Tidbits on August 26, 2006
Bob Jensen

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

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


Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/resume.htm#Presentations   

 

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 http://www.searchedu.com/.

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/


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




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

Do your students doze off in class or otherwise show signs of inattention such as playing games or writing email messages on their laptops while you are lecturing? Here's a Microsoft invention to end all of that (you must be patient when waiting through early diversionary parts of this video) --- http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2943736722728060847&q=wsyp&hl=en
The above link was forwarded by Glen Gray. I might note that this invention can help you if you have any type of attention deficit disorder while sitting at your desk trying to write your next boring paper!

Microsoft Training Videos (humor) forwarded by Glen Gray ---
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9076288729387457440&q=microsoft+ricky&hl=en

MIT's Technology Review launches a new video blog -- TR Vlog! --- http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/video.aspx

ShakeMovie: CalTech's Southern California Seismic Event Portal --- http://shakemovie.caltech.edu/

The Astronomy Center --- http://www.compadre.org/astronomy/

The Story of the Weeping Camel --- http://www.nationalgeographic.com/weepingcamel/index.html

Fox to Sell Movies, TV Shows for Download --- http://physorg.com/news74745725.html
"20th Century Fox to sell movies on IGN, MySpace" --- Click Here

CBS to Start Streaming Prime-Time Shows --- http://physorg.com/news74922927.html

 


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

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

From Jessie
Morning Has Broken --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/morningbroken.htm
(If the audio does not commence in 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on.)

From NPR
Dan Penn: 'A Little Something I Like' in Music --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5638465

Sara Tavares Balances Musical Influences --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5659390

Teng's Flamboyant Contraption Takes Off (Classical) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5647467

Searching for the South in 'Wrong-Eyed Jesus' --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5676275 

Punk Straightface
Existential Angst with an Impish Straight Face --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5652572

Do you remember these? http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman777/DYR.htm

Midi Rock and Roll --- http://www.paulalfrey.com/email/olddays.html


Photographs and Art

Iran's Holocaust cartoon exhibition ---
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/6332204D-7694-40B2-B134-06ADB6A47CD3.htm

John Muir National Historic Site http://www.cr.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/jomu/index.html

From NPR
Cadaver Exhibits Are Part Science, Part Sideshow --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5553329

The Vincent Van Gogh Gallery ---  http://www.vggallery.com/

Pluto: Is It a Planet? --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5631291

Africa: Portraits of Poverty --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5627611

ESAO --- http://www.esao.net/

Auto Nostalgia (to the recording of Do You Remember These) --- http://texasbobsworld.com/auto_nostalgia.html

 


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

Mapping History --- http://www.bl.uk/learning/artimages/maphist/mappinghistory.html

The Long Tail Review (History of Commerce and Communication in the U.S.) ---
http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/king/posts.aspx?id=17344

Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889) --- http://www.romanianvoice.com/poezii/poeti_tr/eminescu_eng.php

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Shelley (1797-1851) --- Click Here

Maria by Mary Shelley (1797-1851) --- Click Here

Sense And Sensibility by Jane Austen (1775-1817) --- Click Here

Fables by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) --- Click Here 

Kentuckiana Digital Library (focus is on Kentucky history and photographs) ---  http://kdl.kyvl.org/

'The Cremation of Sam McGee' (Humorous audio poem) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5672398

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who toil for gold;

The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;

The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see

Was that night on the marge of Lake Laberge
I cremated Sam McGee.




The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell
Reply from Roger Collins [rcollins@tru.ca]

Bob, thanks for this issue - and the Russell quote. Yeats had a more memorable version -
"The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity" ---
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Second_Coming _(poem)

-which, while it doesn't mention intelligence, seems to express the same general sentiment.

Although Yeats and Russell were contemporaries they don't seem to share much in terms of philosophy. See both the reference for the poem and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Butler_Yeats 

Regards,
Roger

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
George Orwell as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-08-21-06.htm

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.
As found at the bottom of an email message from Aaron Konstam.

The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury.
Charlie Chaplin as quoted in a recent email message from Patricia Doherty

Strip poker championships bring mass a-peel Contestants from 12 countries in naked pursuit of ‘Gold Fig Leaf’
MSNBC News, August 19, 2006 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14425689/

Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.
Russell Baker (1925) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_baker

There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.
Jack London (1876-1916) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_London

A well-vetted principle of psychology is that people place more value on avoiding a negative than gaining a positive, another reason negative ads work. "Turnout goes up when people don't just prefer their candidate, but strongly dislike the other guy," says Jon Krosnick of Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif. Evolutionary psychology has shown that people naturally approach novel objects and individuals expecting the best. But since it is adaptive to be hypersensitive to the possibility of someone or something turning dangerous (a useful-looking stick turning out to be a poisonous snake, for instance), "unfavorable information has an especially powerful impact," Prof. Krosnick and colleagues showed in a 2001 paper. There is, therefore, "an advantage to presenting unfavorable information about one's opponent, rather than presenting favorable information about oneself."
Sharon Begley, "Political Scientists Get More Scientific In Studying the Vote," The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2006; Page A11 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/science_journal.html

 




The choice is between the beach and the bunker," says Lebanese scholar Nadim Shehadeh.
There is evidence that a majority of Lebanese Shiites would prefer the beach.

Politically, however, Hezbollah had to declare victory for a simple reason: It had to pretend that the death and desolation it had provoked had been worth it. A claim of victory was Hezbollah's shield against criticism of a strategy that had led Lebanon into war without the knowledge of its government and people. Mr. Nasrallah alluded to this in television appearances, calling on those who criticized him for having triggered the war to shut up because "a great strategic victory" had been won. The tactic worked for a day or two. However, it did not silence the critics, who have become louder in recent days. The leaders of the March 14 movement, which has a majority in the Lebanese Parliament and government, have demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the war, a roundabout way of accusing Hezbollah of having provoked the tragedy. Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has made it clear that he would not allow Hezbollah to continue as a state within the state. Even Michel Aoun, a maverick Christian leader and tactical ally of Hezbollah, has called for the Shiite militia to disband.
"Arab writers are beginning to lift the veil on what really happened in Lebanon," by Amir Taheri, The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008847 

There were even sharper attacks. Mona Fayed, a prominent Shiite academic in Beirut, wrote an article also published by An-Nahar last week. She asks: Who is a Shiite in Lebanon today? She provides a sarcastic answer: A Shiite is he who takes his instructions from Iran, terrorizes fellow believers into silence, and leads the nation into catastrophe without consulting anyone. Another academic, Zubair Abboud, writing in Elaph, a popular Arabic-language online newspaper, attacks Hezbollah as "one of the worst things to happen to Arabs in a long time." He accuses Mr. Nasrallah of risking Lebanon's existence in the service of Iran's regional ambitions.

Before he provoked the war, Mr. Nasrallah faced growing criticism not only from the Shiite community, but also from within Hezbollah. Some in the political wing expressed dissatisfaction with his overreliance on the movement's military and security apparatus. Speaking on condition of anonymity, they described Mr. Nasrallah's style as "Stalinist" and pointed to the fact that the party's leadership council (shura) has not held a full session in five years. Mr. Nasrallah took all the major decisions after clearing them with his Iranian and Syrian contacts, and made sure that, on official visits to Tehran, he alone would meet Iran's "Supreme Guide," Ali Khamenei.

Mr. Nasrallah justified his style by claiming that involving too many people in decision-making could allow "the Zionist enemy" to infiltrate the movement. Once he had received the Iranian green light to provoke the war, Mr. Nasrallah acted without informing even the two Hezbollah ministers in the Siniora cabinet or the 12 Hezbollah members of the Lebanese Parliament.

Mr. Nasrallah was also criticized for his acknowledgement of Ali Khamenei as Marjaa al-Taqlid (Source of Emulation), the highest theological authority in Shiism. Highlighting his bay'aah (allegiance), Mr. Nasrallah kisses the man's hand each time they meet. Many Lebanese Shiites resent this because Mr. Khamenei, a powerful politician but a lightweight in theological terms, is not recognized as Marjaa al-Taqlid in Iran itself. The overwhelming majority of Lebanese Shiites regard Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, in Iraq, or Ayatollah Muhammad-Hussein Fadhlallah, in Beirut, as their "Source of Emulation."

Some Lebanese Shiites also question Mr. Nasrallah's strategy of opposing Prime Minister Siniora's "Project for Peace," and instead advancing an Iranian-backed "Project of Defiance." The coalition led by Mr. Siniora wants to build Lebanon into a haven of peace in the heart of a turbulent region. His critics dismiss this as a plan "to create a larger Monaco." Mr. Nasrallah's "Project of Defiance," however, is aimed at turning Lebanon into the frontline of Iranian defenses in a war of civilizations between Islam (led by Tehran) and the "infidel," under American leadership." The choice is between the beach and the bunker," says Lebanese scholar Nadim Shehadeh. There is evidence that a majority of Lebanese Shiites would prefer the beach.


Liberal Writers Rally Against Israel
Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Toni Morrison and other luminaries call to resist Israel's undeclared political aim: the liquidation of the Palestinian state.
"A Letter from 18 Writers," The Nation, August 28, 2006 --- http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060828/petition

John Berger
Noam Chomsky
Harold Pinter
José Saramago
Eduardo Galeano
Arundhati Roy
Naomi Klein
Howard Zinn
Charles Glass
Richard Falk
Gore Vidal
Russell Banks
Thomas Keneally
Chris Abani
Carolyn Forché
Martín Espada
Jessica Hagedorn
Toni Morrison

Jensen Comment
No mention is made of declared (not undeclared) Palestinian intentions, bolstered particularly by Syria and Iran, to liquidate  Israel. Palestinians feel that they are doing so to reclaim lands that are rightfully theirs coupled with vengeance for past sufferings. Peaceful coexistence just does not seem in the cards until the outside powers, including the U.S. and Syria/Iran, cease arming and interfering. This probably will not happen until after World War III.

Illustrative Iranian Cartoons of the Holocaust
Iran's best-selling newspaper announcing a competition to find the best cartoons about the Holocaust in an effort to make them top on the list of Google searchings --- http://www.israelnewsagency.com/iranholocaustcartoonsisraelseo48480207.html


Amnesty International (AI) declares that Israel committed the war crimes
I can't find any AI criticism of of the raining down of thousands of Hezbollah rockets on Israel so I guess recent Lebanon war crimes were one sided as far as AI accusations go. Should only Israel's generals be tried in The Hague or should dishonorable mention at least be given to Sheik Nasrallah for targeting civilians with rockets and suicide bombings?
An AI video damning Israel is available at http://www.amnesty.org/ 

Lebanon: Deliberate destruction or ‘collateral damage’? Israeli attacks on civilian infrastructure.
It’s the usual AI fare, so slanted and deceptive it’s like reading a report from another dimension, a dimension where Hizballah barely exists, and Israel launched into an indiscriminate war against civilians simply because they’re that evil. Snapped Shot goes over some of the more ludicrous parts of this document.
"Amnesty International Springs Into Action," Click Here

In fairness, AI has previously criticized  Iran's torture of its own dissidents --- http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGMDE130282004
Also see http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGMDE130181999

Jensen Comment
AI does better when it ferrets out torture and crimes against humanity within nations. When it confronts nations its political agenda against anything U.S. destroys AI credibility. In AI politics the U.S. is never good and is always evil. AI would be much more effective if its political agenda was not incessantly so lopsided. Why not declare that both Israel and Hezbollah committed war crimes? The answer seems obvious!


Free Public Affairs Case Teaching Materials and Sometimes Entire Course Materials from the University of Washington
The Electronic Hallway --- https://hallway.org/

The Electronic Hallway is pleased to announce a unique and progressive new product— Integrated Management: A Complete Core Curriculum — a previously untested venture in presenting an entire course package using online technology. This package represents a 30 week integrated core management curriculum.


How to Talk Like an Iraqi:
Laptop software that can translate English-Arabic conversations on the fly is being tested in Iraq --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17350&ch=infotech

International Journal of Not-For-Profit Law (with special focus on the Middle East) ---
http://www.icnl.org/knowledge/ijnl/index.htm

Columbia Journalism Review Daily --- http://www.cjrdaily.org/

Press Release Web (Especially note the Todays News tab) --- http://www.prweb.com/

Drudge Report --- http://www.drudgereport.com/

National Association for Business Economics --- http://www.nabe.com/index.html


Question
What do Louisiana, Mississippi, and Bam/Khuzestan have in common?

The Iranian government's pledge of 500 million dollars to Hezbollah has angered many Iranians who say they are still awaiting money to help rebuild their homes that were damaged by wars and natural disasters, informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. The anger is particularly fierce in the Khuzestan district, which sustained severe damage during the Iran-Iraq war, and in Bam, which was hit hard by an earthquake three years ago . . . "Informed sources" told Asharq Al-Awsat that spontaneous demonstrations were staged in Bam and in Khuzestan on Friday as protesters shouted slogans critical of Hezbollah and the government. They were demanding their homes be rebuilt instead of the government intervening in Lebanese affairs.
Thomas Friedman, "War on Daddy’s Dime," The New York Times, August 23, 2006 --- http://select.nytimes.com/2006/08/18/opinion/18friedman.html


On One Hand Are the Positives About President Bush

Over six months in 1988, at least 50,000 Kurds were killed, many of them victims of the mustard and nerve gas rained down by Iraqi planes. Tens of thousands more were tortured or saw their villages turned to rubble, their fields and rivers and newborn infants poisoned by the chemical attacks . . . Mr. Hussein was America's ally of convenience against Iran, and it was easier for the Reagan White House to look the other way.
Editorial, "The Spoils," The New York Times, August 22, 2006 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
John Stewart interviewed New York Times writer Paul Krugman ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Krugman ) on August 23. Krugman contended that, in spite of how bad Hussein was when instigating chemical attacks, we should've continued to look the other way and not taken Hussein out  because Saddam helped to maintain stability in the volatile Middle East. This is an example where a liberal writer and Ronald Regan had something in common not shared by now President Bush.

Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them. Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.
George W. Bush as quoted by Norman Podhoretz, "Is the Bush Doctrine Dead? The president's critics are wrong. That includes the neocons," The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2006 ---
http://www.opinionjournal.com/federation/feature/?id=110008830

We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: the moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. . . . We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul.
George W. Bush as quoted by Norman Podhoretz, "Is the Bush Doctrine Dead? The president's critics are wrong. That includes the neocons," The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2006 ---
http://www.opinionjournal.com/federation/feature/?id=110008830

There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom. . . . America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. . . . So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture.
George W. Bush as quoted by Norman Podhoretz, "Is the Bush Doctrine Dead? The president's critics are wrong. That includes the neocons," The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2006 ---
http://www.opinionjournal.com/federation/feature/?id=110008830

It is my contention that the Bush Doctrine is no more dead today than the Truman Doctrine was cowardly in its own early career. Bolstered by that analogy, I feel safe in predicting that, like the Truman Doctrine in 1952, the Bush Doctrine will prove irreversible by the time its author leaves the White House in 2008.
Norman Podhoretz, "Is the Bush Doctrine Dead? The president's critics are wrong. That includes the neocons," The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2006 ---
http://www.opinionjournal.com/federation/feature/?id=110008830


On the Other Hand Are the Negatives About President Bush

The disease of America Hatred now has reached pandemic proportions in many corners of the globe, spreading far beyond the predictably hopeless fever swamps of Islamic militants, French intellectuals, or Latin American demagogues. In fact, many citizens within the USA itself energetically embrace the basic assumptions of America Hatred, perceiving their country as an unequivocally negative force on the world scene. John Tirman, director of MIT’s prestigious Center for International Studies, recently wrote a book called “100 Ways America is Screwing Up the World.”
Michael Medved, "Why the world hates America," Townhall, August 23, 2006 --- http://townhall.com/columnists/MichaelMedved/2006/08/23/why_the_world_hates_america

So are they chastened by the mayhem? No, they want us to dig ourselves a deeper hole. "It probably would require 450,000 troops to quash an all-out civil war there," they say now. "Such an effort would require a commitment of enormous military and economic resources, far in excess of what the United States has already put forth." And once we bankrupt ourselves to make Iraq a giant military prison camp, what will we do then? Find a new Hussein to take over Iraq? As Lamont wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week, staying the course when the car is headed off the cliff is hardly a realistic position.
Robert Scheer, "Truth Time for Democrats," The Nation, August 22, 2006 --- http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060828/truthdig0822

Perhaps the U.S. is not "entitled" to survive
Will America have to declare Chapter 11 because of $80 trillion in unfunded entitlement promises? That's a question posed recently by Laurence Kotlikoff, an economist at Boston University, in his attention-grabbing essay on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security entitled: "Is the United States Bankrupt?" Mr. Kotlikoff's answer is perhaps yes: "Nations can go broke, the United States is going broke . . . and radical reform of U.S. fiscal institutions is essential."
"The Entitlement Panic," The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2006; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115620669096641701.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Jensen Comment
In practice governments do not declare bankruptcy in a Chapter 11 sense. They either renege outright on entitlements or pay promises off in cheap inflated currencies in imploded economies lacking sufficient economic growth to cover entitlement obligations. Actually our entire future rides on continued economic growth which is scary with the likes of China, China, and even Brazil making it harder and harder for us to compete in the global arena.

You'd have to dig pretty far down in the duffle bag of economists to find one who actually believes in the Philips Curve -- the idea that rapid growth causes inflation. In truth, rapid growth in conjunction with restrained monetary base growth is a surefire prescription for stable low inflation. The old saw that too much money chasing too few goods results in inflation couldn't be more accurate. But rapid growth does have predictable consequences on the relative prices of various products.
Arthur B. Laffer, "The Flawless Fed, The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2006; Page A10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115637293024843832.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

The Pending Meltdown of the United States:
It's largely the fault of a president who would not halt spendthrifts like himself

Historians will note spring 2006 as the time when America's fiscal meltdown became unavoidable. Fiscal conservatism is not just dead in Washington; it is long forgotten, and no resurrection is on the horizon. Despite a brief blip of outrage over bridges-to-nowhere and obscene earmarks growing rampant and engorged, budget talk has again turned into a bidding war. The Bush administration's own modest (virtually nonexistent) attempts to restrain spending have been swept away by a Congress eager to spend as much as possible in a midterm election year. The numbers tell a sad enough tale. Federal spending is now 20.8 percent of GDP, up from the 18.4 percent President Bush inherited from President Clinton.
 Jeff A. Taylor, "Cash Carries the Day Spending is the Alpha and Omega in Washington," Reason Magazine, March 17, 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/links/links031706.shtml
 

Jensen Comment
It's not clear that fiscal sanity can be maintained in a me-first society where the welfare of future generations is asymptotically approaching zero among me-first hand-to-mouth constituents. Whereas our parents would scrimp and slave and sacrifice everything for our education, our medical care, and our grandparents' care, today's parents want the government to pay for everything that we and our grandparents need. We've come to think everything is free from the government. Any attempt to put the brakes on entitlements is political suicide since the day Ronald Regan drained all the ink from the White House veto pen.

Bob Jensen's threads on the looming entitlements disaster, along with Milton Friedman's early warnings, are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm


"A Faith Divided:  Will Sunni-Shia war engulf the new Middle East?" by Masood Farivar, The Wall Street Journal, August 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110008829 

As violence rages in Iraq, it has become ever more difficult to make sense of it all. Undoubtedly some is the work of terrorists bent on disrupting the democratic process, some the work of Sunnis and Baathists angry at their loss of power. But to Vali Nasr, author of "The Shia Revival," most of the current violence is part of a broad sectarian conflict. The fall of Saddam Hussein, he argues, has indeed given birth to a "new Middle East"--but not yet the one hoped for. We are now seeing the Shia of Islam, newly empowered in Iraq and ever more militant in Iran, challenge the Sunnis--Islam's dominant sect--in a conflict that will take years to resolve, if not decades.

Like many modern-day sectarian rifts, this one predates the modern era--in this case, by well more than a millennium. In the succession crisis that followed the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632, the majority of Muslims elected as caliph one of the Prophet's closest companions. A minority dissented, arguing that the Prophet had passed the leadership of his community to Ali, his cousin and son-in-law. The dissenters became known as "Shiat-Ali," or Partisans of Ali. The followers of Muhammad's "Sunna," or tradition, became known as Sunnis. In time, each side developed what Mr. Nasr calls a distinct "ethos of faith and piety."

The Shia got their wish when Ali became the fourth caliph, but the pivotal moment in Shia history came in 680 when Ali's son Hussein and 72 of his followers were massacred in the desert of southern Iraq after challenging the authority of Islam's sixth caliph. For the Shia, Hussein came to symbolize resistance to tyranny; his martyrdom is commemorated to this day as a central act of Shia piety.

With the exception of a few short-lived Shia dynasties (Iraq is not the first Shia Arab state), the Shia never really wielded political power, living mostly as a marginalized minority under Sunni rule. This historical experience, Mr. Nasr observes, has long imbued the Sunnis with a sense of "worldly success," and a presumption of mastery, while furnishing the Shia underdogs with a narrative of "martyrdom, persecution, and suffering."

Mr. Nasr uses this history to explain why Iraq's Shia so eagerly embraced the fall of Saddam Hussein. Whereas the Americans saw regime change in Iraq as a harbinger of democracy, Iraq's Shia viewed it primarily as the end to centuries of Sunni domination. And Saddam's fall inevitably stirred hopes for a Shia revival elsewhere. The mantra "one man, one vote" has reverberated among the politically marginalized Shia of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Lebanon, where Hezbollah's TV station has recited democracy's shibboleths as part of its own campaign to win a larger political role.

All this agitation has alarmed the region's Sunni leaders, Mr. Nasr observes, and not just the Sunni fundamentalists. King Abdullah of Jordan has warned about the emergence of a "Shia crescent" slicing across the region; Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has questioned the Shia's Arab loyalties. Certainly both Egypt and Jordan--and many other nations in the region--have reason to be concerned about the rise of a Shia-dominated Iraq allying with Iran, the Mideast's other Shia powerhouse.

Mr. Nasr is at his best when he explains the historical ties among Shia, not least among Shia in Iran and Iraq. It was thought, before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, that a new Iraq would turn away from Iran because of the profound cultural differences between Arabs and Persians and because of their widely different historical experience. It is true that Iraq is unlikely to follow Iran's theocratic model--Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is the follower of the most vocal clerical critic of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran's current theocracy. But ties between the Shia of Iran and Iraq have grown stronger since the invasion, Mr. Nasr notes, and Tehran, he believes, holds the key to stability in Iraq. Thus Mr. Nasr urges the U.S. to normalize its relations with Iran, despite the heated rhetoric of recent months and quarrels over the intent of Iran's nuclear program.

It must be said that Mr. Nasr supports his arguments by over-citing extremists on both sides of the sectarian divide. There is no doubt that such extremists play a role, intensifying the crisis and propelling the violence. But such an approach, on Mr. Nasr's part, has the effect of playing down unfairly the many moderate participants in these debates who aim at reconciliation and who respect the normal give-and-take of politics. In short, the Sunni-Shia divide does not yet even begin to approach the division, within Christianity, that incited the long and bloody Wars of Religion in the 16th and 17th centuries.

More important, Mr. Nasr minimizes a reality at odds with his thesis: Religious extremism and anti-Americanism cut across sectarian lines. The strategic alliance directed at the U.S.--Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas--is half Sunni and half Shia. What is more, the region's other great powers--Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria--are overwhelmingly Sunni. Thus if the Shia are to gain rights in these countries, they are going to have to do so as citizens of each rather than as members of a pan-Shia movement.

Mr. Nasr urges the Bush administration to engage the region's Shia before it worries about the spread of democracy. But it was democracy that brought the Shia to power, and it will be democracy that will redress their centuries-old sense of injustice.


More Lies in Islamic Websites:  Hezbollah sinks Australian warship?
An Iran-based Hezbollah Web site posted what it claimed was a photo of an Israeli warship it had blown up last month. Andrew Bolt of the Melbourne, Australia, Herald Sun notes that the image (our own embellished version of which is shown alongside) actually depicts the deliberate sinking in 1998 of the HMAS Torrens, a destroyer-escort decommissioned from the Royal Australian Navy. Should we now think that we were in fact attacked by Hezbollah - or is this just the latest proof that Hezbollah will lie and lie again for propaganda gain?
Andrew Bolt, "Hezbollah sinks Australian warship," Australia's Herald Sun, August 24, 2006 --- Click Here

Terror on the Internet: The New Arena, the New Challenges
The next several editions of Tidbits will feature the writings of Gabriel Weimann on
www.terror.net:How Modern Terrorism Uses the Internet --- http://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr116.html
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 --- http://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr116.html

    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.

  • But you have to admit that Hezbollah had a great rocket that would traverse half of the earth to sink a decommisioned Australian warship.
     




    Question
    What new technology allows us to search television broadcasts in a manner similar to surfing the Net on a computer?

    "Googling Your TV:  Prototype software from Google Research could listen to your TV and send back useful information -- and ads of course," by Wade Roush, MIT's Technology Review, August 24, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17354&ch=infotech

    Google probably already knows what search terms you use, what Web pages you're viewing, and what you write about in your e-mail -- after all, that's how it serves up the text ads targeted to the Web content on your screen.

    Pretty soon, Google may also know what TV programs you watch -- and could use that information to send you more advertising, leavened with information pertinent to a show.

    A system recently outlined by researchers at Google amounts to personalized TV without the fancy set-top equipment required by previous (and failed) attempts at interactive television. Their prototype software, detailed in a conference presentation in Europe last June, uses a computer's built-in microphone to listen to the sounds in a room. It then filters each five-second snippet of sound to pick out audio from a TV, reduces the snippet to a digital "fingerprint," searches an Internet server for a matching fingerprint from a pre-recorded show, and, if it finds a match, displays ads, chat rooms, or other information related to that snippet on the user's computer.

    Letting Google listen in on your living-room activities may sound like a privacy nightmare. Given the recent firestorm over AOL's accidental releasing of search records for 685,000 members, consumers are more sensitive than ever to how search companies might misuse personal information, deliberately or not.

    But the fingerprinting technology used in the Google prototype makes it impossible for the company to eavesdrop on other sounds in the room, such as personal conversations, according to the Google team. In the end, the researchers say, the only personal information revealed is TV-watching preferences.

    Google research director Peter Norvig predicts that the prototype, which uses an audio identification technique invented outside Google and applied to a uniquely large database of recorded sound, will eventually evolve into a product. And it's attracted plenty of attention from technology watchers, who see a big potential payoff for Google and other companies if a system for bridging TV and Web content can be made practical. For now, though, it's still an early-stage research project.

    "We weren't really pitching an application that we want to do here and now, but rather a concept," says Michael Fink, lead researcher on the project. Fink works at the Center for Neural Computation at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is spending the summer at Google. "We wanted to open people's minds to the possibility of using ambient audio as a medium for querying web content," he says.

    Computer science researcher Yan Ke and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University laid the groundwork for the idea when they created software that reduced audio segments to very small fingerprints. The program, which runs on a conventional PC, converts spurts of sound into two-dimensional graphs, and uses computer vision algorithms to weed out background noise and boil down the graphs to a few key features that can then be translated into electronic bits. In this way, one second of audio can be reduced to four bytes of information -- meaning the fingerprints for an entire year of television programming would add up to no more than a few gigabytes, according to Fink.

    In Google's prototype, the fingerprints alone are transmitted from a user's home computer to the company's audio database server, where they're compared with the fingerprints from almost 100 hours of recorded video. A special algorithm developed by Fink and Google colleagues Michele Covell and Shumeet Baluja reduces the possibility of mismatches; in tests, the system achieved a "false positive" rate of between 1 percent and 6 percent, meaning that only six or fewer times out of 100 did it match audio fingerprints from the user with the wrong snippet of audio from a recorded show (with irrelevant information showing up on the user's screen as a result).

    Continued in article


    Logitech unveils mouse with motorized scroll wheel moving in four directions
    MIT's Technology Review, August 25, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17359

    Computer accessory maker Logitech International SA is introducing a mouse with a free-spinning motorized scroll wheel it believes will help people more efficiently race through pages on their computer screens.

    The company said Thursday it is launching cordless laser mice with an alloy wheel that spins for up to 7 seconds and can scroll through up to 10,000 Microsoft Excel lines with a single flick. Users can stop the wheel by tapping it.

    The desktop model can automatically switch back to traditional click-scrolling depending on the application, and can toggle back and forth on its own during a task depending on how fast the user is working.

    A software program synched to the mouse can sense the user's application, and sends a signal to a small motor to engage or disengage the ratchets that regulate the wheel's speed during click-scrolling.

    Clicking the wheel also allows users to switch back and forth.

    Continued in article


    "Powerline Adapters Bring Internet Access To Your Entire Home," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2006; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/personal_technology.html

    Last week, I reviewed some new Wi-Fi wireless Internet gear that promised to deliver a fast Internet signal to the farthest corners of your home. Alas, my tests showed that the new models weren't so great.

    But there's more than one way to get a strong, fast Internet signal all over your house. You aren't limited to using a single wireless router. You don't have to install a bunch of complicated wireless "range extenders." And you don't have to snake networking cables through your walls.

    Instead, there's a simple alternative that's often overlooked: Using small gadgets called Powerline adapters, you can route your Internet connection around your house over your regular electrical power lines, the ones already in your walls. It really works, it's fast and it doesn't disrupt your electrical system. Even better, it requires zero technical skill.

    You just plug one of the adapters into a standard electrical outlet near the place where your Internet connection enters your home. Then, you connect the adapter to your wired or wireless router. Next, you plug a second, identical adapter into an electrical outlet in a distant room where you lack an Internet connection. Finally, you plug a computer (or even a wireless access point) into that second adapter. There's no setup, no required software and no technicians or tools are needed.

    When you plug in a computer into the second Powerline adapter, it's as if that computer was right next to your cable or DSL modem and router. You are on the Internet at full speed. If you plug a Wi-Fi wireless access point into the second Powerline adapter, it will create a wireless network in and around the distant room, which multiple computers can use.

    I first reviewed these Powerline adapters in 2003. I liked them, but they were a little slow and never took off. Now, however, one of the leading home network product makers, Netgear, offers a whole line of faster Powerline adapters.

    I've been testing one of Netgear's newest models, the XE104, which costs $100 per adapter, and I can heartily recommend it. It couldn't be simpler or more effective. In my tests, the XE104 gave me wicked-fast connections. I tried plugging Windows and Macintosh laptops directly into the adapters in rooms where my wireless signal was weakest. I also tried plugging a Wi-Fi wireless access point into an XE104 adapter and picking up the connection wirelessly on the laptops. (An access point is a wireless gadget that takes a wired Internet connection and propagates it through the air.)

    In all scenarios, the Netgear XE104 adapters delivered nearly the full speed of my Internet service, which in my case is very fast -- 15 megabits per second downstream and two mbps upstream. In fact, the XE104 can handle speeds up to 85 mbps, far faster than any common connection.

    You can use up to four Netgear adapters at once, and the company claims they will cover a 5,000-square-foot home. Netgear includes optional software to encrypt your Powerline connection, but this is needed only if you share an electrical system with other families.

    Linksys, Belkin and other companies also make Powerline adapters, sometimes called bridges. But Netgear is the leader in this category, and I didn't test the other brands.

    The XE104 is a small, white rectangular gadget about 4 inches high, 3 inches wide and 1.5 inches thick. It carries a standard two-pronged electrical plug and mounts right into the wall outlet.

    On the side, there are four standard Ethernet network ports, like the kind on your router and laptop. Netgear includes a short Ethernet cable so you can connect the first adapter to your router and the second one to a PC or a wireless access point.

    The four Ethernet ports are what make the XE104 a "switch." They allow you to connect each adapter to multiple devices. For instance, the first adapter can be connected both to your router and to a PC. The second might be connected to a PC, a wireless access point and a device like a game console.

    Netgear makes a similar model without the multiple Ethernet ports, called the XE103, for $80. There's also a costlier model that goes up to 200 mbps, though that's overkill for 99% of people.

    The company also makes a Powerline adapter with a built-in wireless access point for the distant room, the $150 WGXB102 model. This saves you the cost and hassle of buying and connecting a separate access point. But it's slower and uses older technology. In my tests, it was less than half as fast as using the XE104 with a separate, modern wireless access point.

    Unfortunately, like a lot of network-equipment makers, Netgear is clueless about naming products so that normal humans can understand what they are. The XE104 is officially called the XE104 85 Mbps Wall-Plugged Ethernet Switch. That's like calling a table lamp the LS482 75 Watt Wall-Plugged Switched Illumination Device.

    Netgear even makes it hard to find the XE104 on its Web site, netgear.com. It lists it under a section called "Bridges, Access Points, and Range Extenders." You can buy them at computer stores and other retail outlets.

    These adapters are a terrific way to clear up Internet dead spots.


    "IRS issues warning about identity theft," Free Republic, August 24, 2006 ---
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1689286/posts

    The IRS warned taxpayers Wednesday not to be duped by scammers posing as private debt collectors the agency has hired to chase unpaid tax debts.

    The Internal Revenue Service designed the debt collection program to minimize that risk "because we know what it's like out there with regard to identity theft nowadays," said Brady Bennett, IRS director of collection.

    But some critics of the program see so many pitfalls that they're urging debtors to insist on negotiating payment directly with the IRS.

    The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents IRS employees and opposes the program, has even drafted a sample letter that taxpayers can send to opt out of the private collection program and demand that the IRS handle their case.

    The IRS plans to assign 12,500 accounts with unpaid tax debts to three private agencies beginning Sept. 7. About 40,000 accounts will be turned over by the end of the year. The IRS chose taxpayers who owe less than $25,000 and don't dispute the debt.

    Anyone contacted by a private collection agency has the right, among others, to insist that only the IRS deal with their account. Bennett said he hoped few taxpayers with debts sent to private collectors would opt out.

    "The purpose of this program is to provide value to the American taxpayer. Those who don't pay have an impact on everybody else who does," he said.

    Bob Jensen's threads on identity theft are at
    http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#IdentityTheft

    Bob Jensen's threads on tax scams are at
    http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#TaxScams


    The Unstoppable Telecommunications Lobby
    Senator Ted Stevens has no idea how the Internet works, but he's asking Congress to remake it to suit the interests of the telecommunications industry. Can progressives apply the pressure to kill this bill?

    Lured by huge checks handed out by the country's top lobbyists, members of Congress could soon strike a blow against Internet freedom as they seek to resolve the hot-button controversy over preserving "network neutrality." The telecommunications reform bill now moving through Congress threatens to be a major setback for those who hope that digital media can foster a more democratic society. The bill not only precludes net neutrality safeguards but also eliminates local community oversight of digital communications provided by cable and phone giants. It sets the stage for the privatized, consolidated and unregulated communications system that is at the core of the phone and cable lobbies' political agenda.
    Jeffrey Chester, "Congress Poised to Unravel the Internet," The Nation, August 18, 2006 --- http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060828/internet_bill

    In both the House and Senate versions of the bill, Americans are described as "consumers" and "subscribers," not citizens deserving substantial rights when it comes to the creation and distribution of digital media. A handful of companies stand to gain incredible monopoly power from such legislation, especially AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon. They have already used their political clout in Washington to secure for the phone and cable industries a stunning 98 percent control of the US residential market for high-speed Internet.

    Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens, the powerful Commerce Committee chair, is trying to line up votes for his "Advanced Telecommunications and Opportunities Reform Act." It was Stevens who called the Internet a "series of tubes" as he tried to explain his bill. Now the subject of well-honed satirical jabs from The Daily Show, as well as dozens of independently made videos, Stevens is hunkering down to get his bill passed by the Senate when it reconvenes in September.

    Continued in article


    Collegiate Plagiarism News
    An investigative committee is pushing for the dismissal of Don Heinrich Tolzmann, who teaches history and works as a librarian at the University of Cincinnati, The Enquirer reported. A panel there found duplications between Tolzmann’s book The German-American Experience and a text written in 1962. Tolzmann strongly denies wrongdoing, which was first alleged in an H-Net review. At Ohio University, which has been dealing with charges of plagiarized master’s theses, the institution announced that graduates accused of plagiarism would face hearings to determine the status of their degrees, the Associated Press reported.
    Inside Higher Ed, August 25, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/24/qt

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


    Question
    Just how unique is the United States in the history of the world?

    In either version, the United States stands as a nation apart — somehow the product of forces cutting it off from the rest of the world’s history. But Eric Rauchway, a professor of history at the University of California at Davis, takes a different and rather paradoxical approach to American exceptionalism in his new book, Blessed Among Nations: How the World Made America, published by Hill and Wang.
    Scott McLemee, "The Global Exception," Inside Higher Ed, August 23, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/08/23/mclemee


    Q: We live on a dirt road in rural Virginia with no cable and can't get DSL. How can we get broadband? We would prefer not to do a satellite connection because you still need a phone modem to send material. Is there some kind of fast wireless connection we could get from our PC to our ISP? I see laptops with wireless antennas sticking out of them around here and they must transmit to somewhere.

    Walt Mossberg's Answer --- http://online.wsj.com/article/mossberg_mailbox.html
    A:
    Satellite Internet access has improved, and no longer requires a dial-up modem for the return path -- in fact no use of the phone line is needed at all. Of course, as with any satellite service, your house must have a clear line of sight to the area of the sky where the particular satellite you use is situated. For more information, see
    www.hughesnet.com.

    Another option, if you have good cellphone coverage, is a broadband cell-phone modem. It uses the cellphone network to connect you to the Internet at speeds roughly comparable with a slow home DSL line -- which is still much, much faster than your current dial-up connection. This is probably what all those laptops with antennas are using.

    These cellphone modems, using a technology called EVDO, are offered by Verizon and Sprint, and Cingular is slowly building a similar wireless broadband capability. For more information, see the Web sites of the phone carriers.

    In some parts of the country, but not Virginia, a company called Clearwire is offering wireless broadband to rural homes.


    Bob (George) Newhart's Early Years as a Bookkeeper
    (Thank God his Loyola University-Chicago degree is in management and not accounting)

    "Finding My Funny Bone," by Bob Newhart, Readers Digest, September 2006, pp. 93-94
    (These are excerpts form his book entitled I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This. ISBN: 1401302467)

    Salesmen would come in from the road and turn in their receipts. I'd give them cash and put the receipts in the petty-cash drawer. At the end of the day, I'd have to reconcile what was in the drawer with the receipts. It was always close, bit it never balanced. At five o'clock, when everybody else was leaving the office, I'd be tearing my hair out because petty cash was short by $1.48. Around 8 p.m., I'd find the discrepancy.

    I followed this routine for a couple weeks. Finally, one day, I pulled the amount I was short from my pocket --- $1.67 --- put it in the drawer, and called it a day.

    Not long after, the petty cash drawer was over by $2.11. So I took $2.11 out of petty cash and pocketed that. I was hardly stealing. Inevitably, in the next couple days, I would be under, and back the money would go.

    After several weeks of this, Mr. Hutchinson, head of accounting, discovered by shortcut to balancing petty cash. "George," he lectured me, using my given name, "These are not sound accounting principles."

    "You know, Mr. Hutchinson," I said, "I just don't think I'm cut out for accounting. Why would you pay me $6 an hour to spend four hours finding $1.40?"

    August 19, 2006 reply from Ramsey, Donald [dramsey@UDC.EDU]

    Newhart apparently learned more about internal control in his starring role in the film "Hot Millions", in which he plays a corporate controller who finally blows the whistle on embezzler Peter Ustinov. The film is jam packed with accounting issues--everything from identity theft to building security--there must have been an accountant somewhere in the screenwriting department. It's also very funny. Ustinov cracks the computer access system (learns to turn it off from a cleaning woman who knows where to bump the cabinet) and has it write checks to several mail drops around Europe. Straight out of the auditing textbook.

    The film is available on the Internet. I show it on the first day of class in Principles I, when not everyone shows up, and distribute a checklist of internal control issues to look for.

    There is even a surprise ending that involves corporate governance and some very heavy internal politics; but a happy ending, thanks to Dame Maggie Smith in her salad days.

    My other favorite, more on finance and ethics, is Jack Lemmon in "Save the Tiger". I use that one on the first day of Principles II.

    Cheers,

    Donald D. Ramsey
    University of the District of Columbia

    Bob Jensen's threads on accounting humor are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#Humor


    Go East young woman, go East

    KPMG plans to double the number of MBAs it hires this year
    A KPMG recruiter talks about what the firm is looking for in hiring next year
    Stricter accounting rules enacted in the aftermath of recent corporate scandals has led to a hiring boom in the accounting industry, and experienced hires are in especially high demand. BusinessWeek.com reporter Kerry Miller spoke recently to a KPMG recruiter about the company's undergraduate hiring. She also talked to Cheryl Levy, KPMG's national director for experienced hire recruiting, about the company's rapidly expanding opportunities for MBAs.
    Business Week's MBA Express, August 23, 2006 --- http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/aug2006/bs20060811_399220.htm
    Jensen Comment
    KPMG has nearly 100,000 employees and hires thousands of accounting majors each year, most of whom now have masters degrees in accounting and tax in the U.S. due to state requirements to sit for the CPA Examination. Although KPMG intends to double its hiring rate of 60 MBAs to 120 new MBAs next year, the number of MBAs hired is very small compared to the hiring rates of undergraduate and graduate accounting majors. Sarbanes somewhat artificially created a hiring boom in the U.S., although the revenue growth is substantial and restored profitability to auditing engagements. The growth market in world revenues for all international accounting firms is stagnant in Europe and explosive in the Far East --- Click Here

    Advising students to double major in accounting and Chinese is getting to be better advice each year
    Who was it that said "Go East young woman, go East?" At Trinity University there's been a significant increase in demand to study Chinese, and some these graduates are now working for the Big Four in China. Probably the best blog for what is happening in accounting in the Far East is Paul Pacter's IAS Plus --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm

    Bob Jensen's threads on accounting careers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers


    Question
    Then why do we call it a strip mall if you can't strip?

    Complaints about young people who spend time in downtown naked have prompted the Select Board (Brattleborro, VT) to explore an anti-nudity ordinance. Groups of young people have been congregating in a downtown parking lot and enjoying the warm summer weather without clothing, and that bothers some local residents. "A parking lot is not a strip club. It's a parking lot," resident Theresa Toney told the Select Board last week. She said she has seen repeated instances of naked people hanging out downtown. "This is a problem. What about children seeing this?"
    "Nude people in town center could prompt ban," Boston.com, August 21, 2006 --- Click Here


    Question
    What university proudly came out last in this ranking?

    U of Texas-Austin Tops Annual List of Nation's Best Party Schools; Penn State Ranks Second AUSTIN, Texas Aug 21, 2006 (AP)— The Texas Longhorns earned another national title Monday, not for football but as the country's best party school. The University of Texas at Austin beat Penn State University, West Virginia University and last year's winner, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the Princeton Review survey of 115,000 students at campuses around the country. It topped the overall list its first time atop the Princeton Review chart by ranking second in the use of hard liquor, third in beer drinking and...
    "U of Texas-Austin Tops Annual List of Nation's Best Party Schools," ABC News, August 22, 2006 --- http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=2338863&page=2

    Jensen Comment
    In 2006, the University of Texas knocked the University of Wisconsin off the top ranking. Brigham Young has the distinction of coming in last among party schools. I'll bet this really cuts down of the number of applicants to BU!

    For those of you who are excited by this, you should know that Playboy Magazine occasionally publishes a similar ranking, although Playboy does not make it an annual event --- http://www.snopes.com/college/admin/playboy.asp


    I slightly updated my document on using real options valuation models in place of present value models under uncertainty --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/realopt.htm


    Questions
    Are incoming college students really more ignorant that those "Freshmen" of our generation or are they just, gulp,  younger than us? How much of this should we take into account when designing course content?

    "What Your Freshmen Don’t Know," Inside Higher Ed, August 23, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/23/frosh

    Beloit College has released its latest “Mindset List,” to help academics understand what freshmen know — and what they don’t have a clue about. This list has been prepared each August since 1998 and past lists are available online.

    Here is this year’s list, for the Class of 2010:

    1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
    2. They have known only two presidents.
    3. For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
    4. Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.
    5. They have grown up getting lost in “big boxes”.
    6. There has always been only one Germany.
    7. They have never heard anyone actually “ring it up” on a cash register.
    8. They are wireless, yet always connected.
    9. A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents’.
    10. Thanks to pervasive head phones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.
    11. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
    12. Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
    13. Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style.
    14. The Moral Majority has never needed an organization.
    15. They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
    16. DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.
    17. They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.
    18. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
    19. “Google” has always been a verb.
    20. Text messaging is their e-mail.
    21. Milli Vanilli has never had anything to say.
    22. Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
    23. Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
    24. Madden has always been a game, not a Super Bowl-winning coach.
    25. Phantom of the Opera has always been on Broadway.
    26. “Boogers” candy has always been a favorite for grossing out parents.
    27. There has never been a “skyhook” in the NBA.
    28. Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents’ attics.
    29. Computerized player pianos have always been tinkling in the lobby.
    30. Non-denominational mega-churches have always been the fastest growing. religious organizations in the U.S.
    31. They grew up in minivans.
    32. Reality shows have always been on television.
    33. They have no idea why we needed to ask “...can we all get along?”
    34. They have always known that “In the criminal justice system the people have been represented by two separate yet equally important groups.”
    35. Young women’s fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is.
    36. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
    37. Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.
    38. Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.
    39. “So” as in “Sooooo New York,” has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else.
    40. Affluent troubled teens in Southern California have always been the subjects of television series.
    41. They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
    42. Ken Burns has always been producing very long documentaries on PBS.
    43. They are not aware that “flock of seagulls hair” has nothing to do with birds flying into it.
    44. Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled.
    45. Green tea has always been marketed for health purposes.
    46. Public school officials have always had the right to censor school newspapers.
    47. Small white holiday lights have always been in style.
    48. Most of them have never had the chance to eat bad airline food.
    49. They have always been searching for “Waldo”.
    50. The really rich have regularly expressed exuberance with outlandish birthday parties.
    51. Michael Moore has always been showing up uninvited.
    52. They never played the game of state license plates in the car.
    53. They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.
    54. There have always been live organ donors.
    55. They have always had access to their own credit cards.
    56. They have never put their money in a “Savings & Loan.”
    57. Sara Lee has always made underwear.
    58. Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.
    59. Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.
    60. They never saw Bernard Shaw on CNN.
    61. Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.
    62. Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.
    63. Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
    64. LoJack transmitters have always been finding lost cars.
    65. Diane Sawyer has always been live in Prime Time.
    66. Dolphin-free canned tuna has always been on sale.
    67. Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
    68. “Outing” has always been a threat.
    69. Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss has always been the perfect graduation gift.
    70. They have always “dissed” what they don’t like.
    71. The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.
    72. Richard M. Daley has always been the mayor of Chicago.
    73. They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water, and play games with, lest they die.
    74. Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober.
    75. Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.


    "As access improves worldwide, online volunteering on the rise," MIT's Technology Review, August 22, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17347

    Online volunteering is growing as Internet access improves worldwide, particularly among African and Latin American organizations needing assistance.

    VolunteerMatch, a San Francisco group that helps volunteers learn about onsite and online projects, said 14 percent of its volunteer opportunities last year were virtual, compared with 1 percent in 1998.

    Instead of building homes, volunteers like Murphy can build Web sites.

    Or translate documents. Or prepare training manuals. Or mentor teens.

    All from a computer hundreds or thousands of miles away.

    ''If I could send a volunteer to Chile to teach an organization how to build a Web site, that will be 10 times better than having us build it for them, but it's a hundred times more expensive,'' said Charles Brennick, whose Seattle-based InterConnection group links volunteer Web designers with development groups abroad.

    Online volunteering isn't practical for everything. You still need to be somewhere to serve soup to the homeless or coach a Little League team. But over the Internet, you can order the food or reserve the ball field.

    Online volunteering isn't right for everyone, either.

    ''It takes real time, not virtual time,'' said Jayne Cravens, an independent consultant for nonprofit organizations. ''It takes commitment. It takes persistence.''

    It's a good option for those needing flexibility -- be it a disability, work schedule or budget that rules out travel.

    Sandrine Cortet, 36, sought to put her French skills to work when she and her husband moved from Paris to Edison, N.J. But they had only one car, and a train to volunteer opportunities in New York would have been expensive.

    So she translates documents from home, most recently for a refugee group's newsletter.

    Sara Siebert, 23, wanted opportunities to improve her skills in graphics design. Lacking funds to travel, she built Web sites for groups in Kenya and Belize from Montreal; InterConnection hosts the sites in Seattle.

    Volunteers and the organizations they help generally communicate by e-mail or instant messaging, rarely by telephone.


    Three Finance Blogs

    Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
    FinancialRounds Blog --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/
    Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) --- http://financemusings.blogspot.com/

    Some Accounting Blogs

    Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
    International Association of Accountants News --- http://www.aia.org.uk/
    AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
    Gerald Trite's eBusiness and XBRL Blogs --- http://www.zorba.ca/
    AccountingWeb --- http://www.accountingweb.com/   
    SmartPros --- http://www.smartpros.com/

    Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/JensenBlogs.htm
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

     


    Intelligence and Money Management Aren't Necessarily Correlated
    Lessons From The New Science Of Behavioral Economics

    From Jim Mahar's Blog on August 15, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

    Why Smart People make Big Money Mistakes

    If you have any interest in behavioral finance or if you are looking for simple examples for class, I would definitely recommend "Why Smart People make Big Money Mistakes" by Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich.

    I bought it for the examples and it has proven to be a very quick, easy, yet informative and fun read!

    For instance it deals with problems people have figuring out odds (the example is instantly memorable and informative:

    Is a shy, meek, yet helpful person more likely to be a librarian or in sales? Are you sure? Be careful. Why? There are about 75 times as many people in sales as there are librarians!

    Virtually every page is made up of such great examples.

    Another example? Ok, suppose you are going to a sporting event and lose your ticket. Do you buy a new ticket? What if you had lost money instead of a ticket (and assuming you could resell your ticket). Do you go?

    True it breaks little new ground, but isn't fun just to sit back and enjoy finance?

     


    "Climate Change Was Major Factor in Erosion of Alps 6 Million Years Ago," PhysOrg, August 16, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news74917544.html

    The Alps, the iconic rugged mountains that cover parts of seven European nations, might have reached their zenith millions of years ago, some scientists believe, and now are a mere shadow of their former selves. New research offers an explanation.

    A team led by Sean Willett, a University of Washington geologist, has found that the culprit is likely massive erosion, triggered by a sudden drop in the level of the Mediterranean Sea 6 million years ago and then prolonged by a warmer, wetter climate.

    Typically mountain ranges reach a sort of equilibrium, with erosion more or less keeping pace with the tectonic forces that enlarge the mountains. But an event called the Messinian salinity crisis, precipitated by blockage of the forerunner of the Strait of Gibraltar, cut the Mediterranean off from the rest of the world's oceans. Evaporation greatly reduced the water level, dropping it as much as two or three miles below the rest of the world's ocean surfaces.

    The beds of rivers flowing from the Alps dropped sharply as the level of the Mediterranean basin fell, and their force carried away huge amounts of sediment. The forces carved many of the distinctive deep valleys for which the Alps are known and left behind nearly a dozen major alpine lakes in the southern Alps.

    Continued in article


    Nontraditional Doctoral Degree Programs: Some With No Courses

    "New Ideas for Ph.D. Education," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, August 18, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/18/grad

    For educators and state officials who want to reform doctoral education, “it’s easy if you just want to make it easier,” said E. Garrison Walters, interim chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents.

    The challenge, he said, is to undertake reforms that don’t sacrifice quality. “It’s difficult to keep the core values of a Ph.D. and keep it flexible,” he said. Walters spoke this week at a conference in Chicago of the State Higher Education Executive Officers — the officials who approve new Ph.D. programs in their states and periodically review such programs, sometimes with an eye toward saving money by eliminating them.

    At a session on new approaches to doctoral education, state officials were briefed on two new approaches — both of which were warmly received. One involves non-residential Ph.D. programs for students who are older than most who earn doctorates. The other involves doctoral programs that are run by more than one university — and that sometimes cross state lines and public/private distinctions. Officials at the meeting said they believed there was strong demand for both kinds of programs, and wanted to find ways for their agencies to encourage such innovations.

    Laurien Alexandre, director of Antioch University’s Ph.D. program in leadership and change, said it was easy to see that there is interest in the kind of non-traditional doctorate her institution has created. The students are already far along in their careers and lives — 85 percent are over 40, with many in their 50s and 60s — and they don’t need the doctorate as a credential. “No one is coming at 55 because they need it for their job,” she said. “So why are people paying $80,000 for a doctorate?”

    Her answer is that Antioch’s doctoral students are on an “evolved path” in which they are seeking to take their understandings of organizations to a higher level, and want to conduct the kind of in-depth research associated with doctoral programs. The program attracts students from all over the country, who periodically meet in person at Antioch’s campuses around the country, but conduct much of their work in close collaboration with faculty members, who are also spread out around the country and communicate with students via phone and videoconferencing.

    The program is “courseless,” Alexandre said, and students must demonstrate their competencies in knowledge and research skills after completing “multiyear learning paths” that are supervised by faculty members. Only then, Alexandre said, can they write their dissertations. And while Alexandre clearly relishes the way Antioch is “pushing the envelope” on most aspects of the program, she said that the dissertation process is traditional: committees, chapters, defense, and so forth. “The dissertation is the gold standard,” she said.

    The concept underlying this approach, she said, is “rigor without rigidity,” and that approach may be what it takes to encourage doctoral education from older students. She noted that Antioch just graduated its first students in the program and that retention rates are well above the typically low rates for many Ph.D. programs.

    If the Antioch model demonstrates flexibility within a graduate program, two new biomedical engineering programs may represent the ability of universities to be flexible in how they put together a graduate program in a hot science field — and one that can be expensive to support. One program joins forces of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, and the other combines offerings at Virginia Tech with Wake Forest University. Both programs have one institution with a medical school (Chapel Hill and Wake Forest) and one institution with an engineering school (N.C. State and Virginia Tech).

    Stephen Knisley, director of the North Carolina program, said that it grew out of a stand-alone program at Chapel Hill that officials there felt would be strengthened with more ties to engineering. To make the program effective, Knisley said, real partnerships are needed. That means admissions decisions, curricular requirements and the like are all decided jointly. And to really have students be able to move back and forth to the two campuses, officials have also had to make sure they can get dual ID cards, parking spaces, and access to all facilities. There are currently 103 graduate students in the program, and North Carolina hopes to double that number in the next few years.

    In a similar approach, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech decide matters together — and have managed to do so even though the former is private and the latter is a public university in another state. Brian J. Love, a professor at Virginia Tech, noted that the two universities don’t observe the same holidays or have the same class schedules, so everything must be negotiated. “This program now has its own calendar,” he said.

    But he said that’s a small price to pay to have combined resources that neither institution could otherwise create. “This can really be a win-win situation.”

    One difficulty such collaborations sometimes face is with accreditation. Gail Morrison, interim executive director of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, said that the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina recently merged their pharmacy schools. While both entities had been accredited, they needed an entirely new review, even though it seemed to Morrison that the new school was clearly stronger than the two separate ones of the past.

    Her story brought knowing nods from the audience of state officials, several of whom said later that specialized accreditation was a barrier to the kinds of collaboration being encouraged at the session.

    Of course some collaborations don’t require any accreditors’ approval. Morrison said that generally breaking down institutional boundaries was a great way to encourage more efficiency and that formal units aren’t always needed. For example, the state’s three doctoral institutions are opening a building in Charleston that will bring professors together. No outside approval needed.

    Jensen Comment
    The problem with the some of these is that, when students are allowed to customize a curriculum, they often take the easiest way out --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#CustomizedCurricula
    Success of these nontraditional doctoral programs rests heavily upon admission standards for getting into the programs and a successful track record of graduates from the programs. If low GRE (or GMAT) students are accepted, the schools will have a difficult time overcoming image flaws. Older adults seeking nontraditional doctoral programs often do not have strong admission test scores.

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


    Lyrics to College Fight Songs

    August 21, 2006 message to Bob Jensen

    Hi Mr. Jensen
    I'm a former USN WAVE, and was googling the above song,, whose music was used for a Recruit song during WW2, Korea and perhaps even later. Do you happen to have the sheet music, or the name of the original music? I am attempting to compile as many of our Bootcamp songs as possible, and have been unable to find the music to this. Seems every college in the U.S. sang it, but none I've contacted seem to have the music! Those songs are alive only in memory, now, because we are fast getting old. The WAVES ceased to exist in the early 1970s. Thanks for any help you can give me.

    Fran

    Would appreciate any info

    August 22, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

    The lyrics for various college fight songs are given at
    http://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~dwilson/rsfc/FightsongsI.txt

    You might get a kick out of scrolling down near the bottom of the page at
    http://ezra.cornell.edu/posting.php?timestamp=887259600 

    Also note the following from http://www.nsgreatlakes.navy.mil/museum/marching/page9.html

    DON'T MAKE MY GIRL A SAILOR
    (Tune: "Don't Send My Boy to Harvard")

    Don't make my girl a sailor
    The weeping mother said.
    Make her a WAAC
    Or send her back To Lockheed school instead.

    She's always been a home girl
    She's never been to sea.
    A man in every port
    Is not the life she learned from me!

    You can find the following at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits031605.htm

    Some college songs to sing on St. Orho Day
    "March Madness," by Mark J. Drozdowski, March 11, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/march_madness 

    I also noticed that some songs reference other schools. Penn mentions Harvard's and Yale's colors, while neighboring Swarthmore, in its memorable "Hip, Hip, Hip, for Old Swarthmore," adds Cornell and Haverford to the mix. Lafayette promises to "dig Lehigh's grave both wide and deep, wide and deep," and "put tombstones at her head and feet, head and feet."  But Illinois manages to offend the most with this ballad:

         Don't send my boy to Harvard, a dying mother said,
         Don't send my boy to Michigan, I'd rather he were dead.
         But send my boy to Illinois, 'tis better than Cornell,
         and rather than Chicago, I would see my boy in hell.

    Many songs reveal their age. Cal Tech implores its football team to "smash the line of our old enemy," yet no longer fields a football team. The only things they smash these days are atoms. Harvard students still play "Ten Thousand Men of Harvard" even though the university now enrolls more women than men.  

    August 22, reply from Fran

    My, I'm going to have fun following up those references you gave me! Found one site that you might be interested in www.immortalia.com  A real collection of all kinds of songs that never get written down, some riske', some not. Definitely a trip down memory lane for those ditties you recall from youthful days.
    Fran


    More female computer scientists wanted
    "The numbers are terrible for computer science and they have been trending downward so far this decade," said Horwitz, noting that UW-Madison women computer science undergraduates have gone from 11 percent in 2000 to 9 percent in 2005. "No one completely understands the trend," she added. "Some of it may stem from the dot-com bust and a sense that outsourcing may be threatening future jobs. But we're actually looking at a huge pending shortage in the computing workforce."
    "More female computer scientists wanted," PhysOrg, August 17, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75053557.html

    Jensen Comment
    This is opposite of the trend in higher education in general and in accounting in particular where numbers of women are significantly outpacing men --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Men

    Women now make up more than 60 percent of all accountants and auditors in the United States, according to the Clarion-Ledger. That is an estimated 843,000 women in the accounting and auditing work force.
    AccountingWeb, "Number of Female Accountants Increasing," June 2, 2006 ---
    http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102218

    Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers


    Life in Our Litigious Society
    If attendance alone does not guarantee a passing grade, sue the school?

    This is from Karen Alpert's FinanceMusings Blog on August 23, 2006 --- http://financemusings.blogspot.com/

    Finally, I'd like to mention a piece from Online Opinion about education as a consumer good. It talks about a legal settlement between a secondary school in Melbourne and the parents of a student who did not learn to read properly.
     

    Those in the know have warned that this case could result in an education system burdened by increased litigation by parents against schools, with schools having to be very careful about how they promote their standard of teaching to parents of future students. Not only does the case highlight that education is becoming an area of focus in an increasingly litigious society, but that on a broader level education - at whatever level - has become little more than a product for sale in the market for knowledge and training.

    While the case at hand involved a secondary school, I can easily see it applied to tertiary institutions; especially in the case of full fee paying students. Some students already seem to think that attendance should guarantee a passing grade. While I believe that certain pedagogical standards must be met, students must participate in their own education. Those who are not willing to work toward understanding and learning should not be handed a degree. (Say what?)

    Jensen Comment
    I think Karen's a party poop!

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

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


    "The Thirteenth Annual Emperor Awards, " Guest commentary by Poor Elijah (Peter Berger),  The Irascible Professor, August 21, 2006 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-08-21-06.htm

    Our first presentation, the Archimedes Eureka Honorarium, spotlights the field of education research. Past recipients include a team of scientists who discovered that students who study algebra in eighth grade tend to do better in "higher level" ninth grade math courses. Equally shocking, there appeared to be a correlation between "success" in advanced ninth grade English courses and "reading lots of books" in eighth grade.

    This year’s Archimedes 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.

    Educators haven't been idle in the face of this reading crisis. Innovators in Maryland introduced a groundbreaking technique designed to teach children to "relax" and "read without pressure." The pressure is reduced because instead of working with a teacher, students are sent off alone to read to a dog. According to program developers, kids prefer the "nonjudgmental character of the dog." That's because "if they make a mistake, the dog isn't going to correct them… It's just going to listen and love every word they say," whether it's the right word or not. Boosters concede that sometimes canine attention can "drift" during the thirty-minute literacy sessions, but they address these lapses by occasionally popping in and asking the dog, "What do you think?" To these inspired trailblazers the academy presents its Cujo Literary Collar.

    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.
    Jensen Comment
    This gets really sad when you think that fifty-five may be the highest grade in the course for a student who turned in most of the assignments. Perhaps we should encourage some students to be more lazy if for no other reason than to raise their grade averages!

    Pacesetting educators don’t pull all these bright ideas out of their hats. They attend pertinent workshops, including the American Educational Research Association's presentation, "Discovering Collage as a Method in Researching Multicultural Lives." The AERA modestly bills itself as "the most prominent international professional organization" in the educational research and application business and is itself a past Emperor honoree for its advocacy of "data poems," cutting edge analytic tools which enable education professionals to "focus, interpret, clarify, and communicate the results of qualitative research" by writing and reciting a poem.

    Despite AERA’s impressive performance, the 2006 Isadora Duncan Fellowship pays tribute to the sponsors of a seminar which probed the teaching of mathematics, a subject in which American students haven't been distinguishing themselves. Jumping off from the dubious assertion that "children enter school as creative mathematicians," workshop organizers concluded that the reason American kids can't multiply is we teach math from a "one way-one answer point of view," as opposed to the presumably more desirable many-answers method currently employed by hosts of American students. With this year's Isadora comes the academy's suggestion that maybe it would help if students handed their math answers in to a dog.

    The use of unacceptable language is a growing problem in classrooms. One small town high school has instituted a scripted policy to deal with the barrage. Teachers respond to foul language with, "Not here, not now," to which offending students are expected to reply, "Sorry." While "no data are being taken" as to the effectiveness of the new tactic, or the sincerity of verbally repentant offenders, across the pond our British cousins have adopted a more quantitative approach. One high school northwest of London has adopted an "f-word limit," which restricts students to five uses of the f-word in each class period. Teachers simply keep a tally of each pupil's use of grossly offensive language on the board "so all students can see the running score," an activity that doubtless keeps everybody amused and focused on everything except what they're supposed to be learning. If a student exceeds five f-words in a given class, he suffers the ultimate consequence and is "spoken to by the teacher at the end of the lesson." Assuming a modest classroom roster of twenty pupils, the new policy means students can experience up to one hundred sanctioned f-words per class hour. This homage to Britain’s Anglo-Saxon linguistic roots earns these school officials the inaugural Howard Stern Rhetoric Prize.

    Continuing internationally, we confer the Distinguished Priorities Cross on Canada's supreme court, which recently ruled that Sikh students can wear swords to school. The court based its decision on the value of 'religious tolerance" since the curved daggers involved, called kirpans, are part of a religious observance. As to the value of not having daggers at school, the court added that the blades weren't really a danger since schools could make rules that require Sikh students to keep their kirpans concealed and in their sheaths. This judicial reassurance didn’t entirely soothe many parents, whose understandable concerns about the dangers posed by weapons at school were labeled "racism," "bigotry," and "intolerance" instead of understandable concerns about the dangers posed by weapons at school.

    Recipients of our final prize, the coveted George Orwell Creative Use of Language Award, are a varied and impressive company. Last year’s Orwell honored a progressive educator for her call to abolish the word "fail" and replace it with "deferred success," a suggestion which if followed could likewise turn war into deferred peace and lying into deferred honesty. This year we celebrate a New Hampshire high school for banning the term "freshman" on the grounds that the "man" part renders it an example of gender-specific, "misogynistic, oppressive, non-inclusive language." Faculty members and administrators began considering the name change after a school production of The Vagina Monologues, which is apparently not an example of gender-specific, non-inclusive language. Their display of wisdom and finely honed sensitivity leaves no doubt that they deserve their Orwell.

    Of course, each of us probably deserves an Emperor for something.

    Even you and me.

    August 21, 2006 reply from Henry Collier [henrycollier@aapt.net.au]

    In re your comment on the 70% to 60% change in the Baltimore School system.

    I think that you already know that Australian universities generally have a marking system where:

    00 – 44% = Fail
    45 – 49% = Pass Conceded
    50 – 64% = Pass
    65 – 74% = Credit
    75 – 84% = Distinction
    85% + = High Distinction …

    It is also generally conceded that awarding marks of 44, 49, 64, 74 and 84 is problematic on two levels. One is do we actually believe that we are confident in the precision of our marking schemes (eg Starch and Elliot, 1912, 1913) and on a personal level, do we want to have to face the students that receive the ‘X4’ marks?

    This Australian / British system works reasonably well in marking essay type examinations … one can (obviously) arbitrarily establish some sort of a mean / variance distribution for marks awarded for norm referenced essay marks … even if one tries to establish a criterion referenced marking scheme, the establishment of a ‘cut score’ is (or can be) troublesome.

    The Australian marking system fails badly when applied to ‘objective’ testing … whether one agrees with or disagrees with the applicability of M/C and T/F testing in any part of education … awarding pass marks for an expected random score on a true / false examination has nothing to do with measurement of academic achievement regardless of whether the test is norm referenced or criterion referenced. Even M/C testing scores are ‘shifted’ because the expected score on a well designed M/C test with 4 answer choices is 62.5% … thus the ‘mean’ mark is closer to a ‘Credit’ than a ‘Pass’. One of the problems in awarding marks is trying to determine what ‘average’ marks on either norm referenced tests or criterion referenced tests actually mean. … There is, quite obviously, another problem in assignment of marks on test / examination instruments .. and that is what is the expected level of performance?

    I think that evaluation of the outcome of instruction on heart bypass surgery may well be measured in different ways than the outcomes of a test / examination on the relationships between ‘income measurement’ and ‘auditor independence’ …

    I must admit that I am more of a goal directed person than one who allows for ‘free flow’ forms of instruction. Perhaps that makes me one of the Neanderthals in believing in a stage like development of competencies … we have to teach (or minimally help students learn) what we test. I’ve said for years that almost any accounting instructor could write an examination that God couldn’t pass … but what does THAT prove? That we know more than the student? The bottom line of summative evaluation (IMO) requires me to answer the questions, 1. is it fair to ask this? 2. have I provided the students with an opportunity to give a reasonable answer to this question? 3. Does my question help differentiate between those who know more about this subject and those who know less about the subject? 4. does this question come as a surprise to the student?

    Anyway, I do hope that retirement agrees with you and that you’re happy with your state of the State in the North East. I’m not so sure that I could / would want to deal with the ice and cold of New England any more … The Sydney winters are bad enough and it NEVER freezes here … J

    All the best from the land down under

    Henry

    August 22, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

    Hi Henry,

    It just goes to show you that grading depends more on the difficulty of the examinations than the grading formula itself.

    It was interesting to learn about Australia’s concept of “Pass Conceded.”

    Bob

    Football Entrance Exam (at [Name Deleted] University?)
    Time Limit: 3 Weeks Preparation Before the Oral Examination Administered by a panel of Coaches

    01. What language is spoken in France? 

    02. Give a dissertation on the ancient Babylonian Empire with particular reference to architecture, literature, law and social conditions -OR- give the first name of Pierre Trudeau.

    03. Would you ask William Shakespeare to (a) build a bridge (b) sail the ocean (c) lead an army or (d) WRITE A PLAY

    04. What religion is the Pope? (a) Jewish (b) Catholic (c) Hindu (d) Polish (e) Agnostic (check only one)

    05. Metric conversion. How many feet is 0.0 meters?

    06. What time is it when the big hand is on the 12 and the little hand is on the 5?

    07. How many commandments was Moses given? (approximately)

    08. What are people in America's far north called? (a) Westerners (b) Southerners (c) Northerners

    09. Spell -- Bush, Carter and Clinton

    10. Six kings of England have been called George, the last one being George the Sixth. Name the previous five.

    11. Where does rain come from? (a) Macy's (b) a 7-11 (c) Canada (d) the sky

    12. Can you explain Einstein's Theory of Relativity? (a) yes (b) no

    13. What are coat hangers used for?

    14. The Star Spangled Banner is the National Anthem for what country?

    15. Explain Le Chateliers Principle of Dynamic Equilibrium -OR-spell your name in BLOCK LETTERS.

    16. Where is the basement in a three story building located?

    17. Which part of America produces the most oranges? (a) New York (b) Florida (c) Canada (d) Wisconsin

    18. Advanced math. If you have three apples how many apples do you have?

    19. What does NBC (National Broadcasting Corporation) stand for?

    20. The University of Miami tradition for efficiency began when (approximately)? (a) B.C. (b) A.D. (c) still waiting

    *You must answer three or more questions correctly to qualify for a $100,000 per year athletic scholarship.  These are the NCAA rules for Division 1 schools.  The admission test is not as tough for basketball if you're over seven feet tall.


    [Appeal for] "More Transparency for Audits," SoxFirst, August 2006, --- http://www.soxfirst.com/50226711/more_transparency_for_audits.php

    For a profession that likes to think of itself as transparent, auditors might have some way to go. Particularly when it comes to companies revealing to the market why they have dismissed or changed an auditor.

    According to risk researchers, Glass Lewis, it's one area that needs urgent attention. It's absolutely critical information for investors.

    In their report Mum's the word, they point out that 1,430 publicly held companies changed their independent accounting firms last year including 77 companies that changed auditors at least twice. But in the vast majority of cases, we don't know why, because neither the companies nor the auditors disclosed the reasons.

    "Perhaps it's our skeptical nature, but we suspect a lot of the companies that stayed mum changed auditors because of less virtuous reasons: to seek more favorable opinions, to flee from disagreements,to cut costs in a way that may diminish audit quality, or because their former auditors couldn't rely on them," says the report.

    The report calls on the SEC to expand its list of required "reportable events" so that investors get more information about such matters as whether there had been difficulties conducting the audit and whether the auditor had advised the company about potential fraud.

    Investors need nothing less from the profession that's required to watch over the companies that they, the investors, own.

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


    REVIEW: Accessories to Jazz Up Your iPod, PhysOrg, August 17, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75053393.html


    Mexico changes course on sex education
    When Mexican seventh-graders crack open their new biology books this week, they're in for a titillating surprise: Chapter four is all about sex. And it's not the sterilized sex education of the past. For the first time, the federally mandated textbooks broach the once-taboo topics of masturbation and homosexuality while instructing students that there is nothing wrong with either. Church officials and conservative groups are outraged. They charge that the texts — which are required teaching — encourage promiscuity and "abnormal" sexual practices. They are pressuring the federal government to remove passages they consider offensive. "These days,"...
    Marion Lloyd, "Mexico adds sex to school syllabus Biology texts confront church teachings and long-standing sexual mores," Houston Chronicle, August 22, 2006 --- http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4132276.html


    Question
    Are you paying too much for mutual fund experts who are "closet indexers" collect big fees for doing little more than basing their stock picks on the market index?

    "Professors Shine a Light Into 'Closet Indexes':  Measurement May Help Investors See How Much of Their Holdings Are Actively Managed -- And Not," by Tom Lauricella, The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2006; Page C1--- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115586769681639076.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing

    Are your mutual-fund managers earning their keep?

    A complaint lodged against many managers of funds that invest in stocks is that they collect big fees for doing little more than basing their stock picks on the market index -- say, the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index -- against which their fund's performance is measured. There's even a term for this behavior: closet indexing.

    For investors, there hasn't been an easy way to tell if a fund falls into this category. Now a pair of Yale University professors have developed a simple way of measuring to what degree a fund's holdings are actively managed, as opposed to passively mirroring an index. It also turns out that -- at least according to the research -- this measure could be a useful predictor of fund performance.

    The new measure, created by Antti Petajisto and Martijn Cremers from the Yale School of Management, takes a simple approach. Called the "active share" of a portfolio, it matches the holdings reported by a fund in Securities and Exchange Commission filings against the components of an index, and then measures the percentage of overlap. For example, if General Electric and Exxon Mobil each account for 4% of an index, and a fund had a portfolio exactly mirroring the index except it had 8% in GE and nothing in Exxon, its active share would be 4%. The more a portfolio differs from an index, the higher the active share percentage.

    The study found that the average fund using the S&P 500 as a benchmark (generally, funds investing in large-company stocks) has an average active-share percentage of 66%. In other words, the average large-company stock fund had a portfolio that was 66% different than the benchmark and the rest essentially mirrored the index.

    The study, which examined data from 1980 through the end of 2003, found an increase in funds that could be described as closet indexing during the 1990s, a period of major growth in the mutual-fund industry. Closet index funds (generally, those with active share falling into the 20% to 60% range) contained about 30% of all assets in 2003, up from virtually no assets in the 1980s.

    One reason investors should care: Actively managed funds charge higher fees, on average, than index funds. After all, the idea is that you're paying a premium for the talents of a skilled stock picker -- not just someone who is mirroring a stock index.

    But the study found that funds charged similar fees, regardless of their active-share reading. Funds with an active share of 70% or higher have expense ratios averaging roughly 1.57%. However, closet-index funds with an active share of 40% to 50% charged an average of 1.31%. Portfolios with an active share of 30% or 40% charged an average of 1.13%. (Index funds in the study charged on average 0.55%, though many are substantially cheaper.)

    According to the study, active-share percentages are a good predictor of performance. Funds registering the highest active share beat their benchmark index by an average of 1.39 percentage points per year, while those in the lowest active-share group produced returns that, on average, fell short of their benchmark by 1.41 percentage points. This makes sense, argues Mr. Petajisto, one of the study's authors. Once fees are subtracted, a fund hugging an index is going be hard-pressed to provide investors with returns that top the index.

    In addition, the study found that, in general, funds with higher active-share readings tend to repeat top performance. "It's consistent with the idea that the most active funds are likely to have more skilled managers," Mr. Petajisto says.

    Mr. Petajisto suggests investors compare a fund's active share against the fees they're paying. "If a closet indexer has 30% active share but only charges 0.30% [a fee not much more than most index funds], it may still be a reasonably good deal," he says.

    The classic example of a mutual fund accused of being a closet indexer is Fidelity Investment's giant Magellan. In the early 1980s, Magellan's active share under famed manager Peter Lynch ranged between 70% and 90% -- a time when the fund earned its reputation by being a strong-performing, invest-anywhere portfolio. However, the active share declined later in the decade, to the mid 50%, coinciding with massive growth in the fund. By the mid-1990s, when Robert Stansky took the helm, the fund's active share started plunging to extremely low readings in the 30% range, a time when Magellan was widely criticized for being a closet index fund. During this time Magellan's performance suffered and the fund consistently landed in the bottom half of its peer group.

    When Harry Lange took over the controls at Magellan late last year, the fund's active share rebounded from 41% in September 2005 to 66% in December. "When Lange replaced Stansky, the fund became significantly more active within only a few months," Mr. Petajisto notes.

    A commonly voiced concern of fund industry observers is whether, as was the case with Magellan, mutual funds are more likely to become closet indexers as they grow in size. The Yale study did find that for funds investing in large-company stocks, active-share readings tend to decline after assets top $1 billion. "That doesn't mean a fund necessary always has to become an extreme closet indexer," Mr. Petajisto says.

    For example, the $19 billion Legg Mason Value Trust, run by William Miller, had an active-share reading of 85% for 2005 and the $36 billion Fidelity Low Priced Stock Fund, which compares itself to the Russell 2000 index of small company stocks, has an active-share reading of 90%.

    When making any investment, investors should consider a wide variety of factors and active share is no different. However, it can raise questions about whether funds are living up to the claim of being actively managed. For example, the $3.6 billion Thrivent Large Cap Stock fund tells investors that it employs an "individual, bottom-up approach to stock selection" focusing on "corporate fundamentals." However, its active share percentage is just 38%.

    Thrivent didn't respond to a request for comment.

    At Calamos Investments, active share points to possible differences between two funds that the firm says use similar investment strategies. Calamos Growth, which sports a top long-term performance record, clocks in among the most actively management funds with an active share percentage of 89%. But Calamos Blue Chip, which tells investors it uses "intense research" to pick stocks, posts an active share rating of just 40%. Meanwhile, investors in Calamos Blue Chip are charged expenses of 1.46%, far more than the 1.16% in fees levied on the average large-cap blend fund, according to Morningstar Inc. (Investors also pay a commission to purchase the fund).

    In a statement, Chief Investment Officer Nick Calamos said, "The Blue Chip Fund is not an index product....It is big-company, blue-chip biased and more sector-constrained than the Growth Fund."

    At the other extreme, funds with active-share readings above 95% include managers with top long-term track records built through years of building eclectic portfolios. Among them are CGM Focus Fund, Brandywine Blue Fund and Longleaf Partners funds.

    Bob Jensen's threads on mutual fund scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#MutualFunds


    Rethinking the Culture Wars
    There are daunting problems here in persuading the public, politicians, and students to respect academic expertise, autonomy, and the role of higher education as a Socratic gadfly to the body politic. At the same time, scholars have a responsibility to show consideration and discretion toward public opinion, and toward students who dissent from our opinions. But cannot conservative and liberal scholars at least join in endorsing these general principles, while scrupulously addressing the difficulties in implementing them, through civil dialogue? And shouldn’t some of the foundations, professional organizations, or government agencies that have channeled their resources into partisan battles in the culture wars be willing to sponsor a bipartisan task force pursuing such a dialogue in quest of resolutions to these problems?
    Donald Lazere, "Rethinking the Culture Wars — I," Inside Higher Ed, August 22, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/08/22/lazere 

    Left-leaning professors tend to address questions that interest them, with the predictable though not intended consequence of inspiring their left-leaning students and leaving their more conservative students indifferent or disenchanted with academe. Is it any surprise that smart young liberals get Ph.D.’s and become liberal professors, while smart young conservatives tend to pursue careers in business or the other professions instead? I have no doubt that academe will never again become central to American cultural life as long as professors continue to represent such a narrow spectrum of political affiliations and religious beliefs. Nevertheless, our problems cannot be solved by party politics or by legislation and lawsuits.
    Donald Lazere, "Rethinking the Culture Wars — II," Inside Higher Ed, August 22, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/08/22/reisert


    Public housing is urban government's largest failed housing experiment
    Public housing is urban government's largest orphan. It is an unloved recipient of tens of billions of dollars in funds, poured over decades by the federal government into housing projects in just about every city in the country. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats want much to do with it anymore, and as a result physical plants are deteriorating while operating deficits soar. This failed experiment in government-financed, -built, -owned and -operated housing is over, yet the projects continue to house millions of Americans . . . What AHA is doing is entirely different from previous reform efforts because AHA does not intend to "manage" better public housing -- it's getting rid of public housing. For the sake of both public housing residents and their neighborhoods, let's hope that other big city authorities follow, starting with New York.
    Julia Vitullo-Martin, "Project Vision," The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2006; Page A14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115586103194638960.html?mod=todays_us_opinion


    From The Washington Post on August 22, 2006

    What was the most queried term in AOL's Internet search engine from March to May?

    A. eBay
    B. Google
    C. Mapquest
    D. MySpace


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

    Latest Headlines on August 22, 2006

    Latest Headlines on August 23, 2006

    Latest Headlines on August 24, 2006

     


    Inside Cancer --- http://www.insidecancer.org/ 


    "The Mystery of BenGay:  A study reveals how age-old cooling remedies help to alleviate nerve-related pain," by Jennifer Chu, MIT's Technology Review, August 22, 2006 ---
    http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17342&ch=infotech

    Creams like BenGay can relieve minor aches and pains. But exactly why they work is a mystery. Now researchers have discovered a neurological mechanism behind such cooling remedies that, if tapped just right, could have implications for people with chronic and nerve-related pain.

    A study published yesterday in the journal Current Biology reveals that activating a crucial protein in the skin may counteract the nerve signals associated with chronic pain brought on by nerve injury. One trigger for this protein receptor is menthol, an active ingredient in topical analgesics like BenGay. But an even more effective trigger is icilin -- a chemical originally designed for toothpaste and nasal sprays. The researchers found that when applied to the skin, icilin stimulates the body's natural cooling system, and helps block chronic, nerve-related pain.

    "There's a crying need to find safe painkillers for chronic pain use," says Susan Fleetwood-Walker, a neuroscientist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and co-author of the study. "It's extremely difficult to treat -- and we never expected this cooling effect would have this huge effect that it does."

    Cooling remedies have been used for thousands of years. For instance, mint oil, which contains the cooling agent menthol, was a traditional Chinese salve. Products like BenGay are modern-day versions that act to cool irritation and inflammation. But such topical creams are more effective for acute pain -- that is, pain resulting directly from tissue damage, such as a burn or pulled muscle. It's much trickier to treat neuropathic, or nerve-related, pain, because the injured nerves themselves seem to generate pain signals without an external influence. Research into this type of chronic, nerve-related pain has focused on cutting off activation of pain neurons before signals reach the brain.

    Much of the mystery of how this pain originates lies in the intricate mesh of sensory neurons underneath the skin. Different types of neurons detect different levels of temperature, pressure, and pain, sending this information to the spinal cord, and up into the brain. Within a particular set of temperature-sensitive neurons sits a protein receptor called TRPM8, which is wired to respond to cool yet not icy-cold temperatures. For example, a light breeze might activate this protein, sending an action potential along the sensory nerve into the spinal cord, which would then be relayed to the brain, producing a pleasant cooling sensation. Knowing this, the Edinburgh team looked for compounds that would specifically activate TRPM8, yet avoid setting off other more extreme sensory receptors.

    The team experimented with low doses of icilin and menthol, respectively, on rats with clinically simulated chronic pain (an injured sciatic nerve). In separate trials, the rats were bathed in shallow pools of each solution, as well as injected with solution directly into the spinal cord. Researchers then tested the rats' sensitivity to pain, noting when rats withdrew their paws in response to nylon filaments pressed against the injured leg. They found that after paddling for five minutes in icilin solution, rats experienced a marked decrease in pain sensitivity for up to five hours -- a significant improvement compared with trials of menthol.

    Continued in article


    "Study shows how cigarette smoke blocks cell repair," PhysOrg, August 21, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75392269.html

    Cigarette smoke can turn normal breast cells cancerous by blocking their ability to repair themselves, eventually triggering tumor development, University of Florida scientists report.

    User rating 4.2 out of 5 after 9 total votes Would you recommend this story? Not at all - 1 2 3 4 5 - Highly

    While some cells nonetheless rally and are able to fix their damaged DNA, many others become unable to access their own cellular first aid kit, according to findings from a UF study published today (Aug. 21) in the journal Oncogene. If they survive long enough to divide and multiply, they pass along their mutations, acquiring malignant properties.

    Past research has been controversial. Tobacco smoke contains dozens of cancer-causing chemicals, but until more recently many studies found only weak correlations between smoking and breast cancer risk, or none at all. Those findings are increasingly being challenged by newer studies that are focusing on more than just single chemical components of tobacco, as past research often has done. In the UF study, researchers instead used a tar that contains all of the 4,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke.

    “Our study suggests the mechanism by which this may be happening,” said Satya Narayan, an associate professor of anatomy and cell biology at UF’s College of Medicine. “This is basically the important finding in our case: We are now describing how cigarette smoke condensate, which is a surrogate for cigarette smoke, can cause DNA damage and can block the DNA repair of a cell or compromise the DNA repair capacity of a cell. That can be detrimental for the cell and can lead to transformation or carcinogenesis.”

    Continued in article


    "Mental retardation cause detailed," PhysOrg, August 16, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news74878168.html

    European and U.S. studies describe a recurrent cause of mental retardation resulting from the deletion of a big segment of DNA from chromosome 17.

    The deletion is associated with a region of DNA that is commonly carried in an inverted orientation by a large portion of the human population.

    The deletion arises recurrently and accounts for roughly 1 percent of cases of mental retardation among the populations screened in three studies.

    It seems to be found preferentially among children of individuals who carry one particular form of the inversion, which is common among Europeans, researchers said. Individuals carrying the deletion also show characteristic facial, behavioral and other clinical features, which should aid clinicians in diagnosing similar cases.

    One of the deleted genes, MAPT, has been previously implicated as having a causal role in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Loss of that gene is therefore a prime candidate for explaining some of the characteristic features associated with mental retardation.

    The research -- conducted at the University Medical Center in Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Britain's University of Cambridge; and the University of Washington in the United States -- appears in the journal Nature Genetics.


    South Africa Still on the Lunatic Fringe in Response to AIDS
    A top United Nations official delivered a blistering attack on South Africa on Friday at the closing of the 16th international AIDS meeting here, saying that its government “is still obtuse, dilatory and negligent about rolling out treatment.” In a keynote address, the official, Stephen Lewis, the ambassador to Africa for AIDS for the United Nations, said South Africa “is the only country in Africa whose government continues to propound theories more worthy of a lunatic fringe than of a concerned and compassionate state.”
    Lawrence K. Altman, "U.N. Official Assails South Africa on Its Response to AIDS," The New York Times, August 19, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/19/world/africa/19aids.html


    Low testosterone levels after age 40 have a higher risk of death over a four-year period
    Men with low testosterone levels after age 40 have a higher risk of death over a four-year period than those with normal levels of the hormone, a new study suggests. It's not clear, however, if the two are directly related, and researchers say that it's possible a third unknown factor is responsible for both low testosterone levels and increased mortality. The study, led by Molly Shores of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System and the University of Washington, Seattle, is detailed in the current issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
    Ker Than, "Men with Low Testosterone More Likely to Die," Yahoo News, August 14, 2006 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20060814/sc_space/menwithlowtestosteronemorelikelytodie



    High testosterone levels after becoming a judge can be hazardous to juries
    The Case of the Whooshing Judge 

    A former judge convicted of exposing himself while presiding over jury trials by using a sexual device under his robe was sentenced Friday to four years in prison. . . . At his trial this summer, his former court reporter, Lisa Foster, testified that she saw Thompson expose himself at least 15 times during trial between 2001 and 2003. Prosecutors said he also used a device known as a penis pump during at least four trials in the same period . . . Foster told authorities that she saw Thompson use the device almost daily during the August 2003 murder trial of a man accused of shaking a toddler to death. A whooshing sound could be heard on Foster's audiotape of the trial. When jurors asked the judge about the sound, Thompson said he hadn't heard it but would listen for it.
    Murray Evans, "Judge Gets 4 Years for Exposing Himself," Myway, August 18, 2006 --- http://apnews.myway.com/article/20060818/D8JJ3HLO0.html
    Jensen Question
    Was it just coincidence that this was reported in "Myway?" Judge Thompson said "he may have absentmindedly squeezed the pump's handle during court cases but never used it to masturbate." Semen was found under his bench according to court records. Sounds a bit like President Clinton's claim:  "I did not have sex with that woman!"

     

    A Judge Who Regularly Consulted With Three Mystic Dwarves
    A Philippines judge who said he consulted imaginary mystic dwarves has failed to convince the Supreme Court to allow him to keep his job. Florentino Floro was appealing against a three-year inquiry which led to his removal due to incompetence and bias. He told investigators three mystic dwarves - Armand, Luis and Angel - had helped him to carry out healing sessions during breaks in his chambers.
    "Filipino 'dwarf' judge loses case," BBC News, August 18, 2006 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5261856.stm
     


     

    Basic Principles of Ultrasound --- http://www.echo-web.com/html/echo-202-free/echo202.htm

     



    Ethical Stem Cells?
    In a process that could offer a strategy for overcoming many of the ethical concerns over the use of embryonic stem cells, researchers at Advanced Cell Technology have created a line of such cells from a single human embryonic cell. Unlike existing methods, the procedure leaves the embryo viable, raising the possibility it could be widely used to create embryonic cells without destroying embryos. The work is described in this week's Nature journal.
    Kate Baggott, "Ethical Stem Cells? A biotech company has described a method for growing stem cells without destroying embryos, MIT's Technology Review, August 24, 2006 ---
    http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17356&ch=biotech
     


    "First Amendment on Trial," by Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., The Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115593829824039784.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

    While the subpoenas and contempt orders that came out of the Valerie Plame leak investigation sent a shiver through journalists and other champions of a free press, an equally chilling lawsuit between two congressmen slowly plodded through the courts, barely noticed. No longer. Now, the D.C. Circuit has made a ruling in this dispute that, if it stands, will blow a hole through the First Amendment.

    The strange case of Boehner v. McDermott began with a conference call between GOP leaders in December 1996, to decide how to deal with the ethics charges against then-Speaker Newt Gingrich. Rep. (now House Majority Leader) John Boehner participated by cell phone.

    A Florida couple intercepted the call on a police scanner and taped it, in violation of federal wiretapping laws. They gave a copy of the tape to Jim McDermott, a Democratic member of the House ethics committee, who gave it to the press, which widely reported on it. Mr. Boehner sued, claiming that Mr. McDermott had invaded his right to privacy and violated federal wiretapping laws.

    A few years later, as Mr. Boehner's lawsuit progressed, the Supreme Court decided in Bartnicki v. Vopper that it would violate "the core purposes of the First Amendment" to use the wiretapping statute to punish defendants who had "lawfully" obtained and broadcast a tape of a telephone call that had been illegally recorded by someone else. Such punishment, it said, would impose "sanctions on the publication of truthful information of public concern."

    Nevertheless, in March of this year a panel of the D.C. Circuit upheld a $60,000 judgment for statutory and punitive damages against Mr. McDermott. (Mr. Boehner is now claiming an additional $500,000 in attorney's fees.) Since Mr. McDermott supposedly knew that the tape had been illegally recorded when he received it, the court ruled that he got it "unlawfully" and could be punished, like someone who "is guilty of receiving stolen property."

    Judge David Sentelle dissented, emphasizing the rule's potentially sweeping ramifications: "No one in the United States could communicate on this topic of public interest" because -- just like Mr. McDermott -- everyone, including the journalists who wrote about the tape and "every reader of the information in the newspapers," knew that it had been illegally recorded.

    The full en banc D.C. Circuit has now agreed to rehear the case, and it is imperative that the court reject the panel's ruling. While Mr. Boehner claimed that his right to privacy trumped Mr. McDermott's First Amendment rights, the Supreme Court in Bartnicki declared: "Privacy concerns give way when balanced against the interest in publishing matters of public importance. . . . The risk of this exposure is an essential incident of life in a society which places a primary value on freedom of speech and of press."

    The high court has made clear over and over again -- usually in cases involving the press -- that, absent the most extraordinary and compelling circumstances, as long as a citizen breaks no law in obtaining truthful information of public concern, he cannot be punished for publishing it, even if he knew that his source broke the law. A "receipt of stolen property" exception would overturn this important First Amendment doctrine, threatening the ability of the press to obtain and disseminate news.

    As a matter of history, tradition and ordinary newsgathering, the press sometimes obtains vital, highly newsworthy information from sources who may have broken the law, or some legal duty while providing it. Indeed, many of the most significant news stories have been based on information that the source may have acquired or communicated illegally, including the Pentagon Papers case, Watergate, the Monica Lewinsky scandal, stories about the health hazards of tobacco and, more recently, articles about CIA secret prisons in Europe and the NSA surveillance program.

    Nevertheless, under Boehner, a reporter who obtains important information could be subjected to punishment, simply because he knew or suspected that the source had broken the law in giving it to him. Such a doctrine would severely hamper traditional newsgathering and reporting activities, and it would inject significant uncertainty into the reporting process.

    Unless overturned, Boehner v. McDermott will embolden the government and private citizens to be even more aggressive in taking legal actions that aim to punish and deter truthful speech. This is already happening: The Department of Justice has cited Boehner as "especially instructive" in justifying its prosecution of two former lobbyists of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for receiving and then discussing with reporters national defense information, in alleged violation of the Espionage Act. Those same prosecutors, as well as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, have refused to rule out the possibility that the government could launch similar criminal charges against journalists who receive and publish classified information.

    It can be extremely tempting to scale back on traditional First Amendment freedoms in the area of national security during war time. The government does have the right to protect information in the name of national security and other compelling interests, and to impose secrecy obligations on government officials to avoid harmful disclosures. But the First Amendment, as a check on government power and an instrument of self-government, tasks the press with ferreting out information that the government wants to keep secret.

    That information, after all, really belongs to the people, who have delegated the power to govern to elected officials. Sometimes the only way the public can learn about government wrongdoing, or questionable government policies, is through leaks. The late Yale law professor Alexander Bickel famously called this built-in constitutional tension the "unruly contest" between the press and the government. Boehner v. McDermott would stack the deck in this contest between government secrecy and free speech. It should be rejected. The interests at stake involve all Americans -- not just two feuding congressmen.

    Mr. Boutrous has filed a friend-of-the court brief in the Boehner case for 18 news organizations, including Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

     


    Shaping Livable Cities --- http://www.idrc.ca/uploads/user-S/11502208271CRA_WUF_ENG_FINAL.pdf


    Tobacco Companies Found Guilty of Racketeering, But No Cigar for Bill Clinton

    "What Were They Smoking?" The Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2006; Page A10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115593626439439744.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

    After seven years of litigation, $140 million of taxpayer money and a 1,700-page decision, the government could finally claim this week to have won its racketeering case against the tobacco industry. But then why were tobacco stocks up by some 3% yesterday, with Altria, parent company of Philip Morris and the Marlboro Man, hitting new multi-year highs?

    Investors know a loser when they see one, and in this case it's the Justice Department. Federal Judge Gladys Kessler ruled for the government on the civil racketeering charges, claiming that the tobacco companies had done what everyone already knew they'd done for decades, which is aggressively market a dangerous but legal product. But she also awarded no damages, instead requiring a series of "remedial" measures from the cigarette makers. These include a requirement to publish mea culpas in the form of paid advertisements in newspapers, the elimination of the words "light" and "low tar" on cigarette packs and additional warning labels. For whatever that's worth.

    The government will also be allowed to apply for reimbursement of its costs in the case, which were estimated last year at $140 million. But that's a far cry from the $280 billion that government lawyers were seeking before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled out going after 50 years worth of industry profits, plus interest.

    This misbegotten case goes back to the Clinton Administration, which looked at the $250 billion settlement between the industry and the state Attorneys General and decided it wanted its own quarter-trillion-dollar chunk of Big Tobacco's profit stream. The cynicism here is remarkable, since the government was essentially claiming that the industry was unconscionable precisely so it could lay claim to the cash flow from its unconscionable behavior.

    So Janet Reno launched a lawsuit, using a law designed to prosecute mobsters to attack an entirely legal industry. The Bush Administration slogged ahead with the suit, not wanting to take any political heat for appearing to give Joe Camel a pass. When former Attorney General John Ashcroft floated the idea of settling the case, career attorneys at Justice sabotaged the effort by leaking word to the press and stirring up liberal opposition. The Bushies backed down, though any settlement then might well have been better for the anti-smoking cause than what Justice has now "won."

    Justice may take some consolation because its novel use of the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act against legitimate, if unhealthful, businesses was given credence by Judge Kessler. But Justice seems to have used RICO primarily because it carried the prospect of crippling damages. Once the D.C. Circuit put the kibosh on backward-looking remedies in the case, any RICO victory began to look like Israel's recent triumph against Hezbollah.

    Philip Morris has already pledged to appeal both the unfavorable ruling and the remedial measures, and legal experts give it some chance of success. Judge Kessler seems to have inserted herself into all manner of minutiae in how cigarettes are sold and marketed. Given how heavily regulated tobacco marketing already is, it's an open question whether the judiciary is stepping on executive branch toes with the ruling.

    For the tobacco companies, there's also the matter of the proliferating lawsuits over whether the marketing of "light" cigarettes was misleading. Judge Kessler ruled that it was, since it implied health benefits that may not exist. If her ruling stands, it's possible that it will be used in other civil tort claims currently on the docket around the country.

    But we suspect investors know the real score here, and their verdict on Friday was to bid up tobacco stocks. No doubt many state politicians around the country were also cheering the verdict because it means the feds won't be able to horn in on their long-term tobacco income stream. The war against cigarettes long ago stopped being about public health; today it's all about public revenue.


    Instant Death Advocated for Some Really Despised Immigrants Entering From Mexico
    "Snakes on a Plane" may be the hot horror movie of the summer, but bees on planes are creating the most buzz in some aviation circles. Africanized honey bees -- the infamous "killer bees" -- are increasingly making unscheduled layovers at airports across the Southwest. The aggressive bees, which entered the U.S. from Mexico in the early 1990s, like to travel across open spaces and stop to rest whenever the queen gets tired. Airports have few trees or other natural rest stops. That makes planes, jetways, baggage-loading equipment, terminals and parking garages popular for stopovers. Consequently, pilots and mechanics sometimes find thousands of bees burrowing in engine covers, clinging to cockpit windshields or swarming in the luggage compartment.
    Nick Timiraos, "Bees on a Plane Are A Real-Life Problem:  Vexing Some Pilots They Like Yellow and Jet Fuel And Are Riled by Black; Big Buzz in the Southwest," The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2006; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115569253608736880.html?mod=todays_us_page_one


    Question
    How many illegal Aliens are in the United States?

    In just six years, the number of illegal aliens calling the United States home has jumped by nearly 30 percent, according to new federal figures. The Department of Homeland Security believes 11 million illegals were in the country at the start of 2006 -- up from 8.5 million in early 2000. Slightly more than half the illegals in the U.S. come from Mexico. Many others are from El Salvador, Guatemala, India and China. California has the largest number of illegal immigrants, followed by Texas and Florida. Federal officials estimate the number of illegals is growing at an annual national average of 408,000.
    "11M Illegal Aliens In U.S., Feds Say," CickonDetroit, August 18, 2006 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1686428/posts

    Meanwhile, here are some forwarded statistics (not verified by me) on immigration controversy

    95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens;

    83% of warrants for murder in Phoenix are for illegal aliens;

    86% of warrants for murder in Albuquerque are for illegal aliens;

    75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Albuquerque are illegal aliens;

    More than 380,000 "anchor babies" were born in the United States in 2005 were to parents who are illegal aliens; making those 380,000 babies automatically U.S. citizens. 97.2% of all costs incurred from those births were paid by the American taxpayer;

    More than 66% of all births in California are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by taxpayers;

    24.9% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally;

    40.1% of all inmates in Arizona detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally;

    48.2% of all inmates in New Mexico detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally;

    29% (630,000) convicted illegal alien felons fill our state and federal prisons at a cost of $1.6 billion annually;

    More than 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages

    More than 53% of all investigated burglaries reported in California, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Texas are perpetrated by illegal aliens;

    More than half of all gang members in Los Angeles are illegal aliens from south of the border;

    More than 43% of all Food Stamps issued are to illegal aliens;

    More than 41% of all unemployment checks issued in the United States are to illegal aliens;

    58% of all Welfare payments in the United States are issued to illegal aliens;

    Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties in the United States are illegal aliens;

    14 out of 31 TV stations in L.A. are Spanish-only;

    16 out of 28 TV stations in Phoenix are Spanish- only;

    15 out of 24 TV stations in Albuquerque are Spanish-only;

    21 radio stations in L.A. are Spanish-only;

    17 radio stations in Phoenix are Spanish-only;

    17 radio stations in Albuquerque are Spanish-only;

    More than 34% of Arizona students in grades 1-12 are illegal aliens;

    More than 24% of Arizona students in grades 1-12 are non-English-speaking;

    More than 39% of California students in grades 1- 12 are illegal aliens;

    More than 42% of California students in grades 1- 12 are non-English-speaking

    In Los Angeles County, 5.1 million people speak English. 3.9 million speak Spanish;

    More than 71% of all apprehended cars stolen in 2005 in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California were stolen by illegal aliens or transport coyotes";

    47% of cited/stopped drivers in California have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 47%, 92% are illegal aliens;

    63% of cited/stopped drivers in Arizona have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 63%, 97% are illegal aliens;

    66% of cited/stopped drivers in New Mexico have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 66%, 98% are illegal aliens;

    Less than 2% of illegal aliens in the United States are picking crops , but 41% are on welfare;

    Over 70% of the United States annual population growth (and over 90% of California, Florida, and New York) results from immigration;

    The cost of immigration to the American taxpayer in 1997 (latest know calculation. Can you imagine what it must be in 2006? WOW!) was a NET (after subtracting taxes immigrants pay) $70 BILLION a year, [Professor Donald Huddle, Rice University];

    The estimated profit to U.S. corporations and businesses employing ILLEGAL aliens in 2005 was more than $2.36 TRILLION dollars;

    The lifetime fiscal impact (taxes paid minus services used) for the average adult Mexican ILLEGAL alien is $55,000.00 cost to the American taxpayer in a 5-year span. You, personally, are giving $11,000 every year to ILLEGAL aliens.

    Susie Hawkes,
    Chairman http://USABorderAlert.com/ 
    http://SanDiegoBorderAlert.com/


    Question
    How excessive is executive compensation and what can be done about it?

    From Jim Mahar's Blog on August 22, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

    Are CEOs overpaid?

    Yeah, I know I said I would go a while before posting, but Rich forwarded this to me and I think many of you will be interested. It is from MSNBC/Newsweek:

    A few look-ins:
     
    *"Ogling executive pay is the spectator sport of business. The catcalls from the stands have gotten louder as new studies throw out eye-popping statistics about how rich CEOs are getting, while the rest of us worry about keeping our jobs out of China. One such: the U.S.-based Institute for Policy Studies notes that CEOs made 142 times more than the average worker in 1994—and 431 times more in 2004."

    *"Democratic Congressman Barney Frank is proposing a Protection Against Executive Compensation Abuse Act, which would limit tax deductions for companies that pay executives more than 25 times the lowest paid worker. But even as the drumbeat for reform grows louder, some new research is questioning just how out of proportion these megapackages really are—and whether more regulation is the best way to scale them down.
    First, there's the issue of metrics....[the article then shows that using medians reduced the average CEO to average worker pay mulltple to 187].

    *Xavier Gabaix of MIT and Augustin Landier of NYU say that since 1980 the pay of CEOs has risen in lock step with the market capitalization of their companies: both are up 500 percent.

    *"Good governance still plays some part in determining pay—the researchers say that CEOs can garner 10 to 20 percent more by going to a firm with a weak board. And cultural mores play some role, too; many of the Japanese firms studied were as big as American firms, but executives were paid less and changed jobs less often."

    *"...nearly all firms are moving toward heavier reliance on bonuses. The average dollar amount of bonuses has doubled in the last three years, as they make up a growing proportion of pay...."

    Interesting article and an easy read so it is perfect for the final "lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer."

    Bob Jensen's threads on Outrageous Executive and Director Compensation Schemes are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#OutrageousCompensation


    "Books on the Book of Books:  Top tomes on the Bible," by Robert Alter, The Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110008821 

    1. "Mimesis" by Erich Auerbach (Princeton, 1953).

    The formidable challenge that Erich Auerbach set himself with "Mimesis" is made clear by its subtitle: "The Representation of Reality in Western Literature." But the German scholar succeeded brilliantly, producing a masterwork of 20th-century criticism that also happens to have pioneered a modern literary understanding of the Bible. Though only the first chapter is strictly focused on the Bible--a comparison of a passage from "The Odyssey" with one from Genesis--a biblical grounding is essential to Auerbach's discussions of Dante and other important writers of the medieval and early modern periods. His enduring contribution: making us see that the Bible is not somehow apart from literature, sequestered in a special preserve of theology and spirituality, but is rather a manifestation of a high literary art.

    2. "The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative" by Hans W. Frei (Yale, 1974).

    The German-born Yale theologian Hans Frei identifies a turning point in the way the world understood the Bible: when 18th- and 19th-century English and German thinkers such as Locke and Kant broke the traditional link between the factual and the allegorical in the Bible. Though the realistic novel was flowering at the time, these interpreters declined to employ the lens of realism, which is to say, to read the Bible as "history-like." Frei's book deals with some difficult philosophical texts and is by no means a quick read, but it is a deeply instructive investigation of the history of ideas.

    3. "The Book of God" by Gabriel Josipovici (Yale, 1988).

    Gabriel Josipovici is a prominent British critic and novelist who at a midpoint in his career became interested in the Bible and acquired a competence in Hebrew (he already knew Greek) in order to engage with it seriously. "The Book of God" is an imaginative overview, sensitive to narrative detail and to stylistic nuance, of both Testaments. Josipovici sees how the Bible constitutes a unique kind of literature--a book, as he says, meant to change your sense of reality--which is nevertheless linked with certain later writers. He proposes surprising comparisons with Proust, Kafka and other modernists. Some biblical passages, he observes, "bring us face to face with characters who can be neither interpreted nor deconstructed. They are emblems of the limits of comprehension."

    4. "Leviticus as Literature" by Mary Douglas (Oxford, 2000).

    British anthropologist Mary Douglas takes us on an intellectual adventure with "Leviticus as Literature." No small feat, given that Leviticus is notoriously the driest of biblical books--it consists mainly of elaborate instructions for the sacrificial cult. But Douglas proposes that these cultic procedures reflect a sophisticated system of thought: In describing the ritual preparation of the sacrificial animal and the sanctuary's spatial divisions, the Leviticus writers may have also been explaining the structure of the cosmos as they understood it, a place where the vertical division of Mount Sinai (God and Moses at the top, the elders of Israel halfway up, the Israelites below) is mirrored horizontally in the sanctuary (the Holy of Holies within, the inner court for the Levites, the outer court for the Israelites). Douglas makes a persuasive case that more is going on in this book of the Bible than is generally supposed--and she shows that modern condescension toward biblical writing is misguided--but I am still tempted to say that Douglas is more interesting to read than Leviticus.

    5. "The Biography of Ancient Israel" by Ilana Pardes (University of California, 2000).

    Ilana Pardes, a scholar of comparative literature based in Jerusalem, traces an ancient nation's origins from Exodus through Deuteronomy. Combining anthropology, psychoanalysis, comparative religion and literary analysis, she shows us an epic tale that has as its subject not an individual hero but the Israelite people itself. The splitting of the Red Sea is Israel's birth, the Wilderness wanderings its rite of initiation--and so on, until finally, 40 years later, poised to enter the Promised Land, Israel is ready (precariously) to assume national adulthood. Pardes's lucid prose is a vehicle of interpretive élan.

    Mr. Alter's two most recent books are "The Five Books of Moses: A Translation With Commentary" and "Imagined Cities."




     

    I stumbled upon this at http://artlung.com/smorgasborg/how_to_tick_people_off.shtml

    HOW TO TICK PEOPLE OFF (aside from publishing Tidbits)

    1. Leave the copy machine set to reduce 200%, extra dark, 17 inch paper, 99 copies.
    2. In the memo field of all your checks, write "for sexual favors."
    3. Specify that your drive-through order is "TO-GO."
    4. If you have a glass eye, tap on it occasionally with your pen while talking to others.
    5. Stomp on little plastic ketchup packets.
    6. Insist on keeping your car windshield wipers running in all weather conditions "to keep them tuned up."
    7. Reply to everything someone says with "that's what you think."
    8. Practice making fax and modem noises.
    9. Highlight irrelevant information in scientific papers and "cc" them to your boss.
    10. Make beeping noises when a large person backs up.
    11. Finish all your sentences with the words "in accordance with prophesy."
    12. Signal that a conversation is over by clamping your hands over your ears and grimacing.
    13. Disassemble your pen and "accidentally" flip the ink cartridge across the room.
    14. Holler random numbers while someone is counting.
    15. Adjust the tint on your TV so that all the people are green, and insist to others that you "like it that way."
    16. Staple pages in the middle of the page.
    17. Publicly investigate just how slowly you can make a croaking noise.
    18. Honk and wave to strangers.
    19. Decline to be seated at a restaurant, and simply eat their complimentary mints at the cash register.
    20. TYPE IN UPPERCASE.
    21. type only in lowercase.
    22. dont use any punctuation either
    23. Buy a large quantity of orange traffic cones and reroute whole streets.
    24. Repeat the following conversation a dozen times.
      "DO YOU HEAR THAT?"
      "What?"
      "Never mind, it's gone now."
    25. As much as possible, skip rather than walk.
    26. Try playing the William Tell Overture by tapping on the bottom of your chin. When nearly done, announce "No, wait, I messed it up," and repeat.
    27. Ask people what gender they are.
    28. While making presentations, occasionally bob your head like a parakeet.
    29. Sit in your front yard pointing a hair dryer at passing cars to see if they slow down.
    30. Sing along at the opera.
    31. Go to a poetry recital and ask why each poem doesn't rhyme.
    32. Ask your co-workers mysterious questions and then scribble their answers in a notebook. Mutter something about "psychological profiles."

    See other random stuff

     

     




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

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

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

    International Accounting News (including the U.S.)

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

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

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

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

    Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
    190 Sunset Hill Road
    Sugar Hill, NH 03586
    Phone:  603-823-8482 
    Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu