Courage is about managing fear.
William Beaman, "The Leader," Readers Digest, September 2006, Page 178

Terror on the Internet: The New Arena, the New Challenges
The next several editions of Tidbits, commencing on August 26, will feature the writings of Gabriel Weimann on Modern Terrorism Uses the Internet ---
Weimann's research is exceptionally thorough. Aside from Web sites on how to make bombs, and sites that help coordinate specific terror incidents, are the much more serious sites and "social networks" that utilize the sophisticated psychology and sociology of fear and terror to incite hate and indoctrinate our disaffected youth of the world. Target audiences also range clear down into preschoolers who are not yet but soon will be disaffected.

Web terrorism is frightening propaganda that's been mostly ignored in higher education research. World media and our silent majority of the Western world and Far East appear to be largely unaware of how we're losing a propaganda war to Internet propaganda machines of frightening scale and exploding success. I watched Dr. Weimann give a lecture on television last night and became aghast at his samplings of thousands of terrorism Websites, including many that are not connected to Islamic terrorism and some that are even Zionist terror sites. About 60% of the thousands of terrorism sites are in the United States. The target audience is largely disaffected youth in all nations of the world. More and more young people are being influenced by this propaganda. Witness the proportion of the recent arrests in the U.K. that were not young men and women born into either hate families or poverty.

Weimann's television presentation was exceptionally academic and fair minded about why this propaganda machine is taking off like a rocket. He would make an excellent speaker for college events. His message is that trying to censure this material or control the Internet would be both futile and counterproductive. Young people almost always want what's denied to them. The answer lies in a concerted effort to combat terror propaganda on the Internet with education and research. I personally feel that Websites on religion which are already flooding the Internet are misguided since they are mostly of interest to youths who already have religion. The target group of counter-terrorism should be disaffected youths and adults who are largely uneducated and vulnerable to propaganda. I'm no expert on counter-propaganda tactics, but it's absolutely clear to me that educators and researchers must become more directly involved in Internet tactics. We also need to become less prejudiced against people of other races, creeds, and national origins who might become more disaffected because of our own prejudices.

For openers, colleges should begin to add courses or course modules on the Internet of Terror. For now I will pose a question for you to investigate before I take up the topic.  Since terror is contrary to Islam, what do you think's the ultimate and very clever vision, according to Professor Weimann, that terrorists are portraying when, not if, they take over what's left of the entire world?
Clue: The answer is not radical Islamic fundamentalism which is largely a turnoff even in Muslim nations.

I ordered Weismann's new textbook and recommend that you do the same.

  • Textbook Hardcover --- Click Here
    Terror on the Internet: The New Arena, the New Challenges by Gabriel Weimann,
    ISBN: 1929223714
    Summary ---

    As an added comment I might mention my opinion that early Cold War propaganda machines eventually failed because they attempted to change the mindsets of entire nations of people. The majority of educated adults on both sides of the propaganda wars generally learn how to see through lopsided propaganda machines. But terrorists today are not necessarily targeting entire nations. What terrorists really need are small proportions of fanatic converts in all nations, including all predominantly Muslim nations, who are willing to become suicide bombers, assassins, chemical experts, biological warfare experts, nuclear engineering experts, and Internet activists in terrorist cells planted throughout the world.

    Recall that the early Cold War propaganda machines did not have the magnificent Internet. Our biggest enemy is now the Internet and terror propaganda. And our main hope is also the Internet coupled with education and research initiatives that eventually wake up the silent majority throughout the world. Propaganda cannot be used to fight propaganda. Education that takes up all sides of issues must be used to fight lopsided propaganda.

  • Tidbits on August 20, 2006
    Bob Jensen

    For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to 

    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

    Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   


    Click here to search this Website 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

    Bob Jensen's Home Page is at

    Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
           (Also scroll down to the table at )

    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 ---

    Scientists have made the first ‘molecular movie’ of the elementary interaction between light and matter. They measured what happens on a microscopic level when light travels through a medium in a collaborative.
    "Physicists make first 'molecular movie' of light," PhysOrg, August 10, 2006 ---

    Stanford University School of Medicine: Center for Narcolepsy  ---

    Gladiator American Style ---

    Open Video ---

    Ancient Writings Revealed! --- 

    New Orleans:  City of Ruins (this is a slow loader but worth the wait) --- of Ruins.wmv

    Video illustration of MS Windows new voice recognition system under Vista (link forwarded by Richard Campbell) ---

    Why not make 10 the loudest? ---

    Free music downloads ---

    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 ---

    Banned Music ---

    Live Rock Concert from NPR
    Sleater-Kinney in Concert ---

    Camille, 'Threading' a New Sound ---

    Negro spirituals performed live ---

    From NPR
    A Country Song Springs to Life ---

    'Zaide' Production Imports Mozart to Modern Setting ---

    From Jessie
    Amazing Grace (with bagpipes) ---
    (If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, turn it on at the very bottom of the page.)

    More Elvis from Janie ---

    Auto Nostalgia (to the recording of Do You Remember These) ---

    I'm a Wartime President! (Music) ---

    My old man, he had oil... so I'd never have to toil! With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq all your money's spent...
    I'm a wartime president!

    My old man, made a call... so I didn't go to 'nam at all! With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq all your money's spent...
    I'm a wartime president!

    Did my time in the Guard... Went AWOL... It wasn't hard! With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq all your money's spent...
    I'm a wartime president!

    DUI? I made bail... Then Daddy sent me off to Yale! With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq all your money's spent...
    I'm a wartime president!

    Won the war, wave some flags... just ignore those body bags! With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq all your money's spent...
    I'm a wartime president!

    I'm in charge. I'm the Prez... I do just what Cheney says! With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq all your money's spent...
    I'm a wartime president!

    I'll do fine in the end, cause Halliburton is my friend! With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq all your money's spent...
    I'm a wartime president!

    Photographs and Art

    Iran's Holocaust cartoon exhibition ---

    Historic school days paintings at the Smithsonian
    'American ABC:' Back to School in the 19th Century ---

    Ansel Adams's Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar ---

    Pamukkale, a natural wonder in Turkey ---

    Mapping History ---

    From Cornell University
    Kheel Center Labor Photos ---

    Tradition vs. Change in 'Lhasa Vegas' (Tibet) ---

    Mikel Glass Art ---

    Because I have autism, I live by concrete rules instead of abstract beliefs. And because I have autism, I think in pictures and sounds. I don't have the ability to process abstract thought the way that you do. Here's how my brain works: It's like the search engine Google for images. If you say the word "love" to me, I'll surf the Internet inside my brain. Then, a series of images pops into my head. What I'll see, for example, is a picture of a mother horse with a foal, or I think of "Herbie the Lovebug," scenes from the movie Love Story or the Beatles song, "Love, love, love..."
    "Seeing in Beautiful, Precise Pictures," by Temple Grandin, NPR, August 14, 2006 ---

    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 ---

    Verses on The Death by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) --- Click Here

    Third Coast, one of the nation's premier university-based literary magazines, is published twice annually by the Department of English at Western Michigan University ---

    The Kenyon Review ---

    Renascence Editions ---

    The Figure in the Carpet by Henry James (1843-1916) --- Click Here

    The Adventure of Black Peter by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) --- Click Here

    The Sisters' Tragedy With Other Poems, Lyrical And Dramatic by Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836-1907) --- Click Here

    The French Revolution ---

    Thought Audio free MP3 downloads ---

    Arab Americans are as diverse as the national origins and immigration experiences that have shaped their ethnic identity in the United States, with religious affiliation being one of the most defining factors.
    Helen Samhan, Grolier's Multimedia Encyclopedia ---
    Jensen Comment
    The majority of Arab Americans are terrific citizens and contribute greatly to our culture, learning, democracy, and shields against terrorists who want to do them and the rest of us great harm. Many are respected professors in academe. Profiling on the basis of national origin, race, sex, and creed are truly contrary to the foundations of this nation of immigrants. That being said I am in favor of profiling of repeat felons, drug addicts, street gangs, DWI offenders, and drivers leaving bars.

    Courage is about managing fear.
    William Beaman, "The Leader," Readers Digest, September 2006, Page 178

    Where there is much light, the shadow is deep.
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) ---

    Chairman: This is unacceptable! We cannot have nine-year-olds working in sweatshops making ACME sneakers - not when three-year-olds work for so much less.
    [The VPs jump for their buzzers. VP Child Labor hits his first. The Chairman points to him.]
    Chairman: Yes!
    VP Child Labor: But sir! They require naps.
    Chairman: Put double espresso in their sippy cups!
    Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) is a feature-length Looney Tunes adventure

    Politics and the fate of mankind are formed by men without ideals and without greatness. Those who have greatness within them do not go in for politics.
    Albert Camus (1913-1960) ---

    Politics is the art of seeing that people do not become interested in that which concerns them.
    Paul Valéry (1871-1945) ---

    A number of people have more than 500 arrests in the city [Lincoln, Nebraska] of 226,000 people. The record was held by Edward Rooks, who died in 2004, with 652 arrests.
    ABC News, August 18, 2006 ---
    Jensen Question
    Why not put revolving doors in Lincoln's police stations and have a courthouse with vending machine defense attorneys? The problem with Lincoln is that it's just not large enough to ignore petty burglars that are not even arrested in major metropolitan areas where police consider it a waste of time to even make an arrest and fill out the paperwork unless somebody gets shot, knifed, or bashed in.

    Yet even as the talk from Caracas and Washington grows more hostile and the countries seem to be growing ever farther apart, trade between Venezuela and the United States is surging.
    Simon Romero, "For Venezuela, as Distaste for U.S. Grows, So Does Trade," The New York Times, August 16, 2006 ---

    Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
    Author Unknown

    This year’s Archimedes (meaning Eureka!) goes to the authors of an ACT sponsored study, which determined that being able to read "complex" material is “the major factor separating high school students who are ready for college reading from those who are not." An ACT spokesperson described the report as "an in your face statement," aimed presumably at the faces of any education officials who already didn't realize that not being able to read much in high school meant you probably weren't going to be able to read much in college.
    Peter Berger, "The Thirteenth Annual Emperor Awards, " The Irascible Professor, August 21, 2006 ---

    Of course, breakthrough instructional methods would mean nothing without high standards, a scruple which prompts some teachers, for example, to give zeroes to students who choose not to hand in work. This allegedly "antiquated, outdated" approach outraged one educator respondent to NEA Today. He charged that giving a zero for work that doesn't exist unfairly "skews" the student’s average "negatively" by making it too low. He solves the problem, in the interest of "fairness," by never giving any grade lower than a fifty-five, whether the student hands in anything or not. This heroic effort to skew grades positively wins him this year's Phineas T. Barnum Citation.
    Peter Berger, "The Thirteenth Annual Emperor Awards, " The Irascible Professor, August 21, 2006 ---

    The Baltimore school board this week lowered the passing grade from 70% down to 60%.
    Baltimore Sun, August 18, 2006
    Jensen Comment
    Why not 50%? Isn't being able to read every other word sufficient in modern times?
    Seriously, I think most colleges have lowered the passing grade to 60% or 65%, but colleges generally have more instructor discretion regarding passing grades. What's more of a problem at the collegiate level is grade inflation pushing C grades to B grades and B grades to A grades. Ironically, as students admitted to college grow dumber their grades go higher, especially when an instructor's future rides on student evaluations of him or her ---


    Architecture is the art of wasting space.
    Author Unknown

    The trove of search data AOL released last week revealed a few things about Web users: We like our music, we like our pictures, we like our sex -- and we like them all free.
    Lee Gomes, "What Are Web Surfers Seeking? Well, It's Just What You'd Think," The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2006; Page B1 ---
    Click Here

    When a person claims to know what happiness is, one can sense that person has lost it.
    Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) ---

    In recent years, economists and psychologists have been trying to figure out what it is that makes us happy. And one thing has become all too clear: Money hasn't got a whole lot to do with it. In recent years, economists and psychologists have turned their attention to "happiness research" -- and the results are a little disturbing if your life's goals are a bigger paycheck and a fatter nest egg. Money alone, it seems, just doesn't buy a whole lot of happiness . . . The five professors analyzed data for 374 workers who were asked every 25 minutes during the workday about the intensity of various feelings. Those with higher incomes didn't report being any happier, but they were more likely to say they were anxious or angry.
    Jonathan Clements, "Money and Happiness: Here's Why You Won't Laugh All the Way to the Bank," The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2006 --- Click Here
    Jensen Comment
    Be that as it may, a few of us happy folks still buy a couple of lottery tickets each week.

    Updates on Terror, Torture Thresholds, Taarof, Taylor Taps, and Tomorrow's Totalitarianism

    Jama'at ud-Dawa? Sigh! I just learned how to spell "al Qaeda" without having to look it up
    "Regional Terror Goes Global," by Alyssa Ayres, The Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2006; Page A14 ---

    A week after the arrest of 23 would-be airline bombers in Britain, information about their background, networks and training continues to emerge. The common thread appears to link the plot to Pakistan's Jama'at ud-Dawa (JUD), previously known as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET). The New York Times reports that investigators are focusing on the group's role in funding the bombers. If so, this marks a new level of ambition for a terrorist outfit that has thus far restricted its mayhem to India. In the past, despite well-documented evidence of JUD/LET's activities, the international community has done little to impel Pakistan to shut it down. Now that must change. With this globalization of regional terror, a problem far away has made itself ours, and we must solve it.

    Despite a flimsy attempt to disguise this, Jama'at ud-Dawa is simply a new name for Lashkar-e-Taiba -- which has battled India since 1997, when it began sending suicide-jihadists into Indian Kashmir to "free" the population. In effect this has meant butchering those who don't subscribe to their seventh-century worldview -- Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims alike -- a program to which the group brings flourishes such as slicing off the noses and ears of those deemed insufficiently pious. Lashkar's brutality and fervor injected a new instability into Kashmir. They also brought the region to the brink of war by attacking India's parliament in December 2001, in response to which India mobilized half a million troops on its border with Pakistan.

    In 2002, Pakistan's Gen. Pervez Musharraf, under intense pressure from the U.S., banned several terrorist groups that had operated with impunity on Pakistani soil, including Lashkar. But the emptiness of this gesture became obvious when the group merely changed its name to escape arrests and asset seizure. Newly minted as the Jama'at ud-Dawa, with the same leader -- Hafiz Mohammad Saeed -- it continued to churn out jihad recruitment material, under the same titles, and to convene massive jihad jamborees to call more of the faithful to arms.

    For a brief while, two years ago, it appeared as though the Pakistani military had finally become serious about stamping out terrorism emanating from its territory. A peace process between India and Pakistan moved forward bolstered by the growing confidence that this time bombings would not derail it. But the lull was shortlived. Last year serial bombings in a Delhi market on the eve of the Hindu new year, an attack on a temple in the holy city of Varanasi, and the murder of a mathematician at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore all bore Lashkar's fingerprints. And then, last month, came the Mumbai blasts that killed more than 200 train commuters and injured another 700. Indian officials have implicated Lashkar in this atrocity, and Indo-Pak relations have naturally suffered another sharp setback.

    Like Hamas and Hezbollah, Lashkar excels at both terrorism and humanitarian relief. The funds for the airline bombers are alleged to have been diverted from those gathered in British mosques after last year's massive earthquake in South Asia. This combination of jihadism with social work makes tackling such groups infinitely more tricky, but tackle them we must, and for that Gen. Musharraf's regime must be held to account.

    Five years after 9/11, Pakistan remains a deeply problematic ally in the war on terror. Despite regular promises of cooperation -- and the occasional arrest of an al Qaeda bigwig from a safehouse in Karachi or Lahore -- the country continues to draw terrorists from Birmingham to Bangalore. Gen. Musharraf presents himself as the last line of defense between the mullahs and Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, but in fact, as has been amply documented by the Pakistani diplomat and scholar Husain Haqqani, the relationship between the army and the jihadists is symbiotic rather than adversarial. The army plays up the terrorist threat in order to consolidate its position in Western capitals, while at best turning a blind eye to the violence they export.

    All this was bad enough. But now with the airline bombing plot implicating the LET specifically, this problem has arrived on our doorstep. A coordinated trans-Atlantic effort must make the closure of Lashkar -- and also the resurgent Taliban, which increasingly uses Pakistani bases to launch attacks on NATO troops in Afghanistan -- the highest priority. Pakistan must take responsibility for the activities of these groups that operate from its soil, and cosmetic gestures, such as the recent house arrest of Saeed and the arrest of low-level Taliban in a Quetta hospital -- will not suffice. For its own sake, the sake of the neighborhood, and indeed the security of our homeland, it is time Islamabad backed its platitudes about fighting terror with real action.

    Ms. Ayres is deputy director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania.

    The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which assumed power (in Turkey) in November 2002, is driving this change. Rooted in Turkey's Islamist opposition, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been widening the wedges between Turkey and the West, while building bridges with the Muslim Middle East. If anyone had doubts about the AKP's Islamism, the proof is in the party's foreign-policy pudding. Since the AKP took over, Turkish attitudes toward the U.S. have soured significantly. Four years of harsh criticism of American foreign policy in the Middle East -- last year's U.S. military incursions into Fallujah, for example, were officially a "genocide" in Turkey -- has created what could be a permanent dent in public opinion. Whereas in the pre-Erdogan period typically more than half the Turks expressed favorable views of the U.S., a Pew Center survey last month showed that only 12% of Turks view America positively. In that study, the U.S. gets lower marks in Turkey than in Egypt or Jordan.
    Soner Cagaptay, "Islamists in Charge,"  The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2006 ---

    [The Iranian] government also recently arrested and tortured blogger Abed Tavancheh, 23, who reportedly sustained permanent damage to his kidneys. Is this just your idea of beating the competition?
    Bret Stephens, "Questions for Ahmadinejad (That Mike Wallace Didn't Ask)," The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2006 ---

    A Question of Relative Versus Absolute Morality:  Where is the threshold for terror tolerance?
    How many lives must be at stake before relative morality dominates absolute morality?
    If all the population of the world was at stake in preventing a nuclear holocaust would we tolerate torture? If half the population of the world was at stake, would we tolerate torture? What number must be at stake to justify torture?

    In World War II the U.S. was much more civil to German prisoners than to Japanese prisoners because the Japanese tended to torture and eventually kill their prisoners. This illustrates our relative morality at the time. The question facing the world today is whether absolute morality is paramount even though the enemy has no morality. Terrorists without morality are willing to torture and kill innocent humans by the thousands or maybe millions. Perhaps an insane Hitler would've destroyed the world if his nuclear arsenal had been in place. Would we have jailed torturers who stopped Hitler from doing this? Have we ever resolved the morality issue about the dropping two atomic bombs in Japan if this indeed saved many more American and Japanese lives than it killed?

    Rashid Rauf, a British citizen said to be a prime source of information leading to last week's arrests, has been held without access to full consular or legal assistance. Disturbing reports in Pakistani papers that he had "broken" under interrogation have been echoed by local human rights bodies. The Guardian has quoted one, Asma Jehangir, of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, who has no doubt about the meaning of broken. "I don't deduce, I know--torture," she said. "There is simply no doubt about that, no doubt at all." . . . Torture and other illegality can offer authorities a short-term seduction, perhaps even temporary successes. Information provided by torture may have helped foil the alleged airliners plot. But evidence provided under torture is often unreliable, sometimes disastrously so - and its use always pollutes the broader credentials of torturers and their allies. This battle must be won within the law. Anything else is not just a form of defeat but will in the end fuel the flames of the terror it aims to overcome.
    "Liberal Agonies," The Guardian, August 15, 2006 ---,,1844559,00.html

    Jensen Comment
    The question is whether fear of fanning the fires of terrorists, along with inherent absolute morality, always negates legitimacy of  torture to prevent mass killing of innocent persons. One has to wonder how many human lives must be endangered before torture becomes more acceptable, if ever, in the eyes of moralists.

    The Guardian concludes that thousands of lives saved are not sufficient to justify relative morality.  The Guardian does not provide us, nor should it ever provide us, with the threshold number that would justify torture. We know that the threshold is very low in Russia, Asia, Middle Eastern Countries, Africa, and many other parts of the world. We know that the torture threshold is set by law at zero in Western nations but that the law on occasion is not enforced in severe emergencies for preservation of life. The question is where to draw the line on enforcement, and that is probably not something that can be decided in advance of the actual circumstances except in Hollywood where circumstances are fictional creations.

    It's not a question that will be debated in our ethics courses where torture is viewed as absolutely immoral under any circumstances even when torture is commonplace among our enemies. There certainly is no doubt that torture is immoral and rightly illegal for vengeance, humorous, or sexual gratification even in U.S. military prisons.

    "Liquid explosives carried in child's baby bottle," Homeland Security Government Site, August 15, 2006 ---
    Click Here

    Police in the UK have recovered baby bottles containing peroxide, including some with false bottoms, from a recycling centre close to the homes of some of the arrested suspects.

    In a separate but related case, a Muslim family of five- a husband, wife and 3 children, boarded American Airlines flight 109 at Britain’s Heathrow airport destined for Boston Logan airport on Sunday, 6 August 2006.

    According to intelligence officials, the family checked in at the last minute, and as a result, only a superficial check of the children’s carry-on bags was conducted by airport security personnel.

    Following the take off of the airliner, the check-in computer at the airport flashed a warning that a person under observation had boarded the flight. The airline staff informed immigration and security officials, and a background check found that the male adult member of the family was on a suspect list prepared by Scotland Yard subsequent to the 7/7 terror bombings in London. The pilot was ultimately alerted to the situation and after careful consideration, returned to Heathrow airport rather than continuing on to Boston.

    Upon landing back at Heathrow, armed marshals boarded the aircraft and took the suspect and his family into custody. It was at that time a search of the children’s carry-on baggage revealed the deadly cargo.

    A Lebanese student has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of planting bombs on trains last month which are believed to have been a failed terror attack. The man, 21, was detained at the main rail station in the city of Kiel. The arrest follows the release of closed circuit TV footage of two male suspects by police on Friday. The devices in abandoned suitcases on two trains failed to go off. Police said the bombers had intended to kill large numbers of people . . . Police think they failed to detonate because of a construction flaw.
    "Lebanese held over 'terror plot'," BBC News, August 19, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    He was probably angry because Germany shut down its gas chambers for Jews.

    American University of Beirut is our anchor in the storm
    John Waterbury, president of American University of Beirut, returned to the campus last week, after being unable to return from a trip to the United States when violence broke out in Lebanon. In an e-mail interview, he said that he flew to Jordan and then traveled overland through Syria, crossing into Lebanon at its northern border. Israel bombed the crossing both the day before and the day after Waterbury used it, he said. If the cease-fire that is scheduled to start today holds for about a week, Waterbury said the university would schedule a three-week period for summer courses in September, to be followed in October by the start of the academic year. In a message to the university, Waterbury said: “We don’t know what comes next. What we do know is that AUB is our anchor in the storm. Its legacy is in our hands, and that legacy is one of fortitude, patience and resolve.”
    Inside Higher Ed, August 14, 2006 ---

    American University of Beirut and Lebanese American University both announced Thursday that they were resuming courses and regular operations, in the wake of the cease fire in the region.
    Inside Higher Ed, August 18, 2006 ---

    Missing Egyptian exchange students were attracted "by the dream of life" in the United States
    All of the 11 missing exchange students from Egypt have now been found, the AP reported. Federal officials have been looking for the students, who entered the United States, but failed to show up at their program at Montana State University. Meanwhile, the president of Mansoura University, the home institution of the missing students, told The Baltimore Sun that the students were attracted by the dream of life in the United States. Magdy Abou Rayan, the president, said that although the incident has led to considerable criticism of his institution by the fundamentalist Muslim press, he would push ahead in promoting exchange programs.
    Inside Higher Ed, August 14, 2006 ---
    Also see

    GAO showed terrorists how to bring nuclear weapons across border
    "GAO actually shipped here to Washington enough nuclear materials to build two dirty bombs through our northern border and, again, through our southern border," she (Senator Dianne Feinstein) said. "Clearly, there is more that must be done, and clearly, we still have problems on both our northern and southern borders. We've got to put in place an integrated system that provides our citizens with maximum protection against nuclear smuggling, and do it in a way that is both efficient and cost-effective."
    "Nuke terror fears raised by massive smuggling ops 662 confirmed cases worldwide, while GAO showed how to bring them across border," WorldNetDaily, August 11, 2006 ---

    Mike Wallace lands an exclusive and rare interview with the president of Iran. In the wide-ranging interview, the Iranian leader comments on President Bush’s foreign policy, the lack of relations between Iran and the U.S., Hezbollah, Lebanon and Iraq. Robert Anderson is the producer --- Click Here

    Jensen Comment
    Mike Wallace never had control of this interview at any point in the double length segment of CBS Sixty Minutes aired on August 13, 2006. President Ahmadinejad, a college professor with a doctoral degree in engineering, never deviated from his controlling script and simply ignored any of Mike's sensitive questions such as:

    Ahmadinejad's prepared script was predictable --- Zionists (meaning Jews) have no legitimate right to reside anywhere in the Middle East; the U.S. is the world's immoral oppressor; the U.N. and European nations are puppets controlled by the U.S., and terrorism is a legitimate weapon of Islamic fundamentalism. Because Ahmadinejad's "advisors" were obviously nearby and made their presence repeatedly known during the interview, I was continually reminded of Baghdad Bob, although in fairness Ahmadinejad is more articulate, intelligent, educated, and dangerous than Baghdad Bob whose collected quotations are at

    There may be something of Iran's social principle of "taarof" in Ahmadinejad's more extreme comments. See below! Clearly Ahmadinejad's comments are widely off the mark regarding the U.N. (which usually votes against the U.S. on anything except motherhood and apple pie) and Europe (which has a hostile media on matters related to the U.S. and almost always opposes U.S. readiness to fight terrorists with force).

    What is Iran's social principle of taarof?

    One Western diplomat, who insisted on anonymity because that is standard diplomatic protocol, said it was possible that when Iran said it could not respond before the end of August to the West’s offer on its nuclear program, that it was not only a diplomatic maneuver, but may also have been a nod to the reality of internal Iranian politics. Major decisions on the nuclear issue involve consensus at the highest levels of the political elite. But consensus can be hard to achieve when interpersonal communications, at least initially, are defined by taarof, mistrust and different political agendas, the diplomat said.
    "The Fine Art of Hiding What You Mean to Say," Michael Slackman, The New York Times, August 6, 2006 ---

    There is a social principle in Iran called taarof, a concept that describes the practice of insincerity — of inviting people to dinner when you don’t really want their company, for example. Iranians understand such practices as manners and are not offended by them.

    But taarof is just one aspect of a whole framework for communication that can put Iranian words in a completely different context from the one Americans are familiar with.

    “You have to guess if people are sincere, you are never sure,” said Nasser Hadian, a political science professor at the University of Tehran. “Symbolism and vagueness are inherent in our language.”

    This way of communicating is suddenly essential for Americans to understand. Increasingly, it appears that the road to peace, and war, runs through Tehran. And so hearing what Iranians are really saying, not what Americans think they are saying, has become a priority. Iran has outsized influence with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. It has profound influence with the newly empowered Shiites of Iraq. And it is locked in its own fight with the United Nations Security Council over its ambition to develop nuclear technology.

    And yet, understanding each other — forget about agreeing — is complicated from the start.

    “Speech has a different function than it does in the West,” said Kian Tajbakhsh, a social scientist who lived for many years in England and the United States before returning to Iran a decade ago. “In the West, 80 percent of language is denotative. In Iran 80 percent is connotative.”

    Translation: In the West, “yes” generally means yes. In Iran, “yes” can mean yes, but it often means maybe or no. In Iran, Dr. Tajbakhsh said, listeners are expected to understand that words don’t necessarily mean exactly what they mean.

    “This creates a rich, poetic linguistic culture,” he said. “It creates a multidimensional culture where people are adept at picking up on nuances. On the other hand, it makes for bad political discourse. In political discourse people don’t know what to trust.”

    It is not a crude ethnic joke or slur to talk about taarof, but a cultural reality that Iranians say stems from centuries under foreign occupation. Whether it was the Arabs, the Mongols or the French and the British, foreign hegemony taught Iranians the value of hiding their true face. The principle is also enshrined in the majority religion here, Shiite Islam, which in other lands is a minority religion, often at odds with the majority. There is a concept known as takiya in which Shiites are permitted, even encouraged, to hide their belief or faith to protect their life, honor or property.

    “When you tell lies, it can save your life,” said Muhammad Sanati, a social psychologist who lived for years in England before returning to Iran in 1982. “Then you can see the problem of language in this country.”

    Diplomacy everywhere is the art of not showing your hand, and if Iranians have shown skill at forcing negotiations over negotiations, or winning by stalling, it would be an overstatement to say that it can be explained solely by a culture of taarof. But Western diplomats based in Iran say that Iran’s cultural foundation gives it a leg up when dealing with the more studied negotiating skills of the Americans.

    Perhaps more important, such diplomats and Iranians themselves said, Americans need to understand Iran’s approach to interpersonal communications in order to understand the complexities Iranians face in dealing with each other. Analyst after analyst said that after centuries of cloaking their true feelings, Iranians are often unsure whom they can trust when dealing with each other, let alone foreigners.

    One Western diplomat, who insisted on anonymity because that is standard diplomatic protocol, said it was possible that when Iran said it could not respond before the end of August to the West’s offer on its nuclear program, that it was not only a diplomatic maneuver, but may also have been a nod to the reality of internal Iranian politics. Major decisions on the nuclear issue involve consensus at the highest levels of the political elite. But consensus can be hard to achieve when interpersonal communications, at least initially, are defined by taarof, mistrust and different political agendas, the diplomat said.

    Questions that might've ended the interview in a New York minute

    "Questions for Ahmadinejad (That Mike Wallace Didn't Ask)," by Bret Stephens, The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2006 ---

    The time of the bomb is in the past. Today is the era of thoughts, dialogue and cultural exchanges.

    Q: A follow-up to that, Mr. President: Are you aware of a man named Mansour Ossanloo? He is the leader of the independent trade union representing the workers of the Vahed Bus Company in Tehran. A year ago, your security forces raided one of their meetings and cut out a piece of Mr. Ossanloo's tongue. Now he speaks with a lisp. Is this how "dialogue" is conducted in the Islamic Republic of Iran? A:

    Q: Let's talk a bit about your government's relationship to Iranian political dissidents. A few weeks ago, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a member of the Guardian Council who is reportedly close to your boss, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned in his Friday sermon that Iran will execute en masse all dissidents if the U.N. Security Council votes to sanction Iran for your refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. The sermon was broadcast on Iranian state radio. Does Ayatollah Jannati speak for you, Mr. President? A:

    Q: Please be specific about the fate of one man: Ahmad Batebi. Mr. Batebi became the face of Iranian dissent when he appeared on the cover of the Economist during the brutally suppressed Tehran University student uprisings in July 1999. After serving six years of a 15-year sentence, Mr. Batebi was furloughed last year and rearrested on July 29; his whereabouts are unknown, which is of special concern because your government recently tortured to death student leader Akbar Mohammadi ( Can you tell us where Mr. Batebi is and give us assurances for his safety? A:

    Q: More on thoughts, dialogue and cultural exchanges, Mr. President. You are possibly the first head of government to write your own blog: . Yet your government has shut down hundreds of Web sites and Web logs, including the BBC's Farsi service, and harassed the lawyers who represent them. An Iranian blogger who goes by the name Iron Shadow accuses you of "pursuing policies that are reminiscent of some of the darkest days of the Islamic Republic."

    Your government also recently arrested and tortured blogger Abed Tavancheh, 23, who reportedly sustained permanent damage to his kidneys. Is this just your idea of beating the competition? A:

    Q: Turn to the past. Kevin Hermening, a Marine sergeant at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran during the hostage crisis, tells this newspaper that you interrogated him personally on Nov. 4, 1979, while brandishing a pistol. For the record, he remembers you as a "very mean SOB" and described a sense of "déjà vu" while watching your performance on "60 Minutes." The U.S. State Department also believes that you were one of a group of five who planned the embassy takeover. Do you deny these charges? A:

    Q: Numerous Iranian sources allege that in the 1980s you worked as an interrogator and executioner in Evin Prison in Tehran. They say you earned the nickname Tir Khalas Zan, or "The Terminator," for your methods there. You are also suspected of involvement in the assassination of Abdurrahman Qassemlou, a leader of Iran's Kurdish minority, in Vienna in 1989. Do you deny these charges, too? A:

    Q: An American federal grand jury has indicted Ahmed Ibrahim al-Mughassil and Abdel Hussein Mohamed al-Nasser as two of the ringleaders in the 1996 attack on the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in which 19 U.S. servicemen were killed. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh believes the two are "living comfortably in Iran." Will you hand over for trial the two to the U.S. or some other international authority, as Moammar Gadhafi did with the planners of the Lockerbie bombing? A:

    Q: You are known to be a religious disciple of Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi. Among the Ayatollah's teachings is the view that slavery is justified. Do you agree with your mentor? A:

    Q: Your views about Israel are categorical and well known; your views about whether the Holocaust took place have been ambiguous at best. How about the Jews? Do you agree with the December 2004 statement of Iranian academic Heshmatollah Qanbari on Iranian TV, as quoted by Memri, that "all corrupt traits in humanity originated in this group [i.e., the Jews]"? A:

    Q: Another of Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi's disciples, Mohsen Ghorouian, has said it is "only natural" for Iran to have nuclear weapons as a "countermeasure" to the U.S. and Israel. And one of your regime's hardliners, Hojjat-ol-Islam Baqer Kharraz, was recently quoted as saying that "we are able to produce atomic bombs and we will do that." Do you disavow these statements, given your repeated insistence that Iran's nuclear programs are for peaceful purposes only? A:

    Q: In your May letter to President Bush, you ask whether the attacks of Sept. 11 could have been "planned and executed without coordination with intelligence and security services." Is it your belief that those attacks were orchestrated by the CIA, the Mossad or another Western intelligence service? A:

    Q: In the same letter, you discuss the "shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the Liberal democratic systems." Is this a historical inevitability, and do you intend to hasten that fall? A:

    Q: The scholar Bernard Lewis recently made note of your repeated references to the 27th day of Rajab in the Islamic year of 1427. That date corresponds to Aug. 22 -- a week from today. Anything special planned for the occasion? Or is it a surprise? A:

    Iran's Holocaust cartoon exhibition ---

    Probably the Most Important Point Often Ignored by the Media Years After 9/11
    Even if there were no Israel, these people would still hate us as an embodiment of everything they consider unholy. . . . The disappearance of Israel would do nothing to prevent such
    [9/11-styled] attacks.
    Norman Podhoretz in the New York Post as quoted by James Taranto and Ira Stoll, The Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2001
    Jensen Comment
    What Islamic fundamentalists consider the most "unholy" is the attraction of Western lifestyle, capitalist globalization, fashion, media/network freedom, and equal rights for women --- unholy trends deemed far greater threats to Islam than Zionists. Islamic spokespersons are now, for political purposes in 2006, trying to blame terrorism on U.S./U.K. support of Israel, but accusations from true Al Qaeda terrorists themselves repeatedly extend well beyond Israel and U.S. presence in Iraq. Al Qaeda to date directed most of its attacks against Western influence in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations that are not forcefully resisting creeping Westernism within their own borders. Al Queada terrorists targeted Bali and Saudi Arabia and African sites where few, if any, Zionists were the main targets. Islamic terrorists are not targeting Zionists in India. They're targeting Western-styled economic successes in India (India has more Muslim citizens than either Pakistan or Iran).

    How can 9/11 terror be blamed the takeover of Iraq?
    They ignore the fact that 9/11 preceded Iraq, and that other unemployed communities haven't resorted to mass murder. No, something else is happening. It is significant that 22 universities have been named as epicenters of jihadist recruitment. The leader of the latest terror attempt is alleged to be a biochemistry student. These educated young men have ventured the farthest from the enclosures of their communities: The well-fed bite the hand that feeds.

    "East Enders Only with the help of Muslims can Britain defeat fundamentalist Islam," by Farrukh Dhondy, The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2006 ---

    The ACLU's political correctness might delay 1984 (to the relief of many in the Academy)
    But it will be an uphill fight as political correctness runs four-square into political reality

    Over the past year the Democrats have built a political case that President Bush's conduct of the war on terror is trampling civil liberties and the rule of law. There is a list for the Bush assault on "our values": the NSA's warrantless wiretaps, Guantanamo, phone-call data mining and of course his Supreme Court nominations. Whatever the merits of all this, Congress's Democrats are publicly committed to making this version of the Bush civil-liberties record a voting issue for their party in November and beyond. So presumably they will remain deaf to Secretary Chertoff's plea for a legal system tailored to fight Islamic terror, at least until after 2008.
    Daniel Henninger, "Bush Phobia May Prove Fatal:  Our bitter politics may drop the gift of a foiled plot," The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    Given the likelihood of more frequent terror incidents, ACLU resistance will probably be futile in the long run in spite of ACLU's joy that Judge Anna Diggs Taylor recently decided for the ACLU in proclaiming warrantless international wiretaps as illegal even in time of war (the NSA agrees with her that international wiretapping is not legal except in wartime such as the war in Iraq) ---

    An attorney and judge, Anna Diggs Taylor was the first African-American woman appointed to a federal judgeship in Michigan and later became the first African-American woman to be named chief federal judge in the Eastern District of Michigan. Taylor has used her positions to advance civil rights throughout the United States.
    Detroit African-American History Project ---
    Jensen Comment
    Judge Taylor's illegal wiretapping decision could not have come at a worse time for Democrats as elections in November  approach. Apparently she's ignoring rising voter sentiments for a stronger rather than a wartime-wounded and demoralized National Security Agency. One reason the GOP has won so many recent elections is the Democratic Party's bad timing when supporting agendas written by the ACLU that are increasingly unpopular with voters. The GOP does not even have to try hard against such ACLU political misreading of voter sentiments toward wartime international wiretaps of possible terrorist sympathizers and support for illegal immigration. There's a widening gap between political correctness and political reality. Judge Taylor's decision is largely symbolic in futile political correctness since her decision's almost 100% certain  to be overturned on appeal while leaving liberals wounded once again in election races. The ACLU who filed the case argues that warrantless international wiretaps, even in times of war, are another a step toward Big Brotherism. The GOP argues that Judge Taylor's decision is beautifully written prose that is backed by terrible legal research and precedents in the law that she totally ignores in her political agenda.

    Even The New York Times Criticizes the Scholarship of the ACLU Arguments and Judge Taylor's Decision
    Even legal experts who agreed with a federal judge’s conclusion on Thursday that a National Security Agency surveillance program is unlawful were distancing themselves from the decision’s reasoning and rhetoric yesterday. They said the opinion overlooked important precedents, failed to engage the government’s major arguments, used circular reasoning, substituted passion for analysis and did not even offer the best reasons for its own conclusions. Discomfort with the quality of the decision is almost universal, said Howard J. Bashman, a Pennsylvania lawyer whose Web log provides comprehensive and nonpartisan reports on legal developments. “It does appear,” Mr. Bashman said, “that folks on all sides of the spectrum, both those who support it and those who oppose it, say the decision is not strongly grounded in legal authority.”
    Adam Liptak, "Experts Fault Reasoning in Surveillance Decision," The New York Times, August 19, 2006 --- Click Here

    The Wall Street Journal is more cryptic
    So we suppose a kind of congratulations are due to federal Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, who won her 10 minutes of fame yesterday for declaring that President Bush had taken upon himself "the inherent power to violate not only the laws of the Congress but the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, itself." . . . Before yesterday, no American court had ever ruled that the President lacked the Constitutional right to conduct such wiretaps. President Carter signed the 1978 FISA statute that established the special court to approve domestic wiretaps even as his Administration declared it was not ceding any Constitutional power. And in the 2002 decision In Re: Sealed Case, the very panel of appellate judges that hears FISA appeals noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "
    court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." We couldn't find Judge Taylor's attempt to grapple with those precedents, perhaps because they'd have interfered with the lilt of her purple prose. Unlike Judge Taylor, Presidents are accountable to the voters for their war-making decisions, as the current White House occupant has discovered. Judge Taylor can write her opinion and pose for the cameras -- and no one can hold her accountable for any Americans who might die as a result.

    "President Taylor," The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2006; Page A14 ---

    The politically correct New York Times is facing up, at election time, to political reality
    Here is what we want to do in the wake of the arrests in Britain. We want to understand as much as possible about what terrorists were planning. To talk about airport security and how to make it better.
    To find out what worked in the British investigation and discuss how to push these efforts farther. It would be a blessed moment in modern American history if we could do that without turning this into a political game plan.
    Editorial, "The London Plot," The New York Times, August 11, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    "To find out what worked in the British investigation and discuss how to push these efforts farther." Yeah right! See the WSJ editorial below.

    Let's emphasize that again: The plot was foiled because a large number of people were under surveillance concerning their spending, travel and communications. Which leads us to wonder if Scotland Yard would have succeeded if the ACLU or the New York Times had first learned the details of such surveillance programs.
    "'Mass Murder' Foiled A terror plot is exposed by the policies many American liberals oppose," The Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2006 ---
    What Britain can teach America about counterterrorism ---

    "A Self-Defeating War," by George Soros, The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2006; Page A12 ---

    What makes the war on terror self-defeating?

    • First, war by its very nature creates innocent victims. A war waged against terrorists is even more likely to claim innocent victims because terrorists tend to keep their whereabouts hidden. The deaths, injuries and humiliation of civilians generate rage and resentment among their families and communities that in turn serves to build support for terrorists.

    • Second, terrorism is an abstraction. It lumps together all political movements that use terrorist tactics. Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Sunni insurrection and the Mahdi army in Iraq are very different forces, but President Bush's global war on terror prevents us from differentiating between them and dealing with them accordingly. It inhibits much-needed negotiations with Iran and Syria because they are states that support terrorist groups.

    • Third, the war on terror emphasizes military action while most territorial conflicts require political solutions. And, as the British have shown, al Qaeda is best dealt with by good intelligence. The war on terror increases the terrorist threat and makes the task of the intelligence agencies more difficult. Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are still at large; we need to focus on finding them, and preventing attacks like the one foiled in England.

    • Fourth, the war on terror drives a wedge between "us" and "them." We are innocent victims. They are perpetrators. But we fail to notice that we also become perpetrators in the process; the rest of the world, however, does notice. That is how such a wide gap has arisen between America and much of the world.

    Taken together, these four factors ensure that the war on terror cannot be won. An endless war waged against an unseen enemy is doing great damage to our power and prestige abroad and to our open society at home. It has led to a dangerous extension of executive powers; it has tarnished our adherence to universal human rights; it has inhibited the critical process that is at the heart of an open society; and it has cost a lot of money. Most importantly, it has diverted attention from other urgent tasks that require American leadership, such as finishing the job we so correctly began in Afghanistan, addressing the looming global energy crisis, and dealing with nuclear proliferation.

    Jensen Comment
    I define a terrorist as an insurgent or insurgency group that intentionally targets innocent people (like patrons of a restaurant or passengers on an airplane or subway train) for purposes of revenge, shifting of political power, and/or extortion bounty. Some would argue that collateral damage of an air force's bomb is also terror, although if lethal combatants are hiding behind human shields bombing is not pure terrorism if the combatant enemy is the real target of the bomb. It's against the Geneva Convention for any combatants to hide behind innocent civilians, and it's absurd to let lethal combatants always have their way simply because they use human shields. In the latter case all combatants would resort to using human shields such as attaching children to tanks. I think the Israeli policy in the recent war in Lebanon had elements of both terrorism and war. In the majority of instances the IDF war targets were combatants who intentionally located themselves and their weapons behind human shields. However, I think some IDF targets were intentionally terrorized to inflict so much damage to Lebanon's infrastructure that Hizbullah felt a need to end further destruction even if it meant agreeing to a cease fire. Eventually a long-suffering Lebanon would've turned on Hizbullah if that was their only alternative to restore their the infrastructure.

    There are really two types of terrorists. One type has a central decision system under a controlling leader such as Hizbullah's Hassan Nasrallah. Hard core al Qaeda has a similar central decision system. The bad news is that these Type I terrorist systems are often better financed and better trained for large-scale terror. The good news is that the central decision system can call off the terror for whatever reason such as to give Lebanon a chance to rebuild.

    Soros is wrong about military action possibilities in discouraging the Type I terrorists. The invasion of Afghanistan made al Qaeda far less brazen and badly damaged the worldwide belief that al Qaeda is invincible. Secondly, Type I terrorists can never stand up to collect their winnings because they will be instant victims of their own terrorist strategies. They must forever remain rats in holes unless they effectively surrender as a Type I terrorist insurgency and begin to act like legitimate governments. Hamas faces this dilemma in trying to achieve legitimacy after an election victory.

    The second type, Type II, terrorist or terrorist group has no central decision system and generally reacts in numerous independent cells to incitement from the media. Type I Hizbullah may indeed agree to a truce and agree not to fire rockets into Israel or kidnap Israelis. But splinter groups of Type II Hizbullah insurgents, along with Hamas, will continue to terrorize Israel, especially since the Lebanese and U.N. peacekeepers have agreed not to not confiscate terrorist weapons (although some effort is being made to prevent the import of new weapons) --- 

    Paris has promised to send thousands of troops to lead the international force to carry out the ceasefire resolution, which requires "the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that... there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese State."

    However, the resolution also calls for "no foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government," and Lebanon already has said it will not force Hizbullah give up its arms. The French defense minister also has said its forces will not take away arms from Hizbullah terrorist guerillas.

    . . .

    The Lebanese government is approaching a compromise solution that would leave Hizbullah armed on condition its weapons are concealed. This violates the UN resolution, which states in Paragraph 8 that southern Lebanon must remain free of armed groups other than the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL.

    Some Type II terrorists who strike out on their own are especially dangerous due to mental illness and medical inability to be reasoned with in any type of appeals or payoffs. If there are enough of such Type II armed terrorists operating independently there is no way to call them off just like there has not been any way to call off Saddam's former army insurgency groups and kidnappers in Iraq. Type II terrorists are intelligence dreams of central governments because governments can always take media credits for their successes in entrapment of a few ignorant rats. But all the Type II rats are impossible to exterminate, and Type II terrorist successes are inevitable over time. Britain may have foiled a Type II group of ignorant rats, but there are still plenty of rats in the U.K. and the rest of the world.

    The disadvantage of Type II terrorist groups is that there is nobody to negotiate with and military action defeating one colony of rats simply inflames the other colonies of rats now popularly known as cells or militias. This is why a peace settlement with the leaders of Hizbullah will never stop fanatical militia rockets and suicide bombings. This is why taking out the core of al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba themselves cannot end Type II terror cells from attacking airplanes, buildings, pipelines, cruise ships, water supplies, harvests, etc.

    Regardless of what we hear in the media, we cannot surrender to splinter groups of Type II terrorists to end the terror. They will always find an excuse to carry on, and each success only makes them salivate for bigger and better spoils of war. Liberal appeals to ever increasing negotiations/payoffs are truly self defeating because we then face an increasing multitude of copy cat extortionists. Each lucrative kidnapping in Iraq leads to ten more extortionist kidnappings that are not sponsored by insurgents themselves.

    Payoffs only inspire copycat Type II extortionists. There are only two ways to frustrate Type II terrorists. One way is to crush them like Saddam brutally crushed any type of insurrection. This includes the current North Korean approach to discouraging dissidence by taking away virtually all freedoms. The freedoms that the U.S. cherishes prevent the U.S. from being so brutal and Orwellian at the present time. But our days of freedom are truly numbered if freedom and terror cannot co-exist in the long run.

    The second way to attack Type II terrorist militias is to fund counter-terrorist militias that are also of the Type II type. In other words, the goal here is to let the opposing militias damage each other like a brutal Taliban could never fully gain control of all the equally-brutal and U.S.-funded independent warlords in remote parts of Afghanistan. Drug cartels terrorize each other on a grand scale in Mexico and some other parts of the world. Central governments, in public at least, generally deny supporting either side. The problem with this approach is that warring militias might lead to anarchy and a breakdown of law and civil obedience of any type, a circumstance that may well come to be in Iraq if the United States chickens out in Iraq after having helped create the anarchy danger by knocking out Saddam. Things would've been far worse in Viet Nam when we pulled out if  the North Vietnamese army had not been strong enough to put down all post-war insurgency. I still wonder if we'd have pulled out of Viet Nam if that nation had a significant portion, say 50%, of the world's oil reserves or unranium?

    Truly Type II terrorist anarchy is not sustainable since everybody will eventually shoot at everybody else. Hence there is a tendency to coalesce Type II splintered terrorists into Type I warring militias that are little more than street gangs at first. About all that can be done in the latter case is to treat such warring militias as criminals and hope that laws of the land and responsible police are strong enough to keep them somewhat under control and to keep weapons of mass destruction out of their hands. In Iraq at the moment all hope lies in building a responsible and formidable police force. President Bush intends, perhaps in vain,  that it will be an Iraqi police force and not the Iranian army that eventually quells warring Sunni, Kurdish, and Shiite militias.

    Iran begins to shell the Kurds in Iraq While Supplying Roadside Bombs to the Shiite Militias in the South
    Iran has begun shelling Kurdish bases ---
    If Iran wins Iraq, which I think is inevitable given the current U.S. war weariness, and carries on voraciously to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, we're destined for devastating world war. We're increasingly willing to give up Iraq, but Israel is a far different matter in the U.S. political arena. Iran is probably bluffing in a plan to dominate oil revenues in the Middle East without truly risking World War III by nuking Israel (which is probably the only way to wipe Israel off the face of the map).

    God help us if George Soros is correct in saying that fighting terrorism is self-defeating. If he's right then North Korea will be the Orwellian model of future generations. I'm glad that I will not live long enough to be squeezed under the thumb of a Big Brother like North Korean President Kim Jong-Il in his scary-looking sunglasses.

    George Orwell in 1949 was probably correct even if his timing was a little off when predicting totalitarianism without freedom in 1984 ---
    But there is an even worse alternative --- nuclear, chemical, and biological winter --- that eliminates all possibility of a return to democracy.

    Make the world go away
    And get it off my shoulders
    Say the things you used to say
    And make the world go away

    Eddy Arnold, Make the World Go Away ---

    He thought he'd died and gone to heaven
    A 21-year-old man was trapped in a tank of chocolate for about two hours early Friday, police said. Capt. Randy Berner said the worker said he got into the tank at the Debelis Corp. to unplug it and became trapped waist deep in the chocolate. "It was pretty thick. It was virtually like quicksand," Berner said, and co-workers, police and firefighters were not able to get him out until the chocolate could be thinned out. "It's the first time I've ever heard of anything like this," the police captain said. The worker said his ankles were sore after the incident,...
    "Man Is Trapped in Chocolate for 2 Hours ," Forbes, August 18, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    The only thing better might've been better is having at least 70 heavenly virgins swimming with him in the chocolate.

    Messages to America's Higher Education Faculty
    You are the reason the colleges are proud of what they do and your accomplishments represent the performance that colleges and universities point to in developing and justifying their reputation. Reputations are not developed in a vacuum. You, your parents, your children, your colleagues and your peers are the living remnants of the college experience. Your success justifies the massive resources poured by private Americans into supporting colleges and universities. And your success validates the vocation that characterizes the role of so many faculty members. There is something special about American higher education, which continues to produce some of the world’s greatest scientists and engineers, thinkers and scholars. There is something unique in the education we offer, which provides a breadth, an intellectual depth to accompany the skills and aptitudes of the specialist. And there are the human successes in sectors whose mission is to produce an involved, thinking efficiency... Not everyone agrees that American higher education is characterized by success. Numbers are quoted indicating that the quality of graduates is not what it used to be. But they forget that sometimes the numbers go down as the numbers go up. As American higher education welcomes people less prepared, less gifted and often less motivated, as the atmosphere at some colleges becomes less rarified by the proliferation of remedial education, the average accomplishment will go down.
    Bernard Fryshman, "Grasping the Reins of Reality," Inside Higher Ed, August 16, 2006 ---

    Today the United States ranks ninth among industrialized nations in higher-education attainment, in large measure because only 53 percent of students who enter college emerge with a bachelor’s degree, according to census data. And those who don’t finish pay an enormous price. For every $1 earned by a college graduate, someone leaving before obtaining a four-year degree earns only 67 cents.
    Jensen Comment
    These income statistics are misleading. For example, the reasons that make a student drop out of college may be the same reason that dropout will earn a lower wage. In other words, not having a diploma may not be the reason the majority of dropouts have lower incomes. Aside from money problems, students often quit college because they have lower ambition, abilities, concentration, social skills, and/or health quality, including drug and alcohol addictions. These human afflictions contribute to lower wages whether or not a student graduates, and a higher proportion of dropouts have such afflictions versus students who stick it out to obtain their diplomas. Nations who rank higher than the U.S. in higher-education attainment do so because they have higher admission standards for the first year of college.

    How to break the ice when meeting new students/parents in outdoor gatherings:
    Bring your dog!
    “I thought, why not have a few days where the ‘threatening’ professors and staff could bring in their dogs to help new students realize that we’re real people, too,” remembers Bradley. “My training as a psychologist led me to believe, though, that everyone would see this as too ‘touchy feely.’” However, it turns out that “touchy feely” can sometimes be just the right prescription. Bradley says that many students who had expressed homesickness came to several sessions, which were planned during the first few weeks of school. Several professors and staff members brought in their pooches, and students were able to have conversations about classes and health concerns. And the president of the institution, L. Jay Lemons, even got involved — helping scoop up some left-over accidents.
    Rob Capriccioso, Inside Higher Ed, August 16, 2006 ---

    Stanford's Online High School for Gifted Students
    Stanford University is opening an online high school for gifted students this fall, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The high school will eventually enroll 300 students and Stanford officials hope to provide an educational alternative and to have a lead on recruiting some of the brightest students for college.
    Inside Higher Ed, August 15, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    Stanford also manages an onsite high school in East Palo Alto.
    I had the following Tidbit in April 2006:
    Stanford's Education Program for Gifted Youth will launch a three-year, fully accredited, diploma-granting high school for gifted students, thanks to a $3.3 million gift from the Malone Family Foundation. The program will begin accepting student applications this spring and is scheduled to begin classes in the fall.
    "Stanford to offer first online high school for gifted students," Stanford Report, April 14, 2006 ---

    A Remedial High School Alternative
    PLATO Learning Inc. ( ) has announced the release of PLATO Courses, which are semester-long online courses that provide schools and districts a way to deliver rigorous credit-recovery solutions, alternatives for students not succeeding in the traditional environment, credit-granting distance learning programs, and home school curricula. The PLATO Courses cover math, science, and social studies, and are aligned to national standards in each subject area. Each course provides a comprehensive course curriculum, including exemptive assessments, instructional content, cumulative final exams, and state standards coverage reports. To promote the successful use of PLATO Courses, PLATO Education Consultants provide both on-site and electronic professional development sessions. Each PLATO Course also includes teacher support materials in the form of a Teacher's Guide and an Implementation Guide. Pricing varies.

    Bob Jensen's links to online training and education alternatives are at

    Pierre Trudeau had a closely-bonded friendship with Fidel Castro
    On Castro's 80th birthday, an essay by Pierre's son Alexandre Trudeau. Toronto Star, August 15, 2006 --- Click Here

    Congratulations to Zoe-Vonna ---
    Zoe-Vonna Palmrose, the PricewaterhouseCoopers Professor of Auditing at the University of Southern California's Leventhal School of Accounting and Marshall School of Business, will join the Securities and Exchange Commission as its Deputy Chief Accountant for Professional Practice.

    Blackboard Lifts Up a White Flag
    Blackboard’s Small, however, said that much of the online anger is based on a misreading of Blackboard’s patent. The patent has 44 parts, he said, independent parts and dependent parts. The former are the central claims and the latter parts only are relevant when applied to the central claims. So a reference to chat rooms does not mean that Blackboard claims to have invented them or has a right to royalties on their use — unless they are part of a larger system that makes use of Blackboard’s patented technologies, Small said. Much of the criticism of Blackboard is based on reading the dependent patent clauses as if they were independent. “In reality, the patent covers only specific functionality that was invented by Blackboard,” he said. “This is not a patent on e-learning,” Small said. “We are not bullying anyone. We are not looking to put anyone out of business. We are looking to obtain a reasonable royalty for use of our intellectual property.”
    Scott Jaschik, "Blackboard: Bully or Misunderstood?" Inside Higher Ed, August 18, 2006 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on the history of eLearning technologies (including worries about Blackboard's patent) are at

    Mrs. Kozlowksi's Divorce

    August 16, 2006 --- Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

    I guess even a husband throwing $2 million birthday party for his wife won’t insure the loyalty of that wife if he is in the slammer. 

    Richard J. Campbell
    School of Business
    218 N. College Ave.
    University of Rio Grande
    Rio Grande, OH 45674 l

    August 17, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

    I wonder which gladiator will finally carry off Mrs Kozlowksi?

    Jurors got to see an edited version of the $2 million party video which excluded naked moonings in front of the camera and a “scene in which Mrs Kozlowksi is carried around by models dressed as gladiators”  --- 

    My friend Jack up here in the White Mountains who was Dennis Kozlowski's bodyguard remains loyal to Kozlowski and thinks that what Dennis did for Tyco (in terms of share value) more than offset what Dennis stole from Tyco. Dennis sends Jack Christmas cards from prison. Makes me wonder whether shareholders will tolerate most any kind of criminal executives who keep pumping up share prices.

    In fairness, some of Kozlowksi’s legitimate business acquisitions for Tyco were very profitable for Tyco shareholders.

    Did you know that, before Tyco, Dennis Kozlowksi briefly worked for Enron? Maybe that’s where he learned how to loot a company while pumping up share values.

    How often have we witnessed how agency theory is invalid for executive agents? This should make us wonder about all the accountics research papers built upon fictional agency theory assumptions.

    We still need your support for Judy Rayburn’s TAR Diversity Initiative --- 

    Bob Jensen

    PricewaterhouseCoopers also fell prone to faulty risk assessments. In July, the SEC forced Tyco, the industrial conglomerate, to restate its profits, which it inflated by $1.15 billion, pretax, from 1998 to 2001. The next month, the SEC barred the lead partner on the firm's Tyco audits from auditing publicly registered companies. His alleged offense: fraudulently representing to investors that his firm had conducted a proper audit. The SEC in its complaint said that the auditor, Richard Scalzo, who settled without admitting or denying the allegations, saw warning signs about top Tyco executives' integrity but never expanded his team's audit procedures.
    "Behind Wave of Corporate Fraud: A Change in How Auditors Work: 'Risk Based' Model Narrowed Focus of Their Procedures, Leaving Room for Trouble,' " by Jonathan Weil, The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2004, Page A1---

    Bob Jensen's threads on the dangers of risk-based auditing are at

    New Books in Electronic Formats

    Electronic Book Update
    Clearly, the movement toward digital content delivery is gaining steam. And, as such, it is not surprising to read that the technology’s more vocal enthusiasts are forecasting nothing short of a revolution in academic research, teaching, reading, writing, and publishing once it becomes ubiquitous.Over at if:book, the collective blog of the “Institute for the Future of the Book,” commentators have had a great deal to say about the immense transformations that digital delivery and online publishing will effect on the academy and academics.
    Scott W. Palmer, "If:book, Then What?" Inside Higher Ed, August 15, 2006 ---

    August 15, 2006 message from Ivy Banaag []

    Hello Robert,

    My name is Ivy, and I work for ECNext, Inc. After reviewing your website, specifically the Links section, , I wanted to propose you consider adding a new online textbooks site, offers brand new textbooks, in electronic & print formats. Electronic versions of college textbooks, including individual chapters, are available for immediate download at affordable prices. Only at can you choose to buy just what you need at the price you want to pay.

    Students who frequent your website, especially those with a tight budget, will surely benefit from iChapters. I am hoping that you can help them find us by including iChapters ( ) on your Links section.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me ( ) if you have any questions.


    Bob Jensen's threads on the history of electronic books are at

    Bob Jensen's links to free electronic literature are at

    Bob Jensen's search helpers are at

    Accounting Instructors Needed in Afghanistan

    August 14, 2006 message from Daniel Lounberg []

    Professor Jensen,

    We need several graduate assistants and senior instructors to reach an accounting course in Afghanistan, for an accountancy training project in Afghanistan funded by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA), . I am writing to inquire whether you know of someone for us. Right now, the most urgent need is for graduate assistants.

    I am assisting Pragma ( ) to identify several trainers for the project. The assignments have duration of one month, and will take place sometime during fall 2006 and early winter 2007.

    Graduate Teaching Assistants


    · 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)

    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. The Senior Instructor will be required to spend a four-week residence in Afghanistan.

    If interested, we will need an updated cv. Alternatively, if you can think of anyone that might be interested, I would like to hear. My e-mail address is, and telephone number is 703 243 9090. Feel free to post this announcement in any forum you choose.

    Best regards,

    Daniel E. Lounberg
    Itasca International
    Arlington, Virginia USA
    office phone: (703) 243-9090
    fax: (703) 243-1094
    cell: (703) 785-8894 

    August 15, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

    Hi Daniel,

    I will forward your request to my friends. I truly wish you well in this important effort. I receive many, many requests from students and instructors around the world to help with them with my various tutorials at my Website. Unfortunately, my tutorials were not really developed for elementary-level accounting students.

    There are some free elementary accounting textbooks and other free tutorial materials linked at 

    Some links for my more advanced tutorials are as follows:

    Best of luck to you!

    Bob Jensen

    Sometimes to Lose Means to Win:
    Remember that war in Viet Nam that was lost by the U.S. capitalists and won by the communists?

    We have updated our Vietnam Country Page with the latest information about Vietnamese Accounting Standards (VASs), including a list of VASs currently in force. VASs have been developed by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) based on IASs issued prior to 2003. The MOF is considering a proposal to grant rights to the Vietnam Association of Certified Public Accountants (VACPA) to formulate and update Vietnamese Accounting Standards.
    IAS Plus, August 15, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    58,226 U.S. soldiers died in the Viet Nam War and the casualty count was 211,529 ---

    Center for Public Integrity ---

    Global Policy Forum ---

    Forget Iraq! Here's the new Democratic Party formula for winning elections in Alabama
    Alabama Democrats barnstormed the state Tuesday promising bills that would require Bible classes in public schools, remove the sales tax on food, and other popular causes including tougher immigration laws and stricter reporting requirements for lobbyist spending on politicians.
    John Peck, The Huntsville Times, August 16, 2006 --- Click Here

    A Professor's Lawsuit Against Ohio University
    Jay Gunasekera, a professor who supervised the work of some of the 37 Ohio University master’s graduates found to have plagiarized parts of their theses, is suing the university for defamation, saying that his role has been distorted, the Associated Press reported. University officials — who have released detailed reports on the alleged plagiarism — told the AP that they would contest the suit.
    Inside Higher Ed, August 14, 2006 ---

    Will these engineering graduates take down their diplomas and return them to Ohio University?

    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 found “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 in academe are at

    Harvard Study:  Copyright restrictions limit the spread of digital learning tools
    Copyright restrictions limit the spread of digital learning tools in schools and colleges, according to a new report from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, at Harvard University.
    Inside Higher Ed, July 19, 2006 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of the DMCA are at

    At last editorial boards are protesting rip-offs of monopoly publishers
    Another journal declaration of independence is in progress. The entire editorial board of Topology has resigned to protest Elsevier's refusal to lower the subscription price.
    University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communications Blog, August 14, 2006 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on how scholarly journals are ripping off libraries ---

    "A Closer Look at the Hispanic Population," by Hubert B. Herring, The New York Times, August 13, 2006 --- 

    Amid all the (immigration) controversy, though, the nation is preparing to celebrate many of its immigrants with Hispanic Heritage Month. (It starts Sept. 15.)

    To mark that occasion, the Census Bureau has offered up a grab bag of statistics, like these: as of July 1, the estimated Hispanic population was 42.7 million, nearly twice the 1990 level; by 2050, it is projected to hit 102.6 million, which would constitute 24 percent of the population. There were 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002, generating $222 billion in revenue.

    The difficulties facing that population, though, can be seen in other bits of data: 32.7 percent of Hispanics lacked health insurance in 2004, 21.9 percent lived in poverty, and just 12 percent of those 25 and over had college degrees.

    France sticks to immigrant expulsions
    The French interior minister has defended his decision to expel thousands of illegal immigrants this year, saying France needed an uncompromising immigration policy following recent rioting in its suburbs . . . Some 4.5million immigrants live in France, official data shows, and the interior ministry estimates that there are between 200,000 and 400,000 illegal immigrants in the country.
    "France sticks to immigrant expulsions," al Jazeera, August 16, 2006 ---

    Resources for Writers: George Mason University ---

    Writing Center Resources from Princeton University ---

    Writing Center Resources from Purdue University  ---

    English Tutorials (included "Ask-a-Teacher option) ---

    From Rutgers University
    Literary Resources — Theory ---

    Yotophoto is the first internet search engine for finding free-to-use photographs and images ---

    Guide to Grammar and Writing --- 
    The site has a unique set of categories for different types and levels of writing.
    Literary Terms ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on resources for writers are at

    FindSounds Search the Web for Sounds ---

    Bob Jensen's search helpers are at 

    Work Experience Substitutes for College Credits

    Bob Jensen cannot support an initiative to grant college credit for work experience
    The proposal also said Pennsylvania officials would explore the creation of a centralized body that would try to commonly assess and define what kinds of work experience should qualify for credit, to ease the transfer of credit for such work among colleges in the commonwealth . . . Peter Stokes, executive vice president at Eduventures, an education research firm, agreed that policies that make it easier for workers to translate their previous work experience into academic credit can go a long way in encouraging mid-career workers who might be daunted by the prospect of entering college for the first time. “For someone who’s been in the work force for 10 or 15 years, it can be a lot less scary if the college or university you’re enrolling in can tell you that you’re already halfway there, or a third of the way there,” Stokes said.
    Doug Lederman, "Work Experience for College Credit," Inside Higher Ed, August 14, 2006 ---
    An Old Fudd's Comment
    Everybody learns from life's experiences, much of which may be more educational than passage of college courses or studying for qualification examinations. I just don't think it's possible to fairly assess this without at least having qualifying examinations for waiving courses, and even then qualifying examinations do not cover much of what goes on in the courses themselves. It may be possible to have qualifying examinations that allow certain courses to be replaced by other courses in a curriculum plan that recognizes that a student has sufficient knowledge for advanced courses. Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I think that the total number of course credits required for a degree should be lowered by life experience or qualifying examinations. Students should earn their credits in onsite or online courses that, hopefully, entail interactive learning between students and both instructors and other students.

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at

    Are community colleges really up to their daunting challenges?

    August 15, 2006 message from Carnegie President []

    No nation in the world has invented an institution like the American community college. It is not only a remarkable educational innovation; it currently enrolls nearly half of our nation's first-time freshmen. The community college was created as a flexible pipeline between secondary school and both higher education and the world of work for citizens, both young and old. But for many community college students, in Rose Asera's apt phrase, the promise of the pipeline may become a painfully disappointing pipedream. The door to the community college may indeed be open, but beyond it stands the daunting challenge of fundamental courses needed to prepare students for college-level, credit-bearing classes. They may have gotten past the elementary and high school classes where they were expected to learn these skills and ideas, but they surely didn't pass them.

    In this month's Perspectives, Rose writes candidly about this dilemma. She is a Carnegie senior scholar who joined us after a decade of work at UC Berkeley and at the Dana Center of the University of Texas, working with Uri Treisman and others on developing more powerful mathematics teaching for minority college students. She directs the Strengthening Pre-Collegiate Education in Community Colleges (SPECC) program, a partnership between Carnegie and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. As she contemplates the tragedy of pipelines and pipedreams, Rose offers both short- and long-term solutions to the problem of student failure, and calls for leadership and action now.

    Pipeline or Pipedream: Another Way to Think about Basic Skills By Rose Asera

    If I asked you—as an educated adult—what you remember about learning to read or to do basic arithmetic, you might recall some fleeting images: being read to by a parent or studying a book with big letters and pictures at your school desk. But by now these skills have become part of who we are and how we see the world. In this way literacy and "numeracy" have become automatic and essentially invisible to us, so second-nature that we don't really understand how someone could have trouble learning something so simple.

    But for a significant group of college students these seemingly simple skills are opaque. Although the problem is widespread throughout higher education, it is especially vexing in community colleges. According to data from the Education Commission of the States, 76 percent of all institutions that enroll freshmen offer at least one remedial reading, writing or mathematics course, and these classes are offered at 98 percent of community colleges. When these students arrive on campus, they take a battery of tests—often without realizing that these assessments will seriously affect which classes they are allowed to take. The results place large numbers of first-time students (according to information on the American Association of Community Colleges' Web site, up to 80 percent) in English and mathematics classes that are below—sometimes way below—college level. Facing a long series of "catch-up" courses, only a small percentage of these students ever make it to college-level work and thus to the opportunities that come with higher education.

    Some background about pre-collegiate education at college may be useful here: Originally such programs were designed to reacquaint returning adults with skills that had become rusty over time; what was needed was a "refresher" where they could relearn things they had previously learned in high school. Today, pre-collegiate courses are more likely to be populated by students recently out of high school where, in fact, they never mastered these essential skills of English and math. Many of these students have had years of negative experiences with school and need courses in which they can, in effect, more successfully learn the content and learn to be students. Over the years, the jargon for such courses has changed: from remedial, to basic skills, developmental education, and pre-collegiate education.

    What has not changed much is the teaching. The apparent simplicity of the skills in question seems to provoke a simplistic pedagogy: if students don't understand it, say it louder, say it slower! Too often, that is, basic skills courses are taught through drill and memorization of rules. What's missing is any sign of intellectual vitality and engagement, the very things that draw many teachers into their academic fields.

    This kind of pedagogy presents (at least) two problems. One is boredom. Repetition and practice are good things, but memorization and drill without a connection to big ideas can frustrate students and teachers both. One doesn't become a writer or reader only by learning grammatical rules, and memorizing a mathematical formula does not alone lead to the kinds of quantitative literacy that is needed today. More to the point, this kind of mind-numbing approach is not necessary. Even at the most fundamental levels of English and mathematics, intellectually engaging problems and issues exist. With a balance of challenge and support, students can engage in lively, authentic debate and intellectual exchange.

    But the second problem is the deeper one: these so-called "basic skills" are not, in fact, so basic or simple. As the research on literacy shows, the reading process that most of us take so much for granted is highly complex. As we "decode" a text, we bring to bear a vast reservoir of linguistic and cultural knowledge, connecting new ideas with old ones, figuring out words we may not know, actively questioning what we read as we read it, trying out and refining ideas and conclusions as we read.

    The long-term solution to the problem of under-preparation and student failure must be systemic, addressing alignment of curriculum and assessment across the educational sectors. Students who completed their high school mathematics requirements in tenth grade, for example, may not have seen a math problem for two years before taking a college placement test. In that time, all Xs and Ys may have vanished from their minds. Students in high school English classes may focus on literature, but in college they are assessed on composition and rhetoric.

    Even as a long-term solution is required, however, the pre-collegiate classroom needs attention now. A different and better way to think about teaching "basic skills" depends on remembering what is actually entailed in successful reading, writing and problem solving—and making the complexity of those processes visible for students so that they can develop strategies for improvement. This means being explicit with students about the assumptions and processes that have become automatic for most of us. It means creating a learning environment where students learn about themselves as learners and develop strategies for success.

    And of course it means that leadership is needed. While an individual faculty member can choose to make these approaches characteristic of her classroom—and the Carnegie Foundation is lucky enough to be working with some of these incredibly thoughtful faculty members—the chances of student success greatly increase when campus leaders make pre-collegiate education a campus-wide priority: when the administration takes pride in these successes, when faculty work together to create challenging pre-collegiate programs that are more than a collection of courses. Others on campus have important roles to contribute to student success, as well: tutors, counselors, institutional researchers and student peers.

    The ideal of college access for all is essential to the mission of community colleges. The challenge is turning it into success. If this mission is to be real and not just a pipedream, pre-collegiate programs must be a pipeline where students who have not thrived in their K-12 educational experiences can learn and succeed.

    Carnegie has created a forum—Carnegie Conversations—where you can engage publicly with the author and read and respond to what others have to say about this article --- 

    Sociology, Gender and Higher Ed
    Issues of equity and group differences are always front and center in sociology — and that’s certainly the case at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, which started Friday, in Montreal. A number of scholars turned their attention inward, to academe, to examine trends in gender equity. Among the findings presented this weekend in Montreal: Overt gender discrimination is rapidly disappearing in faculty careers, but is being replaced by more subtle forms of bias; the decision to become increasingly specialized in research has some surprising impacts on the advancement of male and female faculty members; and participation in athletics may play a significant role in narrowing the gender achievement gap among high school students preparing for college.
    Scott Jaschik, "Sociology, Gender and Higher Ed," Inside Higher Ed, August 14, 2006 ---

    Jump in ACT Scores
    The composite score on the ACT increased to 21.1 for students who graduated from high school this year — a 0.2 point increase that represents the biggest advance in 20 years. No ethnic or racial group showed decreases this year. But Asian Americans — already the highest performing group on the ACT — posted larger gains than other groups, increasing the gaps among groups. During the last five years, Asian Americans have seen their average composite score increase by 0.7 — compared to gains of 0.2 for American Indians and Hispanics and 0.3 for black and white students.
    Scott Jaschik, "Jump in ACT Scores," Inside Higher Ed, August 16, 2006 ---

    Eleven Canadian universities refuse to be ranked
    Eleven Canadian universities on Monday jointly announced that they will not cooperate with this year’s survey by Maclean’s of Canadian higher education. Maclean’s uses the survey for rankings that — like those of U.S. News & World Report — are very popular with prospective students and widely derided by educators. A statement from the University of Toronto charged that the magazine engages in “misuse of data in establishing a spurious ‘ranking’ table that is, at best, useless and, at worst, misleading to students.” An editor of the magazine told The Globe and Mail that the data needed for the rankings are publicly available and that the survey would continue without the universities’ cooperation.
    Inside Higher Ed, August 15, 2006 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on college ranking controversies are at

    "Rank Colleges, but Rank Them Right," by David Leonhardt, The New York Times, August 16, 2006 ---

    EARLY this morning, U.S. News & World Report will send e-mail messages to hundreds of college administrators, giving them an advance peek at the magazine’s annual college ranking. They will find out whether Princeton will be at the top of the list for the seventh straight year, whether Emory can break into the top 15 and where their own university ranks. The administrators must agree to keep the information to themselves until Friday at midnight, when the list goes live on the U.S. News Web site, but the e-mail message gives them a couple of days to prepare a response.

    By now, 23 years after U.S. News got into this game, the responses have become pretty predictable. Disappointed college officials dismiss the ranking as being beneath the lofty aims of a university, while administrators pleased with their status order new marketing materials bragging about it — and then tell anyone who asks that, obviously, they realize the ranking is beneath the lofty aims of a university.

    There are indeed some silly aspects to the U.S. News franchise and its many imitators. The largest part of a university’s U.S. News score, for instance, is based on a survey of presidents, provosts and admissions deans, most of whom have never sat in a class at the colleges they’re judging.

    That’s made it easy to dismiss all the efforts to rate colleges as the product of a status-obsessed society with a need to turn everything, even learning, into a competition. As Richard R. Beeman, a historian and former dean at the University of Pennsylvania, has argued, “The very idea that universities with very different institutional cultures and program priorities can be compared, and that the resulting rankings can be useful to students, is highly problematic.”

    Of course, the same argument could be made about students. They come from different cultures, they learn in different ways and no one-dimensional scoring system can ever fully capture how well they have mastered a subject. Yet colleges go on giving grades, drawing fine lines that determine who is summa cum laude and bestowing graduation prizes — all for good reason.

    HUMAN beings do a better job of just about anything when their performance is evaluated and they are held accountable for it. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, as the management adage says, and because higher education is by all accounts critical to the country’s economic future, it sure seems to be deserving of rigorous measurement.

    So do we spend too much time worrying about college rankings? Or not nearly enough?

    Not so long ago, college administrators could respond that they seemed to be doing just fine. American universities have long attracted talented students from other continents, and this country’s population was once the most educated in the world.

    But it isn’t anymore. Today the United States ranks ninth among industrialized nations in higher-education attainment, in large measure because only 53 percent of students who enter college emerge with a bachelor’s degree, according to census data. And those who don’t finish pay an enormous price. For every $1 earned by a college graduate, someone leaving before obtaining a four-year degree earns only 67 cents.

    Last week, in a report to the Education Department, a group called the Commission on the Future of Higher Education bluntly pointed out the economic dangers of these trends. “What we have learned over the last year makes clear that American higher education has become what, in the business world, would be called a mature enterprise: increasingly risk-averse, at times self-satisfied, and unduly expensive,” it said. “To meet the challenges of the 21st century, higher education must change from a system primarily based on reputation to one based on performance.”

    The report comes with a handful of recommendations — simplify financial aid, give more of it to low-income students, control university costs — but says they all depend on universities becoming more accountable. Tellingly, only one of the commission’s 19 members, who included executives from Boeing, I.B.M. and Microsoft and former university presidents, refused to sign the report: David Ward, president of the nation’s largest association of colleges and universities, the American Council on Education. But that’s to be expected. Many students don’t enjoy being graded, either. The task of grading colleges will fall to the federal government, which gives enough money to universities to demand accountability, and to private groups outside higher education.

    “The degree of defensiveness that colleges have is unreasonable,” said Michael S. McPherson, a former president of Macalester College in Minnesota who now runs the Spencer Foundation in Chicago. “It’s just the usual resistance to having someone interfere with their own marketing efforts.”

    The commission urged the Education Department to create an easily navigable Web site that allows comparisons of colleges based on their actual cost (not just list price), admissions data and meaningful graduation rates. (Right now, the statistics don’t distinguish between students who transfer and true dropouts.) Eventually, it said, the site should include data on “learning outcomes.”

    Measuring how well students learn is incredibly difficult, but there are some worthy efforts being made. Researchers at Indiana University ask students around the country how they spend their time and how engaged they are in their education, while another group is measuring whether students become better writers and problem solvers during their college years.

    As Mr. McPherson points out, all the yardsticks for universities have their drawbacks. Yet parents and students are clearly desperate for information. Without it, they turn to U.S. News, causing applications to jump at colleges that move up the ranking, even though some colleges that are highly ranked may not actually excel at making students smarter than they were upon arrival. To take one small example that’s highlighted in the current issue of Washington Monthly, Emory has an unimpressive graduation rate given the affluence and S.A.T. scores of its incoming freshmen.

    When U.S. News started its ranking back in the 1980’s, universities released even less information about themselves than they do today. But the attention that the project received forced colleges to become a little more open. Imagine, then, what might happen if a big foundation or another magazine — or U.S. News — announced that it would rank schools based on how well they did on measures like the Indiana survey.

    The elite universities would surely skip it, confident that they had nothing to gain, but there is a much larger group of colleges that can’t rest on a brand name. The ones that did well would be rewarded with applications from just the sort of students universities supposedly want — ones who are willing to keep an open mind and be persuaded by evidence.

    Bob Jensen's threads on college ranking controversies are at

    U.S. News & World Report releases its annual college rankings on August 18, 2006
    The press releases are already flying. Instead of reporting the rankings themselves (there are no surprises and the methodology is the same), we offer links to some of the articles we’ve published in the last year that may give pause about taking the ratings too seriously. We have articles about how colleges manipulate the data, how they may divert attention from real educational issues, and how some criticized the new Carnegie Classifications for making changes that were logical but might affect the U.S. News rankings. We also offer columns about how the rankings may distort the mission of public universities and prompt poor decisions by trustees.
    Inside Higher Ed, August 18, 2006 ---

    Best Graduate Schools -
    Best Colleges -
    Rankings & Guides -

    Bob Jensen's threads on college ranking controversies are at

    In Harvard's new flexible curriculum there are no public speaking courses to choose from
    Whether or not your college or university offers a course in public speaking probably has escaped your notice. Nevertheless, it might be worthwhile to give the matter a minute or two of consideration. You might find that the availability or unavailability of this course says something about how diligently a college meets its students’ needs, and also about how robust are its humanities offerings . . . Up until the beginning of the 20th century, rhetoric was the most important course of study for young men who wanted to get ahead in the world. In Classical Greece, it was the only one. In the agora, if you found yourself a good sophist, you were a made man. So what if being rhetorically trained and well spoken disqualified you from becoming Plato’s philosopher-king. Plato was telling a morally edifying fairy tale for a mundus imaginalis, while the sophists were teaching Athenians to communicate effectively with fellow citizens in the real world.
    Margaret Gutman Klosko, "No Public Speaking at Harvard," Inside Higher Ed, August 18, 2006 --- 

    It used to be difficult to totally back up your computer. Now it's relatively simple to do this every time you shut down your computer. Some alternatives like Seagate (not Iomega) have single pushbutton

    The Consumer Reports home page is at  


    Consumer Reports Rankings of Backup Drives
    September 2006, Page 31

    Rank 1 Iomega Triple Interface (with a very short warranty and no pushbutton) Click Here

    Rank 2 Seagate Pushbutton Backup Click Here

    Rank 3 SimpleTech Simple Drive

    Rank 4 Maxtor One Touch 

    Rank 5 Western Digital MyBook Premium Click Here

    Rank 6 LaCie d2 Extreme



    Rank 7 SimpleTech Simple Share

    Rank 8 Iomega Store Center (with a very short warranty and no pushbutton)

    Rank 9 Maxtor Shared

    Rank 10 Buffalo LinkStation Network Storage Click Here


    "Hard-Drive Housekeeping:  Instead of buying a new drive, try these cleanup tips to make the most of what you've got," by James A. Martin, PC World via The Washington Post, August 10, 2006 --- Click Here

    Readily available energy technologies could be put in use today to forestall global warming. Technology Review examines some of these technologies and argues that they require not further refinement but a considered, long-term deployment strategy.
    Special Report, "Facing Global Warming," MIT's Technology Review ---

    Controversies Over Net Neutrality

    August 9, 2006 message from Amy Dunbar [Amy.Dunbar@BUSINESS.UCONN.EDU]

    I just read a great summary of arguments for and against net neutrality. The points made about potential responses to regulation reminded me of static versus dynamic analysis of potential effects of tax legislation. We need to consider how the ISPs might respond to regulation. 

    Amy Dunbar

    August 9, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

    Note the following article about Net neutrality
    "Wi-Fi to the Max," The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2006; Page A10 ---

    Out in the real world, however, things are not proceeding according to script, at least for those who insist that what the Internet really needs is a brand-new layer of government regulation. Yesterday, Sprint announced plans to spend as much as $3 billion building a nationwide WiMax network that would provide high-speed Internet access to 100 million consumers by 2008, according to Sprint's estimate.

    What does this have to do with Net neutrality? Well, WiMax is one of several emerging technologies that stand to reshape the Internet-service industry in the coming years. Those who argue that the government should enforce some politician's idea of "neutrality" on Internet service claim that the phone and cable companies enjoy a comfy duopoly on providing Internet access to consumers. According to this reasoning, these companies need to be regulated so they don't abuse their market position by trying to erect "tolls" on the information superhighway.

    High-speed wireless Internet access, however, means no more duopoly. And WiMax is not the only contender. Starting today, the Federal Communications Commission is auctioning a big swath of wireless spectrum for cell-phone providers. The auction is overdue and beset by market-distorting preferences for certain bidders, but with luck the result will be a lot more wireless bandwidth to go around.

    WiMax, meanwhile, operates in unlicensed spectrum, meaning Sprint doesn't have to shell out money in auctions to deploy the technology. WiMax is like a wireless home network or a hot-spot in a coffee-shop, but it works over much longer distances, allowing greater coverage and a wider variety of uses. WiMax is still unproven in a roll-out of this size, but the fact that Sprint is spending billions to give it a go is testimony to the dynamism of the high-speed Internet market.

    A decade ago, the conventional wisdom was that the old-fashioned copper-wire phone network was an "essential facility." That is, it was unique, valuable and couldn't be replicated, so competition with the Baby Bells was impossible unless the "last mile" to homes was opened up to competitors to use. Today we have cable companies offering phone service and more and more cell-phone subscribers every day.

    A similar thing is happening in the high-speed Internet space. Those who want to regulate broadband providers are saying that the phone and cable networks are too valuable and too hard to replicate for anyone to break up the duopoly. We guess Sprint didn't get the memo. If Congress should for some reason lose its cool and give in to the crowd pushing for greater Internet regulation, it will likely come just in time for its backers, once again, to be proven wrong about the absence of competition in telecom.

    Continued in article

    Eye Controlled Computer for the Disabled
    The MyTobii P10 is an eye-controlled communication device aimed at users with ALS, MS and other neurological disabilities. The unit integrates a 15-inch screen, a computer and an eye-control device for easy portability. It simply requires the user to sit in front of it and follow a dot for 30 seconds to calibrate the eye tracker and then it's ready to go. The MyTobii P10 maintains precision performance in any light conditions and whether or not the user wears glasses or contact lenses and will not be fudged by head movements. The unit, which can be mounted on desks, beds and wheelchairs, will sell for $17,000 but we're hoping insurance may cover some of that.
    "Eye Controlled Computer for the Disabled," Wired News, August 10, 2006 ---

    Blind people traversing a city face a formidable challenge: quickly and safely navigating a complex environment. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology say their wearable computer provides the newest high-tech solution. The system's hardware includes two Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, a laptop, head and body compasses, a gyroscope-based tracker that measures the head's tilt, and four small cameras mounted on a helmet. For audio (the device uses a speech interface), users listen to "bone phones," which fit behind the ears and transmit sound by vibrating against the skull. A user's ears are thus free to listen to important ambient noise, such as city traffic. Weighing about three pounds in total, most parts tuck neatly into a backpack.
    Susan Nasr, "Seeing by Sound:  A new wearable computer can transform cities and buildings into soundscapes, researchers say, helping visually impaired people get around more easily," MIT's Technology Review, August 16, 2006 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on hardware and software for handicapped persons are at

    Bob Jensen's Threads on Invisible Computing, Ubiquitous Computing, Nanotechnology, and Microsoft.Net ---

    The Five Senses of the Future: Threads on the Networking of the Five Senses (Sight, Sound, Smell, Touch, and Taste) --- 

    I've often wondered why our society is so set on grouping everyone according to their age
    Any one classroom at any given time will contain a group of students who are approximately the same age. This has nothing whatsoever to do with academic readiness or ability. There are four-year-olds who are reading Harry Potter, and fourteen-year-olds who still can't manage it. Yet, this doesn't necessarily mean they never will. It may just mean, not yet. Not yet is not a crime, nor is it a disability. It just means, not yet. Am I good at programming a VCR? Not yet.
    Jane Goodwin, "One-Room Schoolhouse - Redux," The Irascible Professor, August 12, 2006 ---

    What is Chaos Theory?

    Physics Flash Animations ---

    Online Math Helpers
    Algebasics ---

    Algebra Tutorials
    Purplemath ---

    The Math Forum@ Drexel University ---

    Algebra: In Simplest Terms ---

    Mathematics Help Central --- 

    Wikipedia has a number of good modules on mathematics ---

    Bob Jensen's links to math helpers are at

    These two dopes should be nominated for Darwin Awards

    Desperate motorist tried to escape a speeding fine by blowing up the roadside camera which snapped him, a court heard on Wednesday. Engineer Craig Moore, 28, took the drastic action because he feared he would lose his job as a result of the ticket. He returned to the roadside camera in the Manchester area and used explosive material, once used to make bombs and now common in the welding industry, to destroy the device. But the motorist didn't realise his actions were recorded by the camera itself.
    Chris Brooke, Daily Mail, August 9, 2006 --- Click Here

    Man dies using sledgehammer on grenade From correspondents in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil August 09, 2006 10:52am A BRAZILIAN man died when he tried to open what police believe was a rocket-propelled grenade with a sledgehammer in a mechanical workshop on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Another man who was in the workshop at the time of the explosion was rushed to a hospital with severe burns, a police officer told Reuters. The workshop was destroyed and several cars parked outside caught fire. Police found several unexploded army issue rocket-propelled grenades in the workshop., August 9, 2006 ---,23599,20068498-38199,00.html

    How private is your searching history?

    "AOL's Search Gaffe and You," by Ryan Singel, Wired News, August 11, 2006 ---,71579-0.html?tw=wn_index_2

    This article was adapted from an earlier Wired News FAQ ("How to Foil Search Engine Snoops," Jan. 20, 2006) examining privacy risks over Justice Department subpoenas of search records from Google, Yahoo and others.

    Word spread last week that researchers at AOL had released three months' worth of search logs that contained nearly 20 million search histories detailing the online lives of 658,000 customers. The data included information on subscribers who used AOL's browser, but not those who had used AOL's portal.

    AOL user IDs were replaced with pseudonymous numbers and the data was organized by a user's search history. The data set included the time and date of a search, the search terms and the result, if any, clicked on.

    AOL has apologized and taken down the data, but it is now widely available on the internet and some have set up search engines that query the records.

    For those worried about what companies or federal investigators might do with such records in the future, here's a primer on how search logs work and how to avoid being writ large within them.

    Why did AOL release the records?

    AOL's research arm released the records in order to help academic search researchers. Researchers use such records -- known as a corpus -- to test new search methods and tweaks.

    Continued in article

    Updates from WebMD ---

    Latest Headlines on August 14, 2006

    Latest Headlines on August 15, 2006

    Latest Headlines on August 16, 2006

    Latest Headlines on August 18, 2006


    High suicide rate for older white males
    Older white males have the highest suicide rate in the United States, said the Population Reference Bureau in Washington. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States with 11 suicide deaths per 100,000 Americans. For white males over the age of 65, the rate is almost triple that figure.
    "High suicide rate for older white males," PhysOrg, August 18, 2006 ---

    "Scientists Have Wondered in the Past Why Drinkers Suffer More Than Twice the Usual Rate of Breast, Liver & Digestive System Cancers; They Think They Now Know the Answer," PR Web, August 12, 2006 ---

    Scientists have wondered in the past why drinkers suffer more than twice the usual rate of breast, liver and digestive system cancers. Researchers from the US and Israel think they now know the answer: Tumors are more likely to spread after a bout of heavy drinking.

    Gayle Page of Ohio State University in Comlumbia and her colleagues injected rats with tumor cells that try to migrate to the lungs, but found out that these are destroyed by the immune system's natural killer cells. However, when the tumors were injected into rats given alcohol, they found that 40 times as many cancer cells lodged in the animal lungs.

    The researchers said the effects of alcohol on natural killer cells have previously been understimated, probably because the process of extracting the cells from the blood washes away the alcohol and gives the cells time to recover. The researchers add, however that the risk was temporary: if the injection of tumor cells were delayed by 24 hours after the rats were given alcohol, the tumors were no more likely to lodge in the lungs than in rats who are sober.

    Continued in article

    Drug kills prostate tumor cells
    U.S. scientists have developed an experimental RNA-based drug -- the first of its kind -- that kills prostate cancer cells, without harming normal cells.
    "Drug kills prostate tumor cells," PhysOrg, August 11, 2006 ---

    U.S. soldiers suffering the effects of depleted uranium used in U.S. weaponry?
    Suffering from a multitude of health problems and an array of similar symptoms, many veterans of both Iraq wars believe they are suffering the effects of depleted uranium used in U.S. weaponry. But they are dismissed out of hand by the DOD and VA. Depleted uranium is the garbage left from producing enriched uranium for nuclear weapons and energy plants. It is 60 percent as radioactive as natural uranium. The United States has an estimated 1.5 billion pounds of it, sitting in hazardous waste storage sites across the country. Meaning it is plentiful and cheap as well as highly effective. Reed says he unknowingly breathed DU dust while living with his unit in Samawah, Iraq. He was med-evaced out in July 2003, nearly unable to walk because of lightning-strike pains from herniated discs in his spine. Then began a strange series of symptoms he'd never experienced in his previously healthy life.
    "U.S. Soldiers Are Sick of It," Wired News, August 12, 2006 ---,71585-0.html?tw=wn_index_12

    "Using Stem Cells to Cure Blindness:  Scientists are designing stem-cell-based therapies for degenerative retinal diseases," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, August 15, 2006 ---

    Recall how direct marketing of computers by Apple and Dell caused hundreds of retail stores to fold. If forced to unionize, Wal-Mart might close down hundreds of stores in favor of becoming the world's largest online store. The problem with retail stores is that they are labor intensive and otherwise expensive to keep in operation with billions of dollars tied up in store inventories. Unionization may be self-defeating for thousands of Wal-Mart employees.
    Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, a likely Democratic presidential candidate in 2008, delivered a 15-minute, blistering attack to warm applause from Democrats and union organizers here on Wednesday. But Mr. Biden's main target was not Republicans in Washington, or even his prospective presidential rivals. It was Wal-Mart, the nation's largest private employer. Among Democrats, Mr. Biden is not alone. Across Iowa this week and across much of the country this month, Democratic leaders have found a new rallying cry that many of them say could prove powerful in the midterm elections and into 2008: denouncing Wal-Mart for what they say are substandard wages and health care benefits.
    Opinion Journal, August 17, 2006
    Jensen Comment
    Unionizing Wal-Mart will provide a huge boost to online shopping at Wal-Mart., direct buying from manufacturers who cut out the middleman distributors like Wal-Mart, and offshore online shopping alternatives. Wal-Mart job opportunities may get clobbered if you believe in the Phillips Curve ---

    The problem with retail stores is that they are labor intensive and expensive to keep in operation.
    Retail stores are labor intensive in a period of explosive health care costs. Starbucks now pays more for healthcare insurance of employees that it pays for the coffee it sells. Starbucks cannot sell cups of hot coffee online, but Wal-Mart now sells most of its in-store items online as well. I recently discovered that shopping at Wal-Mart Online allows me to find products that nearby stores do not carry in inventory ---

    A "nearby" Super Wal-Mart store for me is nearly an hour away from my home such that online shopping has even more appeal. Shipping costs for Wal-Mart products must be paid whether they are delivered to Wal-Mart stores or to my home. I anticipate a new distribution business model, perhaps in abandoned Wal-Mart stores, where online shopping collection centers are established locally for most online shipments from all vendors. This saves the expensive shipping cost of delivering each package to each home. It also eliminates the cost of carrying and handling inventory in stores. Buyers can travel a short distance to pick up their online orders. Perhaps these collection centers can also become return centers for the convenience of online shoppers. And they may even become Internet cafes for online shoppers. It would be nice, however, if the computers were put on carts who that we could still get the fun of cruising around with our shopping carts.

    The Gene that Makes Us Human?
    A small section of DNA that has rapidly evolved in humans could play a key role in the development and evolution of the human brain, according to research published online yesterday in the journal Nature. Although scientists don't yet know exactly how the gene functions in the brain, they do know that the sequence is entirely unique to humans and is expressed in the cortex -- which is responsible for complex thought -- during a key stage of brain development.
    Emily Singer, "The Gene that Makes Us Human? Scientists have identified a gene that just might be the key to the unique evolution of the human brain," MIT's Technology Review, August 17, 2006 ---

    As terrorism worries grow, will Congress finally force chemical plants to consider security upgrades?
    Don't bet on it.

    "Chemical Industry Fights Anti-Terrorism Measures," by Peter Fairley, MIT's Technology Review, August 17, 2006 ---

    The chemical industry has a history of disasters. Among the worst, in 1947 a fertilizer tanker ship exploded in Texas City, TX, killing nearly 600 people and injuring 3,500. In 1984, a cloud of methyl isocyanate from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, killed 4,000 people and injured as many as half a million. So it's no wonder that anti-terrorism experts voice concerns about the vulnerability of the nation's chemical plants.

    Despite the warnings, the chemical industry, its supporters in Congress, and top officials in the Bush Administration have fought hard against laws to tighten security. But this September, when Congress returns to Washington, it may finally pass legislation to mandate that chemical plants -- and the industry's customers that store large quantities of hazardous chemicals -- reduce the inherent risk of catastrophes.

    The sticking point will be whether to force facilities that pose the greatest risk to use so-called "inherently safer technology" -- a catchall for alternative processes or process conditions enabling a plant to produce or store less of the most hazardous chemicals.

    Chemical producers have fought off proposals to mandate such behavior for more than two decades, claiming that the government is ill-equipped to regulate chemical processes. But in the wake of continuing terrorist threats, many in Congress, as well as among emergency responders, are losing their patience for the industry's foot-dragging.

    "We're talking about a human being with intent to commit mass murder," says Carolyn Merritt, chair of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, an independent federal agency that investigates chemical accidents. (The agency is comparable to the National Transportation Safety Board, which probes airline, bus, and train crashes.)

    The threat is staggering. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 123 chemical facilities in the United States are located where a catastrophic release from them could injure or kill more than one million people each. Using a slightly different model, the Department of Homeland Security projects that 272 chemical facilities threaten at least 50,000 people each. "It is a real threat, and we as a country would be wise to take precautions," says Merritt.

    Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. chemical industry claims it's invested $3 billion in security upgrades. But news reports of journalists walking into plants unimpeded have raised doubts about the industry's ability to fend off terrorists. And so have a series of recent reports from federal agencies. The latest, the "Terrorism and the Chemical Infrastructure" study, released by the National Academy of Sciences this summer, put inherently safer technology at the top of its list of options for protecting communities. "The most desirable solution to preventing chemical releases is to reduce or eliminate the hazard where possible, not to control it," the report concludes.

    Examples of technological solutions include modifying a chemical process to operate at lower temperatures and pressures, replacing hazardous substances with safer substitutes (such as using a liquid ammonia reagent instead of gaseous ammonia), and using "mini-reactors" that produce hazardous ingredients on an as-needed basis, eliminating transportation and bulk storage. Unfortunately, the academy's study panel concluded, the implementation of such safety measures is "quite limited" -- because chemical producers frequently lack an economic incentive to make the changes.

    Continued in article

    This University of Pennsylvania study would be a great addition to Michael Moore's forthcoming movie on scandals of the health care industry.

    The Billion-Dollar Body Parts Industry: Medical Research alongside Greed and Corruption
    Body parts are big business in the United States. Tissue, organs, tendons, bones, joints, limbs, hands, feet, torsos, and heads culled from the dead are the cornerstones of the lucrative and important business of advancing scientific knowledge and improving medical technique. Few people, however, think to ask where the material that sustains this enormous industry comes from. Journalist Annie Cheney is a timely exception. In Body Brokers: Inside America's Underground Trade in Human Remains (Broadway), Cheney chronicles her quest to find out how human remains are procured, processed, marketed, and used. It's a complicated, detailed and disturbing tale.
    knowledge@ wharton ---

    Viewers Prefer Fantasy to Reality

    "'Bachelorette' viewers aren't seeking reality, researcher says," PhysOrg, August 14, 2006 ---

    Reality television has been a big draw on television for years, but it appears viewers prefer some of these programs to be light in actual reality, says a Penn State researcher.

    Dr. Beth Montemurro, assistant professor of sociology, says that on a recent installment of the reality show, "The Bachelorette," in particular, viewers had trouble accepting the fact that the female contestant, Jen Schefft, admitted she hadn't fallen in love and rejected all potential suitors.

    "On the message boards I saw after the finale, many fans were upset that she did not want to pursue a relationship because that was their expectation," said Montemurro, who presented her research findings in a paper titled, "Fans, Fantasy, and Failed Romance: The Case of the Unhappy Ending on 'The Bachelorette'" Saturday (Aug. 12) at the American Sociological Association annual conference.

    "Certainly, the fact that she went on the show and said that she didn't have chemistry with the suitors was more real than simply faking a happy ending for the show, but viewers felt contempt for her. Fans of the show rejected reality," says the Penn State researcher.

    For her research, Montemurro studied several web sites and message boards after the finale to gauge prevailing sentiments. On one site's message board, there were nearly 100 messages that criticized Schefft, 20 that attacked the show and only 15 that supported the bachelorette's right to reject her suitors. She found this surprising.

    "I would have thought more viewers would support her decision, seeing how this was the third season of 'The Bachelorette,' and very few of the couples who 'found love' at the end of the program are still together," she said. "In a sense, people don't watch reality TV for reality, they watch it for the escape and fantasy, much as they watch other shows.

    "Viewers of 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette,' most of whom are women, are encouraged to buy into the idea of romance, that there is one right person for everybody. The media presents images that make this concept seem plausible, and we're conditioned to believe in 'happily ever after,'" the Penn State researcher adds.

    While it could be cause for concern in extreme cases, Montemurro thinks the overwhelming majority of viewers are able to make a distinction between what they see in the media and real life, despite the very real anger they derived from a "most unhappy ending" in this latest installment of "The Bachelorette."

    But Reality May Mean More If You're Depressed
    "Depressed People Benefit More From Marriage Than Others," PhysOrg, August 15, 2006 ---

    Depressed singles receive greater psychological benefits from getting married than those who are not depressed, new research shows.

    While many studies have shown that marriage helps boost well-being, most studies have looked at a general, average population and don't examine whether some people were helped more by marriage than others.

    “Our findings question the common assumption that marriage is always a good choice for all individuals,” said Adrianne Frech, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State University.

    Frech conducted the study with Kristi Williams, assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State. Williams said the study was the first to compare how depressed and non-depressed people benefit from marriage.

    “Those ‘average' benefits of marriage may be largely limited to people who are depressed before they entered marriage,” Williams said. “There may not be strong benefits for everyone.”

    Frech will present their findings Aug. 13 in Montreal at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

    The researchers used data collected by the National Survey of Families and Households, which interviewed a representative sample of Americans in 1987-88 and then re-interviewed them in 1992-94. They used data from 3,066 people who were unmarried at the time of the first interview.

    They measured depression using 12 questions in the survey which asked respondents the number of days in the last week that they “felt like they could not shake off the blues,” “slept restlessly,” or “felt lonely.”

    For those who got married, the researchers also examined measures of marital happiness and marital conflict.

    Frech said they were surprised that depressed people in this study benefited the most from marriage.

    “We actually found the opposite of what we expected,” Frech said. “We thought depressed people would be less likely to benefit from marriage because the depression of one spouse can put a strain on the marriage and undermine marital quality.”

    Indeed, the study confirmed Williams' previous research that found levels of marital quality and conflict were key in determining depression levels in individuals after marriage. As would be expected, people who report marriages that are high in quality and low in conflict are less likely to be depressed.

    Also, the study found that depressed people who got married reported overall lower levels of marital quality than did individuals who were not depressed. But even so, depressed people still benefited more psychologically from marriage than did non-depressed people.

    The results didn't show any differences between men and women in the links between marriage and depression.

    Although the study didn't look at why depressed people benefit more from marriage, the researchers believe they may have more to gain.

    “If you start out happy, you don't have as far to go,” Williams said. “But also, depressed people may just be especially in need of the intimacy, the emotional closeness, and the social support that marriage can provide.

    “Marriage may give depressed people a greater sense that they matter to someone, while people who weren't depressed prior to marriage may have always thought that way.”

    The researchers noted that the people in this study had been married 5 years at most. There may changes in the psychological benefits as the marriage progresses, and as couples have children or get divorced.

    But the results suggest that marriage doesn't have equal benefits for everyone.

    “We can't focus just on average effects of marriage on well-being,” Frech said. “As this study shows, there is a great deal of variability in the benefits of marriage.”

    Source: Ohio State University

    Fatties Outnumber Hungries Worldwide
    The world now has more overweight people than hungry ones and governments should design economic strategies to influence national diets, a conference of international experts heard August 14. The transition from a starving world to an obese one had happened with dramatic speed, US professor Barry Popkin told the annual conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. "The reality is that globally far more obesity than undernutrition exists," Popkin said, adding that while hunger was slowly declining, obesity was rapidly spreading.
    PhysOrg, August 14, 2006 ---

    Mystery Question
    Who is this finance professor who has a popular "FinancialRounds" blog?

    Jim Mahar cites him all the time in his own blog ---

    A Corny Study from the University of Pennsylvania

    Americans, Once Again, Are Skewered for Bad Eating Habits: This Time, It's Corn
    The tired old adage, "You are what you eat," acquires new life in Michael Pollan's compelling book, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (The Penguin Press). Tracing our food back to its sources in feedlots and fields, Pollan convincingly argues that modern Americans are made of corn -- and that this is a very bad thing for our health, our economy, and our environment. According to Pollan, corn underwrites a national eating disorder even as Americans' lack of a centuries' old cuisine makes us exceptionally vulnerable to fad diets, trendy nutritional advice and fast food.
    knowledge@ wharton ---

    Sharing Professor of the Week
    Anatomy and Physiology Resources from Professor Jim Swan of the University of New Mexico ---

    From NPR
    Cadaver Exhibits Are Part Science, Part Sideshow ---

    People who purchased new Dell laptops should possibly replace the batteries immediately

    "Dell recalls 4.1 million laptop batteries due to fire risk," The Washington Post, August 15, 2006 ---

    Dell arranged the recall in cooperation with the US Consumer Product Safety Division (CPSD), which reported logging six "incidents" involving batteries made for Dell by Sony Corporation of Japan.

    No one was hurt in the incidents, according to CPSD spokesman Jess Blackburn.

    The Texas company was posting recall details at a website, , which was to be online early on Tuesday, said spokeswoman Anne Camden.

    Batteries designated for recall were sold with Dell Latitude and Inspiron notebook computers and Precision model mobile workstations from April 1, 2004 through July 18, 2006, the company said in a release.

    Computers with these batteries sold for between 500 dollars and 2,850 dollars. The batteries were sometimes sold separately during service calls for from 60 to 180 dollars, according to Dell.

    Batteries targeted for recall are imprinted with the Dell company name and either "Made in Japan," "Made in China," or "Battery Cell Made in Japan Assembled in China," the company said.

    Computer owners were advised to remove the batteries from the notebooks and operate the computers on AC current from power cords. Replacement batteries would be provided by Dell.

    Also see the NYT August 15, 2006 article --- Click Here

    The recall raises broader questions about lithium-ion batteries, which are used in devices like cellphones, portable power tools, camcorders, digital cameras and MP3 players. The potential for such batteries to catch fire has been acknowledged for years, and has prompted more limited recalls in the past. But a number of recent fires involving notebook computers, some aboard planes, have brought renewed scrutiny.

    What was the total of Jeff Skilling's Enron stock sales and how much was he eventually fined in 2006?
    What are Ken Lay's secret recipes for looting $184,494.426 from the corporation you manage?
    What was Ken Lay's defense?

    Answers to these questions can be found at
    This includes Ken Lay's speech on December 13, 2005 ---

    Will they accept a Skilling's personal check for $183 million?
    Federal prosecutors want former Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling to turn over nearly $183 million for helping perpetuate one of the biggest business frauds in U.S. history - his alleged share and that of his late co-defendant, company founder Kenneth Lay.
    SmartPros, August 14, 2006 ---

    Federal prosecutors say Jeffrey K. Skilling, the former Enron chief executive, is liable not only for his own ill-gotten gains but also for those of the late Kenneth L. Lay.
    Alexei Barrionuevo, "U.S. Wants Ex-Enron Chief to Pay Lay’s Share, Too," The New York Times, August 15, 2006 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on the Enron Saga are at

    Bob Jensen's Enron Quiz is at

    National Agricultural Library ---

    AIDS Fund Gets $500 Million From Gates
    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a half-billion-dollar grant to a global fund that provides AIDS assistance in poor countries. The Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will receive the grant over five years.
    "AIDS Fund Gets $500 Million From Gates," The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2006; Page D5 ---

    August 11, 2006 message from Dan Gheorghe Somnea []

    Dear professor Bob Jensen,

    My name is Dan Gheorghe Somnea. I am professor at the Academy of Economic Studies. Who I am you can find out from this . You will find out that I am doctor engineer but not in the Instructional Technology. In the last 10 months I was attracted by this Instructional Technology and Distance Learning domain. It is fascinating. I'll be very honored, if you allow me to include some hyperlinks referring to your activity or documents on the website shown below.

    I started a functional classification of the Instructional Technology. I am still working at it. I kindly invite you to visit this web site:  I will be deeply indebted if you have any suggestions.

    Thank you
    Dan Gheorghe PS1

    The page is in the subject mail. PS2 The Academy of Economic Studies organizes each year a conference dedicated to IT. For instance this year at 18-19 of September 2006 it follows the 7-th edition. In this sense, I've attached a document. The dead term for papers is on 1-st of September 2006, according with the document attached. Moreover, on my IT homepage you'll find a generic hyperlink. Maybe next year you will honour with your presence! If you accept, the Committee will invite you officially!

    August 11, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

    Hi Dan,

    Thank you for the links. You have a good start on a Website for education technology. What needs to be added are content documents and illustrations. I suggest that you consider adding some Camtasia video learning modules in engineering ---

    You might also add links to distance education alternatives in your part of the world.

    I recently retired from teaching and will be unable to attend your conference.

    Thank you for inviting me.

    Bob Jensen

    August 13, 2006 reply (portion only) from Dan Gheorghe Somnea []

    The link is operational from http://dan; 

    You could try this link  directly. Have you browsed the Eminescu poems link? Unfortunately, I have to eliminate this link when the academic year will start (10 of September). Have a good week !

    We've noticed your affinity to literature. My wife has chosen the following stanza for you:

    There is a Power whose care,
    Teaches thy way along that pathless coast __
    The desert and illimitable air __
    Lone wandering, but not lost.
    [William Cullen Bryant (1794 - 1878) "To a Waterflow"]

    or this stanza from "To the Fringed Gentian", same poet:
    Thou blossom bright with autumn dew
    And colored with the heaven's own blue,
    That openest when the quiet light
    Succeeds the keen and frosty night

    Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at

    Verizon Desperately Fibers That Last Mile
    Verizon hopes that replacing its copper phone lines with fiber optic cable will help it fend off rivals like Comcast and Vonage, which are moving into the phone business.
    Ken Belson, "Verizon Is Rewiring New York, Block by Block, in a Race for Survival," The New York Times, August 14, 2006 ---

    August 10, 2006 message from Scott Bonacker [AECM@BONACKER.US]

    Snipped from:

    And for when size matters:

    Talk to the Machine

    One of the frontiers of computing that remains stubbornly outside the reach of most mainstream applications despite 20 years of effort is speech recognition. On the face of it, replacing the somewhat cumbersome graphical user interface and keyboard with voice commands feels like something that should have already happened.

    But it's only in the last couple of years that we've seen some major advances in recognizing grammar and patterns of words in ways that allow people to think about building more robust speech recognition applications.

    In fact, voice-driven telephony applications such as those powered by tools from companies such as <>

    Convergys are experiencing rapid growth. But while that's certainly an improvement, the real question is how soon speech recognition will become a standard element of just about every application.

    In separate podcasts on the

    <> ACMQueue Web site, Roberto <> Sicconi from IBM and Mike <> Cohen from Google said that day is coming a lot sooner than we think. IBM's Sicconi said that within two years we'll see a major explosion in speech recognition applications starting with gaming and then working its way through a whole host of applications.

    And although Google isn't talking about any specific plans, it wouldn't take much imagination to see the possibilities of hosted voice recognition services. To that end, Google has enlisted Cohen, a co-founder of speech recognition pioneer <> Nuance Communications, to serve as the head of its research in this space.

    As Steve Chirokas, the senior director for products and channels for the Customer Management Group at Convergys puts its, throwing a lot of hosted hardware at speech recognition applications not only makes financial sense, it also creates a more secure environment.

    Either way, thanks to the advent of <> VoiceXML and better natural language pattern recognition, we have not seen or heard anything yet.


    Nuance has been promoting Dragon Naturally Speaking at 50% off for a month or so to their customers with other products, maybe this is the incentive.

    Scott Bonacker, CPA
    Springfield, MO

    Bob Jensen's threads on speech recognition are at

    Yawn! Another Merrill Lynch fine, this time in the U.K.
    FSA fines Merrill Lynch £150,000 for transaction reporting failures The Financial Services Authority has fined Merrill Lynch International £150,000 for failing to accurately report certain transactions to the FSA and previously the Securities and Futures Authority. Accurate transaction reports are critical to the FSA's ability to maintain confidence in the financial markets and reduce financial crime.
    Rachel Rutherford, Association of International Accountants Accountancy E-news, August 11, 2006

    Bob Jensen's threads on brokerage firm and investment banding scandals are at

    The Wall Street Journal Flashback, August 11, 1989
    In a brush with history, the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly vaulted above its 1987 record close before profit-taking in the final minutes cut into its gain. The average finished 26.55 points higher at 2712.63, a post-crash high.

    Key Issues of the Northern Ireland Conflict ---

    IBM's historic PC was clunky, slow and very expensive
    "Designed for business, school and home, the easy-to-use system sells for as little as 1,565 dollars," IBM's original press statement said back then. That price is worth more than 4,000 dollars in today's money. But if you wanted colour graphics, two floppy disk drives and a printer, it would set you back triple the amount of the base model . . . IBM itself anticipated only about 2,000 sales of its new computer. In the event, despite the hefty price tag, a million units of the 5150 were sold in four years.
    "IBM's historic PC was clunky, slow and very expensive," PhysOrg, August 11, 2006 ---

    IBM promised an "enhanced version of the popular Microsoft BASIC programming language and easily understood operation manuals".

    "They make it possible to begin using the computer within hours and to develop personalized programs quite easily."

    Microsoft was then unknown beyond the world of nerds that comprised computing in its infancy.

    But that passing reference in the IBM statement was to prove the making of the company co-founded by a Harvard dropout called Bill Gates.

    Because IBM did not insist on exclusive rights to Microsoft's DOS operating system, Gates and his colleagues were able to hawk it around other computer makers -- making them obscenely rich men in a short space of time.

    IBM itself anticipated only about 2,000 sales of its new computer. In the event, despite the hefty price tag, a million units of the 5150 were sold in four years.

    Many other manufacturers soon joined the market. While the IBM was not the first computer designed for home and business use, it was pioneering because it used "open" architecture that could be cloned for a mass market.

    The PC weighed 25 pounds (11.4 kilograms) with one floppy disk drive fitted, over a third more than a present-day computer. The keyboard alone weighed six pounds (2.7 kilograms).

    An Australian fisheries manager accused Japan of illegally taking $2 billion worth of southern bluefin tuna, damaging the commercial stock.

    "Japan allegedly stole huge amount of tuna," PhysOrg, August 12, 2006 ---

    Richard McLoughlin, managing director of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, told the Sydney Morning Herald, Japanese fishers and suppliers from other countries caught up to three times the Japanese quota each year for the past 20 years.

    "Essentially the Japanese have stolen $2 billion worth of fish from the international community, and have been sitting in meetings for 15 years saying they are as pure as the driven snow," he said. "And it's outrageous."

    The revelations have sparked concerns that other fisheries in the Pacific and Indian oceans were pilfered. Calls have been renewed for southern bluefin to be protected under international wildlife law.

    Southern bluefin tuna is one of the world's most expensive fish.

    Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

    From the Scout Report on August 11, 2006

    Getting Results --- 

    Educators have argued politely (and not so politely) about the most effective pedagogical methods for decades, and at times, they have even been able to agree on certain approaches. One recently created resource designed specifically for community college educators is the Getting Results website. Created as part of partnership between the National Science Foundation and WGBH, this self-contained professional development course is designed to "challenge previous thinking about teaching and learning and give you the basic tools for effective classroom practices." Users of this fine resource can work independently, or also elect to team up with groups of colleagues. Enhanced with online videos and worksheets, the course contains six modules, including "Moving Beyond the Classroom" and "Teaching with Technology". With an easy-to-use interface and non-intrusive graphics, this site is a most welcome addition to currently available online resources for community college educators.

    Bob Jensen's threads on resources are at

    Speaking of Faith --- 

    Started in 2001, the Speaking of Faith radio program (produced by American Public Media) is hosted by Krista Tippett. The program got off to an auspicious start, as some of its earliest programs were immediate critical successes, both with reviewers and members of the general public. The program distinguishes itself by drawing on a first-person approach that allows people from different faiths to speak to their own personal beliefs, rather than on making grand pronouncements such as "The Bible says..." or "Muslims insist..." and so on. Visitors will be delighted to learn that they can listen to the most recent show (or download a podcast), and look over the archive of previous shows, which date back to 2001. Users may also want to read "Krista’s Journal", which is a weekly online column that provides additional perspective and commentary on each broadcast. Also, visitors can elect to receive a weekly e-mail newsletter.

    Letters to Sala: A Young Woman's Life in Nazi Labor Camps  --- 

    For those who survived the Holocaust, talking about that time can be a difficult, and, sometimes, impossible endeavor. In the early 1990s, Sala Grancraz Kirschner was preparing for a major surgery, and she decided the time was right to tell her daughter about her experiences. She gave her a red cardboard box that contains a wide range of letters written in Polish, German, and Yiddish that chronicled her experiences in seven different Nazi forced labor camps. Over a decade later, the New York Public Library created this website in order to complement an in situ exhibit at their main branch. Visitors to this site can learn about Sala's life before the war, her time at Geppersdorf (a labor camp in Germany), and the Nazi postal system. With detailed essays, interspersed with her letters and other primary documents, the site is a wonderful testimony both to her perspicacity and a fine way to learn a bit more about the experiences of a unique individual.

    Charity Navigator --- 

    Charity Navigator was founded in 2001 with a rather simple, yet valuable premise in mind: "People are amazingly generous and helping others but are not always sure how to go about it." In order to aid individuals and organizations, Charity Navigator evaluates various charities and non-profits on a variety of metrics so that potential contributors can make informed decisions. One of the highlights of their website is their database, which allows users to search over 5,000 charity ratings, or just browse by category or geographic region. One should not overlook their special reports, which include such timely (and potentially tragic) works as "Hurricane Katrina One Year Later: Where Did the Money Go?" The site also has a great selection of "Top 10 Lists", which includes such lists as "10 Charities Worth Watching" and "10 Highly Paid CEO's Low-Rated Charities". The site is rounded out by an impressive list of articles written by staff members at Charity Navigator, and links to other relevant articles on charities generated by other news sources.

    FabricLink --- 

    Some say that the binding relationships between individuals are the fabric of human society, where others are more interested in, well, actual fabric. For those who are interested in the wide world of fabric and related topics, the FabricLink website is a fine place to learn about various fabrics, their care, fabric products, and the latest in fabric industry news and innovation. First-time visitors will want to wind their way over to the Consumer Guide section straight away. Here they will find the fabric care center, which provides helpful stain removal hints, and information about those sometimes cryptic care symbols on various items of apparel. The home furnishings area contains a number of reference guides, and a whole section dedicated to "Yarn Facts".

    Motionbox --- 

    As more and more electronic devices (such as cell phones and the like) have the ability to captures images and short video clips, there are a number of new applications designed to transfer media to the Internet. Motionbox is one such application, and users can use it to place their own videos online and perform basic edits and such. Visitors can upload their videos, and also look at what other users have placed online for the inquisitive public. Motionbox is compatible with all operating systems.

    Registry Mechanic 5.2 --- 

    Registry Mechanic works with computers running Windows to scan, clean, and repair registry problems with relatively little fuss or needless stress. Utilizing this application will help users find missing help files, broken shortcuts, fonts, and configuration files. Additionally, visitors can opt to use a "Quick Scan" or a more comprehensive "Deep Scan". This version is just a free trial and it is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer.

    "Pacific in Name Only: Firsthand accounts of World War II," by Stanley Weintraub, The Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2006 --- 

    1. "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" by Ted Lawson (Random House, 1943).

    Following Pearl Harbor and further catastrophes early in World War II, President Roosevelt proposed a mission to give America a psychological lift: an audacious bombing run on Japan. Crews for 16 bombers were trained and led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, a former test pilot with an engineering doctorate from MIT. In "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," Ted Lawson, who was at the controls of one of the planes, gives a breathtaking account of how the twin-engine B-25s, each loaded with four 500-pound bombs, roared over Japan at tree-top level on April 18, 1942, and successfully struck the enemy's capital city. This affront to Japanese pride helped spur the country's disastrous plunge two months later into the Battle of Midway, the turnabout of the Pacific War.

    2. "Baa Baa Black Sheep" by Gregory Boyington (Putnam, 1958).

    Marine Fighting Squadron 214 was known as the "Black Sheep" because it had been cobbled together from replacement pilots by the pugnacious Gregory "Pappy" Boyington. The rag-tag but deadly squadron lost its colorful leader--a drinker and brawler on the ground, an ace in the air--when Boyington was shot down in early 1944 in the South Pacific. Captured by the Japanese and badly injured, he somehow survived 20 months of prison-camp brutality. For a decade after the war, the Medal of Honor winner lived on beer, bombast and brag. But then he produced "Baa Baa Black Sheep." Based on records of his missions, embellished and cocky in some places, ruefully self-deprecating in others, the book tells a story that might not be as it really was but is as it should have been.

    3. "Goodbye, Darkness" by William Manchester (Little, Brown, 1979).

    William L. Shirer lauded this "gripping, haunting book" as "the most moving memoir of combat in World War II that I have ever read." It remains hard to fault that judgment. Determined to exorcise his postwar nightmares by writing them away, William Manchester returned in 1978 to the Pacific islands where he had lost his youth and nearly his life during the horrific battle at Okinawa. A Marine sergeant, he received a "million-dollar wound" that got him evacuated, saving him for writing history, including his own. He confesses that he had become "a thing of tears and twitchings and dirtied pants. I remembered wondering dumbly, Is this what they mean by 'conspicuous gallantry'?" "Goodbye, Darkness" is written with conspicuous gallantry.

    4. "The Railway Man" by Eric Lomax (Norton, 1995).

    If the bridge over the river Kwai hadn't been made legendary by the Oscar-winning film of that title, this book might have done the job. Eric Lomax, a Scot with a passion for trains, was captured in Singapore during the war and forced into slave labor. During his years of torture and starvation, one of his tormentors was an English-speaking overseer whom Lomax never forgot. Savagely beaten, Lomax lived a hideous existence, nursing his hatred long afterward--until in 1989 a friend showed him a Japan Times story about his captor, now in Buddhist atonement for war atrocities. Almost 50 years after his release, Lomax and his wife met the aged, frail Takashi Nagase at the bridge on the Kwai. Recognizing that Nagase's Buddhism made it essential that he be forgiven before he died, the ex-POW parted movingly from his former enemy. Lomax writes with quiet dignity, but his pity and the exaltation recall Greek tragedy.

    5. "Hiroshima" by John Hersey (Knopf, 1946).

    Based on interviews with six atomic-bomb survivors, "Hiroshima" relates, with passionate dispassion, their experiences on the morning of the blast and its grim aftermath. (The account was first published in August 1946, when it filled an entire issue of the New Yorker.) Hersey offers no personal conclusions--he lets the victims do that, and their thoughts range from pain and anger and indifference to a concession that the Bomb "ended the bloodshed." Immensely moving in its flat tone, which belies its immediacy, "Hiroshima" may be the most unforgettable work of journalism in the 20th century.

    Mr. Weintraub's "Eleven Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944" (Free Press) will be published in November.


    Forwarded by Auntie Bev


    If you want your dreams to come true, don't oversleep.

    The smallest good deed is better than the grandest intention.

    Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

    The best vitamin for making friends....B1.

    The 10 commandments are not multiple choice.

    The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

    Minds are like parachutes...they function only when open.

    Ideas won't work unless YOU do.

    One thing you can't recycle is wasted time.

    One who lacks the courage to start has already finished.

    The heaviest thing to carry is a grudge.

    Don't learn safety rules by accident.

    We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves.

    Jumping to conclusions can be bad exercise.

    A turtle makes progress when it sticks it's head out.

    One thing you can give and still your word.

    A friend walks in when everyone else walks out.


    The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime!!!

    -- Author Unknown

    The Worst Jobs in History ---

    Bad resumes can lead to the above jobs ---

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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

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    Jim's great blog is at

    Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
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