In the October 10 Edition of Tidbits I showed three mountain ranges are visible of the left side of our living room.
I did not show our right-side closest mountains (Cannon, Three Graces, North Kinsman, and South Kinsman).
The above picture on shows these six closest mountains. The ski tram building is visible on top of Cannon.
Cannon Mountain is the home base of  World Cup Champion Bode Miller who grew up in Cannon's shadows.
This week there's snow building up on Cannon. We sometimes watch the skiers through binoculars.

Tidbits on October 16, 2006
Bob Jensen

Foliage Network ---
Foliage in New Hampshire's White Mountains ---
Fall Foliage ---
Foliage Pictures ---

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to 

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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   


Click here to search this Website if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at

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

Zaba Search free database of names, addresses, birth dates, and phone numbers. Social security numbers and background checks are also available for a fee ---

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 ---

Frontline: Return of the Taliban ---

Video from the Liberal Left Asserting that the Taliban is the Best of the Bad Alternatives for the Future ---
Jensen Comment
The prediction is that the U.S., Canada, and the rest of NATO will weary of fighting terrorism and let the Taliban and as Qaeda have Afghanistan.

Chinese soldiers murder Tibetan pilgrims --- Click Here

Skidboot: Amazing Dog in Texas Who Made it to the David Letterman and Oprah shows ---

Note how the women never even look up at this office male silliness --- Click Here

Free music downloads ---

Boot Scootin Boogie ---

Ray Sings and Basie Swings ---

You can listen to foul-tongued Charlotte Church masquerading as an sweet-voiced angel at
(Click on the listing under Media Clips)

Fats Waller's Playful Jazz Piano Legacy ---

In the Hands of a Master, the Ukulele Is No Toy ---

Feeling the Blues of the World (Nuru Kane) ---

Lifter Puller: Loud, Fast and Out of Control ---

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Photographs and Art

Foliage Pictures ---

Smithsonian Garden Tour
Late Bloomers Grace an Autumn Garden ---

Picture History ---

Captured Moments from the Streets of New York ---

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum ---

The 10 Most Puzzling Ancient Artifacts ---

Physician Assistant History Center ---

Museum of Nebraska Art ---

Japanese Calligraphy ---

Online gallery for photographer Robert Postma ---

Duy Huynh Art ---

Kush Fine Art ---

October 14, 2006 message (forwarded by Auntie Bev) from Michael Salone []

For those of you who like photography, there are a series of blogs called "Daily Photos" that were started by a friend of mine here in Paris. Click on Paris Daily Photo or insert ( ) into your browser to see his and over 100 other cities that have now created a photo a day. If your city is not listed, and you'd like to start one, contact Eric through his blog.

Paris Daily Photo ---

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 ---

A Pair Of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) --- Click Here

History: 1901 to World War II --- 

World War II History ---

White Fang by Jack London (1876-1916) --- Click Here

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) --- Click Here

The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce (1842 1914) --- Click Here

Novelty and Romancement by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) --- Click Here

An International Episode by Henry James (1843-1916) --- Click Here

Hysteria by T.S. Eliot

The Literary Encyclopedia is an expanding global literary reference work written by over 1400 specialists from universities around the world, and currently provides over 3550 authoritative profiles of authors, works and literary and historical topics. We will provide over 3800 by the end of this year and aim to publish at least 800 new profiles (circa 1.6m words) in the next 15 months. We also list nearly 19,000 works by date, country and genre, and provide advanced software tools. Membership costs only $17.95 for a full year (circa £10.00 or € 14.50) and helps us to build this valuable resource. In May 2006 we delivered over 1.8m pages to over 500,000 visits.
The Literary Encyclopedia ---

Why don't you shut the f**k up! If you can't take a joke, why don't you leave and get your money back.
Barbara Streisand in concert in New York City on October 10, 2006
Jensen Comment
This will endure as Streisand's most unforgettable, albeit not beloved, quotation.
Increasingly children think foul language is cool. It's not cool to be a profane role model Barbara!  
Adults who inspire millions of children to talk like this are lowlifes.

Charlotte Church (immensely more profane than Streisand) has a new talk show in England, where she plays a profanity-spewing hostess who is part Rosie O'Donnell, part Keith Olbermann (she has bashed President Bush as 'clueless' and a 'twat') and completely unhinged. The pilot episode featured Charlotte calling Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi, dressing as a nun and pretending to hallucinate while eating communion wafers imprinted with smiley faces…
Michelle Malkin, "Where have all the good girls gone?" WorldNetDaily, September 27, 2006 ---
Jensen Comment
Michelle Malkin's critical commentary on Charlotte Church's bad behavior made her (Michelle) an Internet assault target ---
I wonder who would be the target if Charlotte Church dared to portray a Muslim leader as a Nazi! BBC wisely will not allow Charlotte Church to criticize Muslims --- only Christians, Jews, and the U.S. coalition forces.
You can listen to foul-mouthed Charlotte Church masquerading as an sweet-voiced angel at
(Click on the listing under Media Clips)

I have lived as a philosopher and die as a Christian.
Giacomo Cassanova (de Seingalt)  (1725-1798). Purported to be the last words of a lecher who became a self-proclaimed philosopher ---
Click Here  
Jensen Comment
I think Cassanova made a mistake on his death bed. It would have been better, especially in his case, to look forward to owning 78 virgin slaves in the afterlife.

[S]cientists must be ever so careful when talking to reporters, especially those not trained in science or who are working on a tight deadline. Scientific progress can be halting, technically dense, often incomplete and filled with caveats. The scientific story is often messy, with lingering doubts, rival hypotheses, and always lots more work to be done (because the more we learn, the more we realize we have yet to learn). Reporters, on the other hand, want a neat story, simply told and unambiguous in its meaning. Reporters also love a controversy, and (in the interests of ‘fair and balanced’ reporting) will often present two opposing viewpoints with equal weight, even when the scientific community overwhelmingly endorses just one conclusion.
Robert Hazen as quoted by Michael Bugeja, "Sound Science or Sound Bite?" Inside Higher Ed, October 10, 2006 ---

Forgiveness is the fragrance of a violet left on the heel of someone that just crushed it.
Mark Twain ---

When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to stop and reconsider.
Mark Twain ---

People never lie so much as before an election, during a war, or after a hunt.
Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) ---

Cursed be the soldier who fires on his people.
Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) ---

Without discipline, there's no life at all.
Katharine Hepburn as quoted by Mark Shapiro at

Success is boring. Success is proving that you can do something that you already know you can do.
Jon Carroll, "Failure is a Good Thing," NPR, October 10, 2006 ---

Correspondent Haggai Huberman reports on a new phenomenon among the Arabs of Judea and Samaria: Youths carry knives or small bombs across checkpoints in order to get themselves arrested so that they can study for high school matriculation exams at the State of Israel's expense. Sitting in jail for a number of weeks or months is a small price to pay, and the returns are significant: A high school diploma, and a high social standing as a "freed terrorist." Huberman notes that earlier this week, IDF soldiers reported that they had thwarted an attack in the northern Shomron when they arrested two 19-year-old boys carrying two pipebombs of one kilogram (2.2 lbs.) each. However, the IDF later concluded that the boys were merely trying to get arrested for the purpose of matriculation exams, and that the pipebombs were not designed to cause significant damage.
Hillel Fendel, "Four Kassams In and Near Sderot; Faking Terror to Graduate," Israel Nation News, October 12, 2006 --- 

Author unknown

The world is already filled with too many spoiled brats who didn't hear "no" and "don't" enough when they were young. Now they're grown up with kids of their own, and those kids will only turn out more spoiled than their parents, especially if they're in the Australian day care system.
Erik Deckers, "How to Raise a Spoiled Child," The Irascible Professor, October 5, 2006 ---

Akira Haraguchi, 60, needed more than 16 hours to recite the number to 100,000 decimal places, breaking his personal best of 83,431 digits set in 1995, his office said Wednesday. He made the attempt at a public hall in Kisarazu, just east of Tokyo.
ABC News, October 4, 2006 ---

But here in the parched canyons along the Yellow River known as the Loess Plateau, some parents with dead bachelor sons will go a step further. To ensure a son’s contentment in the afterlife, some grieving parents will search for a dead woman to be his bride and, once a corpse is obtained, bury the pair together as a married couple.
Jim Yardly, "Dead Bachelors in Remote China Still Find Wives," The New York Times, October 5, 2006 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
And if both of them were buried in Texas, they'd be allowed to vote.

What I'm doing today is doing what I'm doing now: I'm educating a new generation in the CIA that the Muslim Brotherhood was a fascist organization that was hired by Western intelligence that evolved over time into what we today know as al-Qaeda. Here's how the story began. In the 1920s there was a young Egyptian named al Bana. And al Bana formed this nationalist group called the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Bana was a devout admirer of Adolph Hitler and wrote to him frequently. So persistent was he in his admiration of the new Nazi Party that in the 1930s, al-Bana and the Muslim Brotherhood became a secret arm of Nazi intelligence.
John Loftus, "The Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al-Qaeda," Canada Free Press, October 11, 2006 ---

Are China and Russia Secretly Behind This Latest North Korean Nuclear Extortion Scheme?

"Russia might have given know-how of miniature nukes to N. Korea" Kong Sung-jin, a S. Korean opposition lawmaker at Intelligence Committee of National Assembly, told on Oct. 11, "We have intelligence that the reason why Russia is the first nation N. Korea gave advance warning of its nuclear test is because Russia gave N. Korea technology for miniaturizing nukes. They are trying to verify the allegation." Legislator Kong appeared on 'Open World Today with Chang Sung-min,' a news talk show of Pyong-hwa Radio . . .
""Russia might have given N. Korea know-how of miniature nukes", October 11, 2006 ---

Few realize that whatever it was that North Korea detonated on Sunday, it packed barely the explosive force of a 10-yard cube of explosive fertilizer. A hundred thousand bucks' worth of ammonium nitrate could produce much the same bang. Far larger quantities of explosives have gone off accidentally in the last century. Sometimes, these big booms claimed thousands of victims, as at Texas City in 1948. Sometimes, they took only one -- the night watchman of the fertilizer plant in Toulouse that disappeared from the face of the Earth in 2001.
Russell Seitz, "Parody Physics Package?" The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2006; Page A12 --- Click Here

When the bulky page proofs for Myra MacPherson’s ”All Governments Lie”: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone, published by Scribner, landed on my desk a couple of months back, I started reading it while wearing, so to speak, two different hats . . . A few pages later in The Best of I.F. Stone, you can read an account of visiting Moscow following Krushchev’s famous “de-Stalinization” speech. The visiting journalist tells Soviet citizens that the “thaw” will mean nothing if they don’t acquire the right of habeas corpus. Fifty years have passed. There must be people who can read that passage now without tears in their eyes. But given the news lately, I am not one of them.
Scott McLemee, "Like a Rock," Inside Higher Ed, October 11, 2006 ---

There are two kinds of rogue dictators: the successful kind, who stay in office by playing major powers off against each other; and the failures, who overreach, unite the world against them and thereby summon the forces of regime change. Until Monday, Kim Jong-Il seemed to fit into the first category. But things have now changed. As Con Coughlin of the Daily Telegraph notes, thanks to Pyongyang's underground nuclear test, "The world's leaders have finally found something on which they can all agree."
"Kim Jong-Il's explosive mistake," Canada's National Post, October 10, 2006 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
I totally disagree! I speculate that current Russian and Chinese protests over Kim's nuclear test are a theatrical sham. It seems more likely in my suspicious mind that Russia and China are secretly conspiring with the Great Leader Comrade Kim Jong-Il in his effort to extort billions from the West to shore up the sinking North Korean economy. Without those added billions, Russia and China will have to bear more and more of the cost of saving a faltering communist ally. It was an extortion ploy that worked when Bill Clinton was President of the United States. Now we'll see whether media coverage and world pressures force President Bush to pay similar extortion fees in a costly effort to shore up U.S. image at home and abroad.

Note that although China signed off on the recent U.N. sanctions of North Korea, China refused to allow U.S. inspections of goods being shipped to North Korea through China. That way China can still allow any goods to be shipped, including military goods.

The old regimes in Russia and China are still in a Cold War with the West. We're just afraid to look behind the facades being held up by totalitarian superpowers still bent on bringing down the United States. The tactics of cold war shifted to economic tactics since President Reagan prematurely claimed a Cold War victory. What's scary about the latest heating up of the old Cold War is that there will probably be a growing number of fanatical jihad players in nuclear posturing are not controllable in the long-term by Russia, China, the U.S. and other superpowers. The problem is that Russia and China still have the old Cold War mentality that will get them, and us, into dangerous brinksmanship like the world has never known.

If China and Russia seriously want to snuff out North Korea's nuclear ambitions, all they have to do is threaten to cut off military aid to North Korea. That probably won't happen (except maybe in false media reports). North Korea insists that it wants unilateral negotiations with the U.S. North Korea does not want China and Russia included at the bargaining, because the U.S. might insist that China and Russia really cut off military aid as part of a packaged deal. North Korea prefers to dupe President Bush out of cash, power plants, oil, food, and other payoffs like it extorted out of President Clinton. Kim's dream is win control over all of Korea --- North and South. China's dream is to bleed the U.S. into bankruptcy. Russia should be more careful about its own long-term strategy in light of the "Midwife" document below that is circulating in China.

The media clamors that Iran and/or al-Qaeda will buy nukes from North Korea if the U.S. does not give in to  Kim's extortion demands. It will be many years before North Korea's low-tech nukes are worth Kim's price (billions). I would instead worry about the Russian Mafia who will probably charge less for high-tech nukes on the black market whenever Vladimir Putin decides the time is right.

At the moment Putin seems content to watch us throw billions ($335 billion to date) each day fighting a losing war with Iran in Iraq ---

Important and Revealing Document about China's Military-Leader Strategy
Germany’s dream to be the “lord of the earth” failed, because ultimately, history did not bestow this great mission upon them. But the three lessons Germany learned from experience are what we (in China) ought to remember as we complete our historic mission and revitalize our race. The three lessons are: Firmly grasp the country’s living space, firmly grasp the Party’s control over the nation, and firmly grasp the general direction toward becoming the “lord of the earth.”
"War Is Not Far from Us and Is the Midwife of the Chinese Century Leading CCP official argues for exterminating U.S. population," by Chi Haotian, The Epoch Times (a Falungong newspaper) ---
Jensen Comment
China tightly controls what is allowed to circulate on the Internet. A genuine expert on China tells me that the Chinese government allowed this "Midwife" racist document to circulate throughout China. It's revealing of the long-term strategy of some of the present military leaders in China. Nuclear extortion of the U.S. may well be one of the tactics under this strategy where North Korea is dancing with puppet strings.

It's enough now to observe that the diplomacy continued but led to nothing, as it had to, for it was based on the fundamentally false and unworkable premise that countries that insist on having nuclear weapons can prevent proliferation by those who don't, a process that a French defense minister once described as trying to "castrate the impotent." The indivisibility of the nuclear dilemma that Americans felt after Hiroshima and the chill in their bones that everyone now feels again is also a feature of the arsenals that produce the chill. They are all the progeny of the same scientific formulas and technical inventions, and for more than sixty years, they have been summoning one another into existence, terror provoking counterterror, bomb dueling bomb. And it is not, of course, North Korea's tiny arsenal that can lay waste continents and bring on nuclear winter; it is the arsenals of the United States and Russia, not to speak of England, France, China, Pakistan, India and Israel, about none of which anyone seems to have had a great deal to say recently.
Jonathan Schell, "Shock Waves From Kilju, The Nation, October 11, 2006 ---
Jensen Comment
That's not to say that Russian and China could not put an end nuclear development in Iran and North Korea if Sino Soviet  superpowers were not still playing cold war games with the U.S. Instead they're using Iran and North Korea to bleed the U.S. economy and weaken our resolve for spreading democracy and freedom of speech around the world. Democracy is a very fragile form of government in the earliest stages of development in the Middle East, Far East, Africa, and South America. I really think that Bush and Cheney at one time thought, naively, that Russia and China would allow democracy to take hold in their own countries and elsewhere in the world. It's time to face up to reality and stop playing into the hands of communist states who changed only in name and have never truly allowed the first requisite of democracy --- freedom of speech!

Having said this, I must admit that the U.S. is not lily pure in pursuit of democracy. History is replete with our willingness to back "friendly" corrupt dictators, especially in Latin America and South America as well as totally corrupt warlords in Afghanistan. And our multinational business firms have exploited commodity and labor resources under false pretenses in many instances. The big difference in the U.S. is that the world  media is free to bring our misdeeds to light.

The problem with free speech is increasingly that of separating fact from fiction.

Statistical analysis or politics?
The MSM had a field day on October 11 with two reports. The first was by a Johns Hopkins scientist, suggesting that there have been more than 600,000 civilian deaths in Iraq during the current conflict - a full order of magnitude greater than the US-government estimate of 30-50,000. Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies criticized the way the estimate was derived and noted that the results were released shortly before the Nov. 7 election." They're almost certainly way too high. This is not analysis, this is politics," Cordesman said.
"Rumsfeld, Casey Reject Reports on Iraqi Civilian Deaths, Troop Levels," by Mark Finkelstein, Newsbusters, October 12, 2006 ---

At a separate Pentagon briefing, Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said that the figure "seems way, way beyond any number that I have seen. I've not seen a number higher than 50,000. And so I don't give it that much credibility at all."
San Francisco Chronicle, October 12, 2006 ---

Jensen Comment
Given the present hostilities, I would not place much faith on a survey conducted by eight Iraqi physicians who surveyed 1,849 Iraqi families leading to the estimate of over 600,000 deaths. Statisticians sometimes place too much faith in the inference numbers and formulas rather than the prejudices of the respondents. I suspect that disgruntled Iraqi respondents inflated the numbers when given an opportunity to rid Iraq of the U.S. infidels.

It's a shame if Russia and China grow militarily impatient for the fall of the U.S. The U.S. will bring itself to bankruptcy if our Congress is given just a little more time to mortgage our future generations ---

With their record over the past few years, the Big Government Republicans in Washington do not merit the support of conservatives. They have busted the federal budget for generations to come with the prescription-drug benefit and the creation and expansion of other programs. They have brought forth a limitless flow of pork for the sole, immoral purpose of holding onto office. They have expanded government regulation into every aspect of our lives and refused to deal seriously with mounting domestic problems such as illegal immigration. They have spent more time seeking the favors of K Street lobbyists than listening to the conservatives who brought them to power. And they have sunk us into the very sort of nation-building war that candidate George W. Bush promised to avoid, while ignoring rising threats such as communist China and the oil-rich “new Castro,” Hugo Chavez.
Richard A. Viguerie, "The show must not go on," The Washington Monthly, October 2006 ---

"Book Argues for Retaking the 'Conservative Soul'," by Robert Siegel, NPR, October 12, 2006 ---


October 11, 2006 message from Naomi Ragen []

From Paul Bogdanor's website: "Radical leftists would like you to believe that they stand for democracy, progress, human rights and social justice. But wherever they seize power, they impose slavery, terror, famine, concentration camps and mass murder. As the Marxists used to say, this is no accident."

(for an extensive bibliography go to )

Naturally The Washington Post Says It's All Bush's Fault
"Bush's 'Axis of Evil' Comes Back to Haunt United States," by Glenn Kessler and Peter Baker, The Washington Post, October 10, 2006 --- Click Here

Nearly five years after President Bush introduced the concept of an "axis of evil" comprising Iraq, Iran and North Korea, the administration has reached a crisis point with each nation: North Korea has claimed it conducted its first nuclear test, Iran refuses to halt its uranium-enrichment program, and Iraq appears to be tipping into a civil war 3 1/2 years after the U.S.-led invasion.

. . .

James B. Steinberg, President Bill Clinton's deputy national security adviser and now dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, said the North Korea test will raise a larger question that echoes Ronald Reagan's most famous 1980 campaign line -- "With respect to the axis of evil," Steinberg said, "are you better off today than you were four years ago? . . . It's clear that the answer is we're worse off with respect to the nuclear proliferation problem in both North Korea and Iran than four to six years ago, and I would argue we're worse off in our overall security because of the situation in Iraq."

"Whaddaya Know: Thomas Friedman Says It's Not All Bush's Fault ," by Mark Finkelstein, Newsbusters, October 11, 2006 ---

Not the smallest bird doesn't fall but liberal pundits blame it on George W. Bush.  A refreshing change of pace this morning, then, in the person of Thomas Friedman, who writes that the major responsibility for avoiding future international catastrophe lays not at the feet of the current occupant of the White House, but in Moscow and Beijing.

In the (New York Times) subscription-required The Bus Is Waiting, Friedman propounds the theory that the nuclearized North Korea and Iran will inevitably lead to a string of countries across Asia and the Middle East developing atomic weapons of their own.

To prevent this, Friedman asserts that it is necessary for:

"China and Russia [to] get their act together and understand that the post-post-cold-war world is a much bigger threat to their prosperity than a post-cold-war world in which U.S. power is pre-eminent. You read me right — the post-cold-war world can be preserved only if Russia and China get over their ambivalence about U.S. power.

"If China told North Korea that unless it dismantled its nuclear program and put its facilities under U.N. inspection, Beijing would cut off its energy and food, Kim Jong-il would relent. He is not suicidal.

"And if China and Russia told Iran that they would join in the toughest possible U.N. economic sanctions on Tehran if it persisted in its nuclear program, the ayatollahs would also back down. Because then the Europeans would have the spine to join in sanctions and Tehran would face a united front."

This is pretty heady stuff.  Friedman is effectively demanding that Russia and China accept American pre-eminence ["hegemony" for those of you in the liberal establishment].  And in return, all Friedman demands of DC is some hard-nosed realpolitik.  He essentially suggests that the US give up on spreading democracy via regime change, and focus instead on behavior change by the leaders of rogue states.

Friedman concludes by saying that - in the name of a relatively peaceful world - China and Russia need to stop being "free riders on our bus."  Interesting formulation for an MSM so typically quick to point the finger homeward for all the world's ills.

Continued in article

What's the main reason a New Media emerged in the face of the Old Media?

"New Media A Weapon in New World Of Politics," by John F. Harris, The Washington Post, October 6, 2006 ---
Click Here

Each time a similar episode occurs, it is often covered as an isolated and even eccentric event. But Clinton, in an earlier interview, said his party should understand that the ideological and financial incentives among politicians and media organizations mean that every election cycle will feature such episodes -- and it should plan accordingly.

But he said Democrats of his generation tend to be naive about new media realities. There is an expectation among Democrats that establishment old media organizations are de facto allies -- and will rebut political accusations and serve as referees on new-media excesses.

"We're all that way, and I think a part of it is we grew up in the '60s and the press led us against the war and the press led us on civil rights and the press led us on Watergate," Clinton said. "Those of us of a certain age grew up with this almost unrealistic set of expectations."

Few conservatives would make a similar miscalculation. Many of the first generation of new media platforms, including Limbaugh's show and Drudge's Web site, first flourished because of a conviction among conservatives that old media were unfair.

All this has given Republicans a comfort and skill at using new media to political advantage that most Democrats have not matched. At the Republican National Committee, leaking items to the Drudge Report is an official part of communications strategy.

Continued in article

In Taking On Fox, Democrats See Reward in the Risk
The attacks represent a new twist on the Democrats’ complicated dance with the cable news channel. Though Fox News maintains that its reporting is down the middle, Democrats have long complained that the news channel operates like a public relations outpost of the Bush White House. But never before has that anger built into a mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-any-more moment, and spilled over in such naked and sustained fashion onto Fox News itself.
Lorne Manly, "In Taking On Fox, Democrats See Reward in the Risk," The New York Times, October 1, 1006 ---

On October 5 Fox interviewed Ian Bremmer, author of The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall. Bremmer is a very articulate speaker. His discussion helped me better understand that some of the nutty things expounded by leaders of rogue nations (e.g., "there was no WW II holocaust") are largely played for internal political purposes in spite of how poorly their nutty outbursts play outside their own nations. Bremmer was also interviewed by John Stewart on Comedy Central, but the interviewer degenerated into silliness --- which I guess is to be expected on Comedy Central. Actually John did a better job interviewing Pervez Musharaf.

  • ISBN: 0743274717
  • Pub. Date: August 2006
  • The following review appears at

    Worth the Read,
    October 4, 2006 Reviewer: N. J. McCarthy
    See all my reviews (REAL NAME) Whether you're an avid reader or professional investor, Ian Bremmer's book is worth your time. Ian's writing is organized, clear and concise. The book is written for the average reader; you do not need to be a policy wonk to understand his points. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, Ian Bremmer's book provides an excellent basis for continuing debate regarding U.S. foreign policy.

    Ian discusses eleven countries and their position along the J Curve. With each country, he discusses its history, current leadership style, the positives and negatives of U.S. policy towards that country and some suggestions of other approaches that could further openness and stability in that country. As an investor, I came away with a better idea of how to qualitatively measure short term and long term political risk.

    The one question I had after reading this book was whether our current global economic and governing organizations were structured or could evolve to address these instabilities. Ian Bremmer did address this issue at a professional investor meeting I attended. He was quite dynamic and covered material beyond his book. I'd recommend attending a book signing if there happens to be one in your city.

    For more serious international policy research, go to the following huge sites:
    NationMaster --- 
    CIA World FactBook ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics are at

    Hunger Strikes at Guantanamo Bay Are Rare
    Fueled by a high-calorie diet, detainees at Guantanamo Bay are becoming fat. Most of the prisoners arrived at the military prison in southeast Cuba slightly underweight but have since gained an average of 20 pounds (9 kilograms), and most are now "normal to mildly overweight or mildly obese," Navy Cmdr. Robert Durand, spokesman for the detention facilities, said Monday.
    Michael Malia, "Fueled by a high-calorie diet, detainees at Guantanamo Bay are becoming fat," ABC News, October 3, 2006 ---

    Canadian troops find it hard to "smoke" out the Taliban in this jungle
    Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan have stumbled across an unexpected and potent enemy -- almost impenetrable forests of 10-feet (three metre) high marijuana plants. General Rick Hillier, chief of the Canadian defence staff, said on Thursday that Taliban fighters were using the forests as cover. In response, the crew of at least one armored car had camouflaged their vehicle with marijuana.
    "Canada troops battle 10-ft Afghan marijuana plants," Yahoo News, October 12, 2006 --- Click Here

    From Opinion Journal, on October 13, 2006
    The Taliban are at an advantage here, since they have plenty of experience with getting stoned. 

    Even physical sex with Congressional pages doesn't necessarily get you kicked out of Congress
    Gerry Eastman Studds . . . served as a Congressman for Massachusetts beginning in 1973. He was the first openly homosexual member of the US Congress and, more generally, the first openly gay national politician in the US. In 1983, he admitted to having had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male page and was censured by the House of Representatives. In spite of this Congressman Studds was repeatedly re-elected and served another 14 years until 1997.
    Jensen Added Comment
    A 17-year old is considered to be of legal age for consentual sex, but that does not protect Congressional representatives from censure. Dan Crane, who in 1983 had sex with a 17-year old female page, was also censured. But Crane, unlike Studds, was not re-elected to Congress. Most states set the legal age at 16 years of age and over.

    If Mark Foley had been a public school teacher, how difficult would it be to fire him for sending sexually explicit email messages to his students?

    "How to Fire an Incompetent Teacher:  An illustrated guide to New York's public school bureaucracy," by John Stossel (one of my media heroes), Reason Magazine, October 2006 --- 

    Joel Klein led the Justice Department's attack on Microsoft for its alleged efforts to monopolize the software market. But Microsoft is a hotbed of competition compared to the organization Klein runs now. Klein is chancellor of New York City's public school system, a monopoly so heavily regulated that sometimes it's unable to fire even dangerous teachers.

    The series of steps a principal must take to dismiss an instructor is Byzantine. "It's almost impossible," Klein complains.

    The rules were well-intended. The union was worried that principals would play favorites, hiring friends and family members while firing good teachers. If public education were subject to the competition of the free market, those bureaucratic rules would be unnecessary, because parents would hold a bad principal accountable by sending their kids to a different school the next year. But government schools never go out of business, and parents' ability to change schools is sharply curtailed. So the education monopoly adopts paralyzing rules instead.

    The regulations are so onerous that principals rarely even try to fire a teacher. Most just put the bad ones in pretend-work jobs, or sucker another school into taking them. (They call that the "dance of the lemons.") The city payrolls include hundreds of teachers who have been deemed incompetent, violent, or guilty of sexual misconduct. Since the schools are afraid to let them teach, they put them in so-called "rubber rooms" instead. There they read magazines, play cards, and chat, at a cost to New York taxpayers of $20 million a year.

    Once, Klein reports, the school system discovered that a teacher was sending sexual e-mails to a 16-year-old student. "This was the most unbelievable case to me," he says, "because the e-mail was there, he admitted to it. It was so thoroughly offensive." Even with the teacher's confession, it took six years of expensive litigation before the school could fire him. He didn't teach during those six years, but he still got paid—more than $350,000 total.

    What did it take to finally get rid of him? What does it take to get rid of any teacher whose offenses are so egregious that administrators are willing to tackle the red tape? Read on.

    "How To Fire An Incompetent Teacher", an epic spelunk through the New York school system ---

    Adapted from Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel—Why Everything You Know is Wrong (Hyperion), by John Stossel. Copyright 2006.

    Also see
    "A History of Sex With Students, Unchallenged," by David Kocieniewski, The New York Times, October 10, 2006 ---
    Click Here 

    It was not until 2001, when relatives of the boy, Christopher Castlegrande, filed a complaint with the police of statutory rape against Ms. West, that she left her $74,000-a-year job and lost her unfettered access to Bayonne High School’s students.

    After Ms. West was arrested, school officials insisted for more than a year that the allegation was the only accusation of misconduct in a sterling 24-year career. They allowed her to take an early retirement package that fattened her pension, and gave her a farewell party with cake and ice cream. When Ms. West pleaded guilty in 2005 to sexual assault charges, glowing references from co-workers, supervisors and friends helped persuade a judge to sentence her only to probation. She was also spared the ordeal of having to register as a sex offender.

    Continued in article

    Say What? Has the Voting Rights Act gone this far in Mississippi?
    Ike Brown, chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee of Noxubee County, Miss., faces a federal suit. MACON, Miss., Oct. 5 — The Justice Department has chosen this no-stoplight, courthouse town buried in the eastern Mississippi prairie for an unusual civil rights test: the first federal lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act accusing blacks of suppressing the rights of whites.
    Adam Nositer, "U.S. Says Blacks in Mississippi Suppress White Vote," The New York Times, October 11, 2006 ---

  • The Justice Department’s main focus is Ike Brown, a local power broker whose imaginative electoral tactics have for 20 years caused whisperings from here to the state capital in Jackson, 100 miles to the southwest. Mr. Brown, tall, thin, a twice-convicted felon, the chairman of the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee and its undisputed political boss, is accused by the federal government of orchestrating — with the help of others — “relentless voting-related racial discrimination” against whites, whom blacks outnumber by more than 3 to 1 in the county.

    His goal, according to the government: keeping black politicians — ones supported by Mr. Brown, that is — in office.

    To do that, the department says, he and his allies devised a watertight system for controlling the all-determining Democratic primary, much as segregationists did decades ago.

    Mr. Brown is accused in the lawsuit and in supporting documents of paying and organizing notaries, some of whom illegally marked absentee ballots or influenced how the ballots were voted; of publishing a list of voters, all white, accompanied by a warning that they would be challenged at the polls; of importing black voters into the county; and of altering racial percentages in districts by manipulating the registration rolls.

    To run against the county prosecutor — one of two white officeholders in Noxubee — Mr. Brown brought in a black lawyer from outside the county, according to the supporting documents, who never even bothered to turn on the gas or electricity at his rented apartment. That candidate was disqualified.Whites, who make up just under 30 percent of the population here, are circumspect when discussing Mr. Brown, though he remains a hero to many blacks. When he drove off to federal prison to serve a sentence for tax fraud in 1995, he received a grand farewell from his political supporters and friends, including local elected officials; whites, on the other hand, for years have seen him as a kind of occult force in determining the affairs of the county.

    Continued in article

    Also see "Whites in the Deep South turn to law for equal rights on voting," London Times, October 16, 2006 ---,,3-2405789_1,00.html

    Black Minuteman leader prepares to sue Columbia University
    An African-American member of the
    Minuteman Project who was harassed and taunted with the "N-word" during a speech at Columbia University has filed police reports as the first step in a lawsuit against the New York City institution.
    "Black Minuteman leader prepares to sue Columbia Harassed, taunted with 'N-word' during event quashed by protesters," WorldNetDaily, October 13, 2006 ---

    With Columbia University again under fire over speech issues, the president is condemning anyone who prevents another’s speech from taking place. On Wednesday, protesters stormed a stage where Jim Gilchrist, head of the Minuteman Project, a “vigilance operation” opposing illegal immigration, was speaking, forcing him to stop his talk. Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia’s president, pledged that the university would investigate the incident and procedures for making sure that speakers can give their talks. In a statement, he said: “This is not a complicated issue. Students and faculty have rights to invite speakers to the campus. Others have rights to hear them. Those who wish to protest have rights to do so. No one, however, shall have the right or the power to use the cover of protest to silence speakers. This is a sacrosanct and inviolable principle.”
    Inside Higher Ed, October 9, 2006

  • Rosa Robota has gone down in Jewish Holocaust history as a heroine for her actions involving the smuggling of black powder (schwartzpulver) into Auschwitz. This product was made into explosives which were used during the famous Sonderkommando Revolt. Although this prisoner-uprising failed to stop the wheels of death at Auschwitz, Crematorium IV was successfully destroyed by the demolition. In addition, the prisoners in Auschwitz for a brief moment, showed the Germans they were capable of resistance - even in this most extreme of environments. The actions by Rosa were ones for which she gave up her life - for she was caught, interrogated, tortured and then executed by the SS in Auschwitz.
    This link was forwarded by Naomi Ragen []

    Many Liberal Elitists Going Out of State for Wal-Mart shopping
    Here's a simple test for the wealthy, liberal elites in Massachusetts who oppose Wal-Mart ("Seeking Growth in Urban Areas, Wal-Mart Gets Cold Shoulder," WSJ, page one, Sept. 25): Visit the New Hampshire shopping centers near the Massachusetts border and check out the high volume of cars with Bay State license plates and "Impeach Bush" bumper stickers. Turns out that even Massachusetts liberals like tax-free shopping and, if given the chance, would flock to Wal-Mart's low prices.
    Michael Paranzino, "Are Some Liberal Elitists Sneaking Into Wal-Mart?" The Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2006; Page A21 --- Click Here
    Jensen Comment
    I live 10 miles from a Wal-Mart in northern New Hampshire that has the highest sales revenue per square foot relative to all Wal-Mart stores in the U.S. The main reason is the sea of green license plates in the parking lot (Vermont license plates are green.) Vermont is one of the nation's more liberal states that bans building of more Wal-Mart stores in addition to having a sales tax. New Hampshire has not sales tax.

    "Canberra and Corruption," The Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2006 ---

    Ever since an Australian company was accused of funneling millions of dollars in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein, corporate boards in Australia have been revising their policies on bribes. Now -- finally -- the Australian Tax Office is, too.

    "Recently," we're told, the ATO distributed internal guidelines to its auditors on how to distinguish "facilitation payments" from "bribes." A spokeswoman confirmed the ATO may soon require companies to report the purpose of such payments on their tax returns.

    If that happens, it would constitute the first significant good to come out of the Cole Commission, an independent body set up last year to investigate Australian involvement in the U.N.'s Oil for Food debacle. The proceedings focused on claims that AWB Ltd., formerly the Australian Wheat Board, had paid some $220 million in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein -- some of which, presumably, was classified as "facilitation payments."

    Under current law, Australian companies can use facilitation payments to smooth business in corrupt countries. So long as the transaction is recorded and of "a minor nature," it is tax deductible -- but the purpose of the payment doesn't have to be reported to the tax office. What constitutes a "minor" payment is left to the discretion of company bosses.

    The opposition Labour Party proposes aligning the tax code with the criminal code, putting a cap on tax deductibility and mandating better disclosure. All good ideas. It's just too bad that it took the scandalous funding of a dictator to force Canberra to get serious about corruption.

    Jensen Warning
    Microsoft's new version of Internet Explorer is due to be released sometime this month. In addition to the usual problems that arise with new versions of Microsoft software, this upgrade may be more troublesome according to Wired News ---

    Face-to-Face With Microsoft:  Google's Free Word Processing and Spreadsheet Software is Now Available ---
    Click Here

    "Google opens access to word processing, spreadsheet programs," MIT's Technology Review, October 12, 2006 ---

    Google Inc. is making its word processing and spreadsheet programs available for free to all comers on its Web site, marking the Internet search leader's latest effort to provide an alternative to Microsoft Corp.'s dominant software applications.

    The software package, expected to be available Wednesday, combines a spreadsheet application that Google introduced in June with a word processing program called Writely that the Mountain View-based company bought for an undisclosed amount in March.

    As part of the expansion, the Writely name will disappear. The new package will be called Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

    Google also had been limiting usage of both the word processing and spreadsheet programs, but the company now expects to be able to accommodate anyone who signs up, said product manager Jonathan Rochelle.

    Wednesday's move continues Google's attempt to assemble a suite of software applications that are tethered to an Internet connection instead of a single computer's hard drive. That makes it easier for people to work on the same document from different locations, a convenience that is also meant to encourage more sharing among users with common interests or goals.

    "The 25 Worst Web Sites," by Dan Tynan, PC World, September 21, 2006 ---,127116/article.html

  • People say hindsight is 20/20. When it comes to the Web, hindsight is more like X-ray vision: In retrospect, it's easy to see what was wrong with dot coms that tried to make a business out of giving stuff away for free (but making it up later in volume), or to make fun of venture capitalists who handed millions to budding Web titans who had never run a lemonade stand before, let alone an enterprise.

    It's so easy, in fact, we can't help doing it ourselves. So as venture capitalists scramble to throw money at anything labled Ajax or Web 2.0, and Web publishing becomes so simple that anyone with a working mouse hand can put up a site, we offer our list of the 25 worst Web sites of all time.

    Many of our bottom 25 date from the dot-com boom, when no bad idea went unfunded. Some sites were outright scams--at least two of our featured Net entrepreneurs spent some time in the pokey. Others are just examples of bad design, or sites that got a little too careless with users' information, or tried to demand far too much personal data for too little benefit.

    And to prove we're not afraid to pick on somebody much bigger than us, our pick for the worst Web site may be the hottest cyberspot on the planet right now.

    Feel free to start at the bottom and work your way up, or jump ahead and read about the worst of the worst.


  • Here's another way airlines are cheating you!
    The increase raises several questions about the long-held airline practice of selling more tickets for a flight than there are seats on the plane. For one: The DOT requires that airlines compensate passengers for bumping them off flights, but the maximum amount of $400 was set in 1978 and hasn't changed. Had the maximum amount been adjusted for inflation, it would be more than $1,200 today. And some argue that since the last tickets sold are usually the most expensive, airlines have too much incentive to sell $1,000 tickets when no seats are available if the penalty is only $400 to bump a cheaper-fare passenger.
    Scott McCartney, "More Fliers Forced To Give Up Seats:  Overbookings Surge as Airlines Trim Schedules; Passenger Compensation Unchanged Since 1978," The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2006 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on consumer frauds are at

    "The Organic Myth:  Pastoral ideals are getting trampled as organic food goes mass market," Business Week, October 18, 2006 --- Click Here

    Next time you're in the supermarket, stop and take a look at Stonyfield Farm yogurt. With its contented cow and green fields, the yellow container evokes a bucolic existence, telegraphing what we've come to expect from organic food: pure, pesticide-free, locally produced ingredients grown on a small family farm.

    So it may come as a surprise that Stonyfield's organic farm is long gone. Its main facility is a state-of-the-art industrial plant just off the airport strip in Londonderry, N.H., where it handles milk from other farms. And consider this: Sometime soon a portion of the milk used to make that organic yogurt may be taken from a chemical-free cow in New Zealand, powdered, and then shipped to the U.S. True, Stonyfield still cleaves to its organic heritage. For Chairman and CEO Gary Hirshberg, though, shipping milk powder 9,000 miles across the planet is the price you pay to conquer the supermarket dairy aisle. "It would be great to get all of our food within a 10-mile radius of our house," he says. "But once you're in organic, you have to source globally."

    Hirshberg's dilemma is that of the entire organic food business. Just as mainstream consumers are growing hungry for untainted food that also nourishes their social conscience, it is getting harder and harder to find organic ingredients. There simply aren't enough organic cows in the U.S., never mind the organic grain to feed them, to go around. Nor are there sufficient organic strawberries, sugar, or apple pulp -- some of the other ingredients that go into the world's best-selling organic yogurt.

    Now companies from Wal-Mart (WMT ) to General Mills (GIS ) to Kellogg (K ) are wading into the organic game, attracted by fat margins that old-fashioned food purveyors can only dream of. What was once a cottage industry of family farms has become Big Business, with all that that implies, including pressure from Wall Street to scale up and boost profits. Hirshberg himself is under the gun because he has sold an 85% stake in Stonyfield to the French food giant Groupe Danone. To retain management control, he has to keep Stonyfield growing at double-digit rates. Yet faced with a supply crunch, he has drastically cut the percentage of organic products in his line. He also has scaled back annual sales growth, from almost 40% to 20%. "They're all mad at me," he says.

    As food companies scramble to find enough organically grown ingredients, they are inevitably forsaking the pastoral ethos that has defined the organic lifestyle. For some companies, it means keeping thousands of organic cows on industrial-scale feedlots. For others, the scarcity of organic ingredients means looking as far afield as China, Sierra Leone, and Brazil -- places where standards may be hard to enforce, workers' wages and living conditions are a worry, and, say critics, increased farmland sometimes comes at a cost to the environment.

    Everyone agrees on the basic definition of organic: food grown without the assistance of man-made chemicals. Four years ago, under pressure from critics fretting that the term "organic" was being misused, the U.S. Agriculture Dept. issued rules. To be certified as organic, companies must eschew most pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, synthetic fertilizers, bioengineering, and radiation. But for purists, the philosophy also requires farmers to treat their people and livestock with respect and, ideally, to sell small batches of what they produce locally so as to avoid burning fossil fuels to transport them. The USDA rules don't fully address these concerns.

    Hence the organic paradox: The movement's adherents have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, but success has imperiled their ideals. It simply isn't clear that organic food production can be replicated on a mass scale. For Hirshberg, who set out to "change the way Kraft (KFT ), Monsanto (MON ), and everybody else does business," the movement is shedding its innocence. "Organic is growing up."

    Certainly, life has changed since 1983, when Hirshberg teamed up with a back-to-the-land advocate named Samuel Kaymen to sell small batches of full-fat plain organic yogurt. Kaymen had founded Stonyfield Farm to feed his six kids and, as he puts it, "escape the dominant culture." Hirshberg, then 29, had been devoted to the environment for years, stung by memories of technicolor dyes streaming downriver from his father's New Hampshire shoe factories. He wrote a book on how to build water-pumping windmills and, between 1979 and 1983, ran the New Alchemy Institute, an alternative-living research center on Cape Cod. He was a believer.

    But producing yogurt amid the rudimentary conditions of the original Stonyfield Farm was a recipe for nightmares, not nirvana. Meg, an organic farmer who married Hirshberg in 1986, remembers the farm as cold and crowded, with a road so perilous that suppliers often refused to come up. "I call it the bad old days," she says. Adds her mother, Doris Cadoux, who propped up the business for years: "Every time Gary would come to me for money, Meg would call to say 'Mama, don't do it."'

    Farming without insecticides, fertilizers, and other aids is tough. Laborers often weed the fields by hand. Farmers control pests with everything from sticky flypaper to aphid-munching ladybugs. Manure and soil fertility must be carefully managed. Sick animals may take longer to get well without a quick hit of antibiotics, although they're likely to be healthier in the first place. Moreover, the yield per acre or per animal often goes down, at least initially. Estimates for the decline from switching to organic corn range up to 20%.

    Organic farmers say they can ultimately exceed the yields of conventional rivals through smarter soil management. But some believe organic farming, if it is to stay true to its principles, would require vastly more land and resources than is currently being used. Asks Alex Avery, a research director at the Hudson Institute think tank: "How much Bambi habitat do you want to plow down?"

    For a sense of why Big Business and organics often don't mix, it helps to visit Jack and Anne Lazor of Butterworks Farm. The duo have been producing organic yogurt in northeastern Vermont since 1975. Their 45 milking cows are raised from birth and have names like Peaches and Moonlight. All of the food for the cows -- and most of what the Lazors eat, too -- comes from the farm, and Anne keeps their charges healthy with a mix of homeopathic medicines and nutritional supplements. Butterworks produces a tiny 9,000 quarts of yogurt a week, and no one can pressure them to make more. Says Jack: "I'd be happiest to sell everything within 10 miles of here."

    But the Lazors also embody an ideal that's almost impossible for other food producers to fulfill. For one thing, they have enough land to let their modest-sized herd graze for food. Many of the country's 9 million-plus dairy cows (of which fewer than 150,000 are organic) are on farms that will never have access to that kind of pasture. After all, a cow can only walk so far when it has to come back to be milked two or three times a day.

    When consumers shell out premiums of 50% or more to buy organic, they are voting for the Butterworks ethic. They believe humans should be prudent custodians not only of their own health but also of the land and animals that share it. They prefer food produced through fair wages and family farms, not poor workers and agribusiness. They are responding to tales of caged chickens and confined cows that never touch a blade of grass; talk of men losing fertility and girls becoming women at age nine because of extra hormones in food. They read about pesticides seeping into the food supply and genetically modified crops creeping across the landscape.

    For Big Food, consumers' love affair with everything organic has seemed like a gift from the gods. Food is generally a commoditized, sluggish business, especially in basic supermarket staples. Sales of organic groceries, on the other hand, have been surging by up to 20% in recent years. Organic milk is so profitable -- with wholesale prices more than double that of conventional milk -- that Lyle "Spud" Edwards of Westfield, Vt., was able to halve his herd, to 25 cows, this summer and still make a living, despite a 15% drop in yields since switching to organic four years ago. "There's a lot more paperwork, but it's worth it," says Edwards, who supplies milk to Stonyfield.

    Continued in article

    The Non-Organic Reality That Might Force McDonald's Corporation into Bankruptcy
    (if billions of former customers join in this legal lottery)

    "McDonald's didn't make them fat," by John Stossel, Townhall, October 11, 2006 ---

  • Yet the judge has given the green light to a lawsuit against McDonald's by two teenaged girls who claim the popular fast-food chain tricked them into eating food that made them fat and sick. At first it looked as if this lawsuit was going to be pushed down the garbage disposal, but now it's back. What's going on?

  • Three years ago, the girls accused McDonald's of deceptive advertising and selling unhealthy food. Judge Sweet dismissed the suit because the allegations were too vague. "Where should the line be drawn between an individual's own responsibility to take care of herself and society's responsibility to ensure others shield her?" he asked. "The complaint fails to allege the McDonald's products consumed by the plaintiffs were dangerous in any way other than that which was open and obvious to a reasonable consumer."

  • But he invited the plaintiffs to re-file it with more specific information. Sure enough, they did, and last month, the judge ruled that the girls had identified to his satisfaction "40 deceptive ads" and "sufficiently described" the harm McDonald's food allegedly caused them: "obesity, hypertension and elevated levels of LDL cholesterol."

    Continued in article

    Five major UK research funders now require open access to the published results

    From the University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communication Blog on October 13, 2006 ---

  • October 1st 2006 is a major milestone for the open access movement. There are now five major UK research funders which require open access to the published results of all the research that they fund.

    The Medical Research Council (MRC), Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) and National Environmental Research Council (NERC) have all introduced policies requiring deposition in an open access repository, which took effect on October 1st 2006.

    These new policies come into effect on the anniversary of the introduction of the Wellcome Trust's policy on open access, on October 1st 2005.

    Matthew Cockerill,
    PhD Publisher, BioMed Central

    Bob Jensen's threads on publisher rip-off pricing of scholarly communications can be found at


    What made the old Sony Walkman better than all new "audiobooks" for the blind?

    As a library trying to implement digital audiobooks for our patrons, the dreadful state of player technology presents us with a serious obstacle ("Getting an Earful of Printed Words -- Downloads, Small Devices Draw a Wider Audience of Audiobook Listeners," Personal Journal, Sept. 28). The nearly 30-year-old Sony Walkman is easy to grasp and can be used by anyone with about 10 seconds of training. The controls can be manipulated with ease in the dark or by a blind person. It is cheap, reliable and has a consistent form factor. But the new, portable digital media players, regardless of price and maker, suffer from overengineering, and their features are focused on the music customer, ignoring the needs of the audio book user. None of the new devices can be used by the blind or visually impaired because the controls have no tactile feedback, are multifunction and ridiculously small. The displays, when they exist, are too small even for people with good eyesight. The process of downloading the book, transferring it to the device and then trying to keep your place while "reading" over a series of hours, days or weeks is daunting to the best and impossible for many. Many users give up after trying it once or twice.
    Vern Mastel, "New Audiobook Technology Frustrates Blind Listeners," The Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2006 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on "Technology Aids for the Handicapped and Learning Challenged" are at

    Oh Goodie ---  I was tired of holding my breath for this ---


    "The Best B-Schools Of 2006," Business Week Cover Story (Complete with a slide show), October 23, 2006 --- Click Here


  • The best-ranked programs from previous years continue to dominate the top of the list. The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, which moved up a notch, to No. 2, did so on the strength of its core curriculum and extensive elective offerings, as well as unusual approaches to teaching. One program, for example, teaches leadership as students climb a volcano in Ecuador. And even though Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management lost its grip on the No. 1 perch it has held since 2002, it fell only two places, to No. 3. Kellogg continues to win student plaudits for its rigorous academics, top-flight student body, and support from faculty and career services that one grad called "almost parental."

    Fresh thinking from business school deans has also allowed several programs to move up in the rankings. Case in point: the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business, which until now had never broken into the top 10. Haas catapulted nine spots, to No. 8, leapfrogging such perennial favorites as Cornell, Columbia, and Dartmouth. The combination of a small class, exceptional faculty, and a collegial atmosphere impressed students. "What I was looking for in a school was getting a real learning experience, not just getting my ticket punched," says Anders Geertsen, who is pursuing a banking career. "The students at Berkeley are there to learn and connect to one another."

    Recruiters, meanwhile, were wowed by the quality of grads. Adobe Systems Inc., (ADBE ) the San Jose (Calif.) software maker, found more than a third of its MBAs at Haas this year. "Haas produces very strong, entrepreneurial, innovative-type thinkers," says Michelle A. Smith, Adobe's manager of university recruiting. "They fit well with our culture and are able to collaborate effectively."

    Berkeley's performance this year shows that, when it comes to career services, sweating the small stuff is key. Several years ago, Haas became one of the first B-schools to assign "account managers" to work directly with individual recruiters. One was even dispatched to New York to strengthen Haas's relationship with the big financial services companies. In addition, recruiters who visit the campus now get VIP treatment. Lunch is on the school, and Dean Tom Campbell frequently drops by to ask what the school could be doing better. Parking permits for recruiters are now issued in advance, or someone from the school meets recruiters curbside with a permit in hand. Abby Scott, the school's executive director of MBA career services, says recruiters who'd begun skipping Haas are starting to return.

    Indeed, recruiters are noticing the changes. Hieu R. DeShields, manager of corporate talent acquisition for Safeway Inc. (SWY ), says her Haas account manager helped rewrite Safeway's job postings to make them more attractive and identified students who might be a good fit. "She wasn't passive in terms of just posting our opportunities," says DeShields, who made four of her 11 offers at Haas this year. "She was an advocate for our business."

    The market for MBA talent is subject to the same laws of supply and demand that roil the business world. With the economy in turmoil following the dot-com bust, B-school applications swelled, and two years later graduates flooded the market, driving down salary offers. But as the economy improved and applications began to skid, the result has been fewer MBAs on the market this year. And you know what that means: plenty of competition for talent and, yes, bigger paychecks.

    Offers have been flooding in, giving grads more choices than ever. Among the Top 30 schools, grads received on average slightly more than two offers apiece, up 20% over the previous year. And the number of students without a solid job offer by graduation has declined dramatically. One survey by WetFeet, a San Francisco research company, found that half of the nation's 2002 grads were still looking for work in May of that year. This year, only 14% were.

    For graduates of top schools who answered our survey, the average salary is up more than $8,000, or 9.7% over 2004, to $95,000. And the typical grad at nearly a third of those programs now rakes in a six-figure paycheck. Total compensation, which includes signing bonuses and other pay, is even higher. Based on preliminary 2006 data from schools, graduates of Babson College, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Michigan all saw double-digit increases over 2004, with median total compensation for Michigan grads topping out at $130,000. One Chicago grad surveyed by BusinessWeek had seven offers by graduation, and ultimately took a job as a research analyst at an asset management company. Estimated first-year compensation: an impressive $195,000.

    For recruiters, a tight market for MBA talent calls for a change in tactics. With more recruiters on campus, and individual students receiving more offers, talent scouts have to work harder to stand out. With new recruits at PricewaterhouseCoopers receiving at least twice as many offers as last year, PwC has launched a branding campaign to put their name front and center on college campuses. At on-campus recruiting events, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM ), which hired 85 MBAs this year, will trot out alumni who work at the company and have risen through the ranks. The message: The company is a true meritocracy where hard work is rewarded. The pitch works, but even so, the competition for the best students makes for a difficult recruiting environment, says JPMorgan recruiter Danielle Domingue. "This definitely feels like the feeding frenzy of 2000," Domingue says. "The students just have more choice."

    While the news about the market for MBA talent is almost uniformly good, B-school deans and faculty are not standing still. Many are embarking on some of the most ambitious curriculum reforms in recent memory. Deans around the country have recognized that traditional programs compartmentalized by discipline no longer match the "flat" structure currently in vogue at American companies. What's more, managing has become ever more complex: On any given day, executives must analyze information from all corners of the globe in real time, and coordinate resources across borders and time zones.

    Seven of the top 30 programs are planning or undergoing massive curriculum overhauls designed to churn out more competent grads. And at least that many are innovating around the edges, developing new programs or courses, or shifting focus. The changes vary in direction and scope, but many share a common goal: to turn out graduates able to grapple with the competing priorities that managers must confront every day and execute on a plan with little or no help from higher-ups. Today, recruiters say, many grads, weaned on a steady diet of cut-and-dried case studies, are incapable of deciding on a pricing strategy or a marketing approach in the face of unknowns--everything from consumer reaction to the price of oil. And worse: They can't follow through on a decision once it's been made. Having spent two years in B-school working on teams, where everyone and no one is in charge, they don't have the leadership and communication skills they need to take a project from start to finish. Theoretically, the new programs now in the works will create stronger decision makers, better problem solvers, more effective communicators--in a word: leaders.

    While such overhauls happen with some regularity, mainly at lower-tier schools seeking a competitive advantage, top-ranked schools are leading the charge now. This summer, Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, ranked at No. 6, scrapped its one-size-fits-all curriculum and introduced a new model that emphasizes flexibility and customization. Tailored to students' individual education, work experience, and goals, courses offered starting next fall will challenge students to understand more than one academic discipline or managerial function and develop the critical thinking skills they'll need to make decisions when information is sketchy and risks are high. In a course called "Critical Analytical Thinking," students will analyze questions such as what responsibilities companies have to society, and develop the communication skills they need to persuade others of their positions. "This is a huge curriculum reform for us," says Garth Saloner, a management professor who headed the committee that recommended the changes. "If you could start with a blank sheet of paper, what program would you put in place that would put your students in the best position to manage organizations? That's what we really want to do."

    The centerpiece of the new curriculum at the No. 19-ranked Yale University School of Management is a series of eight courses drawing on the insights of multiple managerial disciplines to solve vexing problems. One example is a new approach to the customer relationship, from a company's first contact with a prospective customer, usually in a marketing campaign, to the last, when the company loses the customer to a competitor--and everything in between, including customer service. Instead of treating the customer relationship as a marketing problem, as most MBA curriculums do now, Yale will treat it as an accounting problem, an economics problem, an organizational design problem, a psychology problem--and a marketing problem. A course that blends these disparate approaches might discuss how consumers choose products, how to identify and keep the most profitable customers, and how to redesign the organization itself so that customer feedback gets channeled back into product design. "Everybody's wrestling with how do we bring management education in line with the demands of management," says Yale Dean Joel M. Podolny. "Everybody recognizes there has to be some changes to the standard curriculum." Similar efforts are under way at Michigan, the University of Rochester, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Notre Dame, and Kellogg.

    Columbia, which ranks No. 10, has a new MBA offering called the Program for Social Intelligence that borrows freely from the management playbooks of such corporate giants as General Electric and Goldman Sachs. The program includes more than a dozen activities--from a brainstorming exercise to a marketing plan simulation--making use of existing study teams to teach lessons on team dynamics. It also includes activities designed to help develop leadership skills and workshops on managing large organizations. "In developing these leadership skills, you don't learn it in a group of 60 or 100," says Michael W. Morris, the management professor who runs the new program. "You learn it by having experiential exercises in small groups and getting results you can interpret with the help of a coach."

    Of course, the MBA revival has as much to do with the ebb and flow of the economy as it does the ongoing reform efforts at the nation's B-schools. But many deans are grateful that the sturm und drang of recent years got them thinking about how to build a better manager. They recognize that a reassessment is long overdue and vital if the MBA is to remain relevant for the next generation of business leaders.


  • Bob Jensen's threads on college ranking controversies (including the blistering criticisms by some professors) ---


    October 10, 2006 message from Mary Ledbetter []


  • Mr Jensen,

    I happened across your website today while searching for information that would help me in my new position for which I was hired less than a month ago. I am a Workforce Coordinator; Disability Program Navigator with the Nebraska Department of Labor. My job is to assist in removing barriers to employment for people with disabilities. I will do this by training workforce staff in working with and referring people with disabilities for employment, training employers in the hiring, accommodating and retaining people with disabilities, and assisting individuals with disabilities in their employment search. I will be networking with employers and also with organizations and agencies that represent and advocate for people with disabilities in Omaha and southeast Nebraska (as well as with three other Navigators who work in the other areas of my state).

    I have a good background in disabilities and degrees in Community Education and Desktop Publishing . What intrigues me about your site is the possibility of using technology extensively to help me do a better job of presenting information to these people in group settings or from our state website. I do not want to recreate the wheel. Much of the information I want to transmit is already available on the web. However you did such a superb job of pulling together vast amounts of information and resources that I want to both compliment you and ask for assistance or advice on how to proceed. I have limited technical PRODUCTION knowledge or experience, although I am skilled at research. I am willing to learn--at age 63.

    Could you steer me in the right direction? I was overwhelmed by all the resources on your site and thought perhaps you could help me narrow down where to begin. I need to accomplish a lot in a short period of time because I am in a "grant" position, which may not be renewed next year. Obviously I can't spend a year figuring out how to do what I need to do.

    I understand you are retired and may not even be inclined to answer this e-mail, and that is OK! You have at least demonstrated in an amazing way what is possible and can be accomplished--even by a "senior citizen".

    Thanks so much for your time. I loved your site!

    Mary Ledbetter/DOL

  • October 10, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen


    Hi Mary,


    Try this link ---

    Also note

    Good luck in your new job.


    Bob Jensen


    What makes the Sansa Rhapsody something other than an iPod clone and is this a good thing?


    The Sansa Rhapsody Comes With Music Inside -- Like It or Not," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2006; Page B1 ---

    What if you bought a portable music player and found that it was already loaded with hundreds of songs selected by an online digital music service? You might be delighted to be getting all this content with no effort, or you might be annoyed that a huge portion of your new player's storage capacity has been taken up with music you may not want.

    That's the issue with the Sansa Rhapsody, the latest portable music player to challenge Apple's iPod hegemony. This is the first player to be specifically designed to work with RealNetworks' Rhapsody music-subscription service, and it's no mere iPod clone. The player, made by SanDisk, is designed to show off the Rhapsody music-rental model, which is about music discovery rather than individual song or album purchases.

    Like other subscription services, Rhapsody charges a monthly fee for unlimited access to millions of songs. You don't actually own these songs, and any music you've rented and downloaded from Rhapsody becomes unplayable if you stop paying the monthly fee, which is $14.99 a month if you want to hear the music on both a PC and on a portable device.

    But Real believes that for people who love to try new artists or hear "channels" of music, this is better than buying individual songs and albums that never expire, which is Apple's model. It stresses quantity and variety, and for the new Sansa Rhapsody player, it drives this message home by filling the devices with music. You can play this music free for up to two months before you have to buy a subscription.

    Microsoft's forthcoming Zune player will also come loaded with a small sampling of music, but the Sansa Rhapsody goes much further. On the base, 2-gigabyte model, fully half of the storage capacity is taken up with preloaded music. On the higher-capacity models, which feature up to 8 gigabytes of total storage, 2 gigabytes is taken up with preloaded music.

    The Rhapsody service itself also has been overhauled, with a new, cleaner interface. Best Buy stores will be launching a store-branded version of Rhapsody and sell the new player.

    I've been testing a Sansa Rhapsody player for the past week or so. I've compared the player with Apple's midrange iPod Nano, the closest iPod model in size and capacity. The base-model, 2-gigabyte Rhapsody player I tested is a bit cheaper: $140 versus $150 for the 2-gigabyte Nano.

    The Sansa Rhapsody isn't really new hardware. It's a variation of existing SanDisk players, and is formally called the e200R series. But this isn't just a marketing gimmick. Unlike previous players that worked with Rhapsody, which relied on Microsoft software, this uses Real's own music formats and copy-protection software and is more tightly tied to the service. The player can be switched into Microsoft mode for use with Microsoft files.

    Personally, I found the preloaded music more of a hassle than a boon. It included both canned playlists and channels -- preprogrammed radio stations. They featured numerous artists and genres I didn't like, or actually hated, and I was forced to delete most of them and replace them with music I wanted to hear.

    Before I could do this, however, I was amazed to find that Rhapsody wanted to keep adding its own choices to my player. The minute I plugged it into my PC, the service began downloading 73 songs of its own choosing to the Sansa, to "refresh" the choices that came on the device. Real says it plans to change this behavior to ask users first whether they want such a refresh.

    Continued in article

    "The New iPod: Ready for Battle? We Test Apple's Latest Revamp As Microsoft Challenge Looms; iTunes Gets Gussied Up, To," by Walter S. Mossberg and Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2006; Page D1 ---

    Next month marks the fifth anniversary of one of the most successful products of the digital era, Apple Computer's iPod music player. Since 2001, potential iPod-killers have come and gone like autumn foliage. Apple claims an astonishing 76% market share in the U.S. for the iPod and an equally amazing 88% share of the U.S. legal music download market for its companion iTunes online store. Over 60 million iPods and 1.5 billion songs have been sold.

    Still, this autumn, the iPod could face its greatest challenge. Microsoft, after failing for years to combat the iconic gadget, will launch a new assault Nov. 14 with a player called Zune. Unlike past Microsoft music efforts, the Zune will be sold by Microsoft itself, and, like the iPod, it will be tightly integrated with companion software and an online music store.

    Not only that, but this week, RealNetworks' Rhapsody music service, the best of the iTunes competitors, will announce its own player, jointly developed with SanDisk, which is the second-place player maker, albeit a distant second.

    So, this holiday season Apple has made some of the biggest changes to the iPod and iTunes in years. It has redesigned the iPod Nano and Shuffle, cut prices and/or raised capacities on all models, introduced a new iPod search feature, added color games and movie playback to the full-sized iPod, and more. Plus, it has given the iTunes software its biggest overhaul ever, making the software both simpler and more fun to use.

    Oh, and it has started selling downloadable feature films, which can be played on computers, iPods, and, soon, via a forthcoming new device, on TV sets.

    We've been testing the new iPods and iTunes for several weeks, as well as the new movie download service. Our review of the hardware and software follows here. See the accompanying article for our take on the movie downloads.

    Our verdict: the new iPods are more versatile and less costly than ever, but the new iTunes software is an even bigger improvement, although it has one big downside -- its coolest new feature is so graphically demanding that it doesn't work right on some older computers.

    For the main iPod, the biggest changes are in capacity, price, battery life and software. The base version, which holds 30 gigabytes, is now $249, a $50 price cut presumably intended to put pressure on Microsoft. The higher-end model, at $349, is also $50 less than last year's version, even though it holds 80 gigabytes, up from 60 gigabytes last year. Battery life for video playback has been greatly improved, to 3.5 hours on the base model, up from just two hours on last year's model. The bigger model has 6.5 hours of video playback time, up from 4 hours. (Battery life for music is unchanged.)

    The iPod's screen is also now 60% brighter. But what's now on the screen is even more interesting: There's now a search feature that lets you find items alphabetically, by using the scroll wheel to select letters. In our tests, it worked well. And, in addition to viewing full-length movies on the full-sized iPod, you can now play classic color games, such as Tetris, Pac-Man, Bejeweled, Poker and Mahjong. Apple sells these games via iTunes for $4.99 each.

    In our tests, playing even very familiar games with a scroll wheel instead of a mouse or joystick took some adjustment. But, eventually, we got the hang of it, and the color and detail of the games on the iPod's screen was impressive.

    The iPod Nano also has the new search feature, but it can't play the movies or games. It has been given a new aluminum skin, like the old iPod Mini had. This has two advantages: It resists the scratches that affected the first Nano models last year, and it allows for a range of bright colors. It's even a teeny bit thinner and lighter than the amazingly small original Nano. We liked the new Nano and found it worked well.

    Continued in article

    Questions and Answers from Walt Mossberg's mailbox ---

    Q: When I open the Windows Task Manager, I note that there are anywhere from 52 to 57 "processes" operating on my PC. I am sure this is slowing things down. However, the names of the programs are virtually impossible for a nontechie to understand so I don't want to eliminate any of them for fear of causing major damage to the operating system. Short of calling a service technician, is there a way for me to find out which processes can be safely shutdown and/or eliminated?

    A: This is one of the major banes of using Windows -- every program and even some Web sites think it's OK to install and run in the background all sorts of little, and not-so-little programs, which create the "processes" you are seeing. Some of them may even be spyware and adware. And, yes, they do slow down your computer.

    Unfortunately, I don't know of any quick, easy way a mainstream, nontechie user can tell which ones can be safely shut down. There are programs like Startup Cop that help you decide which unseen programs you should allow to launch when your computer starts, but they don't necessarily cover stuff that launches after start-up. And there are Web sites, like and, which let you look up a process to see what it does, but that is a laborious process. The latter Web site offers a $29 program called the Ultimate Troubleshooter for managing all these processes, but it's pretty intimidating for a nontechie.

    Antivirus and antispyware programs can shut down some malicious background processes, or stop them from loading in the first place. But many of the resource-draining "processes" you are finding may be from "legitimate" programs on your PC that simply want to hog the computer.

    Q: If I switch from Windows to a Macintosh, will my colleagues be able to read any Mac files I send them?

    A: There is no such thing as a "Mac file." The Macintosh today can create and read all the major standard types of files that Windows PCs use. For instance, photos in the common JPG format; music files in the common MP3 format; Adobe PDF files; text files; and many other types of files can simply be moved between Windows and Mac computers with no conversion necessary. Microsoft Office files, like Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, can also be shared between the two platforms, without conversion, if you have the Office program suite on both ends. The Mac's built-in email program, Apple Mail, even has a setting for sending "Windows Friendly" attachments.

    There are some specific programs on both platforms that can create proprietary file types not easily opened, or opened at all, on the other platform. Most annoyingly, the Windows and Mac versions of Quicken don't share a common file format. But now that the new Macs can also run Windows, you can always launch Windows on your Mac in a pinch to run a program that can handle some Windows-only file type.


    NCAA Lowers the Dreaded Boom on the University of Kansas (Kansas reported the infractions to the NCAA)
    The National Collegiate Athletic Association placed the University of Kansas on three years’ probation for a series of rules violations, including academic fraud and significant payments to athletes, involving three of its most visible sports teams. The NCAA’s Division I Committee on Infractions ratcheted up penalties that the university had imposed on itself last summer, after the NCAA panel concluded that Kansas officials had lacked institutional control over the sports program.
    Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, October 13, 2006 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on controversies in college athletics are at

    Guess who's buying fake diplomas?
    Lawyers defending those accused in a federal court of running a diploma mill revealed on October 11 that 135 federal employees, including a White House official, purchased degrees from the operation, the Associated Press reported. The names of the federal officials were not revealed.
    Inside Higher Ed, October 13, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    The largest market for fake diplomas is among K-12 teachers who benefit from automatic pay raises when receiving graduate degrees.

    Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mills are at

    Wisconsin to allow Google to scan more than 7.2 million library holdings
    The University of Wisconsin at Madison said Thursday (October 12) that it had reached an agreement to become the latest institution to join Google’s Book Search project. The agreement will add the more than 7.2 million holdings in the university’s libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society’s library.
    Inside Higher Ed
    , October 13, 2006 ---

    "Google Books Library grows despite controversy," PhysOrg, October 12, 2006 ---

    Google said that another US university will add its books to the Internet search titan's controversial project to make the world's written works available online.

    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

    The library books at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Historical Society will be digitized and added to the virtual shelves of the Google Books Library Project, according to the arrangement.

    The combined total of approximately 7.2 million works in the two libraries were billed as one of the largest collections of historical documents in the United States.

    "Wisconsin is in a position to take a leading role in making the primary documents of US government history freely accessible on the Internet for anyone to find and use," university provost Patrick Farrell said in a release.

    Others taking part in the Google project included the University of California, Harvard University, Stanford University, the New York Public Library, Oxford University, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and the Library of Congress.

    Continued in article

    A beta version of the Google books site is available at

    From the American Library Association
    Library Support Staff Resource Center ---
    Click Here

    Free Science and Math Tutorials called "Interactive Lessons" from the Shodor Education Foundation
    (With funding from the National Science Foundation) ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on free online math and science tutorials are at

    How well are home-schooled seniors prepared for college?

    "Colleges Covet Home-Schooled Students," by Alan Scher Zagier, WOAI, October 1, 2006 ---

    After years of skepticism, even mistrust, many college officials now realize it's in their best interest to seek out home-schoolers, said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

    "There was a tendency to kind of dismiss home schooling as inherently less rigorous," he said. "The attitude of the admissions profession could have at best been described as skeptical."

    Home-schooled students — whose numbers in this country range from an estimated 1.1 million to as high as 2 million — often come to college equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in higher education, said Regina Morin, admissions director of Columbia College.

    Such assets include intellectual curiosity, independent study habits and critical thinking skills, she said.

    "It's one of the fastest-growing college pools in the nation," she said. "And they tend to be some of the best prepared."

    The number of home-schooled graduates enrolled at Columbia College is small — about a dozen out of a full-time undergraduate population that hovers near 1,000. But they count among their supporters an influential advocate.

    Terry Smith, a political science professor and the school's dean of academic affairs, home-schooled three of his four children in the 1970s and '80s. Each of those children went on to graduate from college, with two earning master's degrees.

    "All of my professional work has been influenced by this family schooling experience," he said. "We're all teachers and learners. They're just the apprentices, and we're the master learners."

    Continued in article

    From The Washington Post on October 12, 2006

  • Which NFL team drew the most Web traffic during the first week of football season?

    A. Washington Redskins
    B. Green Bay Packers
    C. New England Patriots
    D. Dallas Cowboys

  • Question
    Should high school seniors declare themselves gay to get affirmative action college admission preferences?
    This is an issue being actively debated by admission's officials.
    And then there is the practical question of how colleges would respond if word got out that being gay could help your chances of getting into a good college. “What if people just start to say, ‘Hey, I’m gay.’ Are we going to follow them around for a semester?” McCandless said. High school counselors in the audience had many questions for the college officials. One said that he wasn’t sure what to do with his gay students who are out, but who aren’t particularly involved in gay organizations. “How gay do you have to be” to include it on an application, and hope for help, he asked?
    Scott Jaschik, "Affirmative Action for Gay Students," Inside Higher Ed, October 9, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    Possible abuse of affirmative action is not limited to gay declarations. Allegedly Ward Churchill declared himself a Native American to improve his chances at getting a faculty job (without having the customary doctoral degree) at the University of Colorado ---

    Sylvan Online Tutoring ---

    "Development Powered by Education:  Interactive tools could help to prepare students in developing countries for the collaborative workplace of the future," by Matthew Herren, MIT's Technology Review, September 8, 2006 ---

    African schools teach toward set exams, which determine who passes and who leaves school. It is a system that does not foster much creative thought but in its own way ensures certain standards. Or would, if access to educational materials were equal throughout all schools.

    But it is not. Educational materials are expensive to print and to supply to remote rural schools. Senegal is typical: school textbooks cost two to three times what poor families can afford, so only one in five students receives them.

    There is an alternative. Using digital satellite radio to connect to a content distribution network, students could download new material--as soon as it becomes available--to small handheld computers recharged with solar power or crank chargers. Then they could take it home to read at night, on a backlit screen, even in homes without electricity. That is the technology my company, EduVision, has been developing for the last two years.

    Not only would such a distribution system get more, and more current, material to more students, but it would also introduce students to an important new approach to learning and working. Students who compete throughout their school years for top ranking will not be prepared for workplaces where collaboration is becoming far more important. An electronic environment for group work--a textbook wiki of sorts, in which students around the world can compare notes and share information--could teach collaboration at the same time that it teaches academic material itself.

    In the future, students in schools throughout the developing world will communicate and interact to solve problems and complete assignments. They may be in the same class or school, or they may be in different countries. They may never meet in person, but they will form close connections and learn to work in teams. They will also have access to vast libraries of content where they can find solutions, answer questions, and explore the life of the mind.

    Matthew Herren is founder and chief technology officer of EduVision, an e-learning company based in Zürich, Switzerland. He is also one of our TR35 winners. Here's his TR35 profile.

    Bob Jensen's threads on tools are at

    "Review: New AOL software neat but offers few reasons to switch," MIT's Technology Review, October 4, 2006 ---

    Ever since I discovered I could check AOL e-mail accounts using a regular Internet browser, I've found little use for the company's all-in-one software package.

    Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox works fine for general Web surfing; AOL's standalone instant-messaging software takes care of chat sessions. And with AOL e-mail over the Web, I don't need to jump through connection prompts, busy welcome screens and other hurdles simply to check messages.

    AOL's latest program, OpenRide, has neat tricks that loyal users of the company's all-in-one software might like. The bigger question is whether there's enough for the rest of us -- those the Time Warner Inc. unit is trying to lure as it seeks to expand its audience in the quest for online advertising dollars.

    The new software, unveiled Wednesday as a free download, clearly tries to steer people to AOL's own ad-supported services and features, but it refreshingly wasn't obnoxious about it.

    Although OpenRide starts up with AOL's Web-based welcome screen open and has a button to jump to it anytime, it doesn't override my existing Web browser settings for the home page button.

    I wasn't overwhelmed with ads or required to provide an AOL username from the get-go, as its predecessor, AOL 9.0, did even if all you wanted to do was surf a non-AOL Web page that didn't otherwise require sign-on.

    AOL even promises to integrate OpenRide with rival services, though that is largely limited for now to POP3 e-mail accounts -- the ones you read using e-mail programs rather than over the Web. Among major Web-based services, only Google Inc.'s Gmail offers POP3 access as well for free.

    AOL's implementation is impressive: Server and port settings for major providers are automatically filled in once you enter your e-mail address.

    However, I couldn't get consistent access with all three non-AOL providers I tried, and OpenRide insists on an AOL username simply to check messages from other services. (Your Gmail and other passwords are stored through OpenRide, with no option to enter them manually.)

    OpenRide launches with four panes -- for e-mail, instant messaging, general Web browsing and media files like video -- and you can easily jump from one to another and still get back to what you were doing before.

    I particularly like how the panes resize and reshape depending on what you are doing.

    Say you're surfing the Web. The browser pane automatically takes up the bulk of the screen.

    In the mail pane above it, I see my folders and list of messages. I can move the cursor over any message for a pop-up balloon with the start of its text contents; the balloon automatically disappears when I move elsewhere.

    Continued in article

    "How accountancy can save lives: Olivia McGill of Goal UK wants to hear from accountants and engineers who would like to make a difference," The Guardian, October 4, 2006 ---,,1887362,00.html

    Our accountants are helping to rebuild lives torn apart by war in Sudan. Our engineers saved lives after the earthquake in Pakistan. We are Goal UK, and we are looking for more people like you.

    People like David Cassidy, who spent three years as a management accountant with Rolls Royce, traveling widely in Britain and Germany, but who has just finished his first month as roving accountant with Goal - in Sudan. David says his life will never be the same again.

    "This is my first job in the humanitarian sector and unlikely to be my last," he said. "It's very different to life in the UK, the weather, the attitude, the people.

    "Most of the foreign nationals haven't had a formal education, which makes improving their ability in the profession difficult. What I enjoy most about my job is visiting Goal projects. Accounting is accounting, for me it's this environment that's exciting".

    Unlike many of the bigger international development aid agencies, Goal recruits professionals who have no volunteering experience. It's a policy that helped David to find his niche in the third sector.

    Founded in Ireland almost 30 years ago by John O'Shea, a former sports journalist, Goal is expanding in the UK, and is looking for more Goalies, as we call our volunteers. Goal UK is urgently looking for accountants and engineers, and two information evenings for recruits are coming up in London - the first is tomorrow.

    The aid agency has received praise from the likes of Mary Robinson, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the UN, and the Foreign Office.

    "For Goalies, Goal represents a non-bureaucratic approach to work, a can-do attitude, and with a low administration cost - under 5% - you're confident that the money is going straight to projects we're working on," David said.

    Martin Otley, an associated chartered accountant, is just back from a year with Goal as a financial controller in Honduras.

    Sitting at his old desk in Deloitte Touche in London, he is patiently waiting for the dust to settle.

    "I felt like I was in a factory, I couldn't sit another day here. I wanted to see another part of the world - and I had an interest in development work so it wasn't purely altruistic," he said. "My biggest challenge was being part of the emergency response after a hurricane in neighbouring El Salvador. Because Goal is one of the smaller organisations there are more decision making powers at my level.

    "As an NGO we worked closely with government agencies. It depends on what gives you a buzz, but for me that's very exciting."

    Goal was one of the first agencies to arrive in the Bagh region of Pakistan after the earthquake last October. Andy Cox, an engineer, was among those at the forefront of relief operations.

    "We saved lives by creating one warm room for the vulnerable," he said. "The people wanted to remain on or near their homesteads for winter, and we facilitated this.

    "Otherwise families would have streamed downhill when the cold set in. They would have crammed into camps where the potential for disease and protection issues would be extremely difficult to counteract."

    With a need for earthquake-resistant building practices, Goal funded workshops training masons and carpenters in safe building practices.

    Kubilay Hicyilmaz, a British earthquake engineer, said: "Few of the agencies, except for Goal and one other, had an engineer in Pakistan working to address the cause of the problem rather than just dealing with the fallout.

    "Through the workshops Goal identified individuals with the right skills, to ensure that the programme can continue even after we leave."

    Goal urgently needs accountants and engineers to volunteer to help run its programmes in 13 developing countries. There's plenty of scope for movement into management positions, and initiative is rewarded and emphasis placed on a proven ability to get things done.

    So why not transfer your skills to where they could make the difference between life and death?

    · Goal UK is holding an information evening for finance professionals on October 5 and for engineering professionals on October 19, both at 6.30pm at Jurys Kensington Hotel, Queens Gate, London. Registration is required: contact Laura Byrne on or 020 7631 3196

    Bob Jensen's threads on accountancy careers are at

    The interesting and varied life of Charles Ezra Sprague (1842-1912)

    From Wikipedia --- 

    Charles Ezra Sprague (18421912) was an American accountant. He was known as a Civil War hero, and as a proponent of the constructed language Volapük, for which he authored the first major textbook in English (1888), as well as an early organizer of the accounting profession.

    He was president of both the New York Institute of Accounts and the Union Dime Savings Bank (which would later become the Dime Savings Bank). Later in life, he was involved in the movement for reform of English spelling.

    During the Civil War, Sprague served in the 44th New York Infantry, seeing action at the Battle of Gettysburg, where his unit was instrumental in helping repulse attacks on Little Round Top. The New York State Archives stores a lengthy article Sprague wrote on his military service.

    His Accounting Hall of Fame profile --- Click Here

    Although Professor Sprague taught part time for NYU, he also taught for Columbia College (now known as Columbia University). His series of 1887 lectures at Columbia focused on the mathematical science of accountancy with particular emphasis on "accountics" ---

    Accountics is the mathematical science of (accounting) values.
    Charles Sprague (1887) as quoted by McMillan (2003, 1)
    McMillan. K.P. 1998. The science of accounts: Bookkeeping rooted in the ideal of science. Accounting Historians Journal (December): 1-21.

    You can also read about accountics in the following reference (Page 28):

    "1887 School of Library Economy at Columbia College," by Charles Ezra Sprague
     The Institute of Accounts: Nineteenth Century Origins of Accounting Professionalism in the United States,  by Stephen E. Loeb and Paul J. Miranti (Routledge, 2004, ISBN 0-415-28874-6)

    Executive Compensation Fraud at Apple Corporation:
    Apple's mea culpa on backdating last week was eloquently incomplete
    Apple's mea culpa on backdating last week was eloquently incomplete, and all the more intriguing because the gaps seemed almost Socratically mapped to invite the media to fill the holes by asking obvious questions. The big joke here is that the logic of the witch hunt will stop the media from asking the obvious questions, not least because CEO Steve Jobs is a hero to much of the press and there's little appetite for bringing him down. Don't misunderstand. We believe it would be a gross injustice if he were defenestrated over backdating, just as we have serious doubts about the prosecutions launched against other backdating CEOS. And Apple's likely purpose in issuing its statement, naturally, was not lexical comprehensiveness but saving Mr. Jobs's job.
    Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., "A Typical Backdating Miscreant, The Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2006; Page A15 ---

    "Apple C.E.O. Apologizes for Stock Practices," The New York Times, October 5, 2006 --- Click Here

    Now that an internal investigation over Apple Computer Inc.'s stock-option practices has helped abate investor worries over Steve Jobs' role as CEO, a key lingering concern will be the impact of pending earnings restatements.

    Apple said Wednesday its three-month investigation did not uncover any misconduct of any current employees but did raise ''serious concerns'' over the accounting actions of two unnamed former officers.

    The iPod and Macintosh maker also said its former chief financial officer, Fred Anderson, had resigned from the company's board of directors.

    Jobs -- his position intact -- apologized.

    The probe found that Jobs knew that some option grants had been given favorable dates in ''a few instances,'' but he did not benefit from them and was not aware of the accounting implications, the company said.

    ''I apologize to Apple's shareholders and employees for these problems, which happened on my watch,'' Jobs said in a statement. ''We will now work to resolve the remaining issues as quickly as possible and to put the proper remedial measures in place to ensure that this never happens again.''

    Apple said it will likely have to restate some earnings due to revised tax and stock option-related charges. Auditors are still reviewing the situation, and Apple said it has not yet determined the extent of the financial impact.

    The looming restatements could dramatically reduce some of the windfall generated during the company's recent run of record profit, analysts said.

    Shares of Apple shed 10 cents to $75.28 in midday trading Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock has traded between $47.87 and $86.40 over the past year.

    Apple has reported profit totaling $3.1 billion during the past four years. If the restatements are severe, it could dent Apple's stock, said IDC analyst Richard Shim.

    ''The restatements have the potential to bite them again depending on how large they end up being,'' Shim said. ''That said, the company is certainly firing on all cylinders so investors may be willing to forgive them, but it's something that will linger in the backs of their minds.''

    Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said he and other investors are breathing a sigh of relief that Jobs kept his job throughout the scandal.

    ''The risk was that if something bizarre happened and Steve Jobs got fired over it,'' Munster said from his office in Minneapolis. ''That could have significantly impacted the company in a negative way. Steve Jobs is Apple. Ultimately, the scope of the backdating was bigger than we thought, but the impact turned out to be less severe.''

    Apple is one of the most prominent among more than 100 companies caught in the nationwide stock options mishandling scandal. Cupertino-based Apple initiated its own stock-options investigation in June after problems at other companies began to unravel.

    In many instances, the problem has centered on the ''backdating'' of stock options -- a practice in which insiders could make the rewards more lucrative by retroactively pinning the option's exercise price to a low point in the stock's value.

    Apple said its probe found irregularities in the recording of stock option grants made on 15 dates between 1997 and 2002, with the last one involving a January 2002 grant, the company said. The grants had dates that preceded the approval of those grants.

    Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said the 15 grants represented 6 percent of the total issued during that period. He said he did not have further details regarding the specific grants or whether they were awarded to officers or employees.

    The company did not identify the two former officers whose accounting, recording and reporting of option grants raised ''serious concerns'' during the probe.

    Apple said Anderson, who served as the company's chief financial officer from 1996 until 2004, resigned from the board, citing he did so in ''Apple's best interest.''

    Dowling said the company will provide more details about the probe to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The company's special committee conducting the investigation examined more than 650,000 e-mails and documents, and interviewed more than 40 current and former employees, directors and advisers.

    "Apple Says Jobs Knew of Options," by Laurie J. Flynn, The New York Times, October 5, 2006 --- Click Here

    The external auditor for Apple Corporation is KPMG ---

    "Chief Executive at Health Insurer Is Forced Out in Options Inquiry," by Eric Dash and Milt Freudenheim, The New York Times, October 15, 2006 --- Click Here

    Dr. William W. McGuire, a medical entrepreneur who built the UnitedHealth Group into a colossus in its field, was forced to resign from the company yesterday and to give up a portion of the $1.1 billion he holds in harshly criticized stock options.

    . . .

    In a sweeping report released yesterday that was highly critical of management, a law firm hired by UnitedHealth to investigate the timing of stock options concluded that the company was riddled with poor controls and conflicts of interest. The report, which the company posted on its Web site, found that UnitedHealth had backdated options to maximize employees’ compensation.

    The company said yesterday that the disputed options would be repriced from the lowest share price for the years in question to the highest prices, scaling back the earnings of Dr. McGuire and others. The company did not say precisely how much its executives would give up.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on options accounting scandals are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous executive compensation are at

    "Stock Option Probes Force Out McAfee, CNET Execs," by Howard Schneider, The Washington Post, October 11, 2006 --- Click Here

    Top executives at two technology companies quit or were fired today as the repercussions of a broad government investigation into stock option awards continued to expand.

    Computer security expert McAfee Inc. announced that chairman and chief executive George Samenuk had retired and that president Kevin Weiss had been terminated following an internal investigation of company stock option awards.

    Internet publisher CNET Networks Inc., meanwhile, announced the resignations of three top executives, including company co-founder and current chairman and chief executive Shelby Bonnie.

    Continued in article

    Timely Filing of 10-K Reports is not "Optional"
    Corinthian Colleges, Inc. announced Thursday that the staff of the Nasdaq stock exchange has threatened the company with de-listing for its failure to submit its 2006 annual financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission on time. Corinthian said it has appealed the staff’s recommendation and sought a hearing to challenge the ruling, noting that the company had previously told the SEC that it would be filing its Form 10-K late while it conducts an outside review of its awarding of historic stock option grants. The company is one of several for-profit higher education companies facing scrutiny from federal regulators for their procedures and practices in awarding stock options.
    Inside Higher Ed, October 5, 2006

    Bob Jensen's threads on options accounting scandals are at

    How is “spring-loading” is “bound up in the notion of insider trading” by executives?

    You can't beat corporate executives bent on inventing ways to cheat investors in executive compensation tricks invented by corporate accountants and investors.

    "Accounting Rules Allow “Spring-loading,” “Bullet-dodging” Option Grants," AccountingWeb, October 6, 2006 ---

    The government will not have any accounting basis for enforcement actions against companies for “spring-loading” or “bullet-dodging” stock option grants, according to Scott Taub, deputy chief accountant for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC ). Taub spoke at a Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) advisory council meeting in New York on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

    Christopher Cox, SEC Commissioner, said last month that the practice of “spring-loading” is “bound up in the notion of insider trading,” according to, suggesting that companies might still face legal action, but said that the SEC focused on insider trading in cases where it has occurred and can be proved.

    “Spring-loading” occurs when a company purposely schedules an option grant ahead of the announcement of good news that will boost the stock price. “Bullet–dodging” involves setting the grant date just after a negative announcement that will be followed by a rebound in the stock price.

    Taub told Reuters that the SEC was not trying to endorse the practice, and added “the accounting for those kinds of options is clear. We felt our hands were tied.”

    “There are people in our building who have varying feelings about whether spring-loading is good or bad. Accounting-wise we felt stuck.”

    “This is accounting literature written in the 70’s that clearly did not hold up well. We don’t get to enforce the accounting standards we wish existed, we have to enforce the accounting standards that do exist,” Taub went on to say, according to Reuters.

    Cox made his comments on “spring-loading” and “bullet dodging” at a Senate Finance Committee hearing in September. Cox had said in July that “backdating is more easily determined than spring-loading, because of the nature of the evidence,” the LA Times reports.

    SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins has argued that there is nothing wrong with spring-loading. Boards award options based on business judgments, Atkins said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “An insider-trading theory falls flat in this context, where there is no counterparty who could be harmed by an options grant. The counterparty here is the corporation and thus the shareholders.”

    In the case of Analog Devices Inc., a Norwood, Mass., technology company, the SEC questioned the propriety of stock option grants made by the company because it did not adequately disclose that it priced stock options before the release of good financial results, the Journal says. Analog Devices is also being investigated for backdating stock options.

    In another case, the SEC is looking at grants made to executives of Cybertronics Inc., a Houston medical-device maker that made grants to several executives on the day a Food and Drug Administrations advisory panel recommended approval of a Cybertronics device. Trading in the stock was halted that day and the grants used the exercise price of the previous day.

    It is not clear what the tax implications are for spring-loading, says S. James DiBrnardo, a partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, the Journal says. DiBernardo says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) might argue that spring-loaded options are also discount options like backdated options. But he says that the IRS would have a much more difficult time proving their case, because they would have to prove the “true” market value on the date the spring-loaded options were granted.

    Bob Jensen's threads on options accounting scandals are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous executive compensation are at

    Private Sector Development ---

    From The Washington Post on October 3, 2006

    Posting comments into blogs and other online chat forums under an assumed name for the purpose of attacking others or defending your own work is often referred to as what in online parlance?

    A. Pretexting
    B. Sock-puppetry
    C. Phishing
    D. Digital ventriloquy

    Sock Puppet Sinks Pundit
    A sock puppet, in Internet parlance, is a false Internet identity created for deceptive purposes. Siegel, who had been writing a culture blog for The New Republic, had started using the pseudonym "sprezzatura" on the blog's forums to praise himself and savage his critics. In response to readers who had criticized Siegel's negative comments about TV talk show host Jon Stewart, "sprezzatura" wrote, "Siegel is brave, brilliant, and wittier than Stewart will ever be. Take that, you bunch of immature, abusive sheep." . . . When Siegel's deception was brought to the attention of New Republic editor Franklin Foer, the response was swift and draconian. Siegel's blog was terminated Sept. 1, he was suspended from writing for the magazine, and his past articles have been removed from the magazine's online archives.
    "Sock Puppet Sinks Pundit:  How Lee Siegel's antics made The New Republic into an even bigger joke," by Cathy Young, Reason Magazine, September 19, 2006 ---

    "Math on the X-Y Axis Women, science, and the gender gap," by Cathy Young, Reason Magazine, October 3, 2006 --- 

    The debate over gender and science, which helped bring down Harvard President Lawrence Summers this year, has been revived by a new report from the National Academies, "Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering."

    The report endorses the view that the predominance of men in scientific fields is due not to biological differences and personal priorities, as Summers suggested, but to gender bias and unconscious institutional sexism. But is this an effort to find out the truth, or to stamp out heresy?

    The makeup of the panel that produced the report is revealing. Chaired by University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, who is known for her commitment to feminist causes, the panel included a number of strong proponents of the belief that women in science are held back primarily by sexism and that aggressive remedies to these biases are needed.

    Noticeably absent were proponents of other viewpoints—including such female scientists as Vanderbilt University psychologist Camilla Persson Benbow or Canadian neuroscientist Doreen Kimura, who argue that biological sex differences influence cognitive skills in some areas.

    The report has been hailed as a decisive refutation of what panel member Ana Mari Cauce, executive vice provost of the University of Washington in Seattle, dismissed as "myths" about women in science. A Reuters story stated, "A committee of experts looked at all the possible excuses—biological differences in ability, hormonal influences, childrearing demands, and even differences in ambition—and found no good explanation for why women are being locked out."

    But a look at the report, available online from the National Academies Press, shows a much more complex picture.

    For instance, the report points to the narrowing gap between boys' and girls' mathematics test scores as evidence that there are no innate differences to inhibit female success. But average test scores are not a good indicator of what it takes to be successful in the scientific field. As the report briefly acknowledges, male scores have far greater variability, with more boys clustered at the bottom, among children with severe learning disabilities, and at the top, among the highly gifted.

    The report attempts to neutralize this fact by pointing to a study that found that many women and men in the science, engineering, and mathematics workforce have SAT math scores below the "gifted" level. But there's a caveat: The study looked not primarily at the highest achievers, but mainly at lower-level professionals with bachelor's degrees. If fewer average women than average men go into these fields, maybe because their interests lie elsewhere, is that really a problem?

    The body of the report also supports, rather than rebuts, the view that childrearing is a major factor in gender disparities.

    It cites a study that "found single women scientists and engineers [were] 16 percent more likely than single men to be in tenure track jobs five years after the PhD, while married women with children were 45 percent less likely than married men with children to be in tenure track positions."

    Yet these facts are treated as a result of discrimination against people with family responsibilities and of the outmoded assumption that a scientist has a spouse to take care of such matters. Proposed remedies include more family-friendly policies. But what if single-minded devotion to work really is essential to outstanding success in science?

    None of this is to say that women are incapable of being outstanding scientists—many women are, and their advances in these fields have been spectacular—or that nothing can be done further to reduce the gender gap. Cultural stereotypes undoubtedly play a role in the fact that even mathematically and scientifically gifted girls are more likely than boys to choose "human interest" professions rather than science.

    We can also do more to reduce lingering prejudice against mothers who are not primary caregivers for their children, and against fathers who are. But even with these changes—which need to take place in the culture as a whole, far more than in academic and scientific institutions—the ratio of women to men in science and engineering may always remain below 1-to-1.

    Ultimately, the report is a missed opportunity. It could have addressed the personal and family choices women could make to maximize their career potential, or looked at the factors in the high achievement of Asian-American women in science. (Asian-Americans are virtually ignored in all the talk of minority women in science.) Instead, it upholds an orthodoxy of female victimization. Women, and science, deserve better.

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

    October 5, 2006 message from Carolyn Kotlas []

    Is Email Now Only for "Old People"?

    More Fun and Games

    Students' Perceptions of Online Learning Papers on Internet Censorship New Take on Peer Review of Scholarly Papers Recommended Reading Infobits RSS Feed



    According to an article in THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION (vol. 53, issue 7, p. A27, October 6, 2006), "College officials around the country find that a growing number of students are missing important messages about deadlines, class cancellations, and events sent to them by e-mail because, well, the messages are sent to them by e-mail." The article cites research reported in a 2005 Pew Internet & American Life Project called "Teens and Technology," which found that while college students still used email to communicate with their professors, they preferred to use instant messaging, text messaging, and services such as MySpace to interact with their peers.

    The Chronicle article is available online at

    The complete Pew report is available at no cost online at

    The Pew Internet & American Life Project "produces reports that explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life. The Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the Internet through collection of data and analysis of real-world developments as they affect the virtual world." For more information and other reports, see

    The Chronicle of Higher Education [ISSN 0009-5982] is published weekly by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inc., 1255 Twenty-third Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037 USA; tel: 202-466-1000; fax: 202-452-1033;



    Continuing last month's topic on using games in learning environments (TL Infobits, August 2006, more can be read in the October 2006 issue of ITALICS (vol. 5, issue 3,

    Papers include:

    "Innovations in Learning and Teaching Approaches using GameTechnologies -- Can 'The Movies' Teach How to Make a Movie?"
    By Ryan Flynn and Nigel Newbutt

    "Using A Virtual World For Transferable Skills in Gaming Education"
    By M. Hobbs, E. Brown, and M. Gordon

    "Providing the Skills Required for Innovative Mobile Game Development Using Industry/Academic Partnerships" By Reuben Edwards and Paul Coulton

    ITALICS, Innovation in Teaching And Learning in Information and Computer Science [ISSN 1473-7507] is an electronic journal published by the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) to provide a "vehicle for members of the ICS communities to disseminate best practice and research on learning and teaching within the subject disciplines." Current and past issues are available at For more information about the ICS, see

    See also:

    "Living a Second Life" THE ECONOMIST, September 28, 2006

    The article describes how Second Life, a virtual world environment, is being used as an educational tool.

    Bob Jensen's threads on edutainment and learning games are at
    The above link contains Carolyn's September 1, 2006 module on this topic.


    Updates from WebMD ---

    Latest Headlines on October 5, 2006

    Latest Headlines on October 6, 2006

    Latest Headlines on October 7, 2006

    Latest Headlines on October 10, 2006

    Latest Headlines on October 11, 2006



    A handful of walnuts protects your arteries from the shock of a high-fat meal

    "Walnuts Protect Arteries From Fat," by Daniel DeNoon, WebMD, October 9, 2006 ---

    The finding suggests that nuts are a more important part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet than olive oil. The Mediterranean diet is low in saturated fats but high in monosaturated fats, particularly olive oil.

    Heart health depends on healthy, flexible arteries. When you eat a high-fat meal, it temporarily stuns your arteries. They stiffen and become less able to expand in response to exercise. Over time, this repeated damage contributes to hardening of the arteries.

    But if you eat walnuts along with a fatty meal, the fat has much less of a short-term effect, find Emilio Ros, MD, PhD, and colleagues. Ros is director of the Lipid Clinic at Hospital Clínico, Barcelona, Spain, the central location for the study.

    "People would get the wrong message if they think that they can continue eating unhealthy fats provided they add walnuts to their meals," Ros says in a news release. "Instead, they should consider making walnuts part of a healthy diet that limits saturated fats."

    Ros serves on the scientific advisory board of the California Walnut Commission, which partially funded the study and provided it with nuts.

    Continued in article

    When Robert Browning wrote “grow old along with me, the best is yet to be,” he had no inkling of a future University of Florida study showing that narcissists are more interested in sexual pleasure than lasting intimacy.

    "Sexual attitudes help explain narcissists' relationship problems," PhysOrg, October 4, 2006 ---

    The new study found that narcissists are more likely to philander and dump their partners than people who view closeness and commitment as the most important parts of a relationship, said Ilan Shrira, a UF visiting psychologist.

    “Narcissists have a heightened sense of sexuality, but they tend to view sex very differently than other people do,” said Shrira, whose study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. “They see sexuality more in terms of power, influence and as something daring, in contrast to people with low narcissistic qualities who associated sex more with caring and love.”

    As a result, narcissists tend to go through a string of short-term relationships that don’t last long and are usually devoid of much intimacy, he said.

    Continued in article

    I Think It's Working for Willie
    It's a good thing I had a bag of Marijuana instead of a bag of spinach. I'd be dead by now.
    Willie Nelson being caught with a bag of Marijuana last month.

    "Marijuana's Key Ingredient Might Fight Alzheimer's," by Charles Q. Choi, Yahoo News, October 5, 2006 ---

    The active ingredient of marijuana could be considerably better at suppressing the abnormal clumping of malformed proteins that is a hallmark of Alzheimer's than any currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of the disease. ADVERTISEMENT

    Scientists report the finding in the Oct. 2 issue of the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

    About 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease, which gradually destroys memory. As more people survive into old age, cases of Alzheimer’s disease are expected to triple over the next 50 years. There is no known cure.

    The researchers looked at THC, the compound inside marijuana responsible for its action on the brain. Computer models suggested THC might inhibit an enzyme with the tongue-twisting name of acetylcholinesterase (also called AChE) that is linked with Alzheimer's.

    AChE is known to help accelerate the formation of abnormal protein clumps in the brain known as amyloid plaques during Alzheimer's. This enzyme also helps break down the brain chemical acetylcholine, which is linked to memory and learning. Acetylcholine levels are reduced during Alzheimer's.

    In lab experiments, the scientists found THC was significantly better at disrupting the abnormal clumping of malformed proteins. THC could completely prevent AChE from forming amyloid plaques, while two drugs approved for use against Alzheimer's, donepezil and tacrine, reduced clumping by only 22 and 7 percent, respectively, at twice the concentration of THC used in the tests.

    "We're not advocating smoking dope, but if we can make analogues of THC, it could play a role in treating Alzheimer's," researcher Kim Janda, a chemist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., told LiveScience. "It would be nice to do more animal studies along these lines."

    Past research on human brain tissues and experiments with rats have suggested that synthetic analogues of THC can reduce the inflammation and prevent the mental decline associated with Alzheimer's disease.

    However, marijuana is not necessarily good for the mind. Prior investigations have shown that years of heavy marijuana use, consisting of four or more joints a week, can impair memory, decision making, and the ability to pay attention to more than one thing at a time.

    Miss Piggy might one day save your life
    "Pig-to-Human Transplants on the Horizon," MIT's Technology Review, October 10, 2006 ---

    Thousands of patients die every year in the United States waiting for a suitable donor organ. So surgery professor David Sachs has been trying to figure out how to successfully put a pig organ into a primate. The Massachusetts General Hospital researcher and clinician thinks he has almost found the right protocol: a combination of organs from miniaturized, genetically engineered pigs and pig immune tissue that can prime the primate immune system to accept foreign parts.

    The longest any animal has survived such a transplant is 83 days, still far short of the one-year survival time that Sachs, director of the Transplantation Biology Research Center at MGH, considers a benchmark to start human trials. But he thinks with a few minor tweaks, the procedure will be ready to try in patients, possibly in as little as five years.

    Sachs believes that pig-to-human transplants are the best near-term solution to the drastic shortage of donor organs. As of September 25, 2006, more than 93,000 people in the United States were on the waiting list to receive an transplant organ. Last year, 6,500 people died waiting for such an organ. "People are dying every day for lack of organs," says Sachs. "Genetic engineering and stem cells promise to cure these diseases--but not in the near term."

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    And we can always hope that animal rights militants will donate their organs to save the pigs.

    Chef Offers New, Funky Ways to Eat Your Greens ---

    Bleached chopsticks warning issued
    Taiwanese officials say they've found excessive levels of sulfur dioxide in some bamboo products, including disposable chopsticks and skewers. The Taiwan Consumers' Foundation said people might be ingesting a substance that can cause osteoporosis, as well as serious allergic reactions, the Taipei Times reported Thursday. The newspaper noted there are no laws controlling the use of sulfur dioxide in bleaching and sanitizing bamboo products. "The industry should make an effort to better sterilize their bamboo products," said National Taiwan University Professor Cheng Cheng-yung, a foundation member. "With a lower moisture content and vacuum packaging, there's no need to resort to sulfur dioxide as a sanitizer."
    "Bleached chopsticks warning issued," PhysOrg, October 5, 2006 ---

    "Health Mailbox," by Tara Parker-Pope answers readers' questions, The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2006; Page D3 ---

    Q: My wife has a difficult time finding soups without objectionable additives. She says every item she picks up has hydrogenated fats or MSG. Other than making one's own soup, what do you suggest?

    A: A good place for your wife to look for a healthier soup is a health-food store. But you can also find healthy brands at the regular grocery store. One good bet that is found at both health-food stores and the regular grocery aisle are soups made by Amy's Kitchen. I looked at the ingredients on several and found only organic ingredients and no monosodium glutamate, or MSG, a flavor enhancer that can trigger headaches.

    "The Power of Bioethics:  Arthur Caplan explains the role of bioethics in making life-and-death decisions," by David Ewing Duncan, MIT's Technology Review, October 5, 2006 ---

    Round and brash, with the gravelly voice of a street fighter, Arthur Caplan looks and sounds more like a boxer than an ethi­cal philosopher. The director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, Caplan has been enormously influential in a variety of debates in modern biomedicine, from the fate of Terri Schiavo to the market for organs for transplant. He has written or coauthored more than 400 peer-reviewed articles and several books on the ethics of new medical technologies.

    TR: Why should we care about bioethicists? Are they really so influential?

    Caplan: Bioethics is most influential at the bedside. But the influence of bioethicists on research and human experimentation is also strong. Finally, conservative bioethicists have a lot of influence in Washington these days.

    TR: How much of this activity is just window dressing? Arguably, it allows interested parties to say, "Look, we've got bioethicists here! We must be taking care of the ethics!"

    Caplan: Well, that happens, but it doesn't mean bioethicists don't make a difference. Bioethics has real influence on legislation and regulation.

    TR: What debates have you most influenced?

    Caplan: I was involved in the National Organ Transplant Act. I single-­handedly held up the movement toward creating markets in organs. In genetics, I was the first guy on embryonic-stem-cell research. I was able to undermine the administration's argument that the president's position [which allowed federal funding of stem-cell research with cell lines that were already established] was a compromise. Since then, I've worked with patients' groups and scientists to find a moral framework for embryonic-stem-cell research.

    TR: You have not mentioned the death of Terri Schiavo. But last year it seemed you talked of little else: you were ceaselessly quoted in the media.

    Caplan: I was the most outspoken critic of government intervention, that's true. And I felt bullied by the president and by some members of Congress. But although we were outnumbered and outspent, it's fair to say that we won that fight. Most Americans don't want government intervention in end-of-life cases.

    TR: Why should anyone listen to bioethicists?

    Caplan: Critics sometimes say, "Well, who elected you king?" I smile and say, "If you don't like what I say, just ignore it." Look, bioethicists became influential for a reason: they were able to bridge the gaps between politicians, the media, and the sciences. But they're not a priesthood, and they don't have any authority to dictate anything to anybody.

    TR: Do bioethicists say no a lot?

    Caplan: We jokingly say that anyone can be a bioethicist: just say no to everything.

    New North Korean Literary Works
    "Collection of Works "Blue Sky over Ryongnam Hill" Published," Korean Central News, October 6, 2006 ---

    Pyongyang, October 6 (KCNA) -- A collection of works "Blue Sky over Ryongnam Hill" celebrating the 60th founding anniversary of Kim Il Sung University was brought out by the Educational Books Publishing House. The book contains poems "Korea, I Will Glorify Thee," "We Will Continue March to Mt. Paektu" and "Best Country" and the words of song "Azalea," famous works created by Kim Jong Il while conducting his revolutionary activities at Kim Il Sung University.

        It also contains nearly 100 literary works including poems and novels created by teachers and students of the Literary College of the university.

        The words of song "The Leader Has Come," a lyric "He Has Come to Ryongnam Hill Again," a long poem "Eternal Pledge of Korea," a short story "Blessing," a one-act drama "Wish of Mother" and other works fully represent boundless reverence and strong longing for the three generals of Mt. Paektu who built the first university of the country and devoted themselves to the country's future.

        Readers are deeply impressed by lyric "I Am a Student of Kim Il Sung University", the words of song "Unit of University Students Is Ready," short story "Promise" and short real story "Hill in Life" depicting students of the university and dependable graduates contributing to the building of a rich and powerful country.

        Printed in the book are literary works for children and such critiques as "Noble Emotional World of Peerlessly Great Man and Immortal Hymn" and "Poems on Pure Patriotism" which can help students in their creation of literary works.

    "War Is Hell:  And these are a hell of a quintet of books," by James J. Cramer, The Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2006 ---

    1. "The Irish Guards In the Great War" by Rudyard Kipling (Doubleday, 1923).

    In this history of the unit his son fought and died for in World War I, Rudyard Kipling recorded details, no matter how minor, because "where death ruled every hour, nothing was trivial, and bald references to villages, billets, camps, fatigues and sports, as well as hints of tales that can never now be fully told, carry each their separate significance to each survivor, intimate and incommunicable as family jests." His one sentence on the battle of Loos delivers a Spartan epitaph for his son. "Here 2nd Lieutenant Clifford was shot and wounded or killed--the body was found later--and 2nd Lieutenant Kipling was wounded and still missing." To encounter this searing book is to be struck permanently by its single-mindedness and the exquisiteness of its prose.

    2. "Lost Victories" by Erich von Manstein (Regnery, 1958).

    Generals don't make the best memoirists, mainly because they embellish while writing for posterity; the higher the rank, the worse the tome. The exception is the breathtaking autobiography of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, the brilliant author of many Germany victories against the Soviets in World War II. Dismissive of oft-cited "turning points," such as the German defeat at Stalingrad, von Manstein contends that the war was never winnable for Germany because of the leader prosecuting it. As for Hitler's once much-vaunted kinship with regular soldiers, he says the Fuehrer had "as little in common with the thoughts and emotions of soldiers as had his party with the Prussian virtues which it was so fond of invoking." Coming from Hitler's greatest general, it's a most effective filleting.

    3. "Some Desperate Glory" by Edwin Campion Vaughan (Henry Holt, 1981).

    The fame of "Goodbye to All That," Robert Graves's account of his experience as a British officer in World War I, has obscured the far superior work of Edwin Campion Vaughan, a diary of the eight months he spent in the deadly tedium of the trenches, sipping tea between shellings, trying to maintain civilities in his corner of hell. Vaughan captures the First World War's random, mechanistic horror. At Passchendaele, he crawled into the thick of it, dodging bullets, shells and a menace that could be nearly as lethal, artillery-created sinkholes: Vaughan describes the screams of the wounded who had sought refuge in the freshly gouged holes only to find themselves slowly drowning as rain fell and the water level rose. A relentlessly stark account of the war's bloodiest, most futile battle.

    4. "Storm of Steel" by Ernst Jünger (1920).

    Ernst Jünger's "Storm of Steel" captures the sense of pointlessness felt by soldiers on both sides in World War I--and the lack of animus they held for one another. His profoundly evocative memoir (definitively translated by Michael Hofmann in 2003) is infused with its own steely, poetic force. Jünger has been fighting for Germany for months without having seen an enemy soldier. Then he comes face to face with one; Jünger holds a gun to the wounded man's temple, about to shoot, but then his quarry pulls out a photograph--a picture of himself with his family. "It was a plea from another world," Jünger writes. "Later I thought it was blind chance that I let him go and plunged onward." Tell me you aren't rejoicing that our author-soldier spared him and that he, too, was spared to give us "Storm of Steel."

    5. "But Not for the Fuehrer" by Helmut Jung, with Mike Nesbitt (AuthorHouse, 2004).

    Helmet Jung's self-published memoir is the most shocking of the quintet of books covered here. A private in the Seventh Panzer division caught up in the retreat from Russia, Jung was no Nazi. These soldiers hate Hitler. But fighting for survival apparently can include the thirst to commit atrocities. Jung provides reasons for this hunger: Captured German soldiers have been viciously tortured by Russian women soldiers. The Germans take a terrible vengeance, but cruel as it was, Jung says, he and his comrades all "felt better" afterward. As brutally honest a picture of war on the Eastern Front as we have had.

    Mr. Cramer is the host of CNBC's "Mad Money" and the markets commentator of


    The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form ---

    The artful accountant was pliable;
    His balances, unverifiable.
    When auditors looked At the books he had cooked,
    He was found to be legally liable.

    Tim Alborn (Limerick #1123) ---

    With my taxes, I'm truly obtuse;
    Being lousy at math's my excuse.
    Now, I've hired a man So if things hit the fan,
    He accountably takes the abuse.

    Ulfras (Limerick #4573) ---

    Disorganized books oft will spawn
    Financial reports frowned upon.
    Be accountancy bad, Uncle Sam might get mad,
    And the feds could invade like G. Khan!

    Matt Barber (Limerick #2928) ---

    When your losses exceed what you're earning,
    Accountants can help you by turning Expenses to gains
    With an add back; their pains
    Help you simulate income by churning.

    Tim Alborn (Limerick #7893) ---

    How I love double-entry accounts —
    Keeping books with cross-checking amounts!
    Like a cat stalking prey,
    I could balance all day. (It's on ledgers, not ledges, I pounce.)
    Chris Young (Limerick #18215) ---

    More Tidbits from the Chronicle of Higher Education ---

    Fraud Updates ---
    For earlier editions of New Bookmark s go to 
    Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---

    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

    Three Finance Blogs

    Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog ---
    FinancialRounds Blog ---
    Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) ---

    Some Accounting Blogs

    Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) ---
    International Association of Accountants News --- and Double Entries ---
    Gerald Trite's eBusiness and XBRL Blogs ---
    AccountingWeb ---   
    SmartPros ---

    Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs ---
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks ---
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits ---
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates ---

    Richard Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- 

    Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
    190 Sunset Hill Road
    Sugar Hill, NH 03586
    Phone:  603-823-8482