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




Tidbits on July 1, 2006
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

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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/.

Bob Jensen's Blogs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/JensenBlogs.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
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Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/resume.htm#Presentations   
 

Bob Jensen's various threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm
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Bob Jensen's home page --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/


Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan --- FactCheck.org --- http://www.factcheck.org/


Online Video, Slide Shows, 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

NOAA Ocean Explorer --- http://www.oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/

From the New York Times on June 23, 2006
Multimedia Audio and Photos: Victims of a Coal Boom Audio and Photos: Victims of a Coal Boom

Audio and Photos: Victims of a Coal Boom
As coal powers China's sizzling economy, thousands of acres of land are literally sinking because of the ravages of underground coal mining.
Audio Slide Show: The Last Day of Little League
On a Father's Day weekend, the Times's Harry Hurt III reports on an executive pursuit: watching his son's Little League game.
Audio: One Immigrant's Story
As illegal immigrants in the United States have increased in numbers, so have the ranks of those who want to swindle them.
Video: China's Dark Clouds
The Times's David Barboza on how China's coal industry is creating an environmental and health care crisis.
Audio Slide Show: The Impala's Spot Near the Top
The Chevy Impala shows how much progress General Motors has made in improving its vehicles and, at the same time, how far behind it continues to fall.

 


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

Singing Man's Homepage --- http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/

Bagpipe version of Amazing Grace --- http://www.worsleyschool.net/socialarts/bagpipes/amazing.html

From NPR
Classical Pianist Interprets Lyricism of Elliott Smith --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5481868

From NPR
Guy Davis: The Language of the Blues --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5479749

From NPR
Sonic Youth: A 25-Year Experiment in Artful Noise --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5479731

From NPR
Jangly Pop for the Left Side of the Brain --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5483799

From NPR
'Sounds of Silence': Rocking Out in Iran --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5487106

From NPR
Classical Music Finds Its Funky Side --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5507990
 


Photographs and Art

From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department --- http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/

Visible Proofs: Forensic Views of the Body --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/visibleproofs/

World War I Color Photos --- http://www.worldwaronecolorphotos.com/

United Nations Environment Programme: Maps and Graphics http://www.grida.no/

Sandstorm in Iraq --- http://www.sunbelt-software.com/stu/iraq/sandstorm.htm

Painting Demonstration in Oil --- http://www.williamwhitaker.com/B_HTML_files/07_demo/secret.htm

Chris Buzelli --- http://www.chrisbuzelli.com/

10,000 Sheep Created by Online Workers (Kinda Dumb) --- http://www.thesheepmarket.com/

Pre-Rinse Cycle (Cartoon)  --- http://www.offthemarkcartoons.com/cartoons/2000-05-02.gif

Make a Rainbow --- http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/MAR.htm

A 23-feet giant Estuarine crocodile in Orissa has been crowned the world's largest,
officials said on Friday, Reuters reports --- Click Here

From NPR
'Greetings from New Orleans': Postcards as Art --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5492048

From NPR
A Solstice Observance in the Utah Desert --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5500934

Official Amelia Earhart Site --- http://www.eduhound.com/ewarchives/062206.cfm

 


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

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1812-1870) --- Click Here 

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (1775-1817) --- Click Here

Gulag: Soviet Forced Labor Camps and the Struggle for Freedom http://gulaghistory.org/exhibits/nps/onlineexhibit/

The Simpsons Quotes --- http://www.thesimpsonsquotes.com/

Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) was the pseudonym of Lucila de María del Perpetuo Socorro Godoy Alcayaga, a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat and feminist --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriela_Mistral




“Objectivity is a good thing to strive for in journalism, but not at the expense of failing to confront the obvious. My own newspaper, for example, has written extensively about Vice President Cheney without once pointing out the self-evident fact that he is — and I offer this as a trained professional observer — Satan.
Dave Rossie who contends "Truth always makes graduation speeches better" --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
If this was a quote from a student's commencement address we might be more forgiving, but David Rossie is an Editor for the Gannett Newspaper Chain. What odds do you give to the "objectivity" of anything edited by Dave Rossie?

Homer: Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel.
Homer Simpson, The Simpsons Quotes --- http://www.thesimpsonsquotes.com/

Three Montana State University students are suing two professors for libel over a painting by an art professor that portrays the students as “foolish weasels,” the Associated Press reported. The painting was displayed prior the students’ being cleared over allegations of having cheated on an assignment.
Inside Higher Ed, June 22, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/23/qt

A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that "individuality" is the key to success.
Robert Orben as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-06-20-06.htm

Homeowners and business owners still reeling from soaring insurance premiums can expect to get socked again. After two busy hurricane seasons, local governments across Palm Beach County are being slammed with similar property insurance increases. And taxpayers will have to pay the price to keep city halls, police and fire stations, and park facilities protected. "In the last five years, it's easily more than doubled, possibly tripled, with no end in sight," said Boynton Beach Risk Manager Chuck Magazine. "My doctor tells me I need to be in a less stressful job."
Erika Slife, "Palm Beach County governments getting socked by high insurance bills," Sun-Sentinel, June 19, 2006 --- http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-pcoverage19jun19,0,635079.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

According to the senator’s travel-expense forms, unearthed by the Center for Public Integrity, the senator and her aides have taken free rides on a Lockheed-owned private plane at least five times since 2001. The Lockheed jet isn’t exactly Air Force One, but it certainly has saved time and airfare costs during the Armed Services Committee member’s successful efforts to get Lockheed defense contracts, notably a $1.7 billion, 750-job deal to build presidential helicopters up in Owego (population 3,911), near Binghamton. Last year, Lockheed’s pac gave Clinton the maximum $5,000 donation, a first since Clinton became senator, but its generosity didn’t start there. In July 2004, Clinton and her personal aide, Huma Abedin, boarded a Lockheed jet at Dulles and zipped up to Troy for the day with the Italian ambassador to the U.S., Sergio Vento, for the first-ever New York State Little Italy Heritage Tourism Conference. After the full-day affair, Clinton zipped back down to Teterboro, New Jersey, on Lockheed’s jet. The trip, labeled on disclosure forms as a “speaking engagement,” was paid for by Lockheed, even though Senate ethics rules mandate that a primary sponsor of the event pony up. Jennifer Hanley, a Clinton rep, insists no ethical breaches were made, explaining that Clinton and Lockheed share the same goal—bringing jobs upstate—and that Lockheed’s free lift to Troy was made in that spirit.
Geoffrey Gray, "Hillary’s Friendly Skies: Air Lockheed," New York Magazine, June 19, 2006 --- http://www.newyorkmetro.com/news/intelligencer/17339/index.html

The most memorable part of "Forrest Gump" is a scene set in or around 1968, in which Forrest, who by the way served in Vietnam, has encountered his love interest, Jenny, at an antiwar rally in Washington. Jenny gets into an argument with her hippie boyfriend, who slaps her in the face. Forrest decks the hippie, who later tries to smooth things over with Jenny: "Things got a little out of hand," he tells her. "It's just this war and that lying son of a bitch, Johnson! I would never hurt you. You know that." This wonderfully encapsulated the worst aspects of baby-boomer liberalism: the narcissism thinly disguised as idealism, the self-pity and flight from accountability, the tendency to lash out at those to whom one owes loyalty.
Opinion Journal, June 19, 2006

It's a problem for perpetrators. Young men and teens wearing low-slung, baggy pants fairly regularly get tripped up in their getaways, a development that has given amused police officers and law-abiding citizens a welcome edge in the fight against crime.
Serena Ng, "Perpetrator Problem: It's Hard to Run Away In Falling Trousers Cops Say Loose, Baggy Jeans Trip Up Many a Thief; 'Hey, Dude, Buy a Belt'," The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2006; Page A1 --- Click Here

Warren E. Buffett's gift of about $37.4 billion (out of his $44 billion) to Bill Gates's charity and four others vaults him into the top tier of charitable giving.
Timothy L. O'Brien and Stephanie Saul, The New York Times, June 26, 2006 --- Click Here

The state (Louisiana) predicted that collections would plunge after last year's hurricanes, but instead revenue is setting a record.
Leslie Eaton, The New York Times, June 26, 2006 --- Click Here

Saying friendship is as if to say perfect understanding, immediate trust and lengthy reminiscing, that is to say trustworthiness.
Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) was the pseudonym of Lucila de María del Perpetuo Socorro Godoy Alcayaga, a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat and feminist --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriela_Mistral




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 

Developing Evolutionary Theory for Economics and Management

SIDNEY G. WINTER

PG. #509 & 510 WINTER
In the spring of 1959, chance events let me to read a 1950 paper by Armen Alchian, entitled "Uncertainty, Evolution and Economic Theory" (Alchian, 1950).  At the time, I was trying to do a dissertation featuring an empirical analysis of the determinants of corporate spending on research and development.  R&D had become quite a hot topic in applied economics after the mid-1950s.  The theoretical framework that I had planned to use in this investigation was a model based on the familiar concept of the profit-maximizing firm, a core theoretical commitment of mainstream economics then and now.  But, at the time of the fortuitous encounter with the Alchian paper, I had become concerned that my model of profit-maximizing R&D spending related to a decision situation that did not actually exist, at least not in any form resembling the context-free one that the model addressed.

Reading Alchian, I saw that an evolutionary approach on the theoretical front might offer a promising way to address satisfactorily a set of otherwise bothersome facts: (1) business discourse on R&D intensity seemed to be anchored on some notion of an appropriate R&D-to-sales ratio; (2) firm R&D decisions of any particular year were strongly shaped and constrained by decisions and their consequences from previous years; (3) incremental changes in policy nevertheless occurred, and had in fact accumulated over time into a pattern of significant and persistent inter-industry differences in R&D intensity; and (4) sustained pressures from the economic and technological environment seemed to play a shaping role in the emergence of those inter-industry differences.  Such was the starting point of my long odyssey with evolutionary thinking.

That personal journey is now half way through its fifth decade.  More than three decades have passed since Richard Nelson and I published our first collaborative papers on evolutionary economics, and more than two since we presented a major statement of our theory in An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change (Nelson and Winter, 1982a).  Needless to say, there have been a number of significant twists and turns along the way.  In particular, the opportunity to present this chapter in a volume devoted to management theory reflects developments that certainly were not anticipated in the early stages.  From its original status as a possible solution to my specific problem with R&D spending, the evolutionary approach quickly became the basis of an attempt at major reform in economic theory.  That it remained, though the scope became even broader, as the collaboration with Nelson began.  A contribution to management theory was not on the program.

Nevertheless, the logic of the connection to management is clear enough.  As my subsequent discussion here explains, one of the key advantages of the evolutionary approach is that it offers liberation from overly stylized theoretical accounts of business behavior.  Alternatively, one might say that the evolutionary approach embraces the realities of business decision making rather than shrinking defensively from them (exactly the choice posed in my encounter with the question of R&D spending).  It, thereby, makes room for managers in the economic account of business behavior, and at the same time offers a style of economic thinking that is more interesting and potentially helpful to managers.  In both directions of that traffic, the words "technology," "organization," and "change" are prominent, along with "management" and "evolution."  A considerable portion of this promise has been realized, thanks in great part to the number of other scholars who have shared this vision, or pieces of it, and sought to bring it to realization.  Major opportunities still lie before us.

PGS. 511 - 514 WINTER 24.2 "REALISM," MAXIMIZATION, AND THE THEORY OF THE FIRM
The Friedman paper mentioned above soon supplanted the Alchian paper as the main focus of my early thinking about economic evolution, but Alchian's work remained a fundamental guide in one key respect.  Alchian had proposed a reconstruction of economic theory on evolutionary principles, and plausibly sketched some key elements of such a program.  That idea appealed to me, but it certainly was not what Friedman was up to.Friedman's essay, "The Methodology of Positive Economics," appeared as the first chapter of his Essays in Positive Economics (Friedman, 1953).  In large part, it was Friedman's response to a lively scholarly controversy about the profit maximization assumption that had emerged in the 1940s.  The critics complained that the assumption was not realistic, and some of them cited evidence from close-in observation of business behavior to back their claims.2  Friedman argued that the critics suffered from a simplistic understanding of what "realism" meant in science.  He also put forward arguments about why profit maximization might be a "fruitful hypothesis" in spite of apparent conflicts with direct observation--scorning the latter with the comment "A fundamental hypothesis of science is that appearances are deceptive" (p. 33).  One of his supportive arguments for profit maximization as a scientific hypothesis was an evolutionary "natural selection" argument that concluded with these words:

The process of "natural selection" thus helps to validate the hypothesis--or rather, given natural selection, acceptance of the hypothesis can be based largely on the judgment that it summarizes appropriately the conditions for survival.  (1953:22)

The critical assessment of this proposition--which I have come to call "the Friedman conjecture"--became the central theme of my dissertation research, at a rather late stage in the year that I was supposedly devoting to the dissertation.  The study of corporate R&D spending was never completed; the theoretical puzzle it presented was recast as an example of a much larger puzzle about the general representation of business behavior in economic theory, and about profit maximization in particular.  The topics of R&D and technological change were set aside, but the early concern with these issues was a portent of things to come in the development of evolutionary economics.

As Friedman' essay explained quite well, every science faces the challenge of finding ways to makes its theoretical concepts operational, thus building a bridge from a theory to a set of facts that might be expected to throw light on the merit of the theory.  Just how this "light-throwing" works is not obvious.  It is actually a deep and sometimes contentious issue, though elementary accounts of the scientific method often posit a simple and reassuring answer.  One particular puzzle concerns the appropriateness of leaving a theoretical term without any direct empirical reference of its own, so that it serves only as a convenient place-holder in a longer argument that engages observable reality at some distant point.  Friedman's position was that the notion of "profit maximization" in economic theory was a theoretical term of this kind: what the theory says, per Friedman, is that firms behave as if they maximize profits.  Hence, mounting an effort to examine firm decision making at close range is simply misguided (as economic science), because economic theory makes no real prediction as to what you should expect to find.  Friedman suggested that other processes--such as "natural selection" or tacit skill--might create the observable consequences of profit maximization.3  This could be happening even if the maximization itself--in the sense of clear objectives, explicit calculation and careful comparison of alternatives--were not only unobservable, but absent.  He also expressed skepticism about the possibility of discovering how business decisions are made through observation or interviews, suggesting that respondents might dissemble in some way or perhaps were actually not consciously aware of the mental processes involved (the tacit skill point).  For example,

the billiard player, if asked how he decides where to hit the ball, may say that he "just figures it out but then also rubs a rabbit's foot just to make sure; and the businessman may well say that he prices at average cost, with of course some minor deviations when the market makes it necessary.  The one statement is about as helpful as the other, and neither is a relevant test of the associated (maximization) hypothesis.  (Friedman, 1953: 22)

This skepticism about the value of direct observation of firms is by no means peculiar to Friedman, or to those who are explicitly committed to something like his methodological outlook.  It remains a broadly held attitude in the economics discipline, though perhaps not so broadly as when Friedman wrote.  Anyone who undertakes a direct approach to studying firm behavior is sure to encounter it, sooner rather than later, when discussing the project with economists.4  To be clear, there certainly is merit in warning against the possibility that respondents are dissembling, or reporting socially approved motivations and procedures, or exercising tacit skills that they cannot explicate effectively.  These points are familiar and accepted in social science research, and for that matter are widely relevant in everyday life.  What is distinctive about the response often encountered from economists is its extreme and unqualified nature.  Instead of being the beginning of a discussion of how likely it actually is, given the actual context, that the results are tainted in these ways, it tends to be offered as the end of the discussion--both for the present and for the foreseeable future.

The methodological issues surrounding profit maximization have rough parallels in others sciences.  The case of the neutrino is a classic of the type.  When originally proposed, the new particle appeared to be nothing more than an ex post adjustment to prevailing physical theory to protect it from apparently disconfirming observations.  Even the proposer, Wolfgang Pauli, referred to the proposal as a "desperate expedient."  As a patch to the theory, the neutrino seemed to have the disturbing property that it was apparently impossible to check its validity, since the assumed properties of zero mass and zero charge posed a major obstacle to observation.  Thus, paralleling the case of "as if" profit maximization, the proposed patch was put forward in a context of cogent reasoning as to why it was impossible to check on its validity.  Physicists and philosophers debated the legitimacy of the neutrino patch for some decades--after which the question faded, as first indirect and then relatively direct confirming evidence was developed.


1    An argument that Friedman's evolutionary insights should imply reconstruction was actually made by Tjalling Koopmans, a much-admired mathematical economist who was a professor of mine at Yale (Koopmans, 1957: 140-141).  I do not recall reading that passage in Koopmans before I read Alchian--but I might not have reacted, even if I did.

2    A good example is Gordon (1948), which cites a lot of the other relevant work.

3    Friedman did not use the terminology of "tacit skill," but it seems fully appropriate in retrospect.

4    For a recent example, see Truman Bewley's discussion of these attitudes, which he encountered in connection with his interview-based study of why firms don't cut wages in recession (Bewley, 1999: esp. 8-16).  More generally, see also Schwartz (1998).


PG. #518 WINTER 24.3.2 THE FRIEDMAN CONJECTURE
Theoretical analysis of the Friedman conjecture is one such approach.  Essentially, the question is whether money will be left on the table in the long run if it is being pursued by profit-seeking firms with plausible, though typically not optimal, policies.  In its basic form, such analysis first posits a situation in which it is logically possible for business firms to get the right answers to their decision problems, for at least there is a right answer.  (Without this very substantial assumption, the Friedman conjecture is dead on arrival as a matter of strict logic.)  The second constituent of the analysis is some postulated set of possible behavior patters for firms, such that at least some of these patterns are not comprehensively optimal.  That is, contrary to the standard assumptions of economics, not all firms are necessarily getting the right answer all the time.  (Without this assumption, the conclusion "firms maximize profits" is the trivial result of the familiar postulate, requiring no evolutionary logic or process to establish it.)  The final constituent is a characterization of the dynamic process by which firms interact competitively, determining their survival and growth.  With the details of a hypothetical context thus specified, the problem of such analysis is to characterize how the dynamic process turns out, and whether this outcome is consistent with Friedman's conjecture of "as if" profit maximization.

PG. #520 & 521 WINTER 24.3.3 BEHAVIORALISM
At the time, I was beginning my dissertation research, the "Carnegie School" was reaching an advanced stage of development in Pittsburgh.  Herbert Simon's famous article on satisficing, "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," had appeared in 1955 (Simon, 1955), and I had had the good fortune to encounter it in graduate school.11  The classic Organizations volume by Simon and James March appeared in 1958 (March and Simon, 1958).  Much of the research that in 1963 appeared as the Richard Cyert and James March book, A Behavioral Theory of the Firm (Cyert and March, 1963), was under way and was beginning to appear in working paper form.  What the Carnegie scholars had to say about firm behavior was partly familiar, being in some ways parallel to what had been said earlier by the economists who criticized the orthodoxy in the theory of the firm.  These were the very critics to whom Friedman responded in his essay, and I was well aware of their work.  In retrospect, it may appear that even at that early stage there was an evident opportunity to use an evolutionary approach to build on and complement the "micro-foundations" of firm behavior contributed by the Carnegie School.

In fact, that did not happen--at the time.  There was some cross-fertilization, and some sense of encouragement (at least in the Carnegie-to-Winter direction), but not much.  The "behavioral theory of the firm" was not easy to absorb, especially in its unfinished form.  It involved novel theory, novel research techniques (especially computer simulation) and novel-seeming blind spots (especially, an apparent indifference to the role of markets as understood by economists).

When the Cyert and March book appeared in 1963, I was invited to review it for the American Economic Review (Winter, 1964b).  In the course of reading the book and preparing the review, I was able to see the Carnegie work as a program for the first time--and to see it as complementary to the evolutionary approach, as suggested above.  My review noted that the authors seemed content to regard firm behavior as a significant scientific problem in its own right, and willing therefore to set aside the task of predicting market phenomena--and suggested that this should not be the permanent state of affairs: Also, it is to be hoped that someone will eventually accept the challenge of attempting to provide a better definition of the relationship between the behavioral theory and the traditional theory than is provided by the assertion that the two theories are concerned with different problems...

...the consistency of the behavioral theory with the more persuasive portion of the empirical evidence for the traditional theory has yet to be determined.  Investigation of the relationship between the two theories will probably involve closer attention to the circumstances that determine when the profit goal is evoked and when profit aspirations adjust upward, as well as to the ways in which competition may force an approach to profit maximization by firms whose decision processes are governed in the short run by crude rule-of-thumb decision rules.  (Winter, 1964b: 147; emphasis in original)

Although it was not fully spelled out in my review, any more than in the book itself, I could see that the Cyert and March book suggested the possibility of a new division of scientific labor.  Firm behavior could be regarded as a subject matter in its own right, which on the face of it appeared to involve aspects appropriately studied in psychology, sociology, organizational behavior, engineering, operations research, management, finance, accounting, marketing, and perhaps other disciplines as well, in addition to economics.  The primary role of economics was not to strive for imperial control over these other intellectual domains, and certainly not to ignore them, but to point out the systemic and long-run implications of whatever firm-level truths might be brought forward, from whatever source.  This role is especially suitable for economists insofar as those implications are largely the result of firms interacting through markets.  At the same time, operations research  and the business-oriented disciplines might reasonably concern themselves (at least in part) with how existing modes of business behavior might realistically be improved--and that, too, is not the central role of economics.  This vision of the appropriate division of labor represents my present view.


11    I doubt that Simon's article ever made an appearance on many reading lists for economics courses, and certainly not by 1957.  But it was on the list for Jacob Marschak's seminar on Economics of Information and Organization, which I took at Yale in that year.  Even the title of Marschak's seminar now seems quite remarkable, given the date.


PG. #541 & 542 WINTER 24.7 EVOLUTIONARY ECONOMICS AND MANAGEMENT
Economics needs to take large firms very seriously because of their major influence on the system as a whole.  Taking large firms seriously means taking managers seriously, because managers make real choices under real uncertainty.  In organizational economics, there are valiant efforts to take managers seriously within the familiar frame of  rational choice modeling (Gibbons, 2003).  Such efforts, while capable of generating useful insight at the micro level, have limited power to address the evolution of the context, capturing the larger scale interactions in the system.  For that purpose, the familiar story of profit maximizing firms and (even) competitive markets provides the backdrop for the analysis, as it does elsewhere in the discipline, for want of anything better (or so it is claimed).

In management, the need to take managers seriously does not require an argument, and is not limited to accounting for the influence of large firms.  A possibly more serious question is, does management need to take economics seriously?  While a lot of useful work under the broad rubric of management probably does not need to take economics seriously, there are areas where economic principles are fundamental to the problems addressed.  Strategic management is the obvious case.  Like mainstream economics, evolutionary theory illuminates the workings of competition in the marketplace, through which firms influence each others' profitability as well as their prospects for growth and survival.  Unlike mainstream economics, its illumination of those "workings" falls directly on the dynamic processes of competition, and not just on equilibrium outcomes or tendencies.  Also unlike mainstream economics, its image of a population of firms is an image of heterogeneous firms, differing in their ways of doing things and also in size--with the size differences produced endogenously as a consequence of those idiosyncrasies.

Indeed, thanks to the complementary theoretical work in organizational learning and the partial filling of the major gap concerning industry evolution, it should now be within reach to produce a comprehensive model of the creation and evolution of an industry--a sort of "Big Bang" model for an industrial universe.  Such a model would map the entry processes, the learning processes, the market competition processes, the differential growth and survival, and the appearance of concentrated structure--all within a frame that represented and controlled the key exogenous forces and structural determinants, but none of the details.  It could even extend to the significant problems relating to the determination of industry and firm boundaries, since evolutionary forces are at work there as well (Langlois, 1991; Jacobides and Winter, 2005).  Such a model would rest on a layered structure of theoretical commitments about key processes--commitments that have already been identified and debated, and of course can be debated further.  Implemented as a simulation model, it would produce a realistic picture of an industry that responded in systematic ways to differences in the exogenous conditions.  It might misrepresent reality, not merely because of the necessarily abstract character of theory, but because it failed to capture significant patterns in the reality.  And if it did misrepresent reality in significant ways, that discrepancy would be ascertainable.  In short, it would have content.

Most fundamentally from the viewpoint of management theory, evolutionary theory invites detailed attention to individual firms and the problems they face in dealing with competitive environments.24  It does not merely accept, but urges, that inquiry extend to the inner workings of firms.  It offers the investigator suggestions about what to look for--especially if the inquiry is one that includes a concern with how that firm fits and fares in the larger system.  It also urges, however, that an open mind about the nature of decision processes found in firms will prove more useful than a closed one.


24    In this connection, see Gavetti and Levinthal (forthcoming) for an encouraging assessment.


  The operationalization of TCE is the result of the concerted effort of many contributors.  A selection of some of the more influential articles can be found in Williamson and Masten, Transaction Cost Economics, Vols. 1 and II (1995).  Also see Claude Menard (2005).

2    For an autobiographical sketch of earlier events and people that were influential to my training and intellectual development, see Williamson (1995).  Although good instincts helped me to make the "right choices" at critical forks in the road, I also had the benefit of a number of exceptional advisors and teachers--and fortunately often had the good sense to listen.





Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dogs
--- http://www.i-love-dogs.com/
 

Question
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 said.
Inside Higher Ed, June 30, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/30/qt

Jensen Comment
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."


Question
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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#Replication
 


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

Related stories

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

Question
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 be fired.
Jon Wiener, "A Lesson From the Churchill Inquiry," Inside Higher Ed, June 30, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/06/30/wiener

Also see
"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

Jensen Comment
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 ---
Click Here

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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm 
 


Question
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


Statistics Assignment
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 Blankenship.
Carol Robinson and Robert K. Gordon, "Candidate says criminal past not his,"  The Birmingham News, June 13, 2006 ---
Click Here


Statistics Question
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.

Old ideas

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.

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

Latest Headlines on June 23, 2006

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 ---
http://www.wired.com/news/wireservice/0,71185-0.html?tw=wn_index_8


"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 --- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/6/prweb400318.htm
 


Question
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 --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/visibleproofs/
 


MedLinePlus: Dental Health --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dentalhealth.html
 


Campus Health and Safety.org --- http://www.campushealthandsafety.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.

"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


Question
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.

http://www.socialtext.com/node/83 


Question
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

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:

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


Question
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 away
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 ---
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/23/AR2006062300018.html?referrer=email


"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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#Future
 


Good Manners: World of Courtesy: Ranking of 35 Cities
http://www.rd.com/content/openContent.do?contentId=27599&pageIndex=2 

Also see
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


Concept Knowledge

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 gathering
approaches 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
---
http://accounting.rutgers.edu/raw/aaa/pubs.htm
 
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.org
 
Thanks very much!
Bob Kennelly
OFHEO

June 19, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Bob,

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

Also note http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#DownfallOfLecturing

Hope this helps
Bob Jensen

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/

Zane Swanson

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.
http://www.osc.gov.on.ca/Regulation/Rulemaking/Current/Part5/csa_20060629_52-314_feedback-xbrl.jsp

Gerald D Trites, CA*CISA/IT, FCA
PH 416-602-3931
Web Site:
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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 [whitec@lerner.udel.edu]

Bob

The Accountant’s Guide to XBRL

Isbn: 0977952509

www.skipwhite.com

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!

 Skip

"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 


Question
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
http://fisher.osu.edu/departments/accounting-and-mis/hall-of-fame/membership-in-hall/

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 [dberesfo@terry.uga.edu]

Bob,

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.

Denny

June 23, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Denny,

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.
Albert Einstein
 
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.

Bob Jensen


Question
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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm
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 [henrycollier@aapt.net.au]

From the land down under, G’day, Mate, is the proper greeting!!!

About the departed, Australians might remark, ‘he had good innings!’

Regards

 Henry

 


Dutch Elms to Ashes, Now Ashes to Ashes

"Small Bug Is Big Threat to Trees in Illinois," by Gretchen Ruethling, The New York Times, June 25, 2006 ---

After watching her stately ash trees lose leaves and sprout mysterious green shoots, ReBecca Mathewson discovered a tiny metallic green bug snared in a spider web hanging off one of the sorry trees.

She promptly trapped the culprit in a jar and sent it to the proper authorities (the United States Department of Agriculture), setting off an investigation by agriculture officials here. They deemed Ms. Mathewson's the first emerald ash borer beetle ever found in Illinois. The insect, deadly to trees, has threatened millions of ash in the Midwest in recent years.

As surveyors searched neighborhoods around this township about 40 miles west of Chicago for telltale signs of the beetles — thinning leaves, tiny holes in the trunks of ash trees and leafy shoots growing from their bases — officials began trying to identify the size and scope of an infestation they fear could destroy many of the roughly 131 million ash trees in this state, and perhaps more elsewhere.

Continued in article


Free eBook from TechLearning (Registration Required)
Technology and the Future of Learning: Mobile Computing Makes the Difference in Preparing Students for the 21st Century --- http://www.techlearning.com/content/epubs/gateway


"Wikis Made Simple -- Very Simple:  Wetpaint and other wiki startups are offering free and easy-to-use tools. But will most consumers really care?," by Wade Roush, MIT's Technology Review, June 21, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17009&ch=infotech

A Seattle startup called Wetpaint launched the newest Web-based "wiki" platform this week, offering people who register with the company the ability to create community websites that can be edited easily by any user, or by invited members only, depending on the creator's preference.

Wikis have been a popular tool for Internet geeks for about a decade, and now they're beginning to be adopted inside many businesses. For the most part, though, they haven't crossed into the mainstream -- the way that other Web-based publishing technologies such as blogs have. Wetpaint's founders hope to make that transition -- in part, by making their free, advertising-supported service as easy to use as familiar software tools such e-mail and word-processor programs.

Starting a Wetpaint site is as simple as picking a name and design, creating a few pages, writing something in them, and deciding who can edit them. The company's CEO, Ben Elowitz, says he hopes everyone from neighborhood watch groups to Cub Scout leaders will warm up to Wetpaint and start using it to collaborate on projects and manage group information.

Elowitz believes that online collaboration is a largely unexplored market. "Message boards are good for dialogues, blogs are good as soapboxes, and social networks are good for meeting people, but none of those really let you manage relationships," he says. "For people who are online now, the technology is there to give them a chance to connect over their common interests."

But the public still has a shaky idea of wikis. Surveys conducted by the Harris polling organization for Wetpaint show that only 5 percent of adults who go online can define the word "wiki," according to Elowitz. And it's not clear that Wetpaint or any other wiki-focused company has made the technology simple -- or useful -- enough to attract large numbers of users.

The most famous wiki, of course, is Wikipedia -- it's the largest encyclopedia ever written, with 1.2 million articles contributed by more than 1.6 million registered users and policed by approximately 1,000 volunteer administrators. Indeed, Wikipedia has become the 16th-most-trafficked site on the Web; on any given day, about 4 percent of all Internet users stop there, according to Web traffic research firm Alexa.

But while most of Wikipedia's readers are aware that they can edit encyclopedia entries, the average visitor does so very rarely. In fact, a core of around 500 people account for about half of Wikipedia's content -- an indication that the technical process of writing and editing wiki items remains forbidding for the average user.

Bob Jensen's threads on tricks and tools of education technology are at linked at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm


Emily Post: Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home ---  http://www.bartleby.com/95/


"The Winding Road to Grasso's Huge Payday," by Landon Thomas, The New York Times, June 25, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/business/yourmoney/25grasso.html

In the spring of 2003, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard A. Grasso, had his eyes on a very rich prize. Although Mr. Grasso's annual compensation at the time was about $12 million, on a par with the salaries of Wall Street titans whose companies the exchange helped regulate, he had accumulated $140 million in pension savings that he wanted to cash in — while still staying on the job.

Now Henry M. Paulson Jr., the chairman of Goldman Sachs and a member of the exchange's compensation committee, was grilling Mr. Grasso about the propriety of drawing down such an enormous amount and suggested that he seek legal advice. So Mr. Grasso said he would call Martin Lipton, a veteran Manhattan lawyer and the Big Board's chief counsel on governance matters. Would it be legal, Mr. Grasso subsequently asked Mr. Lipton, to just withdraw the $140 million if the exchange's board approved it? Mr. Grasso told Mr. Lipton that he worried that a less accommodating board might not support such a move, according to an account of the conversation that Mr. Lipton recently provided to New York State prosecutors. (Mr. Grasso has denied voicing that concern.) Mr. Lipton said he told Mr. Grasso not to worry; as long as directors used their best judgment, Mr. Grasso's request was appropriate.

Mr. Grasso continued to fret. What about possible public distaste for the move? Yes, there would be some resistance from corporate governance activists, Mr. Lipton recalled telling him, but given his unique standing in the business community he was "fully deserving of the compensation."

Then Mr. Lipton, a founding partner of Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and a longtime adviser to chief executives on the hot seat, dangled another, hardball option in front of Mr. Grasso. If a new board resisted a payout, Mr. Lipton advised, Mr. Grasso could just sue the board to get his $140 million. The conversation represented a pivotal moment at the exchange, occurring when corporate governance and executive compensation were already areas of public concern. Mr. Grasso eventually secured his pension funds. But the particulars surrounding the payout later spurred Mr. Paulson to organize a highly publicized palace revolt against Mr. Grasso, leading to the Big Board's most glaring crisis since Richard Whitney, a previous president, went to jail on embezzlement charges in 1938.

An examination of thousands of pages of depositions from participants in the Big Board drama, as well as other recent court filings, highlights the financial spoils available to those in Wall Street's top tier. It also shines a light on deeply flawed governance practices and clashing egos at one of America's most august financial institutions, all of which came into sharp relief as Mr. Grasso jockeyed to secure his $140 million.

ELIOT SPITZER, the New York State attorney general, sued Mr. Grasso in 2004, contending that his Big Board compensation was "unreasonable" and a violation of New York's not-for-profit laws. With a trial looming this fall, prosecutors have closely questioned both Mr. Lipton and Mr. Grasso about their phone call. Prosecutors are likely to highlight Mr. Grasso's own doubts about the propriety of cashing in his pension; on two separate occasions Mr. Grasso withdrew his pension proposal from board consideration before finally going ahead with it.

The depositions paint a portrait of Mr. Grasso as a man who paid meticulous attention to every financial perk, from items like flowers and 99-cent bags of pretzels that he billed to the exchange, to his stubborn determination to corral his $140 million nest egg. While the board ultimately approved his deal, court documents also show a roster of all-star directors, including chief executives of all the major Wall Street firms, often at odds with one another or acting dysfunctionally.

A recent filing by Mr. Spitzer contended that Mr. Grasso's chief advocate, Kenneth G. Langone, a longtime friend and chairman of the Big Board's compensation committee, was less than forthcoming in keeping the exchange's 26-member board in the loop about how Mr. Grasso's rising pay was also inflating his retirement savings.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#Governance

Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous executive compensation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm

Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm


A Sad Day for Whistleblowers

"AP Enterprise: 9/11 thefts not prosecuted," by Margaret Ebrahim, Yahoo News, June 16, 2006 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060616/ap_on_re_us/sept11_thefts

Once-secret documents obtained by The Associated Press show a disaster supply management company went unpunished for Sept. 11 thefts after the government discovered FBI agents and other government officials had stolen artifacts from New York's ground zero. ADVERTISEMENT

Kieger Enterprises of Lino Lakes, Minn., dispatched trucks to a Long Island warehouse and loaded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donated bottled water, clothes, tools and generators to be moved to Minnesota in a plot to sell some for profit, according to government records and interviews.

Dan L'Allier said he witnessed 45 tons of the New York loot being unloaded in Minnesota at his company's headquarters. He and disaster specialist Chris Christopherson complained to a company executive, but were ordered to keep quiet. They persisted, going instead to the FBI.

The two whistleblowers eventually lost their jobs, received death threats and were blackballed in the disaster relief industry. But they remained convinced their sacrifice was worth seeing justice done.

They were wrong.

As a result, most Americans were kept in the dark about a major fraud involving their donated goods even as new requests for charity emerged with disasters like Hurricane Katrina. And Christopherson and L'Allier were left disillusioned.

"I wouldn't open my mouth again for all the tea in China," L'Allier said. Added Christopherson, a 34-year-old father of two: "I paid a big price."

As firefighters searched for survivors after the Sept. 11 attacks, heat from the World Trade Center's smoldering ruins burned the soles off their boots. They needed new ones every few hours, and Christopherson made sure they got them. The moment that crushed Christopherson's faith was when his employer dispatched the trucks to the warehouse for those supplies, donated by Americans.

The government ultimately gave the whistleblowers $30,000 each after expenses, their share in a civil settlement against KEI. They say the sum was hardly worth their trouble.

Federal prosecutors eventually charged KEI and some executives with fraud, including overbilling the government in several disasters, but excluded the Sept. 11 thefts. Officially, the government can't fully explain why.

KEI had worked for years for the government, providing disaster relief services during tornadoes, floods and other catastrophes. It was picked to manage the New York warehouse for the government's main Sept. 11 relief contractor.

Thomas Heffelfinger, the former U.S. attorney in Minnesota who prosecuted KEI, said he never intended to charge the company for the ground zero theft, and instead referred that part of the case to prosecutors in New York.

"At the heart of the KEI case was financial fraud," Heffelfinger said. "It was so bad we didn't need the theft."

Heather Tasker, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in New York, declined to discuss the KEI case. The whistleblowers, however, said they've never been contacted by New York prosecutors.

FBI documents indicate the government, in fact, was preparing to charge KEI with Sept. 11 thefts.

A March 2002 entry in the FBI's "prosecutive status" report states the U.S. Attorney's office in Minnesota intended "to prosecute individuals who were alleged to be involved in the transportation of stolen goods from New York City after the terrorist attack." A followup entry from Sept. 6, 2002 lists the specific evidence supporting such a charge.

The lead investigators for the FBI and the Federal Emergency Management Agency told AP that the plan to prosecute KEI for those thefts stopped as soon as it became clear in late summer 2002 that an FBI agent in Minnesota had stolen a crystal globe from ground zero.

That prompted a broader review that ultimately found 16 government employees, including a top FBI executive and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, had such artifacts from New York or the Pentagon.

"How could you secure an indictment?" FEMA investigator Kirk Beauchamp asked. "It would be a conflict."

While the globe's discovery had been widely reported, its impact on the Sept. 11 thefts had remained mostly unknown.

Prosecutors "and the FBI were very conscious of the fact that if they proceeded in one direction, they would have to proceed in the other, which meant prosecuting FBI agents," said Jane Turner, the lead FBI agent. She too became a whistleblower alleging the bureau tried to fire her for bringing the stolen artifacts to light. Turner retired in 2003.

The FBI declined to discuss Turner's allegation, saying it involved a personnel matter.

"It's illogical" not to prosecute KEI because of the agents' stolen artifacts, said E. Lawrence Barcella, former chief of major crimes in the U.S. attorney's office in Washington. "The fact that FBI agents stole trinkets is an order of magnitude different than a company selling things they steal."

Nick Gess, another former federal prosecutor, said the agents' actions shouldn't have precluded prosecuting the company.

"DEA agents have been found to smoke pot occasionally," Gess said. "That doesn't mean they (the Drug Enforcement Administration) can't still work on drug cases."

The government also didn't prosecute any of its employees for taking souvenirs, claiming it lacked a policy prohibiting such thefts.

Ultimately, the FBI donated the stolen goods found at KEI's warehouse to the Salvation Army.

Joe Friedberg, a lawyer who represented a KEI executive, dismissed the Sept. 11 thefts as "much ado about nothing." Friedberg said KEI took a few pallets of water and T-shirts because they had authorization from a FEMA official to take surplus items.

But that FEMA official, Kathy McCoy, said she never gave Kieger such permission.

Those who work near ground zero today are shocked to learn such thefts went unpunished.

"To take advantage of people at a time of despair, it's probably one of the worst things human beings can do to another person," said Gregory Broms, Sr., a firefighter with Engine Company 10 at the foot of the former World Trade Center site. "It was morally wrong."

Christopherson recalled receiving boxes of white T-shirts stolen from the Long Island warehouse sent back to him after KEI had embossed a Sept. 11 logo on the front. He was instructed by his boss to sell them to firefighters, police and volunteers for $12 a piece. Disgusted, he threw them in the corner and never sold them.

Christopherson and L'Allier went to the FBI in fall 2001. On April 16, 2002, agents raided KEI, recovering at least 15,000 T-shirts and 18,000 bottles of bottled water. Because months had passed, the seized items were a fraction of the total the company had taken, the whistleblowers said.

Both men were threatened and harassed, reporting it to the FBI's Turner. "We all experienced the death threats," L'Allier said. "We all experienced the phone ringing at three in the morning and no one being there. I'd come home and the house would be wide open."

A few months after the raid, prosecutors drafted charges accusing the company of stealing the ground zero relief supplies, seeking an indictment on the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Turner said.

But Turner discovered in late August 2002 a cracked Tiffany & Co. globe — lifted from the World Trade Center ruins — on the desk of a colleague. The theft case against KEI sputtered.

Eventually, KEI executives Edward Kieger Jr., Patrick Iwan and Joseph Dreshar were indicted in 2004 by a federal grand jury on charges of scheming to defraud the government. The former executives pleaded guilty, and Kieger and Iwan are serving prison terms. KEI has gone out of business.

Christopherson and L'Allier were stunned when the indictment excluded the ground zero thefts. They spent two years unsuccessfully trying to find new work in disaster relief. Christopherson now runs a landscaping business; L'Allier works as a paramedic.

For years, the two couldn't speak publicly because their whistleblower case remained under seal. They worried similar fraud might have occurred during Katrina.

"If you donated, at your local supermarket, water or canned goods or cleaning supplies and a truck goes down there (to New Orleans), who knows where it is ending up," L'Allier.

Today, the whistleblowers worry their fate might chill others from exposing wrongdoing.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on whistle blowing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#WhistleBlowing


"Hundreds of WMDs discovered in Iraq Bombshell report notes 500 chemical weapons including sarin, mustard gas, more to be found," WorldNetDaily, June 21, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=50746

The U.S. has located some 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003 with more likely to be found, according to two Republican members of Congress trumpeting a newly declassified portion of a government report.

"We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons," Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said at an afternoon news conference.

Santorum read from a declassified portion of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit, which noted: "Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."

Continued in article


Mexican drug cartels take over U.S. cities
Mexican drug cartels operating in cities in the U.S. are buying up legitimate businesses to launder money and using some of the proceeds to win local mayoral and city council seats for politicians who can shape the policies and personnel decisions of their police forces, according to Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who has led the fight to secure the U.S.-Mexico border and enforce the nation's immigration laws.
Joseph Farah, "Mexican drug cartels take over U.S. cities," WorldNetDaily, June 19, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=50518
 


French Government Provides Highest Quality Satellite Maps of France
The French government launched a website on Friday that it claims contains satellite images of France that are more detailed than Google Earth's. The new website was developed in large part by the French-government owned National Geographic Institute. Like Google Earth, Google Maps and a host of sites developed by several other European countries, the new site allows users to zoom in on highly detailed satellite images. The new French site displays maps of most of France with a maximum resolution of about half a meter, or about 1.5 feet.
Eli Milchman, "France Launches Maps Site," Wired New, June 23, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/internet/0,71234-0.html?tw=wn_index_10

Jensen Comment
The site is written in French, and I found the search process too slow for my cable connection in New England.

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

Microsoft also has a satellite mapping service linked at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#GoogleDeskbar
 


Technology may change, but FCC subsidies are forever

"Bad Subsidy Call," The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2006; Page A10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115102651468188311.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to require Internet telephone companies to contribute to the Universal Service Fund (USF). The move means higher phone bills for Internet telephone service as providers pass this new cost on to customers. But it also means that a Republican-run regulatory agency is expanding a federal subsidy that should have been phased out long ago.

The concept of "universal service" dates back more than 70 years to a time when stringing wires together to bring telephone service to loosely populated areas was expensive. The goal was to keep local phone rates low and increase subscribers. This policy long ago fulfilled its purpose: By the mid-1990s, nearly 95% of U.S. households had a telephone. A competitive telecom marketplace with proliferating wireless technologies and multiple service providers had developed.

Nevertheless, the USF lives on. What's worse, the FCC has now determined that Internet telephony should be roped in to this anachronistic regulatory framework. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin says this levy is necessary for parity purposes. But the best way to produce a level telecom playing field isn't by burdening new technologies with old regulations. It's by phasing out such regulations for everyone.

The USF has become a tool for redistributing wealth from urban phone customers to their rural counterparts, says Randolph May, a former FCC lawyer who now heads the Free State Foundation think tank. The irony, says Mr. May, "is that the subsidies tend to flow from more densely populated areas like New York or Baltimore to less densely populated areas. So, in effect, you've got many places where poor people are subsidizing rich people in Aspen." Given that near-universal service now exists, why not subsidize only those low-income customers who truly need it?

The main beneficiaries of the status quo are rural telephone companies, some of which receive as much as 70% of their revenue from the USF. More than a thousand such entities still exist nationwide, and they have powerful allies in Congress, especially Senate Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens of Alaska. We knew many in Washington were eager to classify the Internet as nothing more than a glorified telephone subject to the usual telecom taxes and rules. But we were hoping a Republican-controlled FCC wouldn't let that happen.

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm


"Teacher Salaries (K-12): More Attention Needed to Specifics," by David W. Kirpatrick, U.S. Freedom Foundation, June 16, 2006 --- http://www.educationnews.org/Commentaries/Teacher_Salaries.htm

One of the ongoing controversies in the public schools is the issue of teacher salaries. Teachers largely claim they are too low while taxpayers are equally vehement that they are more than adequate. The arguments of both sides consist largely of rhetoric with a lack of specifics. Even teachers often don't know what the average salary is.

But there are some objective figures to consider.

For example, one indication of the adequacy of salaries is the ability to attract applicants for jobs. Generally speaking, there are no shortages of potential teachers for most positions. Where shortages do exist, as is sometimes the case with math and science positions, it is the teachers, and their unions, that are to blame. They insist that all teachers should be placed on the regular salary schedule without regard to competitive salaries elsewhere, where math and science majors can command higher salaries than, say, English and History majors.

Then there are the actual salary levels. Statistics in 2005 showed the average teacher salary in the nation was $46,762, ranging from a low of $33,236 in South Dakota to $57,337 in Connecticut. Even this ignores the additional compensation teachers receive as fringe benefits, which may add an additional 33% or more to the costs, primarily for very good retirement and health coverage plans. Further, averages include starting teacher salaries, which may begin at $30,000 or less, which teachers gladly mention, but ignore the high salaries of career teachers at or near the maximum on their salary schedule, important because retirement pensions are often based on the best three or so years.

Last year, the New York State Department of Education issued a study that reported maximum teacher salaries in that state of $100,000 or more and median salaries as high as $98,000 per year. That is, there were districts, in Westchester County for example, where half of the teachers earned more than $98,000 a year.

A novel approach a few years ago by Michael Antonucci, director of the Education Intelligence Agency in California, compared teachers average salaries to average salaries all workers state by state. First prize went to Pennsylvania where the teachers received 62.5% more than the average employee. That difference is even greater when it is further considered that teachers average a 185 day work year while most workers put in 235.

The average teacher's salary exceeds the average family income for other citizens.

An unusual perspective was arrived at by Thomas J. Stanley who has conducted serious studies of affluent Americans. He was not concentrating on teachers or taking a position on their status.

But in his book, Millionaire Women Next Door, published in 2004, he considered Internal Revenue Service statistics on the 2,337,000 people who died in 1998. Of these, 103,983, or about 4.5%, left estates of $625,000 or more.

Women who had been educators were 7.4% of the total deceased that year but 20.6% of them, nearly three times the statistical expectation were among the affluent few. Former male educators didn't do quite as well but even they were represented among the wealthy decedents by a ratio nearly 1.5 times the anticipated numerical ratio.

Since the average age of the women at death was 81.4 years and 76.6 for the men, they probably generally retired a number of years ago, when salaries were less than today. Stanley suggests teachers are savers rather than spenders but, even granting this, they had to earn enough to live and still save.

He also found that teachers tend to be generous. Where the average person donates about 2% of annual realized income to charity, teachers donate almost twice that much - 3.69%.

When compared with what he terms "the so-called status professions – attorney, corporate executives, physicians and such" as to the percentage of their income they give to charitable causes, teachers rank first.

So when you hear it said no one ever got rich teaching, don't believe it. And if you hear someone say teachers are only interested in money don't believe that either. As a group teachers do rather well thank you. And, in terms of ability to pay, they are more generous than even those with higher incomes.

Continued in article


"A Wiki Situation:  To wiki or not to wiki? That is the question," by Scott McLemee , Inside Higher Ed, June 14, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/06/14/mclemee

Whether ‘tis nobler to plunge in and write a few Wikipedia entries on subjects regarding which one has some expertise; and also, p’raps, to revise some of the weaker articles already available there...

Or rather, taking arms against a sea of mediocrity, to mock the whole concept of an open-source, online encyclopedia — that bastard spawn of “American Idol” and a sixth grader’s report copied word-for-word from the World Book....

Hamlet, of course, was nothing if not ambivalent –- and my attitude towards how to deal with Wikipedia is comparably indecisive. Six years into its existence, there are now something in the neighborhood of 2 million entries, in various languages, ranging in length from one sentence to thousands of words.

They are prepared and edited by an ad hoc community of contributors. There is no definitive iteration of a Wikipedia article: It can be added to, revised, or completely rewritten by anyone who cares to take the time.

Strictly speaking, not all wiki pages are Wikipedia entries. As this useful item explains, a wiki is a generic term applying to a Web page format that is more or less open to interaction and revision. In some cases, access to the page is limited to the members of a wiki community. With Wikipedia, only a very modest level of control is exercised by administrators. The result is a wiki-based reference tool that is open to writers putting forward truth, falsehood, and all the shades of gray in between.

In other words, each entry is just as trustworthy as whoever last worked on it. And because items are unsigned, the very notion of accountability is digitized out of existence.

Yet Wikipedia now seems even more unavoidable than it is unreliable. Do a search for any given subject, and chances are good that one or more Wikipedia articles will be among the top results you get back.

Nor is use of Wikipedia limited to people who lack other information resources. My own experience is probably more common than anyone would care to admit. I have a personal library of several thousand volumes (including a range of both generalist and specialist reference books) and live in a city that is home to at least to three universities with open-stack collections. And that’s not counting access to the Library of Congress.

The expression “data out the wazoo” may apply. Still, rare is the week when I don’t glance over at least half a dozen articles from Wikipedia. (As someone once said about the comic strip “Nancy,” reading it usually takes less time than deciding not to do so.)

Basic cognitive literacy includes the ability to evaluate the strengths and the limitations of any source of information. Wikipedia is usually worth consulting simply for the references at the end of an article — often with links to other online resources. Wikipedia is by no means a definitive reference work, but it’s not necessarily the worst place to start.

Not that everyone uses it that way, of course. Consider a recent discussion between a reference librarian and a staff member working for an important policy-making arm of the U.S. government. The librarian asked what information sources the staffer relied on most often for her work. Without hesitation, she answered: “Google and Wikipedia.” In fact, she seldom used anything else.

Coming from a junior-high student, this would be disappointing. From someone in a position of power, it is well beyond worrisome. But what is there to do about it? Apart, that is, from indulging in Menckenesque ruminations about the mule-like stupidity of the American booboisie?

Sure, we want our students, readers, and fellow citizens to become more astute in their use of the available tools for learning about the world. (Hope springs eternal!) But what is to be done in the meantime?

Given the situation at hand, what is the responsibility of people who do have some level of competence? Is there some obligation to prepare adequate Wikipedia entries?

Or is that a waste of time and effort? If so, what’s the alternative? Or is there one? Luddism is sometimes a temptation – but, as solutions go, not so practical.

I throw these questions out without having yet formulated a cohesive (let alone cogent) answer to any of them. At one level, it is a matter for personal judgment. An economic matter, even. You have to decide whether improving this one element of public life is a good use of your resources.

At the same time, it’s worth keeping in mind that Wikipedia is not just one more new gizmo arriving on the scene. It is not just another way to shrink the American attention span that much closer to the duration of a subatomic particle. How you relate to it (whether you chip in, or rail against it) is even, arguably, a matter of long-term historical consequence. For in a way, Wikipedia is now 70 years old.

It was in 1936 that H.G. Wells, during a lecture in London, began presenting the case for what he called a “world encyclopedia” – an international project to synthesize and make readily available the latest scientific and scholarly work in all fields. Copies would be made available all over the planet. To keep pace with the constant growth of knowledge, it would be revised and updated constantly. (An essay on the same theme that Wells published the following year is available online.)

A project on this scale would be too vast for publication in the old-fashioned format of the printed book. Besides, whole sections of the work would be rewritten frequently. And so Wells came up with an elegant solution. The world encyclopedia would be published and distributed using a technological development little-known to his readers: microfilm.

Okay, so there was that slight gap between the Wellsian conception and the Wikipedian consummation. But the ambition is quite similar — the creation of “the largest encyclopedia in history, both in terms of breadth and depth” (as the FAQ describes Wikipedia’s goal).

Yet there are differences that go beyond the delivery system. Wells believed in expertise. He had a firm faith in the value of exact knowledge, and saw an important role for the highly educated in creating the future. Indeed, that is something of an understatement: Wells had a penchant for creating utopian scenarios in which the best and the brightest organized themselves to take the reins of progress and guide human evolution to a new level.

Sometimes that vision took more or less salutary forms. After the first World War, he coined a once-famous saying that our future was a race between education and disaster. In other moods, he was prone to imagining the benefits of quasi-dictatorial rule by the gifted. What makes Wells a fascinating writer, rather than just a somewhat scary one, is that he also had a streak of fierce pessimism about whether his projections would work out. His final book, published a few months before his death in 1946, was a depressing little volume called The Mind at the End of Its Tether, which was a study in pure worry.

Continued in article

Wikipedia --- http://www.wikipedia.org/

Bob Jensen's threads on encyclopedias are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#080512Encyclopedias

 


Researchers teach computers to turn 2D images into 3D
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University appear to have solved a problem long thought impossible, teaching computers to turn static 2D images into 3D models. It was a hot area for research in the 1970s but was virtually abandoned in the 80s after attempts to devise the machine learning necessary proved too demanding for the computers of the time. The key to Carnegie Mellon's research, apart from better machines, is the ability for computers to detect visual cues (such as a car) that can be used to differentiate between vertical and horizontal surfaces -- easy for us humans, but enough to turn even the most powerful computers into an incoherent mess. Apart from turning your vacation snapshots into a whole new experience, one of the big applications for this technology is obviously robotics, where it could boost their vision systems, improve navigation, and basically endow them with one more skill necessary to keep us in line after the uprising.
University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communication, June 16, 2006 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

 


There's no fraud like U.S. Government fraud

"Limo letter is found at Homeland Security," by Dean Calbreath, The San Diego Union-Tribune, June 17, 2006 --- http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060617/news_1n17letter.html

A day after Homeland Security officials denied knowing about former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham's attempts to gain a contract for a limousine service, Cunningham's letter praising the company surfaced in the department's files.

In the letter, Cunningham wrote of his “full support of (Shirlington Limousine's) wish to provide transportation services for the Department of Homeland Security,” or DHS.

FBI agents have been investigating whether the company – while working for Brent Wilkes, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Cunningham corruption case – helped Wilkes arrange for prostitutes for Cunningham while Wilkes was vying for federal contracts.

Wilkes and Shirlington founder Christopher Baker have denied any involvement with prostitutes. But Baker has said through his lawyer that he provided transportation for “entertainment” at Wilkes' hospitality suites in Washington from 1990 to the early part of the decade.

At a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday, it was revealed that Baker has been testifying before a grand jury. The committee is probing whether Cunningham pressured Homeland Security to give Shirlington a contract.

Although Baker is a convicted felon, Cunningham gave him a character reference Jan. 16, 2004.

“I have personally known Mr. Baker since the mid-1990s,” Cunningham wrote to Homeland Security. “He is dedicated to his work and has been of service to me and other Members of Congress over the years.”

At the time, the department had no plans to hire a limousine service. But within three months, the department gave Baker a $3.8 million contract. A year later, he got a contract worth up to $21.2 million.

Until recently, Homeland Security officials have denied that any legislators were involved in the contract. In May, department officials twice told Congress that they had no record of Cunningham's letter.

On Thursday, however, Baker gave Congress a sworn affidavit that he had sent the letter to the department. Homeland Security officials said they found an e-mail mentioning the letter but had no other evidence of its existence.

Yesterday the department produced the letter, saying it had been misfiled.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
 


"Learn How to Produce Beautiful Quilts from Rose in the e-book - “The Essential Guide to Quilting,” PR Web, June 19, 2006 --- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/6/prweb400537.htm


"Next generation DVD war hots up," BBC News, June 22, 2006 ---
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/5105198.stm

The move marks the start of a Sony-led campaign in the next generation DVD format wars against the Toshiba-led HD DVD system. The battle to win consumers began in March 2006 when Toshiba released the first HD-DVD player. The introduction of two different formats has split the electronics industry and Hollywood film studios.

Historic fight

Many people liken the fight to the 1980s tussle between VHS and Betamax. Then, Sony lost out to rival JVC in the format wars. This time, the electronics giant will be hoping that it will come out on top. Backers of its technology include Samsung, Dell and Apple, while Toshiba, with NEC, Microsoft and others, is pushing HD DVD. In Hollywood, companies like Disney and 20th Century Fox have sided with Sony, while the followers of HD DVD include Universal. Warner Bros and Viacom have said they will support both.

Film extras

Both systems are incompatible but can both store large amounts of data, important for high-definition video. The technologies use a blue laser to write information. It has a shorter wavelength so more data can be stored. The first Blu-ray discs can store 25GB of high-quality data, but will eventually be able to store 50GB. Toshiba's HD DVD will hold 30GB.

By comparison, a standard single-layer DVD holds just under 5GB of data Both disc formats offer much better quality audio and video, and the ability for film-makers to pack many more extras onto a single disc. They will also be more user-friendly, allowing users to switch languages or skip scenes without having to return to the main menu.

Games technology

The first Blu-ray players are made by Samsung and will retail at $1,000 (£550) in the US, nearly twice the price of the first HD-DVD players. Seven discs have gone on sale including classic films like The Terminator.Even before the players have hit the shelves, backers of the HD-DVD format have upped the stakes. Toshiba has said it will offer the first HD-DVD recorder in Japan from mid-July 2006. The recorder will sell for nearly 400,000 Yen (£1,900).

But many people are waiting for what could be the "killer application" for Blu Ray. Sony's PlayStation 3, which will be launched in mid-November, will come with a Blu-ray drive as standard. In comparison, owners of Microsoft's Xbox 360, which is already available around the world, will have to buy a separate HD DVD drive when they become available.

Games consoles tend to drive early adoption of technology because hardcore gamers, keen to get their hands on the latest titles, are prepared to buy the latest technology. The games industry is estimated to be worth $25 billion (£13.5 billion) dollars annually.


Remaining white farmers receive eviction notices despite Mugabe pledge
The Zimbabwe government is reneging on a pledge to invite exiled white farmers back to work the land and is moving to evict the few hundred who survived President Robert Mugabe's six-year ethnic purge.Scores of eviction notices were either delivered or were on their way to productive white farmers last week. The farmers will have 90 days to leave their homes and abandon their businesses.In an indication that the government is launching a final push against the farmers, Didymus Mutasa, the lands and security minister, told Western diplomats this week that he did not care if Zimbabwe's land remained unproductive "as long we [blacks] own it".Four months ago Mr Mugabe asked white farmers to stay. It was a spectacular admission that his 20 million-acre land grab had failed and that the expulsion of more than 4,000 white farmers had wrecked the economy.
Peta Thornycroft, "White farmers receive eviction notices despite Mugabe pledge," Telegraph, June 25, 2006 --- Click Here


How Civilizations Self Destruct

From John Brignell's Number Watch in June 2006 --- http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2006 June.htm

Self destruct

So, oft it chances in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth--wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin--
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,--
Their virtues else--be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo--
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault: the dram of eale
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.
Hamlet

As with Hamlet’s particular men, so whole nations, societies or even civilisations carry within them the seeds of their own destruction. Where various civilisations have foundered, though external factors play a major part, the decisive factor is the belief systems of the victims. The bishops and chiefs of the Norse inhabitants of Greenland prevented them from learning from the Inuit how to survive the rigours of the Little Ice Age. Allegedly, the Easter Islanders deforested their land and finally left it to the giant statues that presumably represented their own destructive religion.

As primitive man moved out from his sub-tropical paradise, it was his ingenuity that enabled him to cope with the rigours of the more hostile climate. Furs, houses and energy, in the form of fire, opened up new regions to conquest. The horse was exploited to supplement man’s own inadequate musculature, so transport and agriculture combined to provide the basis of viable settlements and trade. Mankind became largely concentrated in villages, towns and, ultimately, cities. These were not inherently viable, but the process of invention, which eventually led to the industrial revolution, provided a framework within which they could thrive. Industry, ugly, careless and unaesthetic though it might be, was the hub around which the new civilisation developed. Science and its methods, begun as the mental exercise of a few dilettantes, grew into the driving force. Those who had been enslaved by the requirement for menial tasks of a manual and, later, mental nature, were gradually liberated from them and leisure ceased to become a monopoly of the privileged few. Science freed humanity from many of the random hazards of life, such as infectious disease.

Unfortunately, science also provided support for the base aggressive instincts of mankind, in the form of weapons of hideous capability. This led to a hostility to science that is now all-pervading.

We arrived at the paradoxical situation in which the ingredients that liberated man from a life of toil also gave him the leisure to develop new systems of belief that were hostile to those very props. Knock them away and there would be a rapid return to the short and brutish fight for survival that was the everyday experience of stone-age man. Yet many of the very people who benefited most from the freedom to think, which came from the exploitation of extra-human sources of energy, became those who sought to undermine them.

Thus the keystone of western civilisation is energy. Those who would destroy it, from within or without, simply have to cut off supply of this vital commodity to ensure its collapse into primitive chaos.

It is one of the characteristics of the human child that he throws his toys out of the pram without thought as to how he will cope without them. Much of the activity is, of course, purely ritual. The dedicated townie, who would not last more than a few days in the real world of nature, rides his bike to the supermarket and buys so-called organic food, which he takes back to a home adorned with a token and quite useless windmill. He votes for a youthful and plausible politician who has never run anything, but promises to do away with the trappings of a civilisation that has kept him alive against all the odds.

It is one of the greatest ironies of modern history that the most accessible forms of fossil fuel are concentrated outside the western democracies, who have sleep-walked into a situation in which they are now subject to blackmail and coercion. The gurus of primitivism fly round the world (how come they can afford to when most of us cannot?) promoting myths such as first global cooling and then global warming, to which, according to their strictures, they are contributing more than their fair share; myths that do not stand up to the most cursory scientific examination.

The Green fifth column actively oppose the development of any realistic sources of energy, from fossil to nuclear, while promoting those that are intermittent, impracticable, expensive and inadequate.

Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad. 


Need accounting instructors for Afghanistan

June 25, 2006 forwarding from Dan Gode [dgode@STERN.NYU.EDU]

From: Daniel Lounberg [mailto:dlounberg@itasca.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 25, 2006 9:25 PM

To: dgode@stern.nyu.edu
Subject: need accounting instructors for Afghanistan
 

Professor Gode,

I am assisting Pragma (www.pragmacorp.com) to identify several senior instructors and graduate teaching assistants in accounting for an accountancy training project in Afghanistan funded by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA), www.ustda.gov.  All assignments have duration of one month starting in late July, 2006.

Senior Instructors

The Senior Instructor shall have a post-graduate degree (or other comparable U.S. professional training and/or U.S. accounting certification) in a relevant discipline from a U.S. educational institution.  This individual must be a U.S. trained accounting professional with a minimum of ten years in a U.S. GAAP or IAS accounting environment, experience in accounting sector and experience as an accountancy training instructor.  He or she will preferably have overseas development experience and shall be responsible for designing and delivering the Training Program, supervising U.S. and Afghan Teaching Assistants and producing training materials.  Pashto and/or Dari language ability would be an excellent capability, but is not necessary.  The Senior Instructor will be required to spend a four-week residence in Afghanistan.

Graduate Teaching Assistants

Qualifications:

·         Undergraduate degrees from a U.S. university in accountancy (or a related discipline);

·         He or she will preferably have prior experience as accountancy program teaching assistants.

·         Teaching Assistants shall be either (1) graduate students presently enrolled in a U.S. University and engaged in post-graduate accountancy, business studies or related discipline; or (2) hold such other U.S. educational and/or U.S. professional qualifications and certification attesting to his or her ability to provide professional assistance to the Senior Instructor

·         Each Teaching Assistant will be required to spend 1 month of residence in Afghanistan assisting a Senior Instructor in addition to providing other project assistance during the course of the Contract as determined by the Program Director and/or Senior Instructor(s)

If you can think of anyone that might be interested, I would like to hear.  My e-mail address is dlounberg@itasca.net, and telephone number is 703 243 9090.  Feel free to post this announcement in any forum you choose.  The Pragma contact is Danka Rapic, e-mail drapic@pragmacorp.com, tel 703 237 9303.

Best regards,

Dan L.

Daniel E. Lounberg
Itasca International
Arlington, Virginia USA
office phone:  (703) 243-9090
fax:  (703) 243-1094

cell:  (703) 785-8894
dlounberg@itasca.net
dlounberg@aol.com


Question
Will fuel stations in Europe have a wine pump for cars?

From John Brignell's Number Watch in June 2006 --- http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2006 June.htm

Talking of the Easter Islanders, whichever theory for their demise you choose to embrace, using up your resources in unproductive activity is not a way to ensure survival of your civilisation. This from Neil Parish MEP:

Wine: once again the EU rewards failure

The EU has today announced it will be paying France and Italy to turn 560 million litres (147 million gallons) of surplus wine into fuel or disinfectant. Neil Parish MEP, Conservative agriculture spokesman in the European Parliament, has attacked the move, saying the taxpayer should not be responsible for propping up a wine market that clearly cannot compete with the emergence of 'new world wines'.

The news comes ahead of an announcement on the future of the EU's wine regime that EU agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel will make on the 22nd June.

Mr Parish said Europe was producing far too much wine for the market. EU wine exports have only increased by around 200,000 litres since 1996 whilst Chilean and Australian exports have shot up by 19 times.

"British taxpayers should not be expected to prop up continental wine producers who have sat back whilst countries like Australia and Chile have been working hard to promote their wine. Continental producers have rested on their laurels for too long.

"Many EU winemakers are getting a hard lesson in how markets operate. If they produce substandard wine, they should go out of business. Instead, the EU is rewarding them with taxpayers' money for their failure.

"This is the fourth year in six that this type of intervention has occurred in the wine market. I hope the proposals brought forward by the European Commission on the 22nd June will make sure it's the last."

 


From the Scout Report on June 16, 2006

RSS Bandit 1.3.0.42 http://www.rssbandit.org/ 

While many people may already be familiar with the world of RSS (Real Simple Syndication), there may be a few persons lurking out there wondering: What can RSS do for me? RSS can do quite a bit actually, and so they might do well to take a look at this latest version of the RSS Bandit application. With this application, visitors can view news items in customizable newspaper views and also create fine-grained controls that will help them manage how items are downloaded. As with many similar applications, adding new feeds is just a one-click operation. This latest version is compatible with all computers running Windows 2000 and newer. 

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


HTTrack Website Copier 3.40-2 http://www.httrack.com/ 

Despite the efforts of many private businesses and municipalities, there are still a few spots left around the country without wireless internet access. Users who may need to look through a website before entering one of these “dead zones” will definitely want to take a gander at HTTrack Website Copier 3.40-2. With this application, users can copy entire website for offline browsing, and they also have the option to customize such downloads. Some of these customizations include the ability to have the program only download certain classes of files (such as Word documents) from a given site. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 95 and newer.


"Reading From the BenchMy favorite modern novels set in the legal world," by Scott Turow, The Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110008532

1. "Anatomy of a Murder" by Robert Traver (St. Martin's, 1958).

This is the ur-book for much contemporary legal fiction. Traver was the pseudonym for John Voelker, who was sitting as a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court when his novel about a murder trial in the iron-ore country of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan took America by storm. An experienced criminal trial lawyer, Voelker took a new approach to writing about the courtroom, eschewing the melodrama of Perry Mason or the portentousness of the classics in which every case was foremost a symbol for Justice. Voelker contented himself with the workaday details of a trial, believing that the law's very atmosphere of restraint would enhance the essential drama. His narrator, Paul Biegler, is a former prosecutor taking on his first defense. Paul's unsympathetic client is U.S. Army Lt. Frederic Manion, the killer of bar owner Barney Quill, who may or may not have raped Manion's sultry wife. The subject matter was torrid in 1958, but the novel's straightforward approach stands up, and the book still echoes on every page with the authority of a world fully known.

2. "A Passage to India" by E.M. Forster (Harcourt Brace, 1924).

One of the towering achievements of 20th-century literature, this novel is appropriately regarded as a nuanced examination of the British Raj in India and of colonialism in general. Yet its plot is constructed around the trial of an Anglophile Indian doctor for allegedly groping a young Englishwoman during a sightseeing trip. While the preceding events and the aftermath take up the greater part of the action, the legal proceedings mark the dramatic and thematic highpoint, and provide the novel's pivotal moment of transformation. Forster rivaled Chekhov in his total understanding of his characters' shortcomings and his embracing sympathy for them notwithstanding.

3. "Snow Falling On Cedars" by David Guterson (Harcourt Brace, 1994).

A flawless novel, set in rural Washington in the 1950s, in which the murder trial of a fisherman serves as a community ritual to expiate the resentments still seething in the wake of the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. An entire universe of social relationships--a shattered love affair, grimy business dealings and an elderly lawyer's devotion to his profession--come to the fore and are tenderly portrayed.

4. The Just and The Unjust" by James Gould Cozzens (Harcourt Brace, 1942).

Once regarded as a major American author, Cozzens has fallen into a state of literary neglect, but this novel about a small-town district attorney undertaking his first murder trial is a gem. Cozzens was a practitioner of American Realism, whose central vision was of the overwhelming dailiness of experience, meaning that even a trial for murder at moments seems ordinary, but the reward is a portrait, unrivaled in its subtlety, of the complications of life as a trial lawyer.

5. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee (Lippincott, 1960).

Told from the point of view of Scout, an eight-year-old girl, Ms. Lee's novel recounts the fearless defense mounted by Scout's father, Atticus Finch, in behalf of Tom Robinson, a Negro accused of rape, then a capital offense in a small Alabama town in 1935. By now, after 50 years of epochal change--which this novel in its own tiny way helped to inspire--"To Kill a Mockingbird" can read like a close cousin of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," a melodrama of race prejudice updated to the Jim Crow era. The truth, however, is that Ms. Lee (a central character in the movie "Capote") was so successful in dramatizing the cruelties of segregation that her book has been tirelessly imitated ever since, with the result that characters once hailed for their startling originality can seem like stock figures. But to notice that, you would have to elude the spell of a novel whose voice remains perfectly pitched and whose ultimate art rests in its escape from its own sentimentality.

Honorable Mention: "American Appetites," by Joyce Carol Oates. A characteristically unique rendering by an American master of the somnambulistic experience of being a defendant on trial.

Mr. Turow's most recent book, "Ordinary Heroes" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), was published in November.




Pre-Rinse Cycle --- http://www.offthemarkcartoons.com/cartoons/2000-05-02.gif

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dogs --- http://www.i-love-dogs.com/
 


Forwarded by Paula

After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a "gripesheet," which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight. Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor.

Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas ' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers. By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never, ever, had an accident. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud. S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.

P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny. (I love this one!) S: Aircraft warned to: straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit. S: Cat installed.

And the best one for last..................

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget


Art Lowe's Computer Enhancers --- http://www.allowe.com/Humor/computerenhancers.htm

 




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