help combat life-threatening illness.
Continued in article
Technologies for regenerating damaged cells could one day help aging
iPod addicts -- who are at higher risk of hearing loss
Emily Singer, "A Hope for Hearing Loss," MIT's Technology Review, June 21, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17010&ch=biotech
"Mental Health Youth Website at World Peace Forum," PR Web,
June 19, 2006 ---
What is neoteny?
Serious Study: Immaturity Levels Rising
The adage "like a kid at heart" may be truer than we think, since new research is showing that grown-ups are more immature than ever. Specifically, it seems a growing number of people are retaining the behaviors and attitudes associated with youth. As a consequence, many older people simply never achieve mental adulthood, according to a leading expert on evolutionary psychiatry. Among scientists, the phenomenon is called psychological neoteny. The theory’s creator is Bruce Charlton, a professor in the School of Biology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. He also serves as the editor-in-chief of Medical Hypotheses, which will feature a paper outlining his theory in an upcoming issue. Charlton explained to Discovery News that humans have an inherent attraction to physical youth, since it can be a sign of fertility, health and vitality. In the mid-20th century, however, another force kicked in, due to increasing need for individuals to change jobs, learn new skills, move to new places and make new friends. A “child-like flexibility of attitudes, behaviors and knowledge” is probably adaptive to the increased instability of the modern world, Charlton believes. Formal education now extends well past physical maturity, leaving students with minds that are, he said, “unfinished.”
Jennifer Viegas, "Serious Study: Immaturity Levels Rising," Discovery News, June 25, 2006 --- Click Here
Visible Proofs: Forensic Views of the Body ---
MedLinePlus: Dental Health ---
Campus Health and Safety.org ---
"The Naked Truth About Sex Ed," by Regina Lynn, Wired News, June 16, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/columns/0,71158-0.html?tw=wn_index_2
A week ago, I got my hands on a book that big media has been afraid to touch. According to its author, a National Public Radio show said it was "too edgy" to review, while Newsweek said it was "inappropriate."
No, it's not Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code. It's a book on honest communication about sex, with an emphasis on sexual pleasure and emotional health. It recognizes that sex is so much more than intercourse and encourages readers to have an extensive pre-sex discussion, or PSD, before becoming sexually involved with a partner. And it advises not committing monogamously to one partner too soon.
Not so shocking until you realize that the book is written for teens and young adults, although author Dr. Roger Libby hopes parents and teachers will read and discuss it as well. And even though the title perfectly captures what's between the covers -- The Naked Truth About Sex: A Guide to Intelligent Sexual Choices for Teenagers and Twentysomethings -- it is apparently so dangerous in America to acknowledge that teenagers have sexual feelings and behaviors that few media outlets are willing to risk bringing attention to it.
But I've read it, and I'm not afraid. In fact, I think many adults can benefit from Libby's emphasis on communication and honesty and emotional health.
"This is the first book (about sex) written to teenagers other than (books about) abstinence since 1968!" he exclaims during our phone interview.
Libby is a certified sex therapist with a practice in Seattle and an adjunct professor of the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. In writing Naked Truth, he deliberately stayed away from the usual diagrams of genitalia and reproductive systems in favor of getting to the real concerns young people have about sex.
The book includes numerous questions sent to him by teens and twenty-somethings during his Pleasure Dome radio show, which ran for three years on indie rock station 99X in Atlanta.
While young people will recognize themselves in the words of their peers, I suspect these Q&A sections will be revelations to parents as well. Judging from the e-mail I receive on a daily basis, young people aren't the only ones with these concerns.
- Am I normal?
- I have never had an orgasm. Not with a guy, not even when I'm masturbating. It makes my boyfriend feel bad because he thinks he's not pleasing me. What should I do?
- I wish your PSD were required before sex. Maybe if sex education included something besides abstinence we'd all be informed enough to be selectively sexual.
- All we ever get from teachers is the tired, irrelevant, "Just say no" motto.... How can we influence adults to be more real?
"I wanted to do a think piece, to promote a different view of sex," Libby says. "A broader definition (of safer sex) -- a PSD, not just, 'Do you have a condom?'"
He sums up the pre-sex discussion thusly:A PSD is an intimate and entertaining conversation that informs prospective lovers about each other's feelings, desires, expectations, fantasies and her/his sexual knowledge and sophistication. It's an introduction to the possibility of a sexual relationship or encounter -- a preview of what sex would be like.
He doesn't talk much about the mechanics of sexual intercourse, focusing instead on making smart choices that lead to happy and safe sexual experiences, now and in the future. He writes about developing a healthy body and emotional self-esteem, fostering relationships based on mutual affection and trust, and the importance of being a good listener.
Continued in article
Potpourri from One of My Favorite Writers
This week’s column will be miscellaneous, not to say meandering. It updates earlier stories on Wikipedia, Upton Sinclair, and the Henry Louis Gates method of barbershop peer-review. It also provides a tip on where to score some bootleg Derrida.
Scott McLemee, "Grab Bag," Inside Higher Ed, June 28, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/06/28/mclemee
What are the meanings of the terms SMS and Zlango
The newest language for mobile text messaging
looks like hieroglyphics and sounds like a caveman. The language is Zlango,
and its creators aim to inject whimsy and emotion into text messaging while
reducing the number of keystrokes needed to get the point across. "SMS is
the driest of all forms of communication," Zlango founder and Chief
Executive Officer Yoav Lorch told UPI. "SMS," short for "short messaging
service," is how much of the rest of the world refers to text messaging.
"Me little late meeting sorry sorry," PhysOrg, June 28, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news70640782.html
Bob Jensen's Technology Glossary is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/245gloss.htm
New spreadsheet innovations from he original developer of spreadsheet software
June 28, 2006 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]
Dan Bricklin was the developer of Visicalc – and he has a screencast about his new web-based spreadsheet.
What are late-night television comedians doing to cheer UP Rush Limbaugh?
"Late-night comics Rush to Limbaugh story: Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien rise to occasion to lampoon Viagra incident," WorldNetDaily, June 28, 2006 --- http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=50832
Rush Limbaugh wasn't the only broadcaster to make light of his airport delay when authorities in Florida found a bottle of Viagra in his luggage prescribed to someone else.
The late-night comics are having a field day with the story.
Both Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno joked about the incident on their respective programs last night and this morning.
"Airport security found a bottle of Viagra in Rush Limbaugh's luggage, so they held him up for three hours," O'Brien said. "Let's all say the punch line together, shall we? So they held him up for three hours, and then the Viagra held him up for another three hours."
Leno uncorked at least five jokes about the saga:
# "Well, it's Tuesday, or as Rush Limbaugh calls it, 'hump day.'"
# "That was my favorite story, Rush 'Limp-baugh' was detained for more than three hours at the Palm Beach airport after officials found a bottle of Viagra in his possession with someone else's name on it. How ironic is that? The one Republican with a plan to get cheap prescription drugs and they try to arrest him. It doesn't seem fair."
# "Airport officials said they first got suspicious when they noticed Rush couldn't keep his tray table down."
# "Here's an interesting fact. Did you know this? Even when Rush Limbaugh is on Viagra, he still 'leans to the right.'"
# "What is it with Republicans and Viagra? First Bob Dole, he was doing the ads for Viagra. Now they got Rush Limbaugh. Say what you will about Bill Clinton, but the man was always there to answer the call, ladies and gentlemen."
"A Stinging First Draft: Report released Monday by the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, June 27, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/27/commission
“History is littered with examples of industries that, at their peril, failed to respond to — or even to notice — changes in the world around them,” the report said, adding: “Our year-long examination of the challenges facing higher education has brought us to the uneasy conclusion that the sector’s past attainments have led it to unseemly complacency about the future.”
The 27-page preliminary report — which is enough a work in progress that it lacks a conclusion — largely delivers the back of its hand to American higher education, which it describes as offering “equal parts meritocracy and mediocrity.”
After a fleeting opening mention of higher education as “one of [the nation’s] greatest success stories,” the report lays out dozens of mostly critical findings, including
- Insufficient access to higher education for many Americans, caused by inadequate student preparation, poor alignment between high school and college standards, and informational and financial barriers.
- “The seemingly inexorable increase in college costs,” driven by “colleges’ and universities’ failure to seek institutional efficiencies and by their disregard for improving productivity,” and a system of higher education finance that is “increasingly dysfunctional, inefficient, and inadequate.”
- “Evidence that the quality of student learning at U.S. colleges and universities is inadequate and, in some cases, declining.”
- A “woeful lack” of publicly available and rigorously accurate information about colleges, most of which “make no serious effort to examine their effectiveness on the most important measure of all: how much students learn.”
Those and other findings, the draft report suggests, require a set of “imaginative solutions that are not just incremental but that rethink numerous aspects of today’s higher education system in substantial ways.”
It recommends dozens of changes, including:
- Expanding access to college by “sealing the leaks in the educational pipeline,” better aligning K-12 and higher education standards and curriculums, and reforming colleges of education.
- Overhauling the “entire financial aid system” in ways that would increase the availability of need-based aid and eliminate the complex federal financial aid form. Although it talks about a “streamlined” system, the draft, as written, stops short of calling for radically reducing the number of federal grant and loan programs, although some commissioners favor that.
- Improving colleges’ productivity by insisting that they better control costs and prices ("college tuition should not rise faster than family incomes") and encouraging competition from “new competitors to traditional four-year institutions,” notably “community colleges and private for-profit providers,” which can be accomplished by “reducing barriers to the transfer of credit between institutions.”
- Encouraging states to require that public institutions measure their students’ learning through a potpourri of tests and surveys, and directing colleges to “make aggregate summary results of all postsecondary learning measures ... publicly available in a consumer-friendly form.”
- Developing a “unit record” system ("with appropriate privacy safeguards") to allow for the tracking of student performance across their academic careers.
- Creating a “national accreditation framework,” though the draft does not specify whether this should be in addition to or in place of the current system of regional accreditation.
As recently as Friday, Miller, the chairman, and the commission’s staff had not been planning on releasing the draft report to the public, maintaining that federal law allowed the commission to keep its written work private until it completed work on a final report. But over the weekend, after a partial draft that circulated among the panel’s members provoked a significant outcry about its harshly critical tone, Miller said that the commission would release a draft, which was written by a small cadre of professional writers and consultants to the chairman.
Continued in article
"What’s Your Fraud IQ? Think you know enough about corruption to spot it in any of its myriad forms? Then rev up your fraud detection radar and take this (deceptively) simple test." by Joseph T. Wells, Journal of Accountancy, July 2006 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jul2006/wells.htm
What Accountants Need to Know --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#AccountantsNeedToKnow
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud.htm
One of my technology heroes, Stanley Zarowin, answers technology questions in the July 2006 free online edition of the Journal of Accountancy --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jul2006/tech_qa.htm#PRINT
Will you want to replace Internet Explorer and Firefox with "Flock" as your default Web browser?
And here I was just getting comfortable with Firefox as my default browser.
"Flock: The New Superstar Browser: If you like the Firefox browser, you'll love Flock, which is rife with built-in social software features," by Wade Roush, MIT's Technology Review, June 23, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17034
You know that drawer in your kitchen full of everything from screwdrivers and matches to lint removers, Post-it notes, and picture hangers? That's what the Internet is starting to look like for folks who are hooked on social Web technologies such as blogging, photo sharing, social bookmarking, tagging, news feeds, wikis, and map mashups. That is to say, there are a lot of tools out there for creating, uploading, and sharing content -- and many of them work quite well. But they're a jumble, and you always lose time searching for the right one.
Flock, however, is the world's first browser built with social computing in mind. It does everything a Web browser should do, plus a lot of things that other browsers can't do without plugins or extensions. It won't organize your utility drawer, but it might speed you through your Web tasks so that you finally have time for that long-neglected housework. ;-)
Flock Inc., a year-old, 15-person outfit based in Mountain View, CA, released the "0.7 beta" version of Flock (for Windows only) on June 13. I've been testing it for the last several days. I'm impressed -- so much so that I'm almost ready to abandon Firefox and make Flock my default browser.
You might want to audition Flock for a while before you do the same, since it still has a few quirks and unfamiliar behaviors. But overall, the code-jocks at Flock have done a brilliant job of integrating functions that used to require me to fragment my attention across a dozen different websites and software tools.
Flock is the first browser to take full advantage of two fairly new sets of Web 2.0 resources: first, the open-source Mozilla browser code base, which gives Flock all the same features you're accustomed to in Firefox, such as tabbed browsing; and second, the rapidly multiplying application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow external parties to interact with database-driven services like Flickr. Those APIs are what lets Flock's programmers give you the tools to manage much of your personal information aura -- your bookmarks, images, blog posts, tags, and favorite news sources -- from a single application.
My favorite thing about Flock? The "blog this" option in the right-click menu, which beautifully illustrates how Flock integrates with other online services and simplifies common tasks such as creating a blog entry.
When you first download and install Flock, it asks whether you use a blogging service such as Blogger, TypePad, Movable Type, or Live Journal, and invites you to enter your username and password. If you do, the "blog this" button will open a composing window with a pre-formatted link to the page you're looking at. You can type your comment, click "Publish," and wait for the post to show up on your blog. It's as easy as that to share the Web tidbits you discover throughout your day. You may never have to log into your blogging services' private interface again.
A related feature of Flock is almost as delightful: Web Snippets. If you see a sentence or paragraph you might want to reuse somewhere else -- in a blog post or an e-mail, for example -- you can highlight it and choose "Send to Web Snippets" from the right-click menu. As the name suggests, this feature sends the extract to the browser's snippets collection, which shows up as an optional bar at the bottom of the screen. From that bar, snippets can be dragged-and-dropped back into any HTML-based form, such as the "body" area of an online e-mail editor. It's a lot easier than the old procedure for reusing content, which often involved bookmarking the link to the page where you saw an interesting passage, coming back to it later, relocating the passage, and cutting-and-pasting it into an e-mail or a blog post.
Speaking of bookmarking, Flock takes care of that. The same big "Star" button that lets you mark items as local Favorites will publish those items to your online linkstream at social-bookmarking sites Del.icio.us or Shadows. (The drop-down menu for the Star button includes an intriguingly mysterious item called "Super Star," the function of which I have not been able to determine. If you know what it does, please leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post.)
And I haven't even mentioned Flock's built-in news feed, which eliminates the need for a separate RSS news aggregator, or its photo-sharing features, one of which lets you drag-and-drop photographs into HTML forms, such as the comment fields at other people's blogs or MySpace profiles. To accomplish this, Flock cleverly connects with your account at Flickr or Photobucket, uploads the photo to that account, then places an HTML link to the photo into the comment field. That way, anyone who clicks on the link later will be taken directly to your photo.
Another photography-oriented feature is the photobar, a bar at the top of the browser window that shows a parade of thumbnail images from your Flickr photostream or anyone else's. If you set it to connect with your squash buddy's photostream, say, you'll automatically see the latest pictures of his two-year-old when you open Flock. That's a very cool feature -- and up to now, it's only been available using plugins or standalone programs from companies like Bubbleshare.
Flock integration isn't flawless. My first try at blogging directly from Flock worked fine. The second time, when I clicked "Publish," Flock indicated that it couldn’t connect with TypePad's servers. I tried twice more with the same result, then gave up, figuring TypePad was having server trouble. Then I went to look at my blog -- and saw three published copies of the same post. (The moral of that story: no matter which remote blogging tool you use to publish an entry, it pays to proofread the new entry on your actual blog before you wander on to your next task.)
But considering how generally amazing and functional this beta release is, Flock deserves to be cut some slack over the remaining bugs. Because Flock is built on Mozilla, the same code base used by the Mozilla Foundation to build Firefox, the Flock team will be able to expand the program's features indefinitely. Also, most of the scores of extensions people have written for Firefox will also work in Flock -- so people defecting from Firefox to Flock hardly have to give up anything.
When I spoke with Peter Andrews, a developer at Flock, a few days before the beta launch, he told me the company's mission was to build a "next generation Web browser" for the age of social computing (see my TR.com story "Revamping the Web Browser," June 9, 2006). Unlike the 1990s or the early 2000s, Andrews said, "You now have large numbers of people interacting on the Web through communities like MySpace and Yahoo 360, and thousands of bloggers producing content. The Web of the '90s was very much a one-to-many web, with the vast majority of people just consuming. Now you have a growing community of producers. We're building a two-way Web -- and at Flock we're integrating the functionality to support that."
Well put. And, what's more, it really works.
I'll be doing an extended review of Flock for a story here on the site next week. Meanwhile, go download it. Be sure to try out some of the nifty tricks, like snippet-posting and Del.icio.us bookmarking -- and leave your comments below.
How to keep up on bills, snail mail, and life in general while you're
Another option is to use a third-party bill payment service, such as Paytrust . For $13 per month, Paytrust lets you view your bills online and pay up to 30 bills electronically from your regular bank accounts (additional bill payments are 50 cents each). You must have your bills forwarded to a unique post-office box address in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that the Paytrust Bill Center sets up for you, according to the company's Web site. At the Paytrust center, your bills are scanned and then posted online for your viewing. You can pay them with your regular banking account.
Tip: Set up online banking at least one month before you leave. That way, if complications arise, you can more easily contact your bank's customer service department.
James A. Martin, "Going Away for Awhile? How to keep up on bills, snail mail, and life in general while you're away," PC World via The Washington Post, June 23, 2006 ---
"Two New Services Try to Warn You About Sleazy Sites," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2006; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115093607407387016.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
The World Wide Web is a marvelous thing. Because it exists, more people have direct access to more knowledge than at any time in history. But, by linking people everywhere, the Web has also spawned a new international criminal class, and a related class of sleazy businesses.
These creeps now find it easier than ever to defraud people, steal their identities and blast them with unwanted or false advertising. They use the Web as a pathway to infect computers, corrupt data and take over others' machines.
Security software can help block this wave of woe. But it would be better to know in advance if a Web site that comes up in a search result, or one you arrived at through other means, is harboring malicious software, or perpetrating scams, or generating spam and unwanted pop-ups. It might also be nice to know if a site with an innocuous name contains pornography, hate speech or other content that might be offensive to you.
I've been testing two services that aim to provide such advance notice of bad or offensive sites. The services, Scandoo and SiteAdvisor, take different approaches to the task and offer different features. But both instantly mark up a search-result page, and label the links that might be dangerous.
Both services are free of charge, and each works on both Windows and Macintosh computers, and in multiple Web browsers. On balance, I prefer SiteAdvisor, though Scandoo has a couple of things SiteAdvisor lacks.
Scandoo, still in beta, or test, phase, is from a company called ScanSafe, which provides site-scanning and security services for corporations. SiteAdvisor was founded by some engineers from MIT and was recently bought by McAfee, the big computer-security firm.
SiteAdvisor works via a software plug-in that you download and install. The plug-in, available at www.siteadvisor.com, modifies either the Internet Explorer browser for Windows, or the Firefox browser for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, so the browser can identify bad Web sites. SiteAdvisor works with the Google, Yahoo and MSN search engines.
Scandoo requires no software downloads and works with more browsers than SiteAdvisor does. But it requires you to enter a search term at its Web page, www.scandoo.com, rather than at the home page or search box of your favorite search engine. It then transfers to the search engine you choose and modifies the results page to identify sites that may be troublesome. It now works only with Google or MSN.
There are some other major differences between the two. Scandoo scans Web pages on the fly to look for bad stuff. SiteAdvisor matches Web sites against a database it has compiled about content. Scandoo works only on pure search results, not the ads alongside the results. SiteAdvisor rates the results and the ads, which often are more dangerous.
In addition, because it is built into the browser, SiteAdvisor can rate any site you are visiting, not just sites listed in search results. SiteAdvisor places a small, unobtrusive icon in your browser. The icon is green if you are on a Web page it considers safe and honest. It turns red if it regards the site as dangerous.
Scandoo works only on search results pages. But it has a function SiteAdvisor lacks. It can rate pages for offensive content, while SiteAdvisor focuses just on the presence of malicious software, or invasive advertising techniques. Scandoo allows you to specify which kinds of content you want flagged, including pornography, hate speech and gambling.
SiteAdvisor also flags sites it regards as perpetrating scams, like charging people for software that actually is free. But in my tests, it ignored some other scams, such as offers for pills that magically enlarge body parts.
In my tests, SiteAdvisor consistently flagged more Web sites as bad than Scandoo did. When I searched for "Free iPods" in Google, Scandoo gave all the regular search results a green check mark, meaning OK. SiteAdvisor marked the first regular result in red and gave it an "X," meaning trouble. It also marked most of the ads in red and gave them "X's."
This is partly due to different techniques they use. Scandoo claims its real-time scanning can uncover bad sites SiteAdvisor might miss. SiteAdvisor claims its database is more comprehensive.
Another reason for the disparity is that SiteAdvisor isn't just looking for viruses or spyware. It uses test computers to see if sites are likely to generate what it calls "spammy" email or pop-up ads. If they do, the sites get flagged.
Some might regard SiteAdvisor's filters as too aggressive, but, unlike Scandoo, it gives a detailed explanation for each rating. The explanations I saw made sense. For the free iPods site SiteAdvisor flagged, it explained: "After entering our e-mail address on this site, we received 11 e-mails per week. They were very spammy." It even showed some test emails.
Both services are very helpful. You might want to use Scandoo if you're concerned about offensive content. But for flagging malicious software and invasive advertising, SiteAdvisor is more comprehensive and tougher.
Bob Jensen's threads on computing and network security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection
Bob Jensen's threads on consumer frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm
From the Federal Trade Commission on March 4, 2006
American's Top 10 Dot Cons --- http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/dotcon/
Socratic Method of learning to help both existing business owners and those wishing to start their own business
New E-Book by Phil Andrews Released by Authorstreet.com New E-Book by Phil Andrews released by Authorstreet.com. The Day I Became the CEO of my own Corporation by Phil Andrews uses the Socratic Method of learning to help both existing business owners and those wishing to start their own business ask critical questions to help grow their business to the next level --- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/6/prweb400605.htm
Bob Jensen's small business helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm
"Digipede to Showcase .NET Grid Computing Solutions at Securities Industry Association Technology Management Conference," PR Web, June 19, 2006 --- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/6/prweb400497.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on grid computing are at
Good Manners: World of Courtesy: Ranking of 35 Cities
Beginning to Date --- http://www.archive.org/details/Beginnin1953
Bob Jensen's travel links are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Travel
British Muslims ‘most radicalised’
BRITISH Muslims are more radicalised than those in several other major western European nations, according to the authors of a new global poll. The Pew Global Attitudes Report found Muslims in Britain were more likely than their counterparts in France, Germany and Spain to feel there was a conflict between being devout and living in modern society.
"British Muslims ‘most radicalised’," by Rachel Williams, Irish Examiner, June 24, 2006 --- Click Here
"Poll shows Muslims in Britain are the most anti-western in Europe; Attitude resembles public opinion in Islamic nations; British show greatest mismatch of feelings," by Julian Borge, The Guardian, June 23, 2006 --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,,1804078,00.html
Public opinion in Britain is mostly favourable towards Muslims, but the feeling is not requited by British Muslims, who are among the most embittered in the western world, according to a global poll published yesterday.
The poll, by the Washington-based Pew Global Attitudes Project, asked Muslims and non-Muslims about each other in 13 countries. In most, it found suspicion and contempt to be mostly mutual, but uncovered a significant mismatch in Britain.
The poll found that 63% of all Britons had a favourable opinion of Muslims, down slightly from 67% in 2004, suggesting last year's London bombings did not trigger a significant rise in prejudice. Attitudes in Britain were more positive than in the US, Germany and Spain (where the popularity of Muslims has plummeted to 29%), and about the same as in France.
Less than a third of British non-Muslims said they viewed Muslims as violent, significantly fewer than non-Muslims in Spain (60%), Germany (52%), the US (45%) and France (41%).
By contrast, the poll found that British Muslims represented a "notable exception" in Europe, with far more negative views of westerners than Islamic minorities elsewhere on the continent. A significant majority viewed western populations as selfish, arrogant, greedy and immoral. Just over half said westerners were violent. While the overwhelming majority of European Muslims said westerners were respectful of women, fewer than half British Muslims agreed. Another startling result found that only 32% of Muslims in Britain had a favourable opinion of Jews, compared with 71% of French Muslims.
Across the board, Muslim attitudes in Britain more resembled public opinion in Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia than elsewhere in Europe. And on the whole, British Muslims were more pessimistic than those in Germany, France and Spain about the feasibility of living in a modern society while remaining devout.
Continued in article
Investors in Hedge Funds Do So at Their Own Peril
Hedge Funds Are Growing: Is This Good or Bad?
When the ratings agencies downgraded General Motors debt to junk status in early May, a chill shot through the $1 trillion hedge fund industry. How many of these secretive investment pools for the rich and sophisticated would be caught on the wrong side of a GM bond bet? In the end, the GM bond bomb was a dud. Hedge funds were not as exposed as many had thought. But the scare did help fuel the growing debate about hedge funds. Are they a benefit to the financial markets, or a menace? Should they be allowed to continue operating in their free-wheeling style, or should they be reined in by new requirements, such as a move to make them register as investment advisors with the Securities and Exchange Commission?
"Hedge Funds Are Growing: Is This Good or Bad?" Knowledge@wharton, June 2005 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1225
"Court Says S.E.C. Lacks Authority on Hedge Funds," by Floyd Norris, The New York Times, June 24, 2006 --- Click Here
A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that the Securities and Exchange Commission lacks the authority to regulate hedge funds, dealing a possibly fatal blow to the commission's efforts to oversee a rapidly growing industry that now has $1.1 trillion in assets.
A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled unanimously that the commission exceeded its power by treating investors in a hedge fund as "clients" of the fund manager. The commission has authority over any manager with at least 15 clients, and it used that to require hedge fund managers to register.
The ruling, unless overturned on appeal, means that Congressional action would be required to grant the S.E.C. the authority to force hedge fund managers to register, or for the commission to impose any other rules on such funds.
The ruling does not leave such funds totally above the law since they are treated like any other investor in determining whether they violated securities laws. As a result, the decision will not affect an S.E.C. investigation into possible insider trading by a major hedge fund manager, Pequot Capital Management, which was disclosed in a New York Times article yesterday.
Christopher Cox, who became S.E.C. chairman after the rule was adopted, said the commission would review the issue, but stopped short of indicating that it would continue to seek authority over hedge funds.
"The S.E.C. takes seriously its responsibility to make rules in accordance with our governing laws," Mr. Cox said in a statement. "The court's finding, that despite the commission's investor protection objective its rule is arbitrary and in violation of law, requires that going forward we re-evaluate the agency's approach to hedge fund activity."
He said the commission would "use the court's decision as a spur to improvement in both our rule making process and the effectiveness of our programs to protect investors, maintain fair and orderly markets, and promote capital formation."
As hedge funds have grown, and as some have collapsed amid fraud or because they took excessive risks, pressures to regulate them have grown. But fund managers have protested that the vast majority have acted responsibly and should not be subjected to what James C. McCarroll, a lawyer with Reed Smith, a New York law firm, said yesterday were "regulatory overlays and burdens" approaching those faced by mutual funds.
The S.E.C. rule, adopted in December 2004 on a 3-to-2 vote, called for fund managers with more than $30 million in assets and at least 15 investors to register with the commission. Nearly 1,000 managers did so by the deadline of Feb. 1, 2006.
The S.E.C. rule exempted funds that imposed two-year lockups on investors' money, meaning the money could not be withdrawn for at least that long, leading a number of funds to impose such lockups. Some may choose to remove or ease those rules now.
Hedge funds, as the appeals court opinion written by Judge Arthur R. Randolph noted, "are notoriously difficult to define." But they generally are open only to wealthy investors and charge fees based on a percentage of the assets under management plus a portion of the profits.
The growth of hedge funds has made some managers incredibly wealthy, with incomes dwarfing even those of high-paid corporate chief executives. Alpha, a publication of Institutional Investor, reported that two hedge fund managers earned more than $1 billion each in 2005.
The pressure for more oversight of hedge funds grew after one fund, Long-Term Capital Management, almost collapsed in 1998. The Federal Reserve, fearful that such a collapse could cause systemic risk, encouraged Wall Street firms to mount a rescue, which they did.
The emergence of activist hedge funds, which sometimes act in concert with each other and can become the largest shareholders of some companies, has also increased calls for regulation, both here and in Europe. A German politician called such funds "locusts" that plundered German companies and then fired German workers. Some European governments have pushed for international regulation of such funds.
The decision to push for S.E.C. registration was made by Mr. Cox's immediate predecessor, William H. Donaldson. Mr. Donaldson argued that the funds had grown so large they could cause systemic risk to the financial markets, and that a gradual process of "retailization," through such trends as "fund of funds" that allow relatively small investments, had made it more important for regulators to have at least some knowledge of what was going on in the funds.
Bob Jensen's threads on hedge funds are under the H-Terms at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm#H-Terms
Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on proposed reforms are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudProposedReforms.htm
June 18, 2006 message from Bob Kennelly [bob_kennelly@YAHOO.COM]
I am a data analyst with the Federal Government, recently assigned a project to integrate our accounting codes with XBRL accounting codes, primarily for the quarterly reporting of banking financial information.For the past few weeks, i've been searching the WEB looking for educational materials that will help us map, rollup and orr olldown the data that we recieve from the banks that we regulate, to the more generic XBRL accounting codes.Basically, i'm hoping to provide my team members with the tools to help them make more informed decisions on how to classify accounting codes and capture their findings for further review and discussion.To my suprise there isn't the wealth of accounting information that i thought there would be on the WEB, but i am very relieved to have found Bob Jensen's site and in particular an article which refers to the kind of information gatheringapproaches that i'm hoping to discover!Here is the brief on that article:
"Using Hypertext in Instructional Material: Helping Students Link Accounting Concept Knowledge to Case Applications," by Dickie Crandall and Fred Phillips, Issues in Accounting Education, May 2002, pp. 163-184 ---We studied whether instructional material that connects accounting concept discussions with sample case applications through hypertext links would enable students to better understand how concepts are to be applied to practical case situations.Results from a laboratory experiment indicated that students who learned from such hypertext-enriched instructional material were better able to apply concepts to new accounting cases than those who learned from instructional material that contained identical content but lacked the concept-case application hyperlinks.Results also indicated that the learning benefits of concept-case application hyperlinks in instructional material were greater when the hyperlinks were self-generated by the students rather than inherited from instructors, but only when students had generated appropriate links.Could anyone be so kind as to please suggest other references, articles or tools that will help us better understand and classify the broad range of accounting terminologies and methodologies please?For more information on XBRL, here is the XBRL link: http://xbrl.orgThanks very much!
June 19, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
You may find the following documents of related interest:
"Internet Financial Reporting: The Effects of Hyperlinks and Irrelevant Information on Investor Judgments," by Andrea S. Kelton (Ph.D. Dissertation at the University of Tennessee) --- http://www.mgt.ncsu.edu/pdfs/accounting/kelton_dissertation_1-19-06.pdf
Extendible Adaptive Hypermedia Courseware: Integrating Different Courses and Web Material
Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Publisher: Springer Berlin / Heidelberg ISSN: 0302-9743 Subject: Computer Science Volume 1892 / 2000 Title: Adaptive Hypermedia and Adaptive Web-Based Systems: International Conference, AH 2000, Trento, Italy, August 2000. Proceedings Editors: P. Brusilovsky, O. Stock, C. Strapparava (Eds.) --- Click Here
"Concept, Knowledge, and Thought," G. C. Oden, Annual Review of Psychology Vol. 38: 203-227 (Volume publication date January 1987) --- Click Here
"A Framework for Organization and Representation of Concept Knowledge in Autonomous Agents," by Paul Davidsson, Department of Computer Science, University of Lund, Box 118, S–221 00 Lund, Sweden email: Paul.Davidsson@dna.lth.se
"Active concept learning for image retrieval in dynamic databases," by Dong, A. Bhanu, B. Center for Res. in Intelligent Syst., California Univ., Riverside, CA, USA; This paper appears in: Computer Vision, 2003. Proceedings. Ninth IEEE International Conference on Publication Date: 13-16 Oct. 2003 On page(s): 90- 95 vol.1 ISSN: ISBN: 0-7695-1950-4 --- Click Here
"Types and qualities of knowledge," by Ton de Jong, Monica G.M. Ferguson-Hessler, Educational Psychologist 1996, Vol. 31, No. 2, Pages 105-113 --- Click Here
Hope this helps
June 19, 2006 reply from Zane Swanson [zswanson@EMPORIA.EDU]
The problem of corresponding between XBRL taxonomies has general implications and I would also recommend that the issue be written up. Major issues are that some accounts match taxonomies and others do not with respect to rolling up or down ... in addition to the different naming conventions. One of my XBRL contest teams in 2002 worked on this type of problem by creating an application program to relate US GAAP XBRL tags and IAS GAAP (circa previous IFRS taxonomy) tags. The project is on the web at http://xbrl.emporia.edu/2002/
Professor Zane Swanson
Department of ACIS
Emporia State University
1200 Commercial St.
Emporia, KS 66801
Study of Awareness of XBRL
June 29, 2006 message from Gerald Trites [gtrites@GMAIL.COM]
Today a significant event occurred in the growing acceptance of XBRL as an international standard for Financial and Business Reporting. The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), the body that sets securities policy nationally, issued a request for feedback on the extent of awareness about XBRL. The request includes basic information about the benefits and costs of using XBRL and refers to an online survey to obtain the feedback.
The Accountant’s Guide to XBRL
Among the videotapes that I donated to the University of Mississippi accountancy archives are tapes of some of the excellent XBRL updates over the years in CEP sessions of the American Accounting Association that were conducted by Roger Debreceny, Glen Gray, and Skip White.
June 21, 2006 message from Clinton White [firstname.lastname@example.org]
The Accountant’s Guide to XBRL
The Accountant’s Guide to XBRL is now ready for shipping and I’m publishing it myself. It is based on the way I teach XBRL to my senior Accounting and MIS majors at the University of Delaware. It is priced at $25.00 and can be purchased through my Web site www.skipwhite.com. It is designed to be a supplemental text for any accounting course in which you want to add a module on XBRL. I cannot give away free copies but if you adopt it for your class I will gladly refund your purchase and shipping costs. In addition, I am setting up a secure educator’s Web site with notes, exercise explanations, solutions, additional exercises, and ppt slides.
Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!
"AICPA Brings XBRL Closer to Reporting Improvement Effort," AccountingWeb, June 21, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102277
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) merger of the management of its XBRL development and Enhanced Business Reporting (EBR) initiatives may be more than just a reshuffling of operational hierarchy. It has set the table for two formerly separate efforts to help each other accomplish their intertwined missions, which both involve bringing business reporting into the 21st Century.
The AICPA has moved the XBRL and EBR Consortium management efforts under a single assurance services management team, and appointed Amy Pawlicki, an assurance and advisory services director and its liaison to the EBR Consortium, to oversee the coordination of EBR and XBRL activities, and be the management team’s liaison to the institute’s Assurance Services Executive Committee.
The AICPA and several organizations whose operations are connected to financial reporting in 2004 founded an EBR Consortium to promote a business reporting model that combines a company’s current and past performance with an understanding of its future prospects versus the current reporting model'sreliance mainly on past performance records.
XBRL is a technology in which key elements of electronically-formatted business reports are tagged so that they can be immediately accessed and collated to meet the needs of the reports’ preparers and end users. The AICPA in 1998 organized a consortium of technology vendors and businesses that deal with financial reports to launch development of XBRL, and the effort has since blossomed into a worldwide movement with separate XBRL development consortia in the United States and more than a dozen other countries, and an XBRL International group.
The combined management appears to be a natural since the EBR Consortium and the XBRL development effort share some of the same founding members, the AICPA, Microsoft Corp. and PriceWaterhouse Coopers. And the business reporting company, PR Newswire is among those active in both efforts.
Moreover, the merger reflects the profession’s growing awareness that XBRL is needed to advance EBR’s ultimate mission of greater transparency in financial reports, and to meet current business realities. An Assurance Services Executive Committee draft white paper on reporting and assurance notes the current reporting model was adopted during the Industrial Age and is not designed “to complement the vast array of new business models that companies now follow in the Information/Knowledge Age.”
It further notes the current model “is limited by its focus on static, paper-based, summary-level reports, whereas technology has evolved” far beyond that. The paper makes a strong case that XBRL is in fact meeting all the demands of the new economy, such as making information available on demand, real-time and enabling users to “drill-down into underlying concepts, data and relevant resources.”
The research paper predicts that XBRL will someday become as ubiquitous in business reporting as bar coding is in product distribution. Separately, Peter J. Wallison, resident fellow in the American Enterprise Institute, writing in the "The New Republic" in December 2004, said the capabilities of XBRL can indeed help the EBR Consortium accomplish its mission.
Pawlicki says the combined management will make it easier for team members to recognize areas where XBRL and EBR overlap and move forward with development for both efforts. “We don’t need to keep two separate teams up to date and the one team can see the whole landscape and better respond.” she says.
Most immediately, Pawlicki says the combination could assist in the development of XBRL taxonomies (tagging systems) for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) reporting and for key annual report parts such as Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A).
Pawlicki will represent the AICPA at the XBRL consortium in the United States, and Arleen Thomas, senior vice president of member competency and development, will represent it at the XBRL International group. They take over for the AICPA’s former XBRL point person, Louis Matherne, who left the institute in April for the Information Systems Audit and Control Association
Pawlicki is also charged with making individual CPAs more aware of XBRL and how they can put it to use in their practices and for their clients. “That is one of the most important things I will do,” she says.
Still new to the position, she says a formal communications strategy for XBRL has not yet been developed. But she added that she expects XBRL to be featured more prominently at AICPA member meetings. Improvement there should not be hard, since the technology has been low-profile or invisible at most institute conferences and at state society conferences.
However, XBRL took center stage at the institute’s National Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments late last year when Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Christopher Cox said that the technology “will shape the future” of business reporting. and "will do for business reporting what bar coding did for product distribution.”
XBRL has also been the subject of banking industry conferences since last October when regulators, led by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., began requiring banks to use XBRL in filing their periodic call reports into a national repository.
Still, market acceptance of XBRL is limited, which could be another issue for the AICPA’s EBR-XBRL management team. As of late May the SEC reported that just 20 companies had joined a voluntary XBRL reporting program it launched in January, and its first such voluntary program, begun in April, 2005, attracted only nine takers.
Bob Jensen's threads on XBRL are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm
Germany's Great Risk of Socialized Medicine and Price Controls
Germany's well-trained but frustrated young doctors are leaving the country for higher pay in ever greater numbers, leaving some hospitals struggling to fill positions. More than 12,500 German doctors are working abroad already, and 2,300 left the country in 2005 alone, according to the doctors' association, the Marburger Bund. The Netherlands, Britain, United States, Australia, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries are among the top destinations. "There are more than 5,000 jobs available at hospitals due to the number of people who have left," Michael Helmkamp, a spokesman for the Marburger Bund, said Tuesday. "Clinics all over Germany are facing shortages and many hospitals cannot provide their former standard of health care anymore."
Kirsten Grieshaber, "Young German doctors leaving the country," Yahoo News, June 24, 2006 --- Click Here
Two Scholars Inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame
What controversial stance do they have in common?
The original Accounting Hall of Fame is maintained by Ohio State University --- http://fisher.osu.edu/departments/accounting-and-mis/hall-of-fame/
The distinguished set of members selected to date are listed at
At the forthcoming American Accounting Association (AAA) annual meetings in Washington DC this year on August 7, two new distinguished scholars will be inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame.
June 22, 2006 message from Hall of Famer Dennis Beresford [email@example.com]
I don't know if you've seen the news yet, but Bob Kaplan and Bob Sterling will be this year's inductees to the Accounting Hall of Fame.
June 23, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
Thanks for the update. Both Bob and Bob are more than worthy of this honor. Both accountancy professors have very distinguished teaching and research accomplishments. Although I do not want to detract from those most noteworthy accomplishments, I cannot resist this opportunity to point out that both Bob Sterling and Bob Kaplan are failed critics of the hijacking of the leading academic accounting research journals by the Accountics/Positivist Establishment. However, both of these scholars took vastly different approaches in their efforts to maintain diversity of research methods and topics in the leading research journals.
The Accountics/Positivist Establishment virtually ignored both Sterling and Kaplan!
The following quotations appear in the following two documents:
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
An Analysis of the Contributions of The Accounting Review Across 80 Years: 1926-2005 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/395wpTAR/Web/TAR395wp.htm
Accountics is the mathematical science of (accounting) values.
Charles Sprague (1887) as quoted by McMillan (2003, 1)
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
PG. #390 NONAKA
The chapter argues that building the theory of knowledge creation needs to an epistemological and ontological discussion, instead of just relying on a positivist approach, which has been the implicit paradigm of social science. The positivist rationality has become identified with analytical thinking that focuses on generating and testing hypotheses through formal logic. While providing a clear guideline for theory building and empirical examinations, it poses problems for the investigation of complex and dynamic social phenomena, such as knowledge creation. In positivist-based research, knowledge is still often treated as an exogenous variable or distraction against linear economic rationale. The relative lack of alternative conceptualization has meant that management science has slowly been detached from the surrounding societal reality. The understanding of social systems cannot be based entirely on natural scientific facts.
Ikujiro Nonaka as quoted at Great Minds in Management: The Process of Theory Development --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/GreatMinds.htm
Bob Sterling is rooted in economics and philosophy. He, like Tony Tinker, Barbara Marino, and Paul Williams, relied upon his roots in philosophy to attack the positivists from the standpoint of misinterpretation of the writings of Karl Popper --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper
Sterling wrote the following in "Positive Accounting: An Assessment,"Abacus,Volume 26, Issue 2, September 1990:
Positive accounting theory, using the book of the same name by Watts and Zimmerman (1986) as the primary source of information about that theory, is subjected to scrutiny. The two pillars — (a) value-free study of (b) accounting practices — upon which the legitimacy of that theory are said to rest (and the absence of which is said to make other theories illegitimate) are found to be insubstantial. The claim that authorities — economic and scientific — support the type of theory espoused is found to be mistaken. The accomplishments — actual and potential — of positive theory are found to have been nil, and are projected to continue to be nil. Based on these findings, the recommendation is to classify positive accounting theory as a 'cottage industry' at the periphery of accounting thought and reject its attempt to take centre stage by radically redefining the fundamental question of accounting.
I might add that the above critique would've had zero chance of being published in The Accounting Review (TAR) or other leading U.S. accounting research journals. Professor Sterling always wrote with interesting and simple analogies. He stated that if anthropology research was limited to positivism, then the only research would be the study of anthropologists rather than anthropology.
In some ways, Bob Kaplan is the more interesting critic of the hijacking of academic accounting research by the Accountics/Positivist Establishment. This is because Professor Kaplan built his early reputation, while full time at Carnegie-Mellon University, as an accountics expert in mathematical model building. Later, after he took on joint appointments at Carnegie and the Harvard Business School, he became more involved in case method research. Now he's best noted as a case method researcher since moving full time to Harvard.
In 1986 Steve Zeff was President of the AAA. I had the honor of being appointed by Steve as Program Director for the 1986 AAA annual meetings in Times Square in NYC. I persuaded Bob Kaplan and Joel Demski to share a plenary session in debate of the hijacking of the leading academic accounting research journals by the Accountics/Positivist Establishment (although since the early 1900s the term "accountics" was no longer used in accounting in favor of the term "analytics").
Bob Kaplan's 1986 presentation lamented the fact that researchers using the case method could no longer get their research published in TAR or other leading accounting research journals. He also lamented that innovations generally had their seminal roots in discoveries of practitioners rather than researchers publishing in the leading academic accounting research journals. Whereas practitioners once took a keen interest in academic accounting research, this interest waned to almost nothing.
Joel Demski's presentation defended mathematical model building and analysis as the cornerstone of accounting as a pure "academic discipline." I would not describe Joel as an evangelist of positivism relative to the extremes of Watts and Zimmerman. Joel typically has had less to say about positivism than he has about mathematical model building and economic information theory applied to accountancy. In this regard I would describe Joel as an ardent defender of accountics. Joel admitted in 1986 that it was very difficult to pinpoint discoveries in academe that were noteworthy in the practicing profession. However, he claimed that this was not a leading purpose of academic accounting research.
In some ways the 2006 AAA annual meetings this year in Washington DC may be a replay of the 1986 meetings in NYC. Taking Bob Kaplan's place at the August 8, 2006 plenary session will be ardent positivism critic Anthony Hopwood from the United Kingdom. His message is somewhat predictable and he will deliver it forcefully.
Joel Demski's (with John Fellingham) presentation at the August 9, 2006 plenary session is less predictable, but the title "Is Accounting an Academic Discipline?" provides some clues that Joel will remain an ardent defender of mathematical and statistical modeling as the core of academic accounting research. It will be interesting to compare what Joel had to say in 1986 versus what he says after 20 years after continued accountics/positivism hijacking of leading U.S. academic accounting research journals and, I might add, U.S. doctoral programs.
Ohio State University became one of the leading accountics/positivsim research centers. Under the noteworthy leadership of Tom Burns, OSU became one of the first major universities to drop traditional accounting courses from its doctoral programs in favor of sending students outside the College of Business to take graduate courses in mathematics, statistics, econometrics, psychometrics, and sociometrics. In this context, it is a pleasure that leaders at OSU, in conjunction with the outside Accounting Hall of Fame nominating committee members, sees fit this year to honor two ardent critics of the Accountics/Positivist Establishment.
Hopefully some of you will heed my current "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
Unfortunately, my wife’s scheduled spine surgery prevents me from being at the 2006 annual AAA meetings in Washington DC. Please let me know how the two plenary sessions mentioned above transpire.
Do Australians use "Guh' Day" for "hello" or "goodbye?"
According to my favorite "Talking Dog" (bad-joke, wonderful-accent) disk
jockey Mike Kear on free Blue Grass Country Internet Radio the popular term
"Guh' Day" is used Down Under for "hello" --- contrary to popular opinion
elsewhere in the world where we think we're simulating Australians when we
sign off on a message with "Guh' Day" or "G'Day" --- http://www.bluegrasscountry.org/
(Click on Windows Media to start the radio stream on a Windows PC)
Mike is only one of various hosts on this 24-hour stream of great music.
When I'm updating my Website, I listen to a lot of Blue Grass along with
some of the other free online music at
Bill Mister clued me into the free blue grass streaming station.
Darwin once said "Guh' Day" to a very large turtle
"A 176-year-old tortoise believed by some to have been owned by Charles Darwin has died in an Australian zoo," PhysOrg, June 24, 23006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news70359238.html
June 25, 2006 reply from Henry Collier [firstname.lastname@example.org]