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 ---
Outgoing President Rayburn has some parting comments in support of her TAR
Diversity Initiative in the Summer 2006 edition of Accounting Education News
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 ---
Leaders and the Responsibility of Power
"The Anxiety of Influence," by Josiah Bunting III, The Wall Street Journal,
July 3, 2006; Page A10 ---
More than 40 years ago the
historian Henry Steele Commager asked how it was that the British
colonies in North America could have produced such a galaxy of leaders:
a generation that made a revolution and established a new and enduring
nation. In talent, he argued, the leadership rivaled that of the Athens
of Pericles and the England of Elizabeth I, a florescence of wisdom,
character, virtue and vision that has not since been equaled. The
question has never been -- and never will be -- satisfactorily answered;
each generation is obliged to engage it in its own way.
Commager adduced several reasons,
most of them familiar: "New occasions teach new duties," as James
Russell Lowell wrote. Great challenge evokes mighty response. The places
of honor, of ambition realized, were almost all to be found in the ranks
of those preparing the Revolution or fighting in the continental army or
designing, and making, a new government. There were few fortunes to be
made, few industries, universities, institutions of culture to lead. And
talent seemed much less divisible than in 20th-century America; that is,
of necessity a new beau ideal of leadership had come into being: The
patriot saw no necessary tension between being a scholar, soldier,
writer, legislator, leader.
Like the heroes of the early
Roman Republic and ancient Greece (Rome more than Greece) whom they
emulated, these Americans discharged their obligations, as they
understood them, by answering multiple vocations and duties, all serving
a common end. They did not particularly count the cost. They were not
concerned to lay up fortunes for themselves. They had small conception
of what our own age calls (and is obsessed by) "stress." They were
educated in the classics of ancient literature, history particularly,
and in the philosophical literature of 17th- and 18th-century Europe --
Locke, Sidney, Montesquieu, Hume. Many did not attend college: There
were only nine universities and colleges by the end of 1776.
Yet they wrote with a grace and
lucidity we cannot match. Their minds seemed clearer than ours. And they
had also what was imputed to a great general of a later generation: the
imaginations of engineers. They knew how to transform ideas into action,
into policies and institutions.
When they were young, these
leaders of the revolutionary generation accustomed themselves, under the
supervision of demanding adults, to long periods of solitary study.
Their English near-contemporary, William Wordsworth, remembered a statue
of Isaac Newton in the courtyard of his Cambridge college: "the marbled
index of a mind voyaging forever, through strange seas of thought,
alone." As young people, they were not often praised or rewarded. The
satisfactions of learning, they were taught, were in the learning, and
in how that learning -- like the unconscious predisposition to emulate
certain heroes -- might somehow be transmuted into examples and lessons
that would influence their own conduct later on. Like Pericles's men of
Athens, they would thereafter "be ashamed to fall below a certain
* * *
The English historian Paul
Johnson wrote that the generation of American leaders of the 1940s was
our ablest since that of the Founding. No one imputes to this second
generation the creative genius of the first. Several of its tribunes
were professional soldiers and naval officers -- men ideally (according
to Clausewitz) of a searching rather than a creative intellect. One has
the impression, studying their lives as youngsters, that they were not
"brilliant" at school.
They were born between 1875 and
1890: they included FDR, Douglas MacArthur, George Marshall, Ernest
King, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry Truman, Omar Bradley, William Halsey,
Chester Nimitz. With the exceptions of MacArthur and Roosevelt, they
were children of the American heartland, all born into modest, even
hardscrabble circumstances. The service academies were literally their
way out of Dodge.
For the military men, Marshall
and MacArthur in particular, enormous responsibility was given them as
lieutenants in their early 20s in the Philippines. Self-reliance is
usually the consequence, and so is what David Riesman called, in 1950,
"inner-directedness": the predisposition to act on judgment and
conscience rather than calculations of external approval. Thus Harry
Truman, almost blind without glasses, insisted on leading his artillery
battery in the most severe, and final, campaign of the Great War -- the
Meuse Argonne offensive (in which American casualties were 126,000,
including 26,000 killed, in six weeks). More than 20 years later,
Truman, then a U.S. senator, sought service again, but George Marshall
turned him down: Truman was then in his mid-50s.
Nimitz, Bradley, Eisenhower --
towers of moral strength, settled wisdom, common sense of an elemental,
singularly American kind: and all, like the 16 millions who served in
World War II (more than 10% of the country's 1945 population) with the
innate modesty which remains above all others the quality which draws
Americans of 2006 to this Greatest Generation. Such people embodied the
virtues, including the un-self-conscious nobility the founding
generation admired in their ancient models.
* * *
In a phrase that recurs so often
that it has almost become a cliché, we read that Bradley, or Ike, or
Halsey "was a mediocre student at the Academy." Yet, in a confluence of
character, conscience and mind that we cannot disentangle, they
considered problems of enormous complexity, took counsel of those they
admired, attained wise and useful decisions, and inspired and led huge
numbers of servicemen -- and women -- to complete their missions. In our
time of crisis will another generation bring forward men and women of
the same métier as those of the Revolutionary and Second World
The answer expected is a
red-blooded Of Course We Will! To suggest anything less is to
invite the imputation of cynicism. But the culture of palliatives -- in
which virtually all minor encumbrances of imperfect health, physical and
psychological, can be erased by drugs, in which most avenues of
advancement rely less on the actions of self-reliance than upon the
legions of aids (human and material) that are gathered to smooth their
way, and in which the ends to be pursued and the ambitions to be
gratified are usually (though not always) those that exclude useful
service to the nation -- this is not a culture that cultivates the
qualities most needed.
Consider the character of George
Marshall, leader of the American Army from 1939 to 1945, whose name,
President Truman insisted, be given the Plan for European Recovery in
1947. A small episode, early in Marshall's final retirement, is
illustrative. He was offered very large sums of money to write his
memoirs. He declined instantly. It would not do to call attention to
himself. His country, he said, had already compensated him for his
service -- and besides, what he would be obliged to write, writing
truthfully and accurately, might cause pain to people who had done their
best, and who deserved well of their country.
Gen. Bunting, former superintendent of VMI, is
president of the H.F. Guggenheim Foundation.
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
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 took
some time to add selected quotations to the list of quotations at
The New Yorker told us so four years ago
Year 2002 Articles About Hezbollah: "The Most Successful Terrorist
Organization in Modern History"
This week, a cross-border raid by the radical Lebanese
Shiite movement Hezbollah embroiled Israel and Lebanon in an escalating
conflict. In 2002, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote a two-part article examining
Hezbollah, which he called “the most successful terrorist organization in modern
part one and
Jeffrey Goldberg, "IN THE PARTY OF GOD: Are terrorists in Lebanon
preparing for a larger war? The New Yorker, October 2002 ---
Lebanon Leaders Reaffirm Support for Hezbollah Until Israel is Destroyed
Michel Aoun, a one-time commander in Lebanon's 15-year civil war who now serves
in parliament, said . . . "I don't think that Israel has the capability to
destroy Hezbollah militarily because Hezbollah is not a group of armed men,"
Aoun said. "Hezbollah is a major part of the Lebanese social fabric."
"Lebanese leaders call for unity: Former president: 'The ship is
sinking; we should stick together'," CNN International, July 20, 2006 ---
Year 2006 criticism of Hezbollah and Iran by Leading Arab Governments
With the battle between Israel and the Lebanese militia
Hezbollah raging, key Arab governments have taken the rare step of blaming
Hezbollah, underscoring in part their growing fear of influence by the group’s
main sponsor, Iran. Saudi Arabia, with Jordan, Egypt and several Persian Gulf
states, chastised Hezbollah for “unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible
acts” at an emergency Arab League summit meeting in Cairo on Saturday.
Hassan M. Fattah, "Militia Rebuked by Some Arab Countries," The New York
Times, July 17, 2006 ---
Hezbollah and Pericles
Are these men and women hostages of live-in terrorists,
dumb natives managed by shrewd colonialists, or are they perhaps accountable
civil agents who made a very bad choice in one of their first democratic
performances? Possible lesson: Reread Pericles. Arab democracy is not hopeless,
a fourth clearheaded reflection suggests. The Middle East is divided between
those who jeer with any rocket hitting Haifa, and those -- in Lebanon, Palestine
and Saudi Arabia -- who secretly hope for both Hamas and Hezbollah to vanish
into the limbo of lost lunatics and make way for better and saner Arab regimes.
In the aftermath of the current war, Ehud Olmert's Kadima-Labor coalition
government would promptly talk with a peace-seeking Palestinian government; this
is why a majority of Israelis voted them in to begin with. Possible lesson:
Moderates don't easily lose their nerve these days.
Fania Oz-Salzberger, "Hezbollah and Pericles," The Wall Street Journal,
July 18, 2006; Page A14 ---
You can read more about Pericles at
Economic Development: What Islam "Most Loathes and Fears"
The real reason India was targeted was because it has
transformed itself from a Third World country into a modern economic power,
complete with Western-style freedoms. This is precisely what radical Islam most
loathes and fears. If the rest of the Third World, especially Muslim countries,
learn how to be like India; if they decide to become part of the global order,
and learn how to produce wealth on a Western scale and enjoy Western freedoms,
including freedom for women, and begin to build pluralist open societies, then
the Islamists' dreams of power and domination are dead.
Arthur Herman, "Why India was Hit," The Wall Street Journal, July 20,
Will these engineering graduates take down their diplomas and return them to
Ohio University has sent letters to more than 50
people who earned master’s degrees with material believed to be plagiarized,
asking them to return their degrees, rewrite their theses, or demand a hearing,
The Athens News reported. In May the university
“rampant and flagrant plagiarism” among some graduate
students in its mechanical engineering department.
Inside Higher Ed, July 19, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at
Differing Standards on Plagiarism
At Southern Illinois University, some passages are
being scrutinized by a contingent of young alumni, and current and former
faculty members from both the Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses. The informal
group, Alumni and Faculty Against Corruption at Southern Illinois, is calling on
trustees to respond to their allegations that a number of administrators have
plagiarized material that appeared on these campus Web sites — and in university
Elia Powers, "Differing Standards on Plagiarism," Inside Higher Ed, July
20, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at
Yes Bohunk: It's Still Possible to Sign Up for Basket Weaving
Athletes Seek Out Professors Who Will Pass Almost Any Athlete
Watkins says it is all too common to see athletes
grouped in certain departments or programs under the sheltering wings of faculty
members who appear to care more about their success on the courts, rinks and
fields than in the classroom. Faculty members are often the most vocal critics
of favoritism for athletes (the issues at Auburn were raised by one whistle
blowing sociology professor against another), he says, but it is frequently
professors who are responsible for the favoritism in the first place.
Rob Capriccioso, "Tackling Favoritism for Athletes," Inside Higher Ed,
July 20, 2006 ---
While accusations of widespread abuse like that
alleged at Auburn are unusual, “clustering” of athletes — in which large
numbers of athletes at an institution major in a particular program or
department, out of proportion to other students at the college — is common.
A 2002-3 analysis by USA Today found that a
large percentage of football players at Auburn and Duke University (a
quarter and a third of the teams, respectively) majored in sociology, while
tiny fractions of all undergraduates majored in that field. At North
Carolina State, the University of Michigan and University of Southern
Mississippi, the most popular major among football players tended to be
sports management, also far out of proportion with their peer students.
Richard M. Southall, an assistant professor of
sport and leisure studies at the University of Memphis, says that his own
sports and leisure area is the second most popular major for athletes, just
behind those who attend the institution’s University College, an
“individualized and interdisciplinary” degree program.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on scandalous academic standards for college athletes
Imagine a nuclear industry that can power America for decades using its
own radioactive garbage
"The Best Nuclear Option: The U.S. Energy Department's
fuel-recycling initiative could be a distraction from a more achievable goal:
reviving today's nuclear industry and averting some carbon emissions in the
short term," by Matthew L. Weld, MIT's Technology Review, July 20, 2006
Imagine a nuclear industry that can power America
for decades using its own radioactive garbage, burning up the parts of
today's reactor wastes that are the hardest to dispose of. Add technology
that takes nuclear chaff, uranium that was mined and processed but was
mostly unusable, and converts it to still more fuel. Then add a global
business model that makes it much less likely that reactor by-products such
as plutonium will find their way into nuclear weapons in countries like
Iran, even as economical nuclear-power technology becomes available to the
That is the alluring triple play the Bush
administration hopes to turn with the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP)
it unveiled earlier this year, a proposed long-term research and development
program almost as audacious as the Manhattan Project. The basic
fuel-reprocessing concepts at its heart have been kicking around for the
better part of a half-century. Now they are being touted anew as a way to
provide plentiful carbon-free fuel for an energy-hungry world threatened by
human-induced climate change.
Under the plan, for which the administration has
requested $250 million for the fiscal year beginning October 1, the United
States and certain partner countries would process spent nuclear fuel using
new techniques that would turn some of it into more fuel and minimize the
amount requiring disposal. The United States and its partners would also
lease reactor fuel to other countries, which would then return their spent
fuel to be reprocessed.
The technology could exploit uranium far more
efficiently: Phillip J. Finck, associate director at Argonne National
Laboratory near Chicago, says it could extract up to 100 times as much
energy from uranium as is now possible. With the waste now piled up at
reactors around the United States, the theory goes, GNEP could produce all
the electricity the country will need for decades, maybe even centuries --
assuming enough of the necessary new reactors could be built. That would
eliminate about a third of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions (roughly the
portion that today comes from fossil-fuel power plants). All this while
reducing waste and thwarting the diversion of fuel to nuclear weapons.
In practice, though, in the best scenario GNEP
would take decades to develop, and in the worst it might produce nothing; it
could turn out to be a nonstarter on technical grounds, or the technology
could be economically uncompetitive with other carbon-free sources of
electricity. And the program could undermine a more modest and achievable
goal: resuscitating a nuclear industry that hasn't launched a successful
reactor project since 1974.
Today, a public once wary of nuclear energy has
opened up to it as a possible answer to global warming. New reactor designs
similar to those used in today's commercial fleet -- but said to be safer
and more efficient -- are already approved or under review by the U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Utilities are in various stages of planning
at least 16 such reactors (see "Stirrings of Renewal" chart) and may file
applications with the NRC as early as the end of next year.
Continued in article
DOE's Blurred Nuclear Vision
The DOE has changed direction so many times in such a
short period that it is in danger of going nowhere. What should it do? Given
finite resources, focus on the top priorities. Without a nuclear renaissance --
which means real orders for new plants -- there will be less need for GNEP's
novel solution to the waste problem. The department should spend resources to
ensure that a renaissance actually occurs. In other words, help with
engineering, to lessen the high initial costs. Do not discourage and confuse the
utilities; instead, ensure that a repository will be in place to handle nuclear
waste, in whatever form it takes. Establish a strategy for deploying the next
generation of nuclear plants.
Andrew C. Kadak, "DOE's Blurred Nuclear Vision: A consistent strategy is
the key to a successful nuclear future, MIT's Technology Review, July 20,
Student Adopts a Despicable Tactic for Meeting Scantily-Clad Coeds
A student at the University of Central Florida is
accused of setting a fire on campus as a way to meet women, according to a Local
6 News report. Police said Matthew Damsky admitted to lighting a couch on fire
at the Academic Village Dorms last week. Damsky told officers he hoped he would
be able to meet women as the building was being evacuated.
"Police: UCF Student Set Dorm Fire To Meet Women," Local 6, July 20, 2006
Important Security Update for Adobe Acrobat
Update to Acrobat fixes a vulnerability in the program that hackers could
use to hijack machines running the software just by convincing people to open a
hacker-designed PDF document ---
What are the two basic forms of genius?
What he has found is that genius – whether in art or
architecture or even business – is not the sole province of 17-year-old Picassos
and 22-year-old Andreessens. Instead, it comes in two very different forms,
embodied by two very different types of people. “Conceptual innovators,” as
Galenson calls them, make bold, dramatic leaps in their disciplines. They do
their breakthrough work when they are young. Think Edvard Munch, Herman
Melville, and Orson Welles. They make the rest of us feel like also-rans. Then
there’s a second character type, someone who’s just as significant but trudging
by comparison. Galenson calls this group “experimental innovators.” Geniuses
like Auguste Rodin, Mark Twain, and Alfred Hitchcock proceed by a lifetime of
trial and error and thus do their important work much later in their careers.
Galenson maintains that this duality – conceptualists are from Mars,
experimentalists are from Venus – is the core of the creative process. And it
applies to virtually every field of intellectual endeavor, from painters and
poets to economists.
Daniel H. Pink, "What Kind of Genius Are You? A new theory suggests that
creativity comes in two distinct types – quick and dramatic, or careful and
quiet," Wired Magazine, July 2006 ---
Saving the Soul of Public Research Universities
Competition among research universities for national
ranking increasingly fuels a conflict between peer prestige and public purpose.
Governors and legislators rail about public purpose, while professors and
administrators rave about peer prestige. Can public research universities pursue
both public purpose and peer prestige? (Can the University of Virginia meet the
dual directive of its Board of Visitors to raise its proportion of economically
disadvantaged students and its U.S. News & World Report ranking among national
universities? ) As currently defined, achieving both goals remain an impossible
dream, for public purpose is not a byproduct produced automatically while
pursuing peer prestige.
Joseph C. Burke, "Saving the Soul of Public Research Universities," Inside
Higher Ed, July 14, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on prestige ranking issues in higher education are at
Higher Education Cartoons by Matthew Henry Hall ---
National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science
Although the case method has been used for years to
teach law, business, and medicine, it is not common in science. Yet the use of
case studies holds great promise as a pedagogical technique for teaching
science, particularly to undergraduates, because it humanizes science and well
illustrates scientific methodology and values. It develops students’ skills in
group learning, speaking, and critical thinking, and since many of the best
cases are based on contemporary—and often contentious—science problems that
students encounter in the news (such as human cloning), the use of cases in the
classroom makes science relevant. At the University at Buffalo, we have been
experimenting with case studies in science courses for over 15 years. We have
found the method to be amazingly flexible. It has been used as the core of
entire courses such as “Scientific Inquiry” or for single experiences in
otherwise traditional lecture and lab courses. Cases dealing with cold fusion,
AIDS, acid rain, ozone depletion, and toxic waste disposal have been used with
undergraduates, graduates, and students in professional schools. A case on
cystic fibrosis has been used in small laboratory sections run by teaching
assistants and a case on the spotted owl has been employed in a large class of
over 400 students. In our experience, students exposed to the case method have
been extraordinarily excited and actively involved in their learning.
National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science ---
Help in Problem Solving Courses
July 14, 2006 message from biology professor Robert Blystone
Below is a reference that may be useful to advisors
with incoming first-year students and parents with children who are facing
St. Louis University has prepared a helpful
commentary for students who are taking problem solving courses, such as
The Web site has a lot of common sense information.
It is nicely organized and should be helpful to the student who is facing a
math class and is feeling a little uncomfortable about it.
The site was just reviewed by the Internet Scout
Project folks and that is how it came to my attention.
I plan to read the information with my 15 year old
Bob Jensen's threads on math helpers are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics These include
Mathematics Help Central ---
Wikipedia has a number of good modules on mathematics ---
Wikipedia also has some modules on problem solving ---
Mathematics Across the College Curriculum ---
S.O.S. Mathematics ---
Appearance versus Reality of Trustee/School Kickbacks
One of the most common reality is that trustees who run portfolio investment
firms become trustees to steer a portion of the school's endowment to their
companies. The connections can be direct or extremely circuitous.
All to often members of the boards of trustees of colleges and school boards
of K-12 schools serve for business reasons (typically to steer business their
way) rather than for purposes of ethically guiding the institutions. Sometimes
these kickbacks are highly illegal. Sometimes they are not illegal but they are
unethical and are frowned upon if details are exposed to the public. For
example, institutions commonly, albeit secretly, promote insurance, legal,
personal finance, computer, or travel business of a trustee. These arrangements
sometimes entail questionable and unmentioned kickbacks such as a kickback to
the school for every trip booked with a trustee's travel agency or every
insurance policy written with an employee, student, or alumnus. One of the more
subtle examples is where a school or alumni association promotes a credit card
without revealing that the school gets a kickback every time the user makes a
payment to the credit card company. Often these kickback arrangements are
established without a trustee being involved, but all too often a trustee has
guided the school into such arrangements.
Stanford University paid more than $2 million in
legal fees to a firm headed by a Stanford trustee, The San Francisco Chronicle
reported. While Stanford defended the arrangement and it is not illegal, it is
the type of apparent conflict of interest that for-profit companies increasingly
try to avoid, the newspaper reported.
Inside Higher Ed, July 3, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on controversies in higher education are at
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
American Sign Language University ---
Bob Jensen's helpers for physically challenged learners are at
Authoring Ethics or Lack Thereof
How do prestigious professors plagiarize in textbook "authoring" without even
"Schoolbooks Are Given F’s in Originality," by Diana Jean Schemo, The New
York Times, July 14, 2006 ---
The language is virtually identical to that in the
2005 edition of another textbook, “America: Pathways to the Present,” by
different authors. The books use substantially identical language to cover
other subjects as well, including the disputed presidential election of
2000, the Persian Gulf war, the war in Afghanistan and the creation of the
Department of Homeland Security.
Just how similar passages showed up in two books is
a tale of how the largely obscure $4 billion a year world of elementary and
high school textbook publishing often works, for these passages were not
written by the named authors but by one or more uncredited writers. And
while it is rare that the same language is used in different books, it is
common for noted scholars to give their names to elementary and high school
texts, lending prestige and marketing power, while lesser known writers have
a hand in the books and their frequent revisions.
As editions pass, the names on the spine of a book
may have only a distant or dated relation to the words between the covers,
diluted with each successive edition, people in the industry, and even
In the case of the two history texts, the authors
appeared mortified by the similarities and said they had had nothing to do
with the changes.
“They were not my words,” said Allan Winkler, a
historian at Miami University of Ohio, who wrote the “Pathways” book with
Andrew Cayton, Elisabeth I. Perry and Linda Reed. “It’s embarrassing. It’s
Wendy Spiegel, a spokeswoman for Pearson Prentice
Hall, which published both books and is one of the nation’s largest textbook
publishers, called the similarities “absolutely an aberration.”
She said that after Sept. 11, 2001, her company,
like other publishers, hastily pulled textbooks that had already been
revised and were lined up for printing so that the terror attacks could be
accounted for. The material on the attacks, as well as on the other
subjects, was added by in-house editors or outside writers, she said.
She added that it was “unfortunate” that the books
had identical passages, but said that there were only “eight or nine” in
volumes that each ran about 1,000 pages.
Gilbert T. Sewall, director of the American
Textbook Council, a nonprofit group that monitors history textbooks, said he
was not familiar with this particular incident. But Mr. Sewall said the
publishing industry had a tendency to see authors’ names as marketing tools.
“The publishers have a brand name and that name
sells textbooks,” he said. “That’s why you have well-established authorities
who put their names on the spine, but really have nothing to do with the
actual writing process, which is all done in-house or by hired writers.”
The industry is replete with examples of the
phenomenon. One of the most frequently used high school history texts is
“Holt the American Nation,” first published in 1950 as “Rise of the American
Nation” and written by Lewis Paul Todd and Merle Curti. For each edition,
the book appeared with new material, long after one author had died and the
other was in a nursing home. Eventually, the text was reissued as the work
of another historian, Paul S. Boyer.
Professor Boyer, emeritus professor of history at
the University of Wisconsin at Madison, acknowledged that the original
authors had supplied the structure of the book that carries his name. But he
said that as he revises the text, he adds new scholarship, themes and
interpretations. He defended the disappearance of the original authors’
names from the book, saying it would be more misleading to carry their names
when they had no say in current editions.
“Textbooks are hardly the same as the Iliad or
Beowulf,” he added.
Richard Blake, a spokesman for Harcourt Education,
a division of Holt, said none of the editors involved in the extended use of
the Todd and Curti names were still with the company. But he said that now
“all contributors and reviewers on each edition are listed in the front of
the book,” and that naming new principal authors depended largely on the
extent of their contributions.
Continued in article
What also happens in authoring of textbooks for basic courses in accounting is
that a senior professor at a huge-market college is added largely for purposes
of gaining an adoption in his/her university or community college. The actual
contribution of that professor to the book is somewhat as questionable as when
some prestigious authors lend their names to a basic textbook where a
lesser-known "co-author" wrote most of the book.
Bob Jensen's threads on professors who cheat and how they do it are at
A Backhoe weighing 8 tons is on top of a flatbed trailer and heading east on
Interstate 70 near Hays, Kansas. The extended shovel arm is made of hardened
refined steel and the approaching overpass is made of commercial-grade concrete,
reinforced with 1 1/2 inch steel rebar spaced at 6 inch intervals in a
crisscross pattern layered at 1 foot vertical spacing.
Solve: When the shovel arm hits the overpass, how fast do you have to be going
to slice the bridge in half? (Assume no effect for headwind and no braking by
Extra Credit: Solve for the time and distance required for the entire rig to
come to a complete stop after hitting the overpass at the speed calculated
Answer - Who cares, the trucking company just bought themselves a bridge.
Answer with Photographs
Forwarded by Paula ---
The Wall Street Journal Flashback, July
New war production records that the public never
hears about are being established every month -- in the nation's prisons.
Starting from scratch, production for war uses in more than 100 state
prisons has mushroomed into a quarter-billion-dollar industry.
June 29, 2006 message from Carolyn Kotlas
A REPORT ON THE SUCCESS OF ONLINE EDUCATION
Each year the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C)
conducts an annual survey on the state of U.S. higher education online
learning. This year, the Consortium published its first annual special
edition, "Growing by Degrees: Online Education in the United States,
2005 - Southern Edition." Some of the findings reported include:
"Online learning is thriving in the southern
states. The patterns of growth and acceptance of online education among
the 16 southern states in this report are very similar to that observed
for the national sample, with one clear difference: online learning has
made greater inroads in the southern states than in the nation as a
"[S]chools are offering a large number of
online courses, and there is great diversity in the courses and programs
-- Sixty-two percent of southern schools
offering graduate face-to-face courses also offer graduate courses
-- Sixty-eight percent of southern schools
offering undergraduate face-to-face courses also offer undergraduate
"Staffing for online courses does not come at
the expense of core faculty. Institutions use about the same mixture of
core and adjunct faculty to staff their online courses as they do for
their face-to-face courses. Instead of more adjunct faculty teaching
online courses, the opposite is found; overall, there is a slightly
greater use of core faculty for teaching online than for face-to-face."
You can download the complete report at
Sloan-C is a consortium of institutions and
organizations committed "to help learning organizations continually
improve quality, scale, and breadth of their online programs according
to their own distinctive missions, so that education will become a part
of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any
time, in a wide variety of disciplines." Sloan-C is funded by the Alfred
P. Sloan Foundation. For more information go to
Bob Jensen's threads on alternatives for online training and
education are at
Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are at
Updates from WebMD ---
Latest Headlines on July
Latest Headlines on July
Latest Headlines on July
"Diet can cut cancer, diabetes risk," PhysOrg, July 19, 2006 ---
Medicine Should Focus More on Detection Relative to Treatment
(This sounds a bit like crime prevention versus punishment)
"The Art of Navigating Arteries: Andy Kessler wonders why medicine can't be
more like computers," by Andy Kessler, The Wall Street Journal, July 18,
The problem right now, as Mr. Kessler sees it, is
that we fight the "big three"--cancer, stroke and heart attack--with
treatment rather than early detection. Cancer cells and blood-vessel plaque
can be handled much more easily in the early stages, but we spend most of
our money on the later ones. More than 80% of health-care dollars are paid
by insurance companies and the government, and neither is especially
interested in detecting disease when it first appears. Doctors, regulators,
researchers and payers of all kinds are locked into what Mr. Kessler
calls--a bit ungenerously--the "cholesterol and cancer conspiracies."
A complicated system of mutual dependency distorts
the incentives. "The FDA is like the FCC and Big Pharma is like the regional
Bells" is what Mr. Kessler hears from Don Listwin, a former Cisco executive
who now heads the Canary Foundation, a Silicon Valley-based effort to
promote preventive medicine. In other words, in medicine as in telecom, the
big players end up exploiting regulations more than opposing them, if only
to preserve their monopolies. The Food and Drug
Administration--understandably but narrow-mindedly--wants "cures" for cancer
and other diseases. Thus tens of thousands of chemicals are screened, only a
handful make it even to Phase I trials, and by the time a new drug is
approved a billion dollars has been spent. Even then the new drug may help
only 10% of patients.
Yet if someone were to invent a device with a wide,
preventive usefulness--say, a nanotech implant that would spot the proteins
that indicate the first minute presence of cancer--it would have to go
through the same process of billion-dollar testing. Since the government and
insurance companies are reluctant to add anything to their repertoire of
coverage--and since such a device would be targeted at the much broader pool
of people who are not sick--research might well stall in its earliest phases
for lack of reimbursement-funding.
Yes, it is possible to object that doctors and
insurance companies do engage in preventive medicine. Don't they urge annual
checkups? Don't insurers even pay for them? But that's not the kind of
preventive medicine Mr. Kessler is talking about. He means devices that
bypass doctors completely. There are diagnostic tools that work as easily as
a home pregnancy test. They're just hard to access.
In one hilarious sequence, Mr. Kessler recounts
trying to draw his own blood sample, in the hope of checking his
cholesterol. But clinics won't draw blood without a doctor's orders.
Drugstores think you want the syringe to shoot heroin. Unless you want to
just gouge your own finger, you're in the clutches of organized medicine.
Imagine how tightly it grips something a bit more sophisticated.
Yet diagnostic technology is taking off--and that's
the crux of Mr. Kessler's book. Tomography--that is, three-dimensional
imaging--is slicing and dicing the human body (figuratively speaking) almost
down to the cellular level. Exploring the inside of someone's carotid
arteries is like playing a video game. In one amazing scene in "The End of
Medicine"--it still doesn't quite seem real--Mr. Kessler describes a "face
off" between five rival 3-D modeling systems at the seventh annual
Multi-Detector Row Computed Tomography Symposium in San Francisco.
"I was transfixed," he writes. "This guy was
zooming through someone's brain like it was . . . level 60 in World of
Warcraft. . . . The place went crazy. This was repeated on each of the
workstations by different doctors to often thunderous applause. I had a mild
headache from all the excitement."
Behind it all, of course, is medical know-how of an
esoteric sort. "But then there are these integrins--adhesion molecules," one
doctor tells Mr. Kessler. "This one specific integrin, alphavbeta3, is
specifically expressed on proliferating endothelial cells and tumor cells
that are forming new blood vessels. That's how we catch them, we find these
integrins." Mr. Kessler follows this talk although he seems, at times, as
baffled as the reader. Yet he gets it all down with Jack Kerouac-like
Continued in article
Detection Changing for Women's Heart Disease ---
Research links autism to brain abnormalities
Autistic men have striking abnormalities in a region of
the brain that deals with social skills, according to research published today.
Detailed maps of autistic men's brains show they have substantially fewer
neurons than expected in a region called the amygdala, which plays a major role
in understanding others' actions and emotions. The finding adds weight to a
theory put forward by some scientists that stunted development in the amygdala
gives rise to autism. Further research is needed, however, to confirm whether
the lack of neurons is a direct cause of autism, or is merely a consequence of
Ian Sample, "Research links autism to brain abnormalities," The Guardian,
July 18, 2006 ---
"Training Attention: New brain-imaging techniques could teach people to
strengthen the parts of the brain that control attention," by Emily Singer,
MIT's Technology Review, July 17, 2006 ---
How do surgeons focus
intently on their patients for hours on end? Why do other people have
difficulty finishing a book or listening to a lecture? Can they train
themselves to improve, as they might train to run a marathon or play the
Scientists hope to find
answers to these questions by using a new variation on brain imaging that
lets people watch detailed movies of their brains in action. If this new
technology can indeed strengthen the brain areas that mediate attention,
people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might have a
drug-free way to improve their symptoms.
resonance imagining (fMRI) measures blood flow in precise areas of the
brain, giving scientists an indirect measure of the brain's activity
patterns. While data collected from fMRI has traditionally taken days or
weeks to analyze, newer algorithms and greater computing power have
collapsed that time down to milliseconds. That means scientists -- and
subjects -- can watch the brain in action.
Known as real-time fMRI,
the technique has been used mostly as a scientific tool. But scientists are
beginning to use real-time fMRI as a form of neural feedback to teach people
to consciously control their brain activity. Preliminary studies by Stanford
Sean Mackey and colleagues have shown that the
technology can help people control chronic pain (see "Seeing
Your Pain," July/August.) Now scientists are
setting their sights on attention disorders such as ADHD.
When you're having a
conversation with a friend in the middle of a cocktail party, your brain is
assaulted with huge volumes of sensory information -- the clink of martini
glasses, the nasal whine of a nearby conversation. Ideally, mechanisms in
the brain filter out this extraneous information, allowing you to focus
attention on your companion's voice. "We know the brain can home in on
visual or auditory information," says
Seung-Schik Yoo, a neuroscientist at Harvard
Medical School in Boston. "But for some people, it's not that easy to do."
People with ADHD may
have difficulty filtering out extraneous sounds, or may find it hard to
focus on complex directions or a lengthy speech. Yoo and others want to see
if fMRI feedback can help strengthen the attentional machinery in the brain.
understand what parts of the brain are active when people are paying
Bandettini, director of the Functional MRI Core
Facility at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD. "If you
could focus on those areas, it's kind of like bootstrapping yourself to pay
Continued in article
Environmental Health Science Education ---
Study: Land use has had profound effects
U.S. biologists say they've determined 300 years of
land-use activities have had profound effects on the Earth's ecosystem.
University of New Hampshire scientists George Hurtt, Stephen Frolking and
colleagues say land-use changes have affected between 42 percent and 68 percent
of the global land surface. They analyzed historical records, satellite data and
computer modeling to produce the first global land-use history description
designed specifically to allow global carbon and climate models to assess the
affects of land-use history, both on the past and current sources and sinks of
carbon and climate. Hurtt said the data will allow the next generation of
coupled carbon-climate models to include the most advanced representations of
land-use practices yet. "Land-use activities are known to have added large
amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, altered surface reflectivity and
led to habitat alteration and destruction," said Hurtt. "A major challenge for
scientists now is to understand the combined effects of these activities on the
dynamics of the carbon-climate system. This study provides a key basis for these
"Study: Land use has had profound effects," PhysOrg, July 13, 2006 ---
Roots of the human family tree are remarkably shallow, possibly only 2,000
Whoever it was probably lived a few thousand years ago,
somewhere in East Asia -- Taiwan, Malaysia and Siberia all are likely locations.
He -- or she -- did nothing more remarkable than be born, live, have children
and die. Yet this was the ancestor of every person now living on Earth -- the
last person in history whose family tree branches out to touch all 6.5 billion
people on the planet today. That means everybody on Earth descends from somebody
who was around as recently as the reign of Tutankhamen, maybe even during the
Golden Age of ancient Greece. There's even a chance that our last shared
ancestor lived at the time of Christ. "It's a mathematical certainty that that
person existed," said Steve Olson, whose 2002 book "Mapping Human History"
traces the history of the species since its origins in Africa more than 100,000
"Roots of the human family tree are remarkably shallow," PhysEd, July 2,
From Jim Mahar's Blog on July 14, 2006 ---
What does a professor do all day?
If you are a college professor, you have been asked
"what do you do all day" or told "it must be nice only having to teach X
courses per semester". Similarly, if you are a student, you no doubt have
thought "What an idiot! All he does is teach X courses, why can't he get
grades back faster?"
Over at Financial Rounds, the Unknown Professor
addresses these questions with two answers. In his first entry, he explains
the teaching side of the equation and in the second entry he explains how
"There are two main differences between
teaching and research schools: the normal teaching load and the
expectations of the amount of research (i.e. publishing) you'll have to
do to get tenure. A finance professor at a typical research school
teaches a "2/2" load - that is, 2 classes in the fall, and two in the
spring. For most schools, this means two or three "preps" a year."
(For comparison, I think I have 4/4 and 5 preps
this year, but SBU is known as a teaching school and we have a small
department and have someone on sabbatical.)
"For empiricists like myself, a research
project always starts with a question, like "how does the makeup of the
board affect a firm's performance?", or "do firms back date their
options?" The next step is to gather some data, run a number of
statistical tests, write up the results, and then send the paper off to
a journal. The whole process can be pretty time consuming, since you
often don't know what you'll need to do until you're in the thick of it
(new research is, by definition, untrod territory)."
and then later:
"Often the paper is rejected (either up front
or after several rounds) at the first journal you send it to. At this
point you submit it to another journal, and so on. This process can take
quite some time. It's not uncommon for a couple of years to go by
between the time a project is started and when it's it a study to take
paper to take a well over a year. In fact, a colleague just told me she
got a piece published that she started in 1990, and had sent to 6
different journals over the years. Now THAT's determination."
It is definitely worth reading all of each essay!
"The Dirty Secret: Better technologies exist for extracting coal, a
major source of carbon dioxide emissions. The challenge is getting people to
adopt them," by David Talbot, MIT's Technology Review, July 19, 2006
Coal is the black sheep of the energy family.
Uniquely abundant among the fossil fuels, it is also among the worst
emitters of greenhouse gases. Mindful of coal's bad reputation, President
Bush promised the world three and half years ago that the United States
would develop a superclean coal plant in an initiative known as FutureGen.
The plant would have zero emissions; even the carbon dioxide it released
would be pumped underground.
Today there is a patch of land in Great Bend, OH, where an advanced coal
plant may one day be built. The plant could eventually include equipment for
siphoning off carbon dioxide. But it's not FutureGen, which today remains a
collection of research projects. No FutureGen plant has been constructed,
and no site for one has been chosen. The proposed plant at Great Bend could
more appropriately be called "PresentGen." The technology involved doesn't
demand a White House neologism suggesting that clean coal is something for
which we must wait.
Great Bend is owned by American Electric Power (AEP),
the largest coal-burning company in the United States. The company proposes
to build what's called an integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC)
plant. IGCC is frequently referred to as a "new technology," but it's really
a combination of two well-established technologies -- both of which are also
intended for FutureGen. The first is gasification, in which coal is partly
combusted under carefully controlled temperatures and pressures and turned
into a concentrated "syngas" of mainly carbon monoxide and hydrogen. (From
syngas, impurities such as sulfur dioxide can readily be removed.) The
second is the "combined cycle" -- the electricity generation technology
already ubiquitous in natural-gas power plants, where turbines are driven
both by a stream of gas and by steam produced from waste heat. Most
importantly, carbon dioxide can be captured from a gas stream far more
easily than from the smokestacks of a conventional coal plant.
IGCC plants are vastly more advanced than today's
pulverized-coal plants -- which are planned in ever larger numbers around
the world -- but they're hardly futuristic. "We've done a pretty thorough
due diligence on the technology, and we didn't casually come to the
conclusion that IGCC was ready," says Robert Powers, AEP's executive vice
president for generation. "Gasifiers have been used since the turn of the
last century, in a crude sense, and used in the petrochemical industry and
refining industry for years. And certainly, on the generating end of the
plant, combined-cycle combustion turbines -- we own combined-cycle
combustion plants now. Each of those pieces is a mature and developed
Indeed, coal gasification, developed about a
century ago, has long been the technology of last resort for countries
unable to gain access to oil. The Nazis used it to fuel the Luftwaffe; South
Africa adopted it during apartheid. In North Dakota, a coal gasification
plant went online in the early 1980s after the Arab oil embargo, later began
capturing and selling its carbon dioxide for use in oil recovery, and is
still humming today.
Continued in article
"The Un-Coal: By investing in energy efficiency, we could vastly
reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save money," by David Talbot, MIT's
Technology Review, July 19, 2006 ---
"The Oil Frontier: Don't expect the scarcity of fossil fuels to drive
us toward alternative energy sources anytime soon: we're getting smarter about
finding and extracting oil," by Bryant Urstadt, MIT's Technology Review,
July 18, 2006 ---
Out here, 4,300 feet above the seafloor, floats
Discoverer Deep Seas. Leased by Chevron, it's a ship that would have been
too expensive to use 10 years ago, a ship that represents 20 years of
advances in the art and science of oil extraction. It's not particularly
beautiful. With its derrick amidships and its rusty waterline, Deep Seas
looks like a ghost tanker trying to make off with the Eiffel Tower. But it
is a breathtaking expression of ingenuity, and a glimpse of what we'll
increasingly have to do to get energy.
The ship is so big that my incomplete tour will
take a day. It's 835 feet long -- on end, it would be the height of an
80-story skyscraper -- and 125 feet wide. Because it is so tightly packed
with machinery, a visitor winds through Deep Seas rather than walking its
perimeter, as one might on a cruise ship, and never gains a full sense of
My guide is Eddie Coleman, the lead drill-site
manager on Deep Seas. A quiet Texan in a denim Chevron shirt and jeans,
Coleman has spent the past 32 years offshore, working two weeks on and two
weeks off, shuttling between his home of Brookhaven, MS, and platforms and
drillships progressively farther offshore and more advanced. Like most of
the people I meet in this business, he says he wouldn't want to do anything
Coleman is in a decent mood, but he could be
happier. Last night, the drilling in a well that Chevron calls PS002 stalled
at 20,351 feet. Deep Seas doesn't produce oil; it drills for it, capping the
wells and leaving them to be put into "production" by equally expensive and
complicated floating platforms. The oil field that Deep Seas is exploring is
called Tahiti, and it's about 24,000 feet below a 5-by-1.5-mile section of
seafloor leased from the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. government,
in an area known as Green Canyon. PS002 is the second well of a scheduled
six, and the whole field is slated to go into production in 2008. Chevron
hopes to pump 125,000 barrels a day out of Tahiti.
Pumping is a long way off, though, and now the
drilling has stopped, too. "We tagged something," explains Coleman, "but
we're not sure what. So we're tripping right now." To "trip" means to bring
the drill bit back up or send it back down. Coleman and a team back in
Houston have decided that the casing, the tube that is dropped down in
increasingly narrow segments as drilling progresses, in order to maintain
the integrity of the well, has probably gotten out of round or developed a
spur of some kind. So once they've tripped the bit back up, they'll send
down a mill to bore out the casing. And when they've retracted the mill, the
bit will have to be tripped down again.
The trip takes about 12 to 13 hours either way, and
it's expensive. Deep Seas is leased from a company called Transocean, and
the daily rent is about $250,000. With the cost of labor and equipment,
drilling in Green Canyon costs Chevron around $500,000 a day. Casing, for
instance, costs around $100 per foot. The drill bits run around $80,000
each, and there are 140 to 175 well-paid people onboard, from cooks to
highly trained geologists. Developing the Tahiti field will cost about $3.5
Because of the resulting financial pressure, Deep
Seas hasn't been back to shore since it was launched five years ago. Every
six months or so, a supply ship pulls up alongside and pumps a million
gallons of diesel onboard. The fill-up takes about 24 hours. The diesel runs
six generators, which send five megawatts of power to each of six electric
omnidirectional thrusters, which keep the ship in position. On a calm day
like this, the thrusters, fed by GPS data and overseen by a team of
dynamic-positioning operators on the bridge, keep the 100,000-metric-ton
ship essentially stationary; it drifts only by inches over the well below.
Continued in article
Scary Times for Dinosaur Media
In the latest round of nastiness, several leading
newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, have been denounced for publishing
stories about a secret government counter-terrorism program. President Bush
called the stories "disgraceful," and one congressman has suggested that perhaps
the New York Times should be prosecuted under the federal Espionage Act. In
Washington, words we tend to associate with the 1950s — "treason" and "traitor"
— are back with a vengeance, and they're being hurled at journalists. The
media's image has arguably hit a new low, though one hesitates to say that about
a business for which fresh nadirs have become a way of life. The point is, how
did we get here? And is there any hope of redemption? . . . Some journalists are
worried that the profession is dying, but this is classic newsroom alarmism. As
long as there is a popular hunger for truth — a constant of human society, last
I checked — there will be work for people who want to dig it up. Witness the
best of the bloggers, who have not only proved themselves adept fact-checkers
but become tip sheets for the mainstream media. The dinosaur media have even
started hiring them.
William Powers, "Breaking news Shrinking circulation! Fact-checking goofs!
Partisan reporting! Despite the scare headlines, journalism's sob story may
still have a happy ending," Los Angeles Times, July 16, 2006 ---
From The Washington Post on July 19, 2006
In a Nielsen//Netratings study of people who
download video podcasts, which content-based Web site was the most popular?
From The Washington Post on July 17, 2006
How many Americans play online poker?
Fox News Now Number One in Spite of Being Openly Biased
"Fox News now number one in actual news as well as ratings," by Tim Cavanaugh,
Reason Magazine, July 15, 2006 ---
Iran's Possible Carrier Attack Missile
Iran is not idly sitting by, waiting for U.N.
deliberations to determine what comes next. At least some segment of the Iranian
government is preparing for military conflict with the United States. The latest
sign is the announcement that Iran, probably with the aid of Russian technology,
has developed a super-fast underwater missile. This bit of sabre-rattling sounds
a little fanciful — a top speed of 223 mph is claimed for the weapon — but is
not without purpose. U.S. carrier-based air power would be a huge component of
any strike on Iran. The Iranians surely noticed how naval air was used during
the offensive against even land-locked Afghanistan. Clearly Iran would like to
have an effective anti-ship weapon that could even the odds by threatening
American carriers, so they are no doubt trying to develop one.
Jeff Taylor, "Hello, Mr. and Mrs. America and All the Ships at Sea," Reason
Magazine, April 4, 2006 ---
From Jim Mahar's Blog on July 14, 2006 ---
Dow and SP 500
introductory finance classes cover the makeup
of different indicies. For instance the Dow Jones Industrial Average is
price weighted and composed of 30 "blue chip" stocks whereas the S&P 500
is weighted based on market capitalization and includes 500 stocks.
Street.com looks at some of the implications
of this difference:
"What is the impact of
the different weighting schemes?....if one of the Dow stocks has a
big move higher or lower, as 3M (MMM
Cramer's Take) did Friday..., the
disparate impact on the indices is noticeable. The $7.29 drop in 3M
accounted for 58.4 points of the Dow's loss of 134.63 points, or
43.38% of the index's move. On the same day, 3M accounted for 0.607
points of the S&P 500's 8.60 point loss, or 7.06%."
article goes on to talk about trading on the
"The systematic impact of differential weighting over time should
lead to a higher actual volatility for the Dow, and it does. Its
standard deviation of returns since August 1974 has been 1.021725
times as great as that of the S&P 500....And even though the indices
track each other remarkably well over long periods of time,
considering their significant differences, they should not be viewed
as substitutes for one another on a daily basis. If they were, we
should expect both the regression coefficient and the r-squared to
be far closer to one than the .855 and .7639 shown."
Financial Markets in a New Age of Oil ---
Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at
"They Give It the Old College Try: Funds Let Students Invest Millions,"
by Diya Gullapalli, The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2006; Page C1 ---
Once an anomaly, student-run investment funds are
taking off as a teaching tool everywhere from the University of Texas at
Austin to Cornell University. As recently as the early 1990s, there were
about 30 such funds but they now number more than 200, according to the
Association of Student Managed Investment Programs at Stetson University in
Florida, formed to coordinate efforts among funds such as these about five
The funds take many forms. This year, Villanova
University, outside Philadelphia, plans to open two student-run funds. It
already has two, including a small fund started two years ago that
specializes in what it terms socially responsible investing -- such as
avoiding companies that make military weaponry -- as part of the Catholic
school's religious values.
Continued in article
What company is the largest health-care buyer in the U.S. and why is this
company in deep trouble?
GM is the largest buyer and is in deep trouble because of its under-funded
commitments for retiree health care and pension benefits.
Mr. Wagoner's written testimony includes a call for
a "vigorous and robust competitive prescription drug market" including generic
drugs and policies that support comparing treatment options. He also will call
for a stronger focus on addressing high-cost cases without outright advocating
government-sponsored catastrophic health-care coverage. GM lost $10.6 billion in
2005 and pinned much of its weakness in the U.S. on its so-called legacy burden
related to funding benefits and pensions for retirees. According to Mr. Wagoner,
GM is the largest private heath-care buyer in the U.S. and spent $5.3 billion on
U.S. health care last year.
"GM Chief to Address Senate on Health Care," The Wall Street Journal,
July 13, 2006; Page A7 ---
"How Far Would You Drive to Avoid a Rental-Car Tax?" by David Cay
Johnston, The New York Times, July 17, 2006 ---
People will stand in line for an expensive cup of
coffee, but a study to be released today by the nation’s largest car rental
company shows that people will go miles out of their way to avoid a $4-a-day
tax on rental cars.
The study, for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, also
challenges the widely held perception that taxes on rental cars are imposed
on visitors, rather than local residents, and are thus a free lunch for
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the privately held St. Louis
company that is the nation’s largest car rental agency with 667,000
vehicles, hired two tax economists, William G. Gale of the Brookings
Institution and Kim Rueben of the Urban Institute. Mr. Gale and Mr. Rueben
looked at every jurisdiction with local rental-car taxes, but focused on tax
avoidance behavior in Kansas City, Mo., because there were many rental
offices just outside the city.
The study compared every Enterprise rental in and
around Kansas City in 2002 though 2004 with rentals in the first half of
2005, when a $4-a-day tax to subsidize a local sports arena began.
Among people who lived within five miles of an
Enterprise location where the tax applied, large numbers rented from an
office more than five miles away where the tax did not apply. The number of
cars rented by such people in the taxed area fell 41 percent while the
number of rental days fell even more, by 69 percent. On average these
renters avoided almost $16 each in local car rental tax.
Many renters crossed the Missouri River into
Kansas, costing the state of Missouri more than $6,800 a month in sales
taxes just among Enterprise customers. In effect, the effort to increase
local revenue came at the expense of all Missouri taxpayers outside of
Some people who lived within a mile of a rental
office where the tax applied rented from an office more than five miles away
to avoid the tax, the analysis found.
The $18 billion car rental industry has been fighting local excise taxes
on car rentals. At least 80 local governments in 38 states have car rental
add-on levies, and at least 24 more levies are being debated.
The most common use of these excises is to finance sports stadiums and
convention centers. At least 35 sports stadiums are or are expected to be
financed partly with subsidies from car-rental taxes. Other research has
shown that in the 1990’s, subsidies provided 94 percent of sports stadium
From the Issues in Scholarly Communications Blog at the University of
E-Books Still Have Hard Time
For book lovers, no digital device has yet proven
as cool or as user-friendly as the iPod has for more than 42 million music
lovers. Most books are still printed on paper -- much like they have been
since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1450....
Hand-held devices for digital books have been
around since the late-1990s from such companies as Franklin Electronics Inc.
of Burlington, N.J., and NuvoMedia Inc. of Mountain View, Calif. But sales
were plagued by bad design, high hardware costs and a frustrating lack of
Today, many of the original e-reader makers have
left that business. Franklin, for example, sold its eBookman business to New
York-based Ectaco Inc., which is marketing the device as a language-learning
Meanwhile, sales of e-books, while growing --
rising 44% to US$179.1-million last year in the United States, according to
Management Practice Inc. -- still account for less than 1% of total book
sales of US$25.1-billion in 2005. Many e-books are read on computers, and
reference and educational books are the most popular.
That's not to say e-reader makers have given up.
Several new devices will be launched this year. Sony Corp. will lead off
with its much-acclaimed Sony Reader. iRex Technologies Inc., a spinoff of
Philips Electronics, and Chinese supplier Tianjin Jinke Electronics Co. will
also hit the U.S. market with new devices.
More at Canada.com ---
It may take years for a graduate to change an evaluation of an instructor
One of Sanford's key points is that it may take years
for a student to fully appreciate the quality of his or her education. What
might have seemed tedious, dull, or unimportant at the time may, in the long
run, turn out to be more valuable to a person's life than that which seemed
immediate and exciting in the classroom. Unfortunately, as Sanford notes, that
long-term value often is not captured in the immediacy of student evaluations of
instruction. Wise department chairs and deans take that into account when
reviewing those evaluations. But, here at Krispy Kreme U. not all department
chairs and deans are wise.
Mark Shapiro commenting on a piece by Sanford Pinsker, "You Probably Don't
Remember Me, But....," The Irascible Professor, July 12, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on teaching evaluations are at
An Interview With Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at
Stanford University and a professor emeritus of economics at the University of
Chicago, where he taught from 1946-1976. Dr. Friedman received the Nobel
Memorial Prize for Economic Science in 1976, and the National Medal of Science
and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988. He served as an unofficial
adviser to presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and Presidents Nixon and
Reagan. He is the author of numerous books, including Two Lucky People (with
Rose Friedman). The following are quotations from edited transcript of a
conversation between Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn and Milton Friedman,
which took place on May 22, 2006, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco,
California, during a two-day Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar
celebrating the 25th anniversary of Milton and Rose Friedman's book, Free to
Choose: A Personal Statement.
"Free to Choose: A Conversation with Milton
Friedman,” Imprimis Archives, Hillsdale College, July 2006 ---http://hillsdale.edu/imprimis/
LA: On the
subject of Social Security, let me read to you a passage from Free to
Choose: “As we have gone through the literature on Social Security, we
have been shocked at the arguments that have been used to defend the
program. Individuals who would not lie to their children, their friends,
their colleagues, whom all of us would trust implicitly in the most
important personal dealings, have propagated a false view of Social
Security. Their intelligence and exposure to contrary views make it hard to
believe that they have done so unintentionally and innocently. Apparently
they have regarded themselves as an elite group within society that knows
what is good for other people better than those people do for themselves.”
What do you think of these words today?
stick by every word there. But there has been progress since then. Let me
explain: Free to Choose was produced and shown on television for
the first time in January 1980. President Reagan was elected in November
1980. To get a clear picture of what has happened since the publication of
Free to Choose, we really need to look at what happened before and
after the election of Ronald Reagan. Before Reagan, non-defense government
spending—on the federal, state and local levels—as a percentage of national
income was rising rapidly. Between the early 1950s and 1980, we were in a
period of what I would call galloping socialism that showed no signs of
slowing. Following the election of Ronald Reagan, there was an abrupt and
immediate halt to this expansion of government. But even under Reagan,
government spending as a percentage of national income didn't come down: It
has held constant from that time to now. Although the early years of the
current Bush presidency did see spending increases, national income has
risen, too. We have achieved some success at our first task: stopping the
growth of government. The second task is to shrink government spending and
make government smaller. We haven't done that yet, but we are making some
progress. I should also mention as a cautionary tale that, prior to Reagan,
the number of pages in the Federal Register was on the rise, but Reagan
succeeded in reducing this number substantially. However, once Reagan was
out of office, the number of pages in the Register began to rise even more
quickly. We have not really succeeded in that area.
There have been real
changes in our society since Free to Choose was published. I'm not
attributing them to Free to Choose—I'm not saying that's the
reason—but in general, there has been a complete change in public opinion.
This change is probably due as much to the collapse of the Soviet Union as
it is to what Friedrich Hayek or Milton Friedman or somebody else wrote.
Socialism used to mean the ownership and operation of the means of
production, but nobody gives it that meaning today. There is no country in
the world attempting to be socialist in that sense except North Korea. And
perhaps Russia is moving in that direction. Conversely, opinion has not
shifted far enough in terms of the dangers of big government and the
deleterious effects it can have, and that's where we're facing future
problems. This clarifies the task facing institutions such as Hillsdale
College: We must make clear that the only reason we have our freedom is
because government is so inefficient. If the government were efficient in
spending the approximately 40 percent of our income that it currently
manages, we would enjoy less freedom than we do today.
Free to Choose you discuss Abraham Lincoln's “House Divided” speech,
which you relate to the great task that the American people face. Like
Lincoln, you argue that a house divided against itself cannot stand: America
is going to be a government intervention country or it's going to be a free
market country, but it cannot continue indefinitely as a mixture of both. Do
you still believe that?
MF: Yes, I
very much believe that, and I believe that we've been making some headway
since Free to Choose appeared. However, even though it is real
headway compared to what was happening before, we are mostly holding ground.
do you think are the major factors behind the economic growth we have
experienced since the publication of Free to Choose?
Economic growth since that time has been phenomenal, which has very little
to do with most of what we've been talking about in terms of the conflict
between government and private enterprise. It has much more to do with the
technical problem of establishing sound monetary policy. The economic
situation during the past 20 years has been unprecedented in the history of
the world. You will find no other 20-year period in which prices have been
as stable—relatively speaking—in which there has been as little variability
in price levels, in which inflation has been so well-controlled, and in
which output has gone up as regularly. You hear all this talk about economic
difficulties, when the fact is we are at the absolute peak of prosperity in
the history of the world. Never before have so many people had as much as
they do today. I believe a large part of that is to be attributed to better
monetary policy. The improved policy is a result of the acceptance of the
view that inflation is a monetary phenomenon, not a real phenomenon. We have
accepted the view that central banks are primarily responsible for
maintaining stable prices and nothing else.
LA: Do you
think the Great Depression was triggered by bad monetary policy at a crucial
Absolutely. Unfortunately, it is still the case that if you ask people what
caused the Great Depression, nine out of ten will probably tell you it was a
failure of business. But it's absolutely clear that the Depression was a
failure of government and not a failure of business.
don't think the Smoot-Hawley tariff caused the Depression?
MF: No. I
think the Smoot-Hawley tariff was a bad law. I think it did harm. But the
Smoot-Hawley tariff by itself would not have made one quarter of the labor
force unemployed. However, reducing the quantity of money by one third did
make a quarter of the labor force unemployed. When I graduated from
undergraduate college in 1932, I was baffled by the fact that there were
idle machines and idle men and you couldn't get them together. Those men
wanted to cooperate; they wanted to work; they wanted to produce what they
wore; and they wanted to produce the food they ate. Yet something had gone
wrong: The government was mismanaging the money supply.
LA: Do you
think our government has learned its lesson about how to manage the money
think that the lesson has been learned, but I don't think it will last
forever. Sooner or later, government will want to raise funds without
imposing taxes. It will want to spend money it does not have. So I hesitate
to join those who are predicting two percent inflation for the next 20
years. The temptation for government to lay its hands on that money is going
to be very hard to resist. The fundamental problem is that you shouldn't
have an institution such as the Federal Reserve, which depends for its
success on the abilities of its chairman. My first preference would be to
abolish the Federal Reserve, but that's not going to happen.
LA: I want
to talk now about education and especially about vouchers, because I know
they are dear to your heart. Why do you think teachers unions oppose
president of the National Education Association was once asked when his
union was going to do something about students. He replied that when the
students became members of the union, the union would take care of them. And
that was a correct answer. Why? His responsibility as president of the NEA
was to serve the members of his union, not to serve public purposes. I give
him credit: The trade union has been very effective in serving its members.
However, in the process, they've destroyed American education. But you see,
education isn't the union's function. It's our fault for allowing the union
to pursue its agenda. Consider this fact: There are two areas in the United
States that suffer from the same disease—education is one and health care is
the other. They both suffer from the disease that takes a system that should
be bottom-up and converts it into a system that is top-down. Education is a
simple case. It isn't the public purpose to build brick schools and have
students taught there. The public purpose is to provide education. Think of
it this way: If you want to subsidize the production of a product, there are
two ways you can do it. You can subsidize the producer or you can subsidize
the consumer. In education, we subsidize the producer—the school. If you
subsidize the student instead—the consumer—you will have competition. The
student could choose the school he attends and that would force schools to
improve and to meet the demands of their students.
Although you discuss many policy issues in Free to Choose, you have
turned much of your attention to education, and to vouchers as a method of
education reform. Why is that your focus?
don't see how we can maintain a decent society if we have a world split into
haves and have-nots, with the haves subsidizing the have-nots. In our
current educational system, close to 30 percent of the youngsters who start
high school never finish. They are condemned to low-income jobs. They are
condemned to a situation in which they are going to be at the bottom. That
leads in turn to a divisive society; it leads to a stratified society rather
than one of general cooperation and general understanding. The effective
literacy rate in the United States today is almost surely less than it was
100 years ago. Before government had any involvement in education, the
majority of youngsters were schooled, literate, and able to learn. It is a
disgrace that in a country like the United States, 30 percent of youngsters
never graduate from high school. And I haven't even mentioned those who drop
out in elementary school. It's a disgrace that there are so many people who
can't read and write. It's hard for me to see how we can continue to
maintain a decent and free society if a large subsection of that society is
condemned to poverty and to handouts.
LA: Do you
think the voucher campaign is going well?
MF: No. I
think it's going much too slowly. What success we have had is almost
entirely in the area of income-limited vouchers. There are two kinds of
vouchers: One is a charity voucher that is limited to people below a certain
income level. The other is an education voucher, which, if you think of
vouchers as a way of transforming the educational industry, is available to
everybody. How can we make vouchers available to everybody? First, education
ought to be a state and local matter, not a federal matter. The 1994
Contract with America called for the elimination of the Department of
Education. Since then, the budget for the Department of Education has
tripled. This trend must be reversed. Next, education ought to be a parental
matter. The responsibility for educating children is with parents. But in
order to make it a parental matter, we must have a situation in which
parents are Free to Choose the schools their children attend. They
aren't free to do that now. Today the schools pick the children. Children
are assigned to schools by geography—by where they live. By contrast, I
would argue that if the government is going to spend money on education, the
money ought to travel with the children. The objective of such an
expenditure ought to be educated children, not beautiful buildings. The way
to accomplish this is to have a universal voucher. As I said in 1955, we
should take the amount of money that we're now spending on education, divide
it by the number of children, and give that amount of money to each parent.
After all, that's what we're spending now, so we might as well let parents
spend it in the form of vouchers.
LA: I have
one more question for you. You describe a society in which people look after
themselves because they know the most about themselves, and they will
flourish if you let them. You, however, are a crusader for the rights of
others. For example, you say in Free to Choose—and it's a very
powerful statement—a tiny minority is what matters. So is it one of the
weaknesses of the free market that it requires certain extremely talented
and disinterested people who can defend it?
that's not right. The self-interest of the kind of people you just described
is promoting public policy. That's what they're interested in doing. For
example, what was my self-interest in economics? My self-interest to begin
with was to understand the real mystery and puzzle that was the Great
Depression. My self-interest was to try to understand why that happened, and
that's what I enjoyed doing—that was my self-interest. Out of that I grew to
learn some things—to have some knowledge. Following that, my self-interest
was to see that other people understood the same things and took appropriate
LA: Do you
define self-interest as what the individual wants?
self-interest is what the individual wants. Mother Teresa, to take one
example, operated on a completely self-interested basis. Self-interest does
not mean narrow self-interest. Self-interest does not mean monetary
self-interest. Self-interest means pursuing those things that are valuable
to you but which you can also persuade others to value. Such things very
often go beyond immediate material interest.
that mean self-interest is a synonym for self-sacrifice?
MF: If you
want to see how pervasive this sort of self-interest is that I'm describing,
look at the enormous amount of money contributed after Hurricane Katrina.
That was a tremendous display of self-interest: The self-interest of people
in that case was to help others. Self-interest, rightly understood, works
for the benefit of society as a whole.
Continued in article
Forwarded by Auntie Bev
Life in 1906
The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.
Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated
With a mere 1.4 million people, California was only the 21st most populous
state in the Union.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents per hour.
The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year .
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500
per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical
engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at HOME .
Ninety percent of all U.S. doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they
attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press
AND the government as "substandard."
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks
Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their
country for any reason.
Five leading causes of death in the U.S. were: 1. Pneumonia and influenza 2.
Tuberculosis 3. Diarrhea 4. Heart disease 5. Stroke
The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and
Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!!!!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea hadn't been invented yet.
There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
Two out of every 10 U.S. adults couldn't read or write.
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school. Eighteen
percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time servant or domestic
There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE ! U.S.A. !
Now I forwarded this from someone else without typing it myself, and sent it
to you and others all over the United States, possibly the world, in a matter of
Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.