Tidbits on October 23, 2006
Bob Jensen

Every instructor should seriously consider Camtasia 4 --- http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp
(this may be the most important learning/teaching software ever invented)

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

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


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

 

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

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


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

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




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

Getting Mooned on Halloween --- http://www.funnybunch.com/hal/starrynight.swf

Halloween Hangman --- http://dedge.com/flash/hangman/

Bat Flasher --- http://www.bluemountain.com/view.pd?i=149549234&m=4772&rr=z&source=bm

From the NY Public Library
Small Business Video Seminar --- http://www.nypl.org/research/sibl/smallbiz/video.html

Celebrating 40 Years of Film in New York City --- http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/anniversary/anniversary_home.shtml

The World According to Sesame Street http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/worldaccordingtosesamestreet/index.html

From Scientific American:  Politicians caught on Internet candid cameras
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa001&articleID=51681A7C14879F9ECA39669DF858F75B

Do you have the potential to become a Top Gun?
The object of the game is to move the red block around without getting hit by the blue blocks or touching the black walls.? If you can go longer than 22 seconds you are phenomenal. The US Air Force uses this for fighter pilots. They are expected to go for at least 2 minutes. Give it a try!! --- http://www.rogerroger.com/secret2006/


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

A Bay-Area Billionaire's Annual Gift of Music (Blue Grass) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6203140  

Steven Bernstein: Mixing the Strange and Familiar (Big Band Trumpeter) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5784063

A Beach Boys Classic Gets an R&B Makeover --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6204757

Folk and Rock Re-Interpreted for the Little Ones --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6210683

A Forgotten '80s Classic, Reissued at Last --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6197430

Regina Spektor in Concert --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6161219

Lifter Puller: Loud, Fast and Out of Control --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6190924

Art of the States --- http://artofthestates.org/

Italian Pop Star Takes on U.S. Music Market --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6209758

'The Information' Finds Beck at His Best (Punk Rock) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6212841

Computer Animated Music (link forwarded by Ed Scribner) --- http://www.animusic.com/downloads.html
 


Photographs and Art

Galaxy caught in the making --- http://physorg.com/news79860156.html

Ancient Greece --- http://www.ancientgreece.co.uk/

Charles Sheeler: Across Media --- http://www.artic.edu/aic/exhibitions/sheeler/index.html

Cole Rise Photography (click on the image) --- http://www.colerise.com/

NASA Finds Saturn's Moons May be Creating New Rings --- http://physorg.com/news79801896.html

Winners of the "I Look Like My Dog" Contest --- http://www.flyaboveall.com/dogs.htm

County Waterford Image Archive --- http://www.waterfordcountyimages.org/exhibit/web

Japan's Commercial Sex Trade --- http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.10/play.html?pg=8

My Beautiful America (with music) --- http://oldbluewebdesigns.com/mybeautifulamerica.htm

 


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

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

Augusten Burroughs' Mother Speaks Out (poems with audio) ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6209286

Adventure by Jack London (1876-1916) --- Click Here

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (1866-1946) --- Click Here

The Final Problem by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) --- Click Here

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music http://sscm-jscm.press.uiuc.edu/jscm/

Cheesemaking in Wisconsin: A Short History --- http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/WI/WI-idx?id=WI.Cheesemaking

Cardamom Bread, Wisconsin Style --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6268287




I asked [the ump] if he saw any pitches, because I didn't.
New York Yankee superstar Alex Rodriguez, on the Tigers' Joel Zumaya's 101 mph fastball.
As quoted in Newsweek Magazine, October 16, 2006, Page 27

Betamax fans still extoll its superior picture quality, but for most consumers V.H.S. was the better product; Betamax tapes could fit only an hour’s recording time, while V.H.S. could record an entire movie. Similarly, Edison’s attempt to make direct current the industry standard failed because alternating current was more reliable and allowed electricity to travel longer distances. Ultimately, the best way to make people believe your product will win is to have a better product.
James Surowiecki, "Standard-Bearers," The New Yorker, October 16, 2006 --- http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/061016ta_talk_surowiecki
Surowiecki sees no end in sight in the war between Sony versus Toshiba for dominance in the DVD recorder/playback market.

God cannot alter the past, that is why he is obliged to connive at the existence of historians.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Butler_(novelist)

The trouble with this country is that there are too many politicians who believe, with a conviction based on experience, that you can fool all of the people all of the time.
Franklin Pierce Adams (1881-1960) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Pierce_Adams

Humanity is as it is, it's not a question of changing it but getting to know it.
Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustave_Flaubert

Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair.
George Burns (1896-1996) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Burns

Yet today most voters like him (former California Democratic Governor Jerry Brown), and he's gotten mostly glowing press for his nearly eight-year stint as Oakland's mayor; in 1999 he was even praised by the conservative City Journal for his crime-fighting in the troubled city. These days, just about the only newspaper regularly whacking him is the leftist Berkeley Daily Planet . . . As attorney general (if elected as such in California), Mr. Brown wants to target prisoner recidivism in California, where roughly 120,000 convicts are released annually, and 80,000 returned to prison annually. "They have 8th-grade reading levels, no skills, their attitudes are bad, many are addicted to drugs and they are coming back to disrupt the community," he says. "That's why I'm putting GPS bracelets on them in Oakland. Whether they are active enough that we can root them out of certain neighborhoods at curfew and enforce it -- well, I am at least attempting to compensate for the failed parole system." . . . "If you want to hear me be progressive, I can say this," he says. "I think people should get an education in prison. . . . We want people to succeed and reduce the return rate." He describes a city parolee program he admires, but ends with this: "I saw a body on the sidewalk right outside my building. The first time I heard it [gunfire], I thought it was firecrackers. But my wife said 'No, that's gunfire.' Now I know what it sounds like."
Jill Stewart, "Attorney General Moonbeam?" The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2006, Page A6 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116078038638292552.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

A major theme of the report is that parents could do more to save, regardless of their income levels. Of parents in the survey, 58 percent say that they spent more on dining out or take-out food in the last year than on saving for college. In other categories of spending, 49 percent report that they spent more on vacations, 38 percent more on electronics, and 31 percent more on their children’s allowance than on saving for college. Such figures may explain why only 27 percent of parents in the survey believe that they will meet their goal for college savings.
Scott Jaschik, "Poor Grades for Saving," Inside Higher Ed, October 16, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/10/16/savings
Jensen Comment
Parents of outstanding students who are not saving enough should know that, unless they have low incomes, the opportunities for merit scholarships are declining --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#FinancialAidChanges

 




However, an article in The Times of London suggested a different plan. The group would recommend breaking Iraq up into “three highly autonomous regions.” According to “informed sources” cited by the paper, the Iraq group “has grown increasingly interested in the idea of splitting the Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish regions of Iraq… His group will not advise ‘partition,’ but is believed to favor a division of the country that will devolve power and security to the regions, leaving a skeletal national government in Baghdad in charge of foreign affairs, border protection and the distribution of oil revenue. The Iraqi government will be encouraged to hold a constitutional conference paving the way for greater devolution. Iran and Syria will be urged to back a regional settlement that could be brokered at an international conference.”
Michael Young, "Breaking Up Ain't Hard to Do:  James Baker prepares the exits in Iraq," Reason Magazine, October 12, 2006 --- http://reason.com/hod/my101206.shtml
Jensen Comment
I fear there will always be war as long as oil in Iraq is the most treasured commodity. Opposing sides will probably never agree on how the oil revenues are split. Until Iran wins this war decisively , fighting over oil will carry on. The Coalition Forces, including the U.S., will probably soon decide that the oil is not worth the cost of its continued war with Iran in Iraq. But Iran may not ultimately relish its victory in the long run as the Arabs gear up for secular terrorism in Persia. Iraq will be caught in the middle of a Middle Eastern secular war. From a religious standpoint, the Shiites dominate only in Iran and Iraq which makes the majority of Iraq more closely aligned with Iran from a religious standpoint. However, the Shiites in Iraq are Arabic (speaking Arabic) whereas Iran is Persian (speaking Farsi). This makes Iraq more closely aligned with the Arabic nations from a language and cultural perspective. But most Arabic nations follow the Sunni Islam region. Allegiances are very complicated in Iraq, although in the current Shiite-Sunni struggle for dominance in Iraq, the Shiites are leaning on Iran for military support, especially roadside bombs. In the long-run Iran may have difficulty controlling Shiites in Iraq.


From the Pen of the 2006 Nobel Laureate in Economics
Actual capitalism departs from well-functioning capitalism--monopolies too big to break up, undetected cartels, regulatory failures and political corruption. Capitalism in its innovations plants the seeds of its own encrustation with entrenched power. These departures weigh heavily on the rewards earned, particularly the wages of the least advantaged, and give a bad name to capitalism. But I must insist: It would be a non sequitur to give up on private entrepreneurs and financiers as the wellspring of dynamism merely because the fruits of their dynamism would likely be less than they could be in a less imperfect system. I conclude that capitalism is justified--normally by the expectable benefits to the lowest-paid workers but, failing that, by the injustice of depriving entrepreneurial types (as well as other creative people) of opportunities for their self-expression.
"Dynamic Capitalism Entrepreneurship is lucrative--and just," by Edmund S. Phelps, The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009068 

There are two economic systems in the West. Several nations--including the U.S., Canada and the U.K.--have a private-ownership system marked by great openness to the implementation of new commercial ideas coming from entrepreneurs, and by a pluralism of views among the financiers who select the ideas to nurture by providing the capital and incentives necessary for their development. Although much innovation comes from established companies, as in pharmaceuticals, much comes from start-ups, particularly the most novel innovations. This is free enterprise, a k a capitalism.

The other system--in Western Continental Europe--though also based on private ownership, has been modified by the introduction of institutions aimed at protecting the interests of "stakeholders" and "social partners." The system's institutions include big employer confederations, big unions and monopolistic banks. Since World War II, a great deal of liberalization has taken place. But new corporatist institutions have sprung up: Co-determination (cogestion, or Mitbestimmung) has brought "worker councils" (Betriebsrat); and in Germany, a union representative sits on the investment committee of corporations. The system operates to discourage changes such as relocations and the entry of new firms, and its performance depends on established companies in cooperation with local and national banks. What it lacks in flexibility it tries to compensate for with technological sophistication. So different is this system that it has its own name: the "social market economy" in Germany, "social democracy" in France and "concertazione" in Italy.

Dynamism and Fertility

The American and Continental systems are not operationally equivalent, contrary to some neoclassical views. Let me use the word "dynamism" to mean the fertility of the economy in coming up with innovative ideas believed to be technologically feasible and profitable--in short, the economy's talent at commercially successful innovating. In this terminology, the free enterprise system is structured in such a way that it facilitates and stimulates dynamism while the Continental system impedes and discourages it.

Wasn't the Continental system designed to stifle dynamism? When building the massive structures of corporatism in interwar Italy, theoreticians explained that their new system would be more dynamic than capitalism--maybe not more fertile in little ideas, such as might come to petit-bourgeois entrepreneurs, but certainly in big ideas. Not having to fear fluid market conditions, an entrenched company could afford to develop radical innovation. And with industrial confederations and state mediation available, such companies could arrange to avoid costly duplication of their investments. The state and its instruments, the big banks, could intervene to settle conflicts about the economy's direction. Thus the corporatist economy was expected to usher in a new futurismo that was famously symbolized by Severini's paintings of fast trains. (What was important was that the train was rushing forward, not that it ran on time.)

Friedrich Hayek, in the late 1930s and early '40s, began the modern theory of how a capitalist system, if pure enough, would possess the greatest dynamism--not socialism and not corporatism. First, virtually everyone right down to the humblest employees has "know-how," some of what Michael Polanyi called "personal knowledge" and some merely private knowledge, and out of that an idea may come that few others would have. In its openness to the ideas of all or most participants, the capitalist economy tends to generate a plethora of new ideas.

Second, the pluralism of experience that the financiers bring to bear in their decisions gives a wide range of entrepreneurial ideas a chance of insightful evaluation. And, importantly, the financier and the entrepreneur do not need the approval of the state or of social partners. Nor are they accountable later on to such social bodies if the project goes badly, not even to the financier's investors. So projects can be undertaken that would be too opaque and uncertain for the state or social partners to endorse. Lastly, the pluralism of knowledge and experience that managers and consumers bring to bear in deciding which innovations to try, and which to adopt, is crucial in giving a good chance to the most promising innovations launched. Where the Continental system convenes experts to set a product standard before any version is launched, capitalism gives market access to all versions.

Dynamism does have its downside. The same capitalist dynamism that adds to the desirability of jobs also adds to their precariousness. The strong possibility of a general slump can cause anxiety. But we need some perspective. Even a market socialist economy might be unpredictable: In truth, the Continental economies are also susceptible to wide swings. In fact, it is the corporatist economies that have suffered the widest swings in recent decades. In the U.S. and the U.K., unemployment rates have been remarkably steady for 20 years. It may be that when the Continental economies are down, the paucity of their dynamism makes it harder for them to find something new on which to base a comeback.

The U.S. economy might be said to suffer from incomplete inclusion of the disadvantaged. But that is less a fault of capitalism than of electoral politics. The U.S. economy is not unambiguously worse than the Continental ones in this regard: Low-wage workers at least have access to jobs, which is of huge value to them in their efforts to be role models in their family and community. In any case, we can fix the problem.

Why, then, if the "downside" is so exaggerated, is capitalism so reviled in Western Continental Europe? It may be that elements of capitalism are seen by some in Europe as morally wrong in the same way that birth control or nuclear power or sweatshops are seen by some as simply wrong in spite of the consequences of barring them. And it appears that the recent street protesters associate business with established wealth; in their minds, giving greater latitude to businesses would increase the privileges of old wealth. By an "entrepreneur" they appear to mean a rich owner of a bank or factory, while for Schumpeter and Knight it meant a newcomer, a parvenu who is an outsider. A tremendous confusion is created by associating "capitalism" with entrenched wealth and power. The textbook capitalism of Schumpeter and Hayek means opening up the economy to new industries, opening industries to start-up companies, and opening existing companies to new owners and new managers. It is inseparable from an adequate degree of competition. Monopolies like Microsoft are a deviation from the model.

It would be unhistorical to say that capitalism in my textbook sense of the term does not and cannot exist. Tocqueville marveled at the relatively pure capitalism he found in America. The greater involvement of Americans in governing themselves, their broader education and their wider equality of opportunity, all encourage the emergence of the "man of action" with the "skill" to "grasp the chance of the moment."

I want to conclude by arguing that generating more dynamism through the injection of more capitalism does serve economic justice.

We all feel good to see people freed to pursue their dreams. Yet Hayek and Ayn Rand went too far in taking such freedom to be an absolute, the consequences be damned. In judging whether a nation's economic system is acceptable, its consequences for the prospects of the realization of people's dreams matter, too. Since the economy is a system in which people interact, the endeavors of some may damage the prospects of others. So a persuasive justification of well-functioning capitalism must be grounded on its all its consequences, not just those called freedoms.

To argue that the consequences of capitalism are just requires some conception of economic justice. I broadly subscribe to the conception of economic justice in the work by John Rawls. In any organization of the economy, the participants will score unequally in how far they manage to go in their personal growth. An organization that leaves the bottom score lower than it would be under another feasible organization is unjust. So a new organization that raised the scores of some, though at the expense of reducing scores at the bottom, would not be justified. Yet a high score is just if it does not hurt others. "Envy is the vice of mankind," said Kant, whom Rawls greatly admired.

The 'Least Advantaged'

What would be the consequence, from this Rawlsian point of view, of releasing entrepreneurs onto the economy? In the classic case to which Rawls devoted his attention, the lowest score is always that of workers with the lowest wage, whom he called the "least advantaged": Their self-realization lies mostly in marrying, raising children and participating in the community, and it will be greater the higher their wage. So if the increased dynamism created by liberating private entrepreneurs and financiers tends to raise productivity, as I argue--and if that in turn pulls up those bottom wages, or at any rate does not lower them--it is not unjust. Does anyone doubt that the past two centuries of commercial innovations have pulled up wage rates at the low end and everywhere else in the distribution?

Yet the tone here is wrong. As Kant also said, persons are not to be made instruments for the gain of others. Suppose the wage of the lowest- paid workers was foreseen to be reduced over the entire future by innovations conceived by entrepreneurs. Are those whose dream is to find personal development through a career as an entrepreneur not to be permitted to pursue their dream? To respond, we have to go outside Rawls's classical model, in which work is all about money. In an economy in which entrepreneurs are forbidden to pursue their self-realization, they have the bottom scores in self-realization--no matter if they take paying jobs instead--and that counts whether or not they were born the "least advantaged." So even if their activities did come at the expense of the lowest-paid workers, Rawlsian justice in this extended sense requires that entrepreneurs be accorded enough opportunity to raise their self-realization score up to the level of the lowest-paid workers--and higher, of course, if workers are not damaged by support for entrepreneurship. In this case, too, then, the introduction of entrepreneurial dynamism serves to raise Rawls's bottom scores.

Actual capitalism departs from well-functioning capitalism--monopolies too big to break up, undetected cartels, regulatory failures and political corruption. Capitalism in its innovations plants the seeds of its own encrustation with entrenched power. These departures weigh heavily on the rewards earned, particularly the wages of the least advantaged, and give a bad name to capitalism. But I must insist: It would be a non sequitur to give up on private entrepreneurs and financiers as the wellspring of dynamism merely because the fruits of their dynamism would likely be less than they could be in a less imperfect system. I conclude that capitalism is justified--normally by the expectable benefits to the lowest-paid workers but, failing that, by the injustice of depriving entrepreneurial types (as well as other creative people) of opportunities for their self-expression.

Mr. Phelps, the McVickar Professor of Political Economy at Columbia, was yesterday awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for economics. Click here to read a selection of his previous articles from The Wall Street Journal.


Under the GOP Anti-Trust is Becoming a Sham
AT&T is Once Again Emerging as a Telephone Monopoly (only this time an unregulated monopoly)
The Department of Justice approved AT&T’s purchase of BellSouth yesterday without imposing any concessions on the companies, angering consumer groups and leading the Federal Communications Commission to delay voting on the deal. Regulators were widely expected to sign off on the merger, one of the largest ever in the telecommunications industry, since AT&T and BellSouth do not compete directly for residential phone customers in their respective territories, and because they already operate several joint ventures, including Cingular Wireless.

Ken Belson, "Justice Dept. Approves AT&T-BellSouth Deal," The New York Times, October 12, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/12/business/12att.html


"Hong Kong Wrong:  What would Cowperthwaite say?" by Milton Friedman, The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009051

It had to happen. Hong Kong's policy of "positive noninterventionism" was too good to last. It went against all the instincts of government officials, paid to spend other people's money and meddle in other people's affairs. That's why it was sadly unsurprising to see Hong Kong's current leader, Donald Tsang, last month declare the death of the policy on which the territory's prosperity was built.

The really amazing phenomenon is that, for half a century, his predecessors resisted the temptation to tax and meddle. Though a colony of socialist Britain, Hong Kong followed a laissez-faire capitalist policy, thanks largely to a British civil servant, John Cowperthwaite. Assigned to handle Hong Kong's financial affairs in 1945, he rose through the ranks to become the territory's financial secretary from 1961-71. Cowperthwaite, who died on Jan. 21 this year, was so famously laissez-faire that he refused to collect economic statistics for fear this would only give government officials an excuse for more meddling. His successor, Sir Philip Haddon-Cave, coined the term "positive noninterventionism" to describe Cowperthwaite's approach.

The results of his policy were remarkable. At the end of World War II, Hong Kong was a dirt-poor island with a per-capita income about one-quarter that of Britain's. By 1997, when sovereignty was transferred to China, its per-capita income was roughly equal to that of the departing colonial power, even though Britain had experienced sizable growth over the same period. That was a striking demonstration of the productivity of freedom, of what people can do when they are left free to pursue their own interests.

The success of laissez-faire in Hong Kong was a major factor in encouraging China and other countries to move away from centralized control toward greater reliance on private enterprise and the free market. As a result, they too have benefited from rapid economic growth. The ultimate fate of China depends, I believe, on whether it continues to move in Hong Kong's direction faster than Hong Kong moves in China's.

Mr. Tsang insists that he only wants the government to act "when there are obvious imperfections in the operation of the market mechanism." That ignores the reality that if there are any "obvious imperfections," the market will eliminate them long before Mr. Tsang gets around to it. Much more important are the "imperfections"--obvious and not so obvious--that will be introduced by overactive government.

A half-century of "positive noninterventionism" has made Hong Kong wealthy enough to absorb much abuse from ill-advised government intervention. Inertia alone should ensure that intervention remains limited. Despite the policy change, Hong Kong is likely to remain wealthy and prosperous for many years to come. But, although the territory may continue to grow, it will no longer be such a shining symbol of economic freedom.

Yet that doesn't detract from the scale of Cowperthwaite's achievement. Whatever happens to Hong Kong in the future, the experience of this past 50 years will continue to instruct and encourage friends of economic freedom. And it provides a lasting model of good economic policy for others who wish to bring similar prosperity to their people.

Dr. Friedman, the 1976 Nobel laureate in economics, is a senior research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

Bob Jensen's threads on Milton Friedman's gloomy warnings entitlement programs in the U. S. are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm


About the Scholarship of Bob Woodward
Woodward's biggest critics seem to be his journalist peers

"So This Is Journalism? Bob Woodward takes a novel approach in his new book on the Bush administration," by Jonathan Karl, The Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110009071

It may seem like another lifetime, but just over five years ago China forced down an American EP-3 spy plane for venturing into Chinese airspace and held its 24-member crew hostage for 11 days. It was the Bush administration's first international crisis, and it was a big one. So how did the president's national security team deal with it? They called Prince Bandar.

At least that's what Bob Woodward tells us in one of the non-Iraq revelations in his latest blockbuster, "State of Denial." In Mr. Woodward's account of that tense stand-off with China, Secretary of State Colin Powell called Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., for help. Prince Bandar, Mr. Woodward tells us, "had special relations with the Chinese through various deals to purchase arms and missiles" and, of course, oil. With a few calls to the Chinese, which were monitored by the National Security Agency, Mr. Woodward says, "Bandar eventually got the Chinese to release the 24 hostages." He goes on: "Never modest about his influence, Bandar considered it almost a personal favor to him."

The story is classic Bob Woodward: fly-on-the-wall descriptions of super-secret discussions, details missed by every other reporter, a juicy scoop. But the account leaves lingering questions: Did Prince Bandar really get the Chinese to release the hostages? Was that the whole story? How does Mr. Woodward "know" all this? Could it be that Prince Bandar himself is making the claim? Your guess is as good as mine. Mr. Woodward doesn't tell us.

"State of Denial" is replete with similar Woodwardian reporting: secret meetings recounted in vivid detail, complete with lengthy, verbatim quotations of what key players said to each other as the story unfolded. Once again, it all reads as if Bob Woodward was lurking in the background as the meetings happened, taking exceptionally detailed notes. But of course he was not there. We learn not only what the president and all his men said but also what unspoken thoughts raced through their minds. But Mr. Woodward wasn't inside their heads either, it is safe to say.

Mr. Woodward attempts to write like a novelist, not a journalist: His books are scenic and dramatic and dialogue-driven, more sensationalism than history. Take, for example, this description of a conversation in May 2003 (two months after the Iraq invasion) between Gen. John Abizaid, then deputy military commander in the Middle East, and Gen. Jay Garner, the official briefly responsible for the reconstruction of post-Saddam Iraq:

"Garner told Abizaid, 'John, I'm telling you. If you do this it's going to be ugly. It'll take 10 years to fix this country, and for three years you'll be sending kids home in body bags.'

"Abizaid didn't disagree. 'I hear you, I hear you,' he said."

Mr. Woodward doesn't tell us where he got this verbatim account of a meeting that took place more than three years ago; he writes as if it is a simple fact that it unfolded as told, not someone's recollection. We cannot gauge whether the source, whoever it was, might have had a motive to put a certain spin on facts. The discussion neatly makes Gen. Garner look like the truth-teller who foresaw precisely what would happen and tried to do something about it. Maybe it's true or maybe it's the way Gen. Garner would like to remember it, but he said no such thing publicly at the time.

As more than a few people have noted over the course of Mr. Woodward's long career, his narratives are propelled in part by who talks to him and, just as important, who gives him the best, most detailed and colorful descriptions of what went on in all those secret meetings. And that brings us back to Prince Bandar.

Apparently Prince Bandar is an excellent source for Mr. Woodward, somebody willing to give blow-by-blow accounts of virtually every encounter he has had with top Bush administration officials, including the president and his family. In this book, Prince Bandar seems to be everywhere. He persuades President Bush to endorse the creation of a Palestinian state, he educates President Bush on the ways of the Middle East, he warns against the invasion of Iraq. In Mr. Woodward's account Bandar is a central player, mentioned almost as often as Vice President Cheney and more often than British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Gen. George W. Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Consider this typical anecdote:

"The elder George Bush was concerned about his son after 9/11 and he called Prince Bandar. 'He's having a bad time,' Bush told Bandar.

" 'Help him out.' "

Perhaps President Bush's father is the source of this nifty exchange. If so, it's an amazing revelation that he was so worried about his son that he tapped the Saudi ambassador for a personal intervention so soon after the attack on America carried out largely by Saudi citizens. Or maybe the source is somebody who says he was told about the conversation by either the elder Bush or Prince Bandar, in which case it's basically hearsay. Or maybe, just maybe, the source is Prince Bandar himself. Again, Mr. Woodward gives us no clue, instead describing the conversation as if he were there.

What does the author's faux-realism add up to this time around? His two previous books on the administration--"Bush at War" (2002) and "Plan of Attack" (2004)--were criticized for lavishing too much praise on President Bush and his national security team, who were portrayed, for the most part, as steadfast, competent leaders in the face of an implacable enemy. No more. Now Mr. Woodward portrays the president and his team as incompetent, out of touch and dysfunctional. The conventional wisdom has shifted dramatically in the past couple of years and Mr. Woodward with it.

At a time when nearly everyone seems to be blaming Iraq's problem on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld--too few troops, not enough planning, too much arrogance--"State of Denial" presents him in an unflattering light, to say the least: demanding power over Iraq's reconstruction and deftly avoiding responsibility when things go badly. When Mr. Woodward goes mano-a-mano with Mr. Rumsfeld in an on-the-record interview, he puts himself into the narrative. He prods Mr. Rumsfeld and expresses exasperation and disbelief at some of the defense secretary's answers.

Yet it may be the best interview that Mr. Rumsfeld has given as defense secretary. He is combative and defensive but makes news. For instance, Mr. Rumsfeld tells Mr. Woodward that the phrase "mission accomplished" was in the original draft of the now infamous speech President Bush gave on the USS Lincoln after the fall of Saddam Hussein and he asked that it be taken out. The White House has always claimed that "mission accomplished" was coined by sailors who wanted to give the president a warm welcome on their aircraft carrier. More significantly, Mr. Rumsfeld says that he disagreed when the president, in a major speech on the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, described U.S. strategy as "clear, hold, and build." Mr. Rumsfeld felt that "hold" and "build" were not for the Americans to do but for Iraqis: "I wanted them clearing. And then holding." It is a remarkable admission: the defense secretary and the president unable to agree on how to define U.S. strategy three years into the war.

Mr. Woodward also describes an interview with Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that shows how Mr. Woodward's legendary commitment to protecting his sources has evolved over the years. In the interview, which took place earlier this year, Gen. Pace stumbles when he describes the insurgency. Here is the book's version, beginning with Gen. Pace's words:

" 'They're on the ropes . . .if this parliament continues to function and this prime minister continues to function.' "

"'Okay,' I said, 'but are they on the ropes?'

"'Wrong word,' Pace said.

"'You're going to sound like Cheney,' I said. 'You want to retract that?'

" 'I do,' he said. 'I would like to retract that. Thank you. I appreciate that. I appreciate the courtesy.' "

Courtesy? Mr. Woodward recounts the whole thing, right there on page 475. Apparently for Bob Woodward, Peter Pace is no Mark Felt. Maybe Gen. Pace would have fared better with Mr. Woodward if he had given him a good scoop during a parking-garage rendezvous.

Mr. Karl is senior national security correspondent for ABC News.

"The Boring Fabulist "State of Denial" amazes me," by Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110009048

Thirty-two years into his career as a writer of books, Bob Woodward has won a reputation as slipshod ("Wired"), slippery ("All the President's Men," "The Final Days"), opportunistic ("Veil"; everything) and generally unaware of the implications even of those facts he's offered that have gone unchallenged. As a reporter he's been compared to a great dumb shark, remorselessly moving toward hunks of information he can swallow but not digest. As a writer his style has been to lard unconnected sentences with extraneous data in order to give his assertions a fact-y weight that suggests truth is being told. And so: On July 23, 1994, at 4:18 p.m., the meeting over, the president gazed out the double-paned windows of the Oval Office, built in October 1909 by workers uncovered by later minimum wage legislation, and saw the storm moving in. "I think I'll kill my wife," he said, the words echoing in the empty room. I made that up. It's my homage.

Mr. Woodward has been that amazing thing, the boring fabulist.

The Bush White House has spent the past five years thinking they could manage him. Talk about a state of denial.

Now he has thwarted me. I bought "State of Denial" thinking I might have a merry time bashing it and a satisfying time defending the innocent injured.

But it is a good book. It may be a great one. It is serious, densely, even exhaustively, reported, and a real contribution to history in that it gives history what it most requires, first-person testimony. (It is well documented, with copious notes.) What is most striking is that Mr. Woodward seems to try very hard to be fair, not in a phony "Armitage, however, denies it" way, but in a way that--it will seem too much to say this--reminded me of Jean Renoir: "The real hell of life is that everyone has his reasons."

His Bush is not a monster but a personally disciplined, yearning, vain and intensely limited man. His advisers in all levels of the government are tugged and torn by understandable currents and display varying degrees of guile, cynicism and courage. As usual, prime sources get the best treatment--the affable Andy Card, the always well-meaning Prince Bandar. Members of the armed forces get a high-gloss spit shine. But once you decode it and put it aside--and Woodward readers always know to do that--you get real history:

The almost epic bureaucratic battle of Donald Rumsfeld to re-establish civilian control of the post-Clinton Joint Chiefs of Staff; the struggle of the State Department to be heard and not just handled by the president; the search on the ground for the weapons of mass destruction; the struggles, advances and removal from Iraq of Jay Garner, sent to oversee humanitarian aid; the utter disconnect between the experience on the ground after Baghdad was taken and the attitude of the White House--"borderline giddy." This is a primer on how the executive branch of the United States works, or rather doesn't work, in the early years of the 21st century.

There is previously unreported information. Former Secretary of State George Shultz was top contender for American envoy to Baghdad, but there were worries he was "not known for taking direction." Spies called "bats" were planted in American agencies by American agencies to report to rival superiors back home.

After Baghdad fell, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, who appears to be the best friend of everybody in the world, went to the White House and advised the president to fill the power vacuum immediately: The Baath Party and the military had run the country. Remove the top echelon--they have bloody hands--but keep and maintain everyone else. Tell the Iraqi military to report to their barracks, he advised, and keep the colonels on down. Have them restore order. Have Iraqi intelligence find the insurgents: "Those bad guys will know how to find bad guys." Use them, and then throw them over the side. This is advice that has the brilliance of the obvious, and not only in retrospect.

Mr. Woodward: "'That's too Machiavellian,' someone said. The Saudi notes of the meeting indicate it was either Bush or Rice."

It's isn't clear if "too Machiavellian" meant too clever by half, or too devious for good people like us. Either way it was another path not taken. The newly unemployed personnel of the old Iraqi government took to the streets, like everyone else.

To the central thesis. Was the White House, from the beginning, in a state of denial? I doubt denial is the word. They were in a state of unknowingness. (I have come to give greater credence to the importance, in the age of terror, among our leaders, of having served in the military. For you need personal experience that you absorbed deep down in your bones, or a kind of imaginative wisdom that tells you even though you were never there what war is like, what invasion is, what building a foreign nation entails.) They were in a state of conviction: They really thought Saddam had those WMDs. (Yes, so did Bill Clinton, so did The New Yorker, so did I, and so likely did you. But Mr. Bush moved on, insisted on, intelligence that was faulty, inadequate.) They were in a state of propulsion: 9/11 had just wounded a great nation. Strong action was needed.

Here I add something I have been thinking about the past year. It is about the young guys at the table in the Reagan era. The young, mid-level guys who came to Washington in the Reagan years were always at the table in the meeting with the career State Department guy. And the man from State, timid in all ways except bureaucratic warfare, was always going "Ooh, aah, you can't do that, the Soviet Union is so big, Galbraith told us how strong their economy is, the Sandinistas have the passionate support of the people, there's nothing we can do, stop with your evil empire and your Grenada invasion, it's needlessly aggressive!" Those guys from State--they were almost always wrong. Their caution was timorousness, their prudence a way to evade responsibility. The young Reagan guys at the table grew up to be the heavyweights of the Bush era. They walked into the White House knowing who'd been wrong at the table 20 years before. And so when State and others came in and said, "The intelligence doesn't support it, we see no WMDs," the Bush men knew who not to believe.

History is human.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father"


There is no opinion so absurd that some philosopher will not express it.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC-43 BC) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Tullius_Cicero

Heil Bush:  Barf Alert from Islamic Scholar at the University of Wisconsin
Kevin Barrett, a controversial adjunct at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who believes the U.S. government was responsible for 9/11, is in hot water again. This time he is being criticized for an essay in which he wrote “like Bush and the neocons, Hitler and the Nazis inaugurated their new era by destroying an architectural monument and blaming its destruction on their designated enemies.” Politicians in Wisconsin are outraged by the comparison between President Bush and Hitler. The Associated Press quoted Barrett as saying Tuesday that he didn’t mean to compare Bush and Hitler personally, but was comparing events. He added that “Hitler has a good 20 to 30 IQ points on Bush.” The university issued a statement from Provost Patrick Farrell saying that it did not endorse Barrett’s views.
Inside Higher Ed, October 12, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/10/12/qt


Law and Economics Blog of UCLA Professor Stephen Bainbridge --- http://professorbainbridge.com/

YouTube and Politcs

Two very interesting news stories about YouTube.com. First, from the W$J we learn that:

One after another, embarrassing videos of U.S. senator for Montana, Conrad Burns, have been posted in recent months on YouTube.com by somebody identified only as "Arrowhead77." There was the one of the 71-year-old Republican lawmaker nodding off at a farm hearing. Another where he warned constituents about people who "drive taxicabs in the daytime and kill at night." A third showing Mr. Burns joking about the immigration status of the "nice little Guatemalan man" who works at his Virginia house. (See videos posted by Arrowhead 77.) ... "Arrowhead77" is a 23-year-old staffer on Mr. Tester's campaign named Andy Tweeten, who posts the videos from his iBook notebook, having mixed them with music and added titles. Mr. Tweeten gets his raw footage from a fellow Tester aide, 24-year-old Kevin O'Brien. Since April, Mr. O'Brien has put 16,000 miles on his gold Nissan Sentra stalking Montana's folksy senior senator with a Sony camcorder in hopes of capturing embarrassing moments on tape.

Regular readers might recall something that I wrote back in August:

I bet that Youtube gets the sort of massive political use in the 2006 and 2008 cycles that blogs did in 2004. I'd also be willing to bet it drives anti-free speech, pro-incumbent protection campaign finance "reformers" like John McCain, Russ Feingold, Trevor Potter, and Fred Wertheimer nuts. Which, as Martha might say, would be a good thing. Indeed, it would behoove all political bloggers to go buy a digital camcorder and editing software to start making our own campaign ads. (Just don't pull a Hamsher by embarrassing your candidate.)

Yet, Youtube may yet stymie its potential as a powerful new media tool for politicians and political junkies by rampant (and unfairly tilted) censorship. As the NYT explains:

Last week, as YouTube continued its recent campaign to spit-shine its image and, perhaps, to look a little less ragtag to potential buyers (including Google, which was said to be eyeing the upstart in the $1.6 billion range), the company took a scrub bucket to some questionable political graffiti on its servers, including a video entry from the doyenne of right-wing blogs, Michelle Malkin (michellemalkin.com).

As a private entity, Youtube is perfectly free to ban whatever they want from their website. Yet, just as Fox News emerged in response to a perceived left-wing bias in the MSM, a competitor to Youtube might make competitive inroads by promoting itself as a site in which free speech is given maximum effect.




Every instructor should seriously consider Camtasia 4 --- http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp
(this may be the most important learning/teaching software ever invented)

October 4, 2006 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

What's New in Camtasia Studio 4?

Share with anyone, anywhere Get moving! For the first time, Camtasia Studio lets you publish videos and MP3 files for iPods and portable media players. Your message, lecture or training video will reach viewers everywhere – whether they're on a plane or a run.

Give your audience more playback choices No need to guess what your viewers want - you can simultaneously produce multiple kinds of videos. Whether they want to watch it on their laptop, their iPod, or any other portable media player, you've got it covered. As an added bonus, you can even attach a PowerPoint presentation!

Everyone can post online with Screencast.com Share with ease - post your videos, screencasts, and files online at Screencast.com! Deliver content directly to your viewers with RSS and iTunes output. With the new Screencast.com output, sharing with any audience is just a click away.

Improved audio Even in quiet rooms, unwanted noise can creep into your videos – but now Camtasia Studio can drastically improve video quality by editing out background sounds. Plus, it can also ensure consistently good sound by equalizing volume levels.

Compare before producing So many great file choices - which one is best for you? The new production preview feature lets you quickly compare the results of different formats and compression settings.

It's your video – customize it Choose from a variety of playback bars and Flash pre-loaders to create a presentation that looks exactly the way you want.

Interactive, quicker, easier · Find out what viewers really think Engage viewers and get valuable feedback with survey questions. Check out the quiz enhancements, too!

· Move on from PowerPoint – fast Camtasia Studio now processes PowerPoint recordings near- instantaneously, so you can continue your presentation without waiting.

· Produce in three clicks or less Publish videos quickly for the Web, iPod and portable media players. We created eight production presets of the most popular settings - edit or create new presets to save and share!

Richard J. Campbell
School of Business
218 N. College Ave.
University of Rio Grande
Rio Grande, OH 45674
Voice:740-245-7288

http://faculty.rio.edu/campbell

Jensen Comment
Another new (non-free) feature of Camtasia is that TechSmith will serve up your work (including video and PDF files) at a site called Screen Cast (in beta) --- http://www.screencast.com/
There's also a RSS feed at this site, an iPod feed, and a free trial offer.

Interesting Video from a Teacher --- http://video.techsmith.com/blog/screencasts/people/kc01/ohs_interview_0001.html
(The tax deductible comment only applies to K-12 teachers, not to college professors.)

Bob Jensen's Camtasia videos (using older Camtasia software) are included in the following sites:

http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/Tutorials/

http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/acct5341/

http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/acct5342/

 


"Video Searching by Sight and Script:  Researchers have designed an automated system to identify characters in television shows, paving the way for better video search," by Brendan Borrell, MIT's Technology Review, October 11, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17604&ch=infotech

Google's acquisition this week of YouTube.com has raised hopes that searching for video is going to improve. More than 65,000 videos are uploaded to YouTube each day, according to the website. With all that content, finding the right clip can be difficult.

Now researchers have developed a system that uses a combination of face recognition, close-captioning information, and original television scripts to automatically name the faces on that appear on screen, making episodes of the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer searchable.

"We basically see this work as one of the first steps in getting automated descriptions of what's happening in a video," says Mark Everingham, a computer scientist now at the University of Leeds (formerly of the University of Oxford), who presented his research at the British Machine Vision Conference in September.

Currently, video searches offered by AOL Video, Google, and YouTube do not search the content of a video itself, but instead rely primarily on "metadata," or text descriptions, written by users to develop a searchable index of Web-based media content.

Users frequently (and illegally) upload bits and pieces of their favorite sitcoms to video-sharing sites such as YouTube. For instance, a recent search for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" turned up nearly 2,000 clips on YouTube, many of them viewed thousands of times. Most of these clips are less than five minutes and the descriptions are vague. One titled "A new day has come," for instance, is described by a user thusly: "It mostly contains Buffy and Spike. It shows how Spike was there for Buffy until he died and she felt alone afterward."

Everingham says previous work in video search has used data from subtitles to find videos, but he's not aware of anyone using his method, which combines--in the technical tour de force--subtitles and script annotation. The script tells you "what is said and who said it" and subtitles tell you "what time something is said," he explains. Everingham's software combines those two sources of information with powerful tools previously developed to track faces and identify speakers without the need for user input.

What made the Buffy project such a challenge, Everingham says, is that in film and television, the person speaking is not always in the shot. The star, Buffy, may be speaking off-screen or facing away from the camera, for instance, and the camera will be showing you the listener's reactions. Other times, there may be multiple actors on the screen or the actor's face is not directly facing the camera. All of these ambiguities are easy for humans to interpret, but difficult for computers--at least until now. Everingham says their multimodal system is accurate up to 80 percent of the time.

A single episode of Buffy can have up to 20,000 instances of detected faces, but most of these instances arise from multiple frames of a single character in any given shot. The software tracks key "landmarks" on actor's faces--nostrils, pupils, and eyes, for instance--and if one of them overlaps with the next frame, the two faces are considered part of a single track. If these landmarks are unclear, though, the software uses a description of clothing to unite two "broken" face tracks. Finally, the software also watches actors' lips to identify who's speaking or if the speaker is off screen. Ultimately, the system produces a detailed, play-by-play annotation of the video.

"The general idea is that you want to get more information without having people capture it," says Alex Berg at the Computer Vision Group at University of California, Berkeley. "If you want to find a particular scene with a character, you have to first find the scenes that contain that character." He says that Everingham's research will pave the way for more complex searches of television programming.

Computer scientist Josef Sivic at Oxford's Visual Geometry Group, who contributed to the Buffy project, says that in the future it will be possible to search for high-level concepts like "Buffy and Spike walking toward the camera hand-in-hand" or all outdoor scenes that contain Buffy.

Timothy Tuttle, vice president of AOL Video, says, "It seems like over the next five to ten years, more and more people will choose what to watch on their own schedule and they will view content on demand." He also notes that the barrier to adapting technologies like Everingham's may no longer be technical, but legal.

These legal barriers have been coming down with print media because companies have reaped the financial benefits of searchable content--Google's Book Scan and Amazon's search programs have been shown to boost book sales over the last two years.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm


Question
What does Vander Wal call the "personal infocloud?"
Are we becoming glorified clerks?

The Media-Sharing Mirage
Many tools now exist for capturing and sharing data collected on mobile devices. Will they turn us into globe-trotting personal publishers--or glorified file clerks?
by Wade Roush
MIT's Technology Review
October 13, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17613&ch=infotech

Wireless laptops, home broadband connections, and camera phones are nearly ubiquitous, at least in urban parts of the industrialized world. And several Web-based media-sharing services--including eSnips, Nokia's Lifeblog, Motorola's Avvenu, and Six Apart's Vox--can fuse all the information those devices collect into online journals.

The vision is clear: multimedia diaries should document all our experiences and gather our favorite files so we can share them as widely as we wish.

The implementation, however, is flawed.

I've spent the last couple of weeks trying out one of the services, Vizrea. The company's first product, launched in February, was Vizrea Snap, software for Nokia camera phones that simplifies the transfer of photos between the phones, Vizrea's website, and users' home computers. Last month, the company added videos, blog posts, and podcasts to the mix. New social networking technology is also included that lets users view files from friends and swap comments. And they've also created a PC program for organizing these files and have made the system available for more types of phones.

"People who are really into social networking and use sites like Xanga, MySpace, or other services seem to get super-excited about being able to instantly share their content with their social network," said Vizrea CEO Mike Toutonghi. "We wanted to build a robust, seamless platform that allows content to move easily between various devices and end up where users want it to be, already organized."

While the idea is great, Vizrea's technology isn't nearly as robust and worry-free as it should be, especially if the company has its eye on the mass market. And it's a limitation common to all the latest media-sharing services I've used.

Vizrea can do a bunch of neat things. I took some pictures around the neighborhood using a Nokia N70 phone, which includes a surprisingly good 2-megapixel camera. Using the Vizrea Snap software on the phone, I uploaded selected pictures to a personal account I'd created earlier on Vizrea's website. I could add titles and descriptions to the photos and specify which album or "collection" they should go into. I also created blog posts and uploaded those to the Vizrea website. From that site, I could view all of my collections and blog entries, mark them as public or private, invite friends to visit my pages, and browse other Vizrea members' collections.

What's more--and this is what makes a service like Vizrea a real advance--I could view Vizrea blogs and collections from the phone. Up to now, most of our personal data has been stranded on islands. My songs are stuck on my laptop or my iPod. My photos, unless I make the effort to upload them, are stuck on my phone, my camera, or my PC. The TV shows I record are stuck on my DVR. But using Vizrea, I can upload my entire photo collection to the Web, then use the phone to show puppy pictures to friends when I'm traveling.

The same goes for podcasts and other audio clips, including MP3 songs. (While Vizrea doesn't encourage the sharing of copyrighted material, it's certainly possible.) If you don't have one of the 16 Nokia, Samsung, or Panasonic phones that support Vizrea's software, you can do most of the same things using a standard cell-phone browser and Vizrea's WAP interface.

It all represents a step toward what social media theorist Thomas Vander Wal calls the "personal infocloud": technologies that scatter your data across the Internet and reassemble them on demand, wherever you go and whatever device you happen to be using (see "The Internet is Your Next Hard Drive").

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Bob Jensen's threads on the Downsides of Open Sharing ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/Theworry.htm


"The 10 Biggest Problems With Wireless and How to Fix Them: Missed calls, dead zones, surprise charges. What are cellphone companies doing about them? by Sarmad Ali, The Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2006; Page R1 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116120231104396746.html?mod=todays_us_the_journal_report

Cellphones keep getting fancier. But the old problems never seem to go away.

Today, you can get gadgets that let you browse the Web, locate the nearest restaurant or even watch live TV. But customers are still griping about hassles that have plagued cellphones since day one. Networks often drop your calls, and coverage can be spotty, even in big cities. Then there are the nontechnical issues, like surprise charges, inscrutable bills and poor customer service.

"Despite having poured billions of dollars into their networks and call centers, wireless carriers continue to suffer from consumer frustration with their service, both in complaints to regulators and in customers switching to their competitors," says Charles Golvin, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc.

The good news is that companies are scrambling to come up with solutions to those longstanding complaints. Cellular carriers are improving their networks, streamlining their bills and improving their customer service. And technology start-ups are pitching in, introducing gadgets that let consumers do everything from make their phones more durable to boost reception in their home.

Customer complaints are a big part of these efforts. But there's another trend at work: As more people get cellphones, carriers are starting to focus on stealing customers from each other rather than recruiting new ones, Mr. Golvin says. And that means offering better service than the competitors do.

Here's a look at how companies are addressing those chronic problems -- as well as some new ones that are cropping up as phones get more advanced.

SPOTTY COVERAGE

Just about every cellphone user has a gripe about bad reception and dropped calls. Take Danielle Sucher and her boyfriend, David Turner. When they moved to a Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment in April, they discovered that her Cingular cellphone works throughout the apartment. But his T-Mobile phone -- which works fine elsewhere in the city -- gets reception only when he is sitting on the back window sill.

"He really does curl up on the window sill to use his cellphone," says Ms. Sucher, an attorney. "He also often goes outside to get better reception, but that won't work out so well once winter comes."

Gaps in coverage crop up for a number of reasons. Sometimes cellphone companies can't find an ideal place to put antennas, or residents resist cellular towers as an eyesore. "Everyone wants great coverage for their cell service, but no one wants a cell tower in their backyard," says Michael King, an analyst at research firm Gartner Inc.

In big cities, "buildings can become obstructions that bounce waves all over the place," says Bill Ho, an analyst at Current Analysis Inc.

But most "white spaces," the industry term for coverage gaps, are in rural areas that aren't heavily populated, says Marina Amoroso, an analyst at Yankee Group. Since there are fewer potential customers to supply revenue, carriers often don't build infrastructure there.

The bad news: White spaces aren't going away. "These areas will decrease in size, perhaps by a little bit but it's not likely that carriers are going to cover 100% of the physical terrain of the U.S.," says Ms. Amoroso. "There is just no rational business reason to do so. However, they will do their best to cover close to 100% of the population."

Carriers are trying to improve the coverage picture on a couple of fronts. First, they're trying to close as many white spaces as they can by bulking up their networks. T-Mobile USA Inc., which is owned by Deutsche Telekom AG, says it has added more than 2,000 new cell sites across the country, including New York City. Sprint Nextel Corp. says it's investing approximately $7 billion to improve and maintain both its wireless and wire-line networks this year. Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, says it spends an average of $5 billion annually to improve its network.

They're also making deals with roaming partners to lease coverage where it doesn't make sense for them to build towers. For example, Mr. Ho says, Alltel Corp. covers a good swath of territory, including the Great Plains states, that the national carriers don't. So many of them have roaming agreements with Alltel to provide seamless coverage for their customers in these areas.

Improving indoor coverage can be trickier, since it takes a powerful signal to penetrate the walls of a building, says Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, a Washington, D.C., research firm. "If you don't have robust coverage outdoors throughout the suburbs and exurbs, it's even tougher to get a signal in that subscriber's living room," Mr. Greengart says.

Some carriers are pointing their antennas up to blanket high-rise buildings. Others are experimenting with a new technique: letting consumers make calls and receive them over their home Wi-Fi network instead of the regular cellular network. Customers can also boost cellphone signals by installing antennas and repeaters on the roof of their home; some of these devices work in cars as well. This equipment is available from companies such as Wireless Extenders Inc. of Norcross, Ga., Spotwave Wireless Inc., of Ottawa, and AlternativeWireless.com, of San Antonio.

Some companies are also building gadgets to help carriers. TensorComm Inc., of Westminster, Colo., has developed a tool to help cellphone carriers detect the source of interference in wireless networks and improve signal quality and data-transmission rates. The company says it has received interest from several wireless carriers, both in the U.S. and abroad. It expects to have its technology fully deployed by the end of 2007 or early 2008.

...AND NO COVERAGE

Carriers are attacking the coverage problem from another angle, as well. They're acknowledging that their service has gaps and advising customers to make sure they'll be able to get coverage before they sign up.

T-Mobile, for instance, says that it offers a service online and in retail outlets where customers can confirm that there's coverage in their area. Cingular Wireless has launched a similar online service that enables customers to enter their address and see coverage information for their area. And Cingular's retailers use the coverage map to check whether new customers will be off the network.

Continued in article


Corrupt Corporate Governance
For years, the health insurer didn't tell investors about personal and financial links between its former CEO and the "independent" director in charge of compensation
Jane Sasseen, "The Ties UnitedHealth Failed to Disclose:  For years, the health insurer didn’t tell investors about personal and financial links between its former CEO and the "independent" director in charge of compensation," Business Week, October 18, 2006 --- Click Here

"Gluttons At The Gate:  Private equity are using slick new tricks to gorge on corporate assets. A story of excess," by Emily Thornton, Business Week Cover Story, October 30, 2006 --- Click Here

Buyout firms have always been aggressive. But an ethos of instant gratification has started to spread through the business in ways that are only now coming into view. Firms are extracting record dividends within months of buying companies, often financed by loading them up with huge amounts of debt. Some are quietly going back to the till over and over to collect an array of dubious fees. Some are trying to flip their holdings back onto the public markets faster than they've ever dared before. A few are using financial engineering and bankruptcy proceedings to wrest control of companies. At the extremes, the quick-money mindset is manifesting itself in possibly illegal activity: Some private equity executives are being investigated for outright fraud.

Taken together, these trends serve as a warning that the private-equity business has entered a historic period of excess. "It feels a lot like 1999 in venture capital," says Steven N. Kaplan, finance professor at the University of Chicago. Indeed, it shares elements of both the late-1990s VC craze, in which too much money flooded into investment managers' hands, as well as the 1980s buyout binge, in which swaggering dealmakers hunted bigger and bigger prey. But the fast money--and the increasingly creative ways of getting it--set this era apart. "The deal environment is as frothy as I've ever seen it," says Michael Madden, managing partner of private equity firm BlackEagle Partners Inc. "There are still opportunities to make good returns, but you have to have a special angle to achieve them."

Like any feeding frenzy, this one began with just a few nibbles. The stock market crash of 2000-02 sent corporate valuations plummeting. Interest rates touched 40-year lows. With stocks in disarray and little yield to be gleaned from bonds, big investors such as pension funds and university endowments began putting more money in private equity. The buyout firms, benefiting from the most generous borrowing terms in memory, cranked up their dealmaking machines. They also helped resuscitate the IPO market, bringing public companies that were actually making money--a welcome change from the sketchy offerings of the dot-com days. As the market recovered, those stocks bolted out of the gate. And because buyout firms retain controlling stakes even after an IPO, their results zoomed, too, as the stocks rose. Annual returns of 20% or more have been commonplace.

The success has lured more money into private equity than ever before--a record $159 billion so far this year, compared with $41 billion in all of 2003, estimates researcher Private Equity Intelligence. The first $5 billion fund popped up in 1996; now, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Blackstone Group, and Texas Pacific Group are each raising $15 billion funds.

And that's the main problem: There's so much money sloshing around that everyone wants a quick cut. "For the management of the company, [a buyout is] usually a windfall," says Wall Street veteran Felix G. Rohatyn, now a senior adviser at Lehman Brothers Inc. (LEH ) "For the private equity firms with cheap money and a very well structured fee schedule, it's a wonderful business. The risk is ultimately in the margins they leave themselves to deal with bad times."

Continued in article

Insiders are still screwing the investing public
"Trading in Harrah's Contracts Surges Before LBO Disclosure:  Options, Derivatives Make Exceptionally Large Moves; 'Someone...Was Positioning'," by Dennis K. Berman and Serena Ng, The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2006; Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB115992145253481882.html

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

Bob Jensen's thread on "Outrageous Compensation" are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#OutrageousCompensation

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


Orhan Pamuk, a Turkish writer, this morning was named winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Swedish Academy said that Pamuk, who was born and lives in Istanbul, was honored for his “quest for the melancholic soul of his native city” and work in which he has “discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures.” Pamuk is known for his novels and also for his stands on human rights — with comments he made about the Armenian genocide leading to his prosecution by Turkish authorities, although the charges were dropped. Pamuk spent several years in the United States, as a researcher at Columbia University and as a writer in residence at the University of Iowa, through its International Writing Program.
Inside Higher Ed, October 12, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/10/12/qt

NPR's audio account is at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6252463


A Harvard economics professor (Greg Mankiw) provides tips on how to write better ---
http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2006/10/how-to-write-well.html

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries


Student Volunteerism Is Up
More than 3.3 million college students engaged in volunteer activities in 2005, up 20 percent from 2002, according to a report released Monday by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Scott Jaschik, "Student Volunteerism Is Up," Inside Higher Ed, October 17, 2006 ---
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/10/17/volunteer


"PROFILE OF A FRAUDSTER,"  by Lisa Eversole, LSU Accounting Faculty --- http://www.bus.lsu.edu/accounting/faculty/lcrumbley/fraudster.html

General characteristics of those who commit occupational fraud:

Jensen Comment
I think Lisa is excluding certain types of fraud such as welfare fraud that is most often perpetrated by females. Among persons who fit the Lisa's above profile there are, in my viewpoint, two types of persons. The first is someone who does not commit fraud unless an opportunity arises somewhat serendipitously such as fraud opportunities that arose because of the billions being spent by government and by private citizens in the wake of hurricane Katrina. This type of person is heavily influenced by the amount involved and ease of getting away with fraud in a particular circumstance. This person does not always fit neatly into Lisa's profile.

The second type of fraudster is someone who deliberately seeks out opportunities in almost any circumstance. The latter type of fraudsters seem to get thrills apart from monetary rewards. It is in fact a game in which these lowlifes get their kicks win or lose. Some hackers get their thrills this way without intent to cheat or cause great damage.

There is also a huge follow-the-herd mentality among fraudsters. If others are seemingly getting away with it, there's a huge temptation to go with the flow. I think the huge KPMG tax fraud (the largest criminal tax fraud in history) illustrates an example of where some KPMG employees simply commenced to follow along when their colleagues were having such seeming success at cheating the IRS. The latter fraudsters did not necessarily fit Lisa's profile very well.

"Prosecutors in KPMG Tax Shelter Case Offer to Try 2 Groups of Defendants Separately," Lynnley Browning, The New York Times, October 5, 2006 --- Click Here

Last year, 16 former KPMG employees, as well as a lawyer and an outside investment adviser, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Manhattan on charges that they conspired to defraud the Internal Revenue Service by creating and selling certain questionable tax shelters.

The proposal to split the group comes after Judge Kaplan raised concerns about some prosecutorial tactics in the complex case. KPMG narrowly averted criminal indictment last year over certain questionable shelters and instead reached a $456 million deferred-prosecution agreement. Judge Kaplan has criticized prosecutors for pressuring KPMG to cut off the payment of legal fees to the defendants.

His concerns how appear to extend to the indictments of the defendants.

According to a transcript of the hearing on Tuesday, Judge Kaplan said: “The government indicted 18 people knowing that the effect of doing that would be to put economic pressure on people, along with whatever else puts pressure on people to cave and to plead, because they can’t afford to defend themselves and because perhaps there are other risks involved in a joint trial. That is the patent reality of this case.”

A representative for the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan did not have a comment on the letter yesterday.

The letter, which was not filed under seal but did not appear on the court’s docket, was confirmed by two persons close to the proceedings.

Under the proposal, the junior defendants would include Jeffrey Eischeid, the rising star who was in charge of KPMG’s personal financial planning division; John Larson, a former KPMG employee who set up an investment boutique that sold shelters; David Amir Makov, a onetime Deutsche Bank employee who later worked with Mr. Larson’s investment boutique, Presidio Advisory Services; and Gregg Ritchie, a former partner; among others.

The senior defendants would include Jeffrey Stein, a former vice chairman who was the No. 2. executive at the firm; John Lanning, a former vice chairman in charge of tax services; Richard Rosenthal, a former chief financial officer; Steven Gremminger, a former associate in-house lawyer; Robert Pfaff, a former KPMG partner who worked with Mr. Larson to set up Presidio Advisory Services; David Greenberg, a former senior tax partner; and Raymond J. Ruble, a former lawyer at Sidley Austin Brown & Wood; among others.

Lawyers for the defendants maintain that their clients did nothing illegal, while prosecutors contend that they created and sold tax shelters, some involving fake loans, that deprived the Treasury of $2.5 billion in tax revenue.

Bob Jensen's threads on this and other KPMG litigations are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#KPMG

Some Firms Specialize in Pre-employment Background Checks ---
http://www.super-solutions.com/criminalbackgroundchecks.asp

Bureau of Justice Statistics --- http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/

FBI Crime Statistics --- http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm

White House Crime Statistics --- http://www.whitehouse.gov/fsbr/crime.html
(Many links are provided here)

State Crime Statistics from 1960 - 2005 --- http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics --- http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/

White Collar Crime Pays Big Even If You Get Caught ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#CrimePays

Bob Jensen's threads on consumer fraud are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm



Association of Certified Fraud Examiner's ACFE’s New Fraud Risk Assessment Tool to Aid in Detection, Prevention --- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/9/prweb443747.htm

Businesses, agencies, executives, anti-fraud professionals and private practitioners will soon have an effective new weapon in the fight against fraud - the ACFE's Fraud Risk Assessment Tool.

Austin, TX (PRWEB) October 2, 2006 -- Businesses, agencies, executives, anti-fraud professionals and private practitioners will soon have a new weapon in the fight against fraud. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the leading provider of anti-fraud training and education worldwide, announced today the acquisition of the Internal Fraud Vulnerability Assessment Tool.

Created by Larry Cook, CFE, president of Cook Receiver Services Inc in Lenexa, Kansas, the IFVAT has assisted users in the US, Canada, and United Kingdom as a web application. The ACFE has enhanced the IFVAT application to develop a comprehensive Fraud Risk Assessment Tool that empowers business owners and private practitioners to assess any organization’s risk factors and vulnerabilities to fraud.

“All organizations have a risk of internal fraud – any organization is susceptible,” Cook said. “A fraud risk assessment is the most effective measure an organization can take to identify its vulnerabilities and make informed, cost-effective decisions on how to prevent and detect employee theft and fraud.”

The Fraud Risk Assessment Tool uses a standard risk assessment methodology to identify an organization's vulnerabilities to fraud; the threats to the organization's assets; the probability of a fraud occurrence in the organization; and the impact of any loss event to the organization. The tool assists the user with developing cost-effective recommendations for measures to mitigate the risks from employee theft and fraud.

Cook created the program after recognizing the need for a standard, comprehensive fraud assessment tool, especially for small-to-mid-size organizations, Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) and anti-fraud practitioners. Cook said that to hire an accounting firm for such a risk assessment can cost “five figures and up.” The Fraud Risk Assessment Tool provides a more cost-effective way to address the crucial need for fraud detection and prevention.

The Fraud Risk Assessment Tool is also simple to understand. The application can be used by business owners, auditors, accountants, or loss prevention personnel to self-assess the organization's vulnerabilities to employee theft and fraud. An employee with knowledge of the organization's accounting system and internal controls can complete the assessment. Additionally, the Fraud Risk Assessment Tool is even more effective when applied by an anti-fraud professional who can assist in developing effective measures to reduce, prevent, and detect fraud.

About the ACFE
The ACFE is the world's premier provider of anti-fraud training and education. Together with more than 38,000 members, the ACFE is reducing business fraud world-wide and inspiring public confidence in the integrity and objectivity within the profession. Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) on six continents have investigated more than 2 million suspected cases of civil and criminal fraud.
www.ACFE.com

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


Question
Did the Russian's cheat in world chess tournaments?

"Cheating in world chess championships is nothing new, study suggests," PhysOrg, October 10, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news79726823.html

World Chess Championship matches now taking place in Kalmykia, Russia, were suspended late last month amid allegations that Russian chess master Vladimir Kramnik used frequent bathroom breaks to cheat in his match with Bulgarian opponent Veselin Topalov. When play resumed, new allegations surfaced charging that Kramnik's moves seem suspiciously similar to those generated by a computer chess program. 

While it's doubtful that these allegations will be proven, new research from economists at Washington University in St. Louis offers strong evidence that Soviet chess masters very likely engaged in collusion to gain unfair advantage in world chess championships held from 1940 through 1964, a politically volatile period in which chess became a powerful pawn in the Cold War.

"We have shown that such collusion clearly benefited the Soviet players and led to performances against the competition in critical tournaments that were noticeably better than would have been predicted on the basis of past performances and on their relative ratings," conclude study co-authors, John Nye, Ph.D., professor of economics, and Charles Moul, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics, both in Arts & Sciences at Washington University.

"The likelihood that a Soviet player would have won every single candidates tournament up to 1963 was less than one out of four under an assumption of no collusion, but was higher than three out of four when the possibility of draw collusion is factored in," the co-authors wrote.

Continued in article


From the Scout Report on October 6, 2006

HandyFind 2.0.3 --- http://www.handykeys.com/

Are you searching for Kazakhstan? With HandyFind 2.0.3 you can find the word "Kazakhstan" and any other words you might desire in Word documents, webpages, and many other places. Visitors utilizing this program will find that as they are typing in any of the above (Word documents, webpages, etc.), the application will look for the word or phrase currently being typed, relieving them of the responsibility of relying on the normal "Find"

feature. Additionally, there are a number of keyboard shortcuts provided.

This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and XP.


Winamp 5.3 --- http://www.winamp.com/

Long-time Winamp users will appreciate this new release, and those unacquainted with the program will be glad to learn of its existence.

Visitors can customize this multi-faceted media player with a number of skins, and they can also view many different types of media, including streaming video and podcasts. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98, 2000, and XP.

From the Scout Report on October 13, 2006

Widget Manager 1.3.1 ---  http://www.downtownsoftwarehouse.com/software/WidgetManager/

Widgets are fun and quite helpful, as they can be set up to periodically update users with everything from stock quotes to the score of the proverbial "Big Game". Of course, some users may also wish to find a way to wrangle those widgets in an organized fashion. Enter Widget Manager 1.3.1 which allows users to find out the version number of each widget, along with its exact location. This version is compatible with all computers running Max OS X 10.4.


OpenTalk 3.10 --- http://www.opentalklive.com/ 

Talking to various friends and associates on the internet just got a bit easier with the addition of OpenTalk 3.10. With this application, visitors can effectively chat via a text box, voice, or video. For some of these options, visitors will need to have a headset microphone or a webcam, but with these additions, all of these modes of communications become readily available. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer.

 


International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism --- http://www.intbau.org/


Warren Buffett warns his top managers to beware of accounting gimmicks, even if other companies use them
"Buffett on Options Backdating," The New York Times, October 10, 2006 --- http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/?p=8198


"Options backdating might never have happened if reasonable options accounting had been required years ago," by Floyd Norris, The New York Times, October 13, 2006 --- http://norris.blogs.nytimes.com/?ref=business

Bob Jensen's threads on employee stock options accounting and scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory/sfas123/jensen01.htm


Private-Equity Firms Face Anticompetitive Probe
The Department of Justice has begun an inquiry into potentially anticompetitive behavior among some of the world's leading private-equity funds, according to people familiar with the matter. In recent weeks, Justice Department officials have sent out a series of letters to a number of the industry's most well-known players including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Silver Lake Partners but likely not limited to those firms.
Dennis K. Berman and Henny Sender, "Private-Equity Firms Face Anticompetitive Probe:  U.S.'s Informal Inquiries Have Gone to Major Players Such as KKR, Silver Lake," The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2006; Page A3 --- Click Here


From The Washington Post on October 11, 2006

In the past six years, how many telephone land lines have fallen out of use?

A. 2 million
B. 20 million
C. 50 million
D. 15 million
 


From The Washington Post on October 13, 2006

What can you do to prevent blur when taking digital pictures?

A. Zoom in
B. Increase the ISO
C. Close down the aperture
D. Slow the shutter speed
 


October 5, 2006 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

STUDENTS' PERCEPTIONS OF ONLINE LEARNING

"The ultimate question for educational research is how to optimize instructional designs and technology to maximize learning opportunities and achievements in both online and face-to-face environments." Karl L.Smart and James J. Cappel studied two undergraduate courses -- an elective course and a required course -- that incorporated online modules into traditional classes. Their research of students' impressions and satisfaction with the online portions of the classes revealed mixed results:

-- "participants in the elective course rated use of the learning modules slightly positive while students in the required course rated them slightly negative"

-- "while students identified the use of simulation as the leading strength of the online units, it was also the second most commonly mentioned problem of these units"

-- "students simply did not feel that the amount of time it took to complete the modules was worth what was gained"

The complete paper, "Students' Perceptions of Online Learning: A Comparative Study" (JOURNAL OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION, vol. 5, 2006, pp. 201-19), is available online at http://jite.org/documents/Vol5/v5p201-219Smart54.pdf.

Current and back issues of the Journal of Information Technology Education (JITE) [ISSN 1539-3585 (online) 1547-9714 (print)] are available free of charge at http://jite.org/. The peer-reviewed journal is published annually by the Informing Science Institute. For more information contact: Informing Science Institute, 131 Brookhill Court, Santa Rosa, California 95409 USA; tel: 707-531-4925; fax: 480-247-5724;

Web: http://informingscience.org/.

Bob Jensen's threads on "Onsite versus Online Learning" are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#OnlineVersusOnsite

"Students prefer online courses:  Classes popular with on-campus students,"
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#OnlineVersusOnsite


PAPERS ON INTERNET CENSORSHIP

The theme for the September 2006 issue of FIRST MONDAY (vol. 11, no.9), is "Who Supports Internet Censorship?" Some of the papers of interest to higher education faculty include:

"Publishing Cooperatives: An Alternative for NonProfit Publishers" By Raym Crow
http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_9/crow/index.html

"Publishing cooperatives can provide a scaleable publishing model that aligns with the values of the academy while providing a practical financial framework capable of sustaining society publishing programs."
 

"A Privacy Paradox: Social Networking in the United States" By Susan B. Barnes
http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_9/barnes/index.html

"Teenagers will freely give up personal information to join social networks on the Internet. Afterwards, they are surprised when their parents read their journals. Communities are outraged by the personal information posted by young people online and colleges keep track of student activities on and off campus."

"Puppy Smoothies: Improving the Reliability of Open, Collaborative Wikis" By Tom Cross
http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_9/cross/index.html#c6

"In spite of its problems, Wikipedia is an enormously important information resource, used by a community of millions of people all over the world. I believe the popularity of Wikipedia stems from the fact that it fills an important niche in the constellation of information resources that was previously unserved. Improvements to this technology can have a positive impact on how these millions of users think and collaborate."

First Monday [ISSN 1396-0466] is an online, peer-reviewed journal whose aim is to publish original articles about the Internet and the global information infrastructure. It is published in cooperation with the University Library, University of Illinois at Chicago. For more information, contact: First Monday, c/o Edward Valauskas, Chief Editor, PO Box 87636, Chicago IL 60680-0636 USA; email: ejv@uic.edu;

Web: http://firstmonday.dk/.


RECOMMENDED READING

"Recommended Reading" lists items that have been recommended to me or that Infobits readers have found particularly interesting and/or useful, including books, articles, and websites published by Infobits subscribers. Send your recommendations to carolyn_kotlas@unc.edu  for possible inclusion in this column.

"State of the Art Smart Spaces: Application Models and Software Infrastructure" By Ramesh Singh, Preeti Bhargava, and Samta Kain Ubiquity, volume 7, issue 37 (September 26, 2006 - October 2, 2006) http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/views/v7i37_smart.html

Abstract:

"Smart spaces are ordinary environments equipped with visual and audio sensing systems, pervasive devices, sensors, and networks that can perceive and react to people, sense ongoing human activities and respond to them. Their ubiquity is evident by the fact that various state of the art smart spaces have been incorporated in all situations of our life. These smart space elements require middleware, standards and interfacing technologies to manage complex interactions between them. Here, we present an overview of the technologies integrated to build Smart Spaces, review the various scenarios in which Smart Spaces have been incorporated by researchers, highlight the requirements of software infrastructure for programming and networking them, and mention the contemporary frameworks for interaction with them."


Electronic Book Readers Update

"Review: Sony's Reader a step forward," PhysOrg, September 27, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news78593741.html

Sure, there are electronic books available for download at Amazon and elsewhere, but they haven't really caught on. Sony Corp. is now tackling part of the problem with the U.S. launch of the first e-book reader that imitates the look of paper by using an innovative screen technology.

Is this the iPod for books? Not quite. But it is a step forward.

The Sony Reader is a handsome affair the size of a paperback book, but only a third of an inch thick. It goes on sale for $350 on Sony's Web site Wednesday, and in Borders stores in October.

The 6-inch screen can be taken for a monochrome liquid-crystal display at first glance, but on closer inspection looks like no other electronic display. It's behind a thin pane of glass, but unlike an LCD it shows no "depth" - it pretty much looks like a light gray piece of paper with dark gray text.

The display, based on technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinoff E Ink Corp., is composed of tiny capsules with electrically charged particles of white and black ink. When a static electric charge is applied on the side of the capsule that faces the reader, it attracts the white particles to the face of the display, making that pixel show light gray. Reversing the charge brings the black pigments floating through the capsule to replace the white pigments, and the pixel shows as dark gray.

Like paper, the display is readable from any angle, but it doesn't look as good as the real thing, chiefly because the contrast doesn't compare well. The background isn't white and the letters aren't black. The letters show some jaggedness, even though the resolution is a very respectable 800 by 600 pixels. It will display photos, though they look a bit like black-and-white photocopies.

But it's still a more comfortable reading medium than any other electronic display. The text is easy on the eyes in almost any light you could read a book by.

The other major advantage of the display is that it's a real power sipper. Sony says a Reader with a full charge in its lithium battery can show up to 7,500 pages, an amazing figure that I unfortunately didn't have the time to test.

The reason behind this trilogy-busting stamina is that the display only consumes power when it flips to a new page. Displaying the same page continuously consumes no power, though the electronics of the device itself do use a little bit.

The Reader's internal memory holds up to 100 books, depending on their size. The memory can be expanded with inexpensive SD cards or Memory Sticks.

To load books, connect the Reader with a supplied cable to a Windows PC running the accompanying software. You can transfer Word documents or Portable Document Format files to the Reader, download blog feeds, or buy e-books at Sony's online store. It will also play MP3 music or audiobook files.

 The store is not live yet, so I was unable to test it, but the interface looks comfortably like that of iTunes. It should have 10,000 titles at launch, Sony said, with major titles from publishers like HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster and Penguin-Putnam. In keeping with the e-book market so far, there's no big price break: the electronic version will cost a dollar or so less than the printed book.

The Reader would be a perfect companion for the avid book reader, but for a few things.

First of all, navigation is fairly clumsy. You can't just enter the page number and jump to the page, nor can you enter a word or phrase to search for, as you can when reading a book on a PC. To get around, there are 10 buttons that will each take you a 10th of the way through text. You can also jump to chapter starts, or return to bookmarks. Still, this is very much a one-way device, designed for reading a book straight through from cover to cover.

This lack of interactivity is partly because the screen is slow to change, since it takes time for the pigments to move through the capsules. It takes about a second to display a new page. That means no scrolling through pages, and no note-taking on the screen - imagine having to wait a second for each letter you write to appear.

Secondly, and less importantly, the Reader handles PDFs poorly. It doesn't allow you to zoom in on them, so if they're formatted for standard 8.5-inch-by-11-inch pages, the text will be illegibly small.

Thirdly, the Reader doesn't have a built-in light source, unlike PCs and personal digital assistants. A small clip-on light of the kind sold for books should work well, though.

Because of these drawbacks, it's hard to see the Reader as something that will bust the e-book market open. But it deserves a much better reception than the generally small LCD-based devices that hit the market a couple of years ago, some of which are already discontinued.

Other competition comes from cell phones and PDAs, but none of them match the Reader for screen size, legibility and battery life. Laptops, Tablet PCs and tablet-style Ultra-Mobile PCs have the screen size, but are heavier, more expensive, take time to boot up and have short battery lives.

The real competition, though, will be printed books, which have so far defeated all digital contenders with their excellent "battery life" and "display quality." Sony's going to have to try a little harder before it can really start saving trees.

---


On the Web --- http://www.sony.com/reader

"Gutenberg 1, Sony 0:  Its reader is hurt by clunky software and a clueless bookstore," by Stephen H. Wildstrom, Business Week, October 16, 2006 --- Click Here 

  • In an age when digital distribution of content is becoming the norm, the oldest mass medium has remained stubbornly resistant. Most recorded music is available for download, as are newspapers, magazines, and some TV shows. But books remain stuck in the Gutenberg era, with minuscule sales of the few titles that exist in electronic form.

    Sony's much delayed Reader aims to change that. It will be available in October for about $350, which includes a credit for $50 in book purchases. Even though the Reader has its flaws, it's a vast improvement over various other e-book designs rolled out in the past decade. I can't say the same for the clunky software that manages book purchases and Reader downloads on a Windows PC, or for Sony's attempt at an online bookstore, which is reminiscent of its clueless efforts to sell music online.

    The 12-oz. Reader is about the size of a standard paperback. Just half an inch thick in its handsome black leather cover, it has enough memory to store dozens of books. When the Reader is set to a standard type size, the 4 3/4-by-3 3/4-in. screen contains perhaps half as much text as a typical book page. The display itself is revolutionary. E Ink, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology spin-off, has been laboring for years to perfect the technology, which generates crisp black letters by selectively rotating millions of half-white, half-black balls.

    While far better than the monochrome displays on earlier e-books in both appearance and power consumption (it will run for days on a charge), the Reader falls short of real print on paper. The promised black-on-white effect is more like dark gray on light gray. And when you press a button to turn a page, it takes about a second to respond, during which interval the page turns black, a minor but distinct annoyance.

    ANY E-BOOK READER IS BOUND TO INVOLVE COMRPOMISES
    The Sony Reader's storage capacity is effectively unlimited, since you can add memory cards. This lets you carry a library of books in a tiny package. On the other hand, the reading experience is far inferior to that of a real book, partly because all concept of page design is lost. For example, in the best-selling Freakonomics, tables that are barely legible on the Reader to begin with sometimes break over two pages. Files downloaded from a computer (via a usb cable) fare worse. I found that most pdf files were unreadable even in the largest type size, and I could not get Word files to download at all.

    Another big limitation is that the display can show only four shades of gray, thus restricting graphics to line drawings. This essentially disqualifies the Reader from one of its most attractive uses, textbooks.

    These deficits, however, pale compared to Sony's Connect bookstore (ebooks.connect.com), which seems to be the work of someone who has never visited Amazon.com (AMZN ). Sony offers 10,000 titles, but that doesn't mean you will find what you want. For example, only four of the top 10 titles on the Oct. 1 New York Times paperback best-seller list showed up. On the other hand, many books are priced below their print equivalents—most $7.99 paperbacks go for $6.39—and can be shared among any combination of three Readers or pcs, much as Apple (AAPL ) iTunes allows multiple devices to share songs.

    The worst problem is that search, the essence of an online bookstore, is broken. An author search for Dan Brown turned up 84 books, three of them by Dan Brown, the rest by people named Dan or Brown, or sometimes neither. Putting a search term in quotes should limit the results to those where the exact phrase occurs, but at the Sony store, it produced chaos. "Dan Brown" yielded 500 titles, mostly by people named neither Dan nor Brown. And the store doesn't provide suggestions for related titles, reviews, previews—all those little extras that make Amazon great.

    The problems of the store and software are fixable. But unless Sony repairs them fast, the Reader may be headed for the scrap heap of failed e-book readers.

    "Sony Reader Is a Work in Progress," by Tom Bentley, Wired News, September 30, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,71844-0.html?tw=wn_index_3

    At 7 inches by 5 inches and with a 6-inch diagonal screen, the Sony Reader approximates paperback size, though at only 0.5 inches high it's skinnier than most. Visually, the reading experience is uncannily like that of its paper counterpart: The Reader's 800-by-600 resolution is typographically crisp at any normal (and even abnormal) reading angle, and eminently readable in the sharpest sunlight.

    This revelation is due to E Ink technology: Positively or negatively charged microcapsules display black or white on the screen, which holds that charge -- and the screen's image -- until another page's charge replaces it. The upshot of that is that you experience a static, non-flickering screen -- albeit a grayscale one -- with the added benefit of very low power consumption. I could discern some "ghosting" of the previous screen's contents on the display, but a Sony spokesman said that effect would be reduced at release time, though not completely eradicated.

    Continued in article

    "Review: Sony's Reader uses e-ink for e-books," MIT's Technology Review, September 27, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17550&ch=infotech

    Books have been a bit of the orphan in the digital world. Music has the iPod. Video has YouTube. Books have, well, Amazon.com, where you can buy them printed on paper.

    Sure, there are electronic books available for download at Amazon and elsewhere, but they haven't really caught on. Sony Corp. is now tackling part of the problem with the U.S. launch of the first e-book reader that imitates the look of paper by using an innovative screen technology.

    Is this the iPod for books? Not quite. But it is a step forward.

    The Sony Reader is a handsome affair the size of a paperback book, but only a third of an inch thick. It goes on sale for $350 on Sony's Web site Wednesday, and in Borders stores in October.

    The 6-inch screen can be taken for a monochrome liquid-crystal display at first glance, but on closer inspection looks like no other electronic display. It's behind a thin pane of glass, but unlike an LCD it shows no ''depth'' -- it pretty much looks like a light gray piece of paper with dark gray text.

    The display, based on technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinoff E Ink Corp., is composed of tiny capsules with electrically charged particles of white and black ink. When a static electric charge is applied on the side of the capsule that faces the reader, it attracts the white particles to the face of the display, making that pixel show light gray. Reversing the charge brings the black pigments floating through the capsule to replace the white pigments, and the pixel shows as dark gray.

    Like paper, the display is readable from any angle, but it doesn't look as good as the real thing, chiefly because the contrast doesn't compare well. The background isn't white and the letters aren't black. The letters show some jaggedness, even though the resolution is a very respectable 800 by 600 pixels. It will display photos, though they look a bit like black-and-white photocopies.

    But it's still a more comfortable reading medium than any other electronic display. The text is easy on the eyes in almost any light you could read a book by.

    The other major advantage of the display is that it's a real power sipper. Sony says a Reader with a full charge in its lithium battery can show up to 7,500 pages, an amazing figure that I unfortunately didn't have the time to test.

    The reason behind this trilogy-busting stamina is that the display only consumes power when it flips to a new page. Displaying the same page continuously consumes no power, though the electronics of the device itself do use a little bit.

    The Reader's internal memory holds up to 100 books, depending on their size. The memory can be expanded with inexpensive SD cards or Memory Sticks.

    Continued in article


    Clearly, the movement toward digital content delivery is gaining steam. And, as such, it is not surprising to read that the technology’s more vocal enthusiasts are forecasting nothing short of a revolution in academic research, teaching, reading, writing, and publishing once it becomes ubiquitous.Over at if:book, the collective blog of the “Institute for the Future of the Book,” commentators have had a great deal to say about the immense transformations that digital delivery and online publishing will effect on the academy and academics.
    Scott W. Palmer, "If:book, Then What?" Inside Higher Ed, August 15, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/08/15/palmer

    New Textbooks in Electronic Formats

    Most publishing firms now have alternatives for obtaining electronic versions of their textbooks.

    August 15, 2006 message from Ivy Banaag [ibanaag@ECNext.com]

    Hello Robert,

    My name is Ivy, and I work for ECNext, Inc. After reviewing your website, specifically the Links section, http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/000aaa/ebooks.htm , I wanted to propose you consider adding a new online textbooks site, iChapters.com.

    iChapters.com offers brand new textbooks, in electronic & print formats. Electronic versions of college textbooks, including individual chapters, are available for immediate download at affordable prices. Only at iChapters.com can you choose to buy just what you need at the price you want to pay.

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

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

    Ivy iChapters.com

    September 28, 2006 message from Ivy Banaag [ibanaag@ECNext.com]

    Hello Robert,

    I am Ivy from ECNext. I emailed you about 2 months ago, informing you of iChapters.com, an online bookstore website with incredible savings on print & electronic college textbooks. In this regard, I am wondering if you have had a chance to review iChapters.com for inclusion on your website.

    If you haven't yet, I would like to invite you once again to review iChapters.com ( http://www.ichapters.com ), and add us to your website for the benefit of your site visitors.

    Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have questions or comments.

    Thanks, Ivy ibanaag@ecnext.com 

    Bob Jensen's links to free electronic literature are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

    Bob Jensen's search helpers, including book search helpers, are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm

    Bob Jensen's threads on electronic book readers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ebooks.htm


  • Question
    Why did Hewlett-Packard needed to plug leaks from its board of directors?

    "Zip It," by James Surowiecki, The New Yorker, October 9, 2006 --- http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/061009ta_talk_surowiecki

    Ever since the news broke that investigators working for Hewlett-Packard had engaged in a series of unsavory (and possibly illegal) tactics in an attempt to discover which members of its board of directors were leaking information to the press, attention has focussed on the scandalous investigative methods that were used. This isn’t surprising: the decision to sic the gumshoes on the leakers was an act of spectacularly bad judgment, and the consequences have been appropriately severe. HP’s chairman of the board resigned, California’s attorney general claims that he has enough evidence for indictments, and last week Congress allocated two full days of hearings to the subject. Amid the uproar, though, something important has been forgotten: the leaks were a serious problem. HP was wrong to resort to Plumbers-style snooping but right to think that the leaks needed plugging.

    Leaks from a company’s board of directors are a problem because they magnify the decision-making flaws that have plagued boards for their entire institutional history. Boards are supposed to be vigilant monitors of management and stewards of long-term strategy. But, as Franklin Gevurtz, a law professor at University of the Pacific, has shown in a recent article, there have always been complaints about the supine nature of boards and the unwillingness (or inability) of directors to actually direct. In “The Way We Live Now,” published in 1875, Anthony Trollope describes a board meeting at the company run by the fraudster Melmotte: “Melmotte himself would speak a few slow words . . . always indicative of triumph, and then everybody would agree to everything, somebody would sign something, and the ‘Board’ . . . would be over.” Not much had changed by 1971, when the Harvard Business School professor Myles Mace said that most directors were little more than “ornaments on a corporate Christmas tree.” And, historically, boards were often packed with corporate insiders and cronies of management. (When Michael Eisner was the C.E.O. of Disney, his board for years included his personal attorney and the architect who designed his house.)

    Over the past two decades, though, and especially after the major corporate scandals of 2001 and 2002, much effort has gone into improving board performance. A checklist of good board characteristics—not having the C.E.O. also serve as chairman of the board, increasing the number of outside directors, and so on—has been put to use. Since 2001, the number of new independent directors appointed at major corporations has risen sharply, and more than eighty per cent of all directors now qualify as independent.

    These are welcome improvements, but they’re not enough to reform boards. (Enron’s board, after all, was full of independent directors.) Successful boards require what Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at the Yale School of Management, calls “a culture of open dissent,” where members are free to criticize the C.E.O. and each other, and where there is no artificial attempt to impose consensus on the group. This is hard to achieve, because dissenting opinions often get interpreted as personal attacks. Social scientists like to say that good decision-making groups engage in “task conflict,” fighting over the best solutions to particular problems, while bad ones engage in “relationship conflict,” interpreting differences of opinion as differences of character. But, as Tony Simons and Randall Peterson, of Cornell, mention in a study of seventy top management teams, groups that engage in “task conflict” also often suffer from “relationship conflict.” In other words, it seems you can be collegial and friendly and make bad decisions, or you can be locked in a room with people who can’t stand each other and make better decisions.

    Simons and Peterson identified a surprisingly simple way out of this dilemma: trust. They found that groups whose members trusted one another’s competence and integrity were more likely to engage in task conflict without succumbing to relationship conflict. Paradoxically, the more people trust one another, the more willing they are to fight with each other. And this is why the leaks at H.P. were a problem: they undermined the sense of trust and solidarity that a board needs to be effective. The original leaks came in 2005, when the board was debating the future of its then C.E.O., Carly Fiorina, and they were clearly an attempt to spin the debate over Fiorina toward the position the leaker favored. In other words, they were meant to bring outside pressures to bear on board decisions, and to put the interests of individuals above those of the group. The later leak, which provided details of long-term strategy discussions at a board retreat, was relatively anodyne, but it violated an agreement that board members had made not to disclose private information, and so insured further erosion of trust. In addition, the violations of confidentiality have made people less likely to speak openly. The leaks both magnified the possibility of relationship conflict and diminished the chances of open dissent.

    Continued in article

    A Wired News interview of Carly is available at
    http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,71926-0.html?tw=wn_index_13

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


    Bitterness Outside the Boardroom:  Carly Fiorina's snarky memoir
    But what if a former boss decided instead to write a really snarky book, sharing all the nastiness--the back-stabbing, grudge-holding and rival-bashing--that must be part of life at the top? What would it be like? We no longer have to imagine. Carly Fiorina has written exactly such a memoir.
    "Bitterness Outside the Boardroom:  Carly Fiorina's snarky memoir," by George Anders, The Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110009076

    Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#Governance


    "The Hazards of Whistle Blowing," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, October 5, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/10/05/lansing

    Two weeks ago, Timothy N. Zeller did a potentially risky thing: He reported on alleged misspending by his boss, the interim president of Lansing Community College. Last week, the college lawyer appears to have paid a dear price, in the loss of his job.

    . . .

    Last month, Zeller sent a report to Michigan’s auditor general last month accusing Cunningham’s replacement, Interim President Judith Cardenas, with using institutional funds inappropriately. Among other things, he accused her of giving excessive overtime to her staff, handing out raises without following proper administrative procedures, and used college credit cards to give extravagant gifts to employees. Cardenas denied the charges in an article in the Lansing State Journal last month. “We’re all people of integrity,” she told the newspaper.

    Zeller alerted the chairman of the college’s Board of Trustees about the charges in a telephone call on the same day that he sent the report to the state auditor via e-mail, according to college officials. He was quickly suspended with pay, for reasons Lansing officials declined to explain.

    Tuesday, the college posted a message on its Web site saying that it had begun its own internal investigation of the charges contained in Zeller’s report. The college’s full-time internal auditor, who reports to the audit committee of the Board of Trustees, said in a letter to the campus that he would seek to determine if the colleges’ funds were misused or its policies violated.

    Zeller could not be reached for comment, but the Lansing newspaper reported that members of the Lansing board were upset that the lawyer had reported the accusations to the state rather than bringing them first to the board.

    According to the newspaper, Zeller said in an e-mail to the state auditor that he had contacted the state on the advice of a lawyer he had consulted, and that the fact that the allegations involved his superiors made them “awkward to handle.” Officials in the auditor general’s office did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

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


    Despite challenges from Sony and Panasonic, Canon looks set to maintain its lead in the booming market for powerful SLR digital cameras
    Digital cameras are one of Canon's cash cows. Despite only entering the market in 2000 and lagging rivals, the company's Ixy series—known as Ixus in Europe and Elph in the U.S.—has become the leading digital camera brand and has withstood intense competition from camera makers and consumer electronics giants such as Sony (SNE) and Matsushita (MC). Canon has also established a No. 1 position in highly profitable digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera segment, which has helped pushed Canon's camera division's margins well into double-digit territory. This financial year, the company expects its camera arm to post operating margins of 18.5%. Analysts reckon Canon will do even better than that.
    Ian Rowley, "Canon Camera's Pretty Picture," Business Week, October 3, 2006 --- Click Here


    "Unpacking Gide’s Suitcase at Camp Hickiwawa," by Fleur LaDouleur, Inside Higher Ed, October 5, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/10/05/fleur

    I’m teaching André Gide’s 1925 novel The Counterfeiters in a graduate course and I needed to finish it by the end of the weekend. It would have to serve as my own sit-upon, although you couldn’t hide a toad in it. No one gave me a bucket and my derrière really is too big for the paint can, but not too big for my copy of Gide — miraculously, I admit. Yes, I had read the novel before and I had underlined all kinds of passages and made all kinds of notes in the margins using a code that I forgot long ago, but as all literature professors know, it’s hard to teach well when you haven’t read the book recently. I was making headway on underlining whole new passages with violet ink.

    It’s a fabulous novel, full of secrets, coincidences, escapades, and adolescents. A bit like a Girl Scout camporee (definition: “A weekend camping event, usually organized by a service unit to serve its members”), with the fictional children being a bit older and a bit more male (Gide liked guys). The previous week I had taught the scene in which Uncle Edouard arrives in Paris by train with a suitcase. Because he is so overwhelmed by a (boy) adolescent who meets him at the station, Edouard absentmindedly crumples up his baggage claim ticket and throws it in the street (he had checked his suitcase because he planned on going to a guys-only whorehouse immediately upon arrival). And who picks up the ticket and claims the suitcase? Well, you’ll need to read the story, but yes, it’s another young guy.

    Here’s what goes in the typical Girl Scout bucket/sit-upon: toiletry kit, flashlight, bug spray, sunscreen, one roll toilet paper, water bottle, mess kit, one stuffy. Here’s what’s found in Gide/Edouard’s suitcase: clothes, a wallet fat with money, a newspaper with a letter from a woman tucked in the folds, a notebook with reflections on the modern novel, and a personal journal. I saw parallels; they were coming out of the woodwork. Sitting on my copy of Gide, singing “I Found a Peanut” and being absentmindedly kicked in the arms and legs by awkward prepubescent girls and poked in the face with dozens of marshmallow sticks, I had time to think. The notebook had to be the toilet paper and the mess kit the personal journal. Or the opposite. The toiletries were self explanatory, except that Gide probably did not have SpongeBob toothpaste. The flashlight was purely symbolic and had something to do with the Boy Scouts. The bug spray and sunscreen were a substitution for the fat wallet. And here’s what happened.

    Continued in article


    InternationalEd.org --- http://www.internationaled.org/

    Today's students will be the citizens and leaders of the 21st Century, heirs to a world that grows smaller and more interconnected everyday. For the United States to continue to prosper, all students must have the opportunities to learn about other world regions and languages. The world will demand it of them--we need to demand it of our education system.

    But how do we turn this vision of an internationally literate generation into reality? This webpage focuses on several key school reform issues and specifically where international education can be incorporated as a part of America's ongoing agenda to improve our education system. In most cases, this site will examine innovative community-based programs and how they can inform--and in some cases improve-- state and national policy.

    OVERVIEW
    What is international education? Why does it matter?
    What are the goals? What can I do?

    REFORM ISSUES
    Follow the links below for informative articles (first published in Phi Delta Kappan, November 2004).
    Introduction
    Preparing our Students for Work and Citizenship in the Global Age
    From Community Innovation to National Policy
    How Americans Think About International Education and Why it Matters
    Preparing Urban Youth to Succeed
    Improving Capacity in Foreign Languages
    Teaching the World: A New Teacher Preparation Requirement
    Raising a World-Wise Child and the Power of Media
    Harnessing Information Technology

     


    Private Sector Development --- http://psdblog.worldbank.org/psdblog/


    The 12 Worst Information Technology Disasters of All Time
    "Peter Coffee's Dirty Dozen" ---
    http://www.eweek.com/slideshow/0,1206,l=&s=&a=190182,00.asp?kc=EWWHNEMNL100506EOAD


    Public Library of Science --- http://www.plos.org/

    Intute: Interactive Chemistry Tutorials --- http://www.intute.ac.uk/sciences/reference/chemlecs/ 

    Online Helpers for Physics Educators and Students
    The Physics Front --- http://www.compadre.org/precollege/

    Johns Hopkins Medicine Podcasts --- http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/mediaII/Podcasts.html

    Search for University Lectures Available as Podcasts
    Bob Jensen's threads on podcasting, Apple's iPod U, RSS, RDF are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#ResourceDescriptionFramework

    Bob Jensen's threads on science and medicine tutorials are at
    http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Science%20and%20Medicine


    Rockefeller University: Information Technology (tutorials) ---
    http://it.rockefeller.edu/index.php?page=support.desktop

    Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm


    Illuminations: Math Lessons --- http://illuminations.nctm.org/Lessons.aspx

    HyperStat Online Statistics Textbook --- http://davidmlane.com/hyperstat/

    Bob Jensen's links to math helpers  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics


    Methods for Teaching Math
    Math instructors at community colleges face an uphill battle by many measures: the U.S. Department of Education says that fewer than half of high school graduates are prepared for college-level math and science, high school test scores in math have barely budged since the 1970s and American students rank a sorry 24th out of 29 developed nations for mathematical problem-solving skills. Two-year colleges — which attract higher numbers of students needing remedial education than their four-year counterparts — bear the brunt of the challenge of getting students up to speed.
    Elizabeth Redden, "Methods for Teaching Math," Inside Higher Ed, October 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/10/06/math


    Internet Resources for the Mathematics Students --- http://qpr.ca/math/resources/

    Bob Jensen's links to math helpers  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics


    Free Spanish Math Program and Educational Writing Resources Online

    October 5, 2006 message from T.H.E. SmartClassroom [THEsmartclassroom@newsletters.101com.com]

    Spanish Math Program Goes Online for Free Heritage of America Educational & Cultural Foundation has launched a beta Web site for its Spanish-language mathematics program for grades 1-3 --- http://www.thejournal.com/the/newsletters/smartclassroom/archives/?aid=19364

    Bob Jensen's links to math helpers  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics


    Great Source Launches Site With Educational Writing Resources Great Source, a division of Houghton Mifflin Co., has launched iwrite ---  http://www.thejournal.com/the/newsletters/smartclassroom/archives/?aid=19364

    Bob Jensen's writing helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries


    Learning the French Language in Context
    French in Action --- http://www.learner.org/resources/series83.html


    Elimination of Physics Departments and/or Merging of Physics With Other Departments
    Britain’s University of Reading has become the latest of that country’s institutions to eliminate its physics department, The Guardian reported. Science groups in the country said that 30 percent of British universities have closed or merged physics departments in recent years.
    Inside Higher Ed, October 2, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/10/03/qt


    Need for Internal Controls of Registrar Databases
    A federal jury on Wednesday convicted an Opelousas woman of bribing a former Southern University official to change grades to make it appear that she had earned a degree. Tocquen R. Hill was accused of giving $3,500 in 2002 to Cleo Carroll Jr., Southern's former associate registrar, to change her transcript. Carroll worked at Southern from 1971 to 2003, when he was fired for his role in a grade-buying scandal . . . Carroll testified Tuesday that he changed more than 50 grades on Hill's transcript; Hill had been an off-and-on student at Southern between 1985 and 1994 but never graduated. Carroll told jurors that he used computer access to change grades and credit students with classes not attended. He also created "cut and paste" fake transcripts.
    "Opelousas convicted in Southern grade-buying scandal," Nola.com, October 5, 2006 --- Click Here


    "A Call for Transparency in College Admission," by Peter Van Buskirk, Inside Higher Ed, October 5, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/10/06/vanbuskirk

    A great deal of attention has been given of late to the efforts of Lloyd Thacker and others who seek to reform the college admission process. Citing an obsession with college entrance testing, run-away early decision programs, chronic misuses of college rankings and a propensity among colleges to strategically leverage their enrollments, Thacker points to a system out of control.

    Lloyd Thacker is right. The high school to college transition does face serious problems. Far-reaching as they might be, the impact of the practices and behaviors of which he speaks is felt most acutely by the families and supporters of students who aspire to the so-called elite institutions in the United States. While many agree that something needs to be done, advancing a reform mandate to a handful of presidents from these colleges in closed-door meetings ( as Thacker has done), though, is an exercise in futility at best.

    The seemingly benign process that ushered generations of young people to the doorsteps of a college education has evolved, in some quarters, into a swirling caldron of angst and anxiety. Highly stressed parents primp and coif their kids with pricey test prep, essay-writing tutorials and summer camps made-for-college as billion dollar industries have emerged to cater to their perceived needs. Eager to attend the “best” colleges, students strain against the odds with the expectation that the objective is within reach. Like it or not, the rules of the game have changed and the halcyon days of the college admission process are gone, especially for families whose children aspire to “high end” schools. In an effort to restore order and dignity to the process, Thacker is appealing to college presidents and educational leaders to change the admission practices that are presumed to be at the root of the problem.

    Thacker’s message is strong and his heart is in the right place but it is wishful thinking to expect anything more than sympathetic rhetoric from college presidents. Reaching out to them presumes that they can actually affect change and that they are predisposed to do so. Unfortunately, the odds are long against reformers on both accounts.

    Reform is simply not a practical consideration for presidents. Institutional self-interest and an obsession with being viewed as the best have propelled their institutions head-long into directions designed to ensure success in the fame game. The rush to notoriety started more than 20 years ago in response to U.S. News & World Report unveiling its inaugural rankings. Cynically regarded as the “swimsuit” issue by college officials, it drew higher education into an era of rankings and accountability by lifting the mythical “pecking order’ among institutions out of speculation and into print.

    As a young admission officer at the time, I distinctly remember the reactions of senior officers at my institution. The first was one of bemused interest as the ranking was reasonably close to advanced estimates and, according to quick calculations, placed us in the top 20 percent among national liberal arts colleges. Good stuff. Then horror set in as a closer examination of the list revealed that several of our peers, although “clearly inferior institutions,” were ranked above us! Without missing a beat, though, we began to meet with consultants and immediately set about to develop strategies that would vault us ahead of our competition.

    It was perhaps this single, yet common revelation on campuses across the country that changed the way colleges think of themselves. Whether they fear the consequences of being left out of the ratings guides or see the opportunity to secure if not enhance their respective positions in the marketplace, institutions steeped in academic tradition line up to compete with each other in a high-stakes fame game. The jockeying for market position at colleges and universities around the country creates insatiable desires for more — more of the best students, more selectivity and more notoriety — and generates tactics that fly in the face of traditional norms for admission behavior.

    As new agendas are played out, colleges determined to advance their positions find themselves caught between the reality of the emerging enrollment stratagem and the ethical rhetoric that has long framed the process. Whatever transparency had existed in the admission process has been sacrificed — at the expense of reasonable communication with applicants and their parent — in favor of competitive expediency.

    And, yes, college presidents are complicit in this development. The spiritual leaders and academic visionaries of a by-gone era, they are now called upon to be business owners, CEO’s of multi-million dollar nonprofit operations that produce educational experiences. More important, they sit at the end of accountability within their respective institutions. And their deans of admission, formerly the “gate keepers,” are now highly skilled sales managers tasked with producing big and ever improving numbers (applicants, scores, yields and revenue per student) as they enroll their classes.

    Given this level of engagement, it is unlikely that college presidents will be inclined to participate in a collective reform action. The pressure from trustees, alumni, faculty and donors to produce — to get ahead and stay ahead — is such that a single misstep could be costly. Rolling back an early decision program that nets nearly half of a class for an institution, for example, would have a deleterious effect on that institution’s yield and admit ratio — key measures of admission prowess. Eliminating standardized tests would rob institutions of the opportunity to market the strength of their entering students. And operating a truly “need blind” selection process would deny them points of leverage in targeting highly valued candidates with admission and scholarship.

    The new truth about the college admission process is that decisions to admit students and support them with financial aid are business decisions that reflect institutional values. Now, the operative questions with reference to students’ credentials in the selection process are “what do we need?” and “what do we get?” Elite institutions, in particular, admit whomever they want for whatever reasons might be important to them at the time. Why? Because they can. At any given time, an institution might need to bolster enrollment in a new academic program, foster relations with key donors, deliver championships or demonstrate a commitment to diversity — all while doing what it takes to become more selective. It is simply a matter of colleges doing business — a practical matter that makes sense as long as the rhetoric is in line with the reality.

    That said there is probably little college presidents could accomplish even if they wanted to dive into the reform effort head first. The “frenzy” of which Thacker speaks is not caused by colleges. College presidents didn’t create this “mess” nor are they well positioned to clean it up. Rather, the frenzy that engulfs colleges and consumers alike is the product of a pervasive cultural phenomenon — a potent cocktail of social, emotional and behavioral ingredients that produces neurotic obsessions with having or being the “best.”

    Indeed, ours has become a culture that values the best appliances, the best cars, the best vacations — and the best colleges, often at the expense of good values that would be more appropriate choices. And for each critical distinction we need to make, there is a consumer guide replete with research and rankings to make our jobs “easier.” In this instance, families are eager to buy what colleges are selling especially at colleges that hold the right amount of cache. Much like a cultural virus, the frenzy associated with having or being the best has come to both transcend and permeate college campuses with tell-tale symptoms of paranoia and bold ambition.

    Continued in article


    National Association of School Psychologists: Crisis Resources ---
    http://www.nasponline.org/NEAT/crisismain.html


    Serious Accounting Historians May Find Some Things of Use Here
    Advanced Papyrological Information System from Columbia University --- http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/projects/digital/apis/

    APIS is a collections-based repository hosting information about and images of papyrological materials (e.g. papyri, ostraca, wood tablets, etc) located in collections around the world. It contains physical descriptions and bibliographic information about the papyri and other written materials, as well as digital images and English translations of many of these texts. When possible, links are also provided to the original language texts (e.g. through the Duke Data Bank of Documentary Papyri). The user can move back and forth among text, translation, bibliography, description, and image. With the specially-developed APIS Search System many different types of complex searches can be carried out.

    APIS includes both published and unpublished material. Generally, much more detailed information is available about the published texts. Unpublished papyri have often not yet been fully transcribed, and the information available is sometimes very basic. If you need more information about a papyrus, you should contact the appropriate person at the owning institution. (See the list of contacts under Rights & Permissions.)

    APIS is still very much a work in progress; current statistics are shown in the sidebar at right. Other statistics are available on the statistics page in the project documentation. Curators of collections interested in becoming part of APIS are invited to communicate with the project director, Traianos Gagos.

    October 9, 2006 reply from gary.previts@case.edu

    Bob it will be posted at:

    http://raw.rutgers.edu/digitallibrary 

    Thanks

    Gary

    Bob Jensen's threads on accounting history are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#AccountingHistory


    No Child Left Behind, But Some PhD Faculty Left Behind

    "Despite a Doctorate and Top Students, Unqualified to Teach," by Samuel Freedman, The New York Times, October 11, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/11/education/11education.html

    As virtually everyone in the audience knew, Mr. Huyck would be leaving Pacific Collegiate, a charter school, after commencement. Despite his doctorate in classics from Harvard, despite his 22 years teaching in high school and college, despite the classroom successes he had so demonstrably achieved with his Latin students in Santa Cruz, he was not considered “highly qualified” by California education officials under their interpretation of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

    Rather than submit to what he considered an expensive, time-consuming indignity, a teacher-certification program geared to beginners that would last two years and cost about $15,000, Mr. Huyck decided to resign and move across town to teach in a private school. And in his exasperation, he was not alone.

    Two other teachers with doctorates left Pacific Collegiate this year at least in part because of the credentialing requirement, Mr. Goldenkranz said. (One of the departed teachers, Barbara Allen Logan, said she left largely out of concern that the school was not diverse enough.) Nine other faculty members who already hold doctoral degrees or are working toward them are taking the teacher-certification classes, stealing time away from their own students at Pacific Collegiate.

    TO call this situation perverse, to ascribe it to the principle of unintended consequences, is to be, if anything, too reasonable. With the quality of teacher training being widely assailed as undemanding, most recently in a report last month by the Education Schools Project, a nonpartisan group, Pacific Collegiate in 2005 had what certainly looked like the solution. Out of a faculty of 29, 12 already had or were nearing doctoral degrees, primarily related to the subjects they taught.

    And if the performance of the school mattered for anything, which unfortunately it does not in the credentialing issue, then Pacific Collegiate could show results. Admitting its 400 students in Grades 7 through 12 by lottery rather than by admissions exam, it recorded an average of 1,982 out of a possible 2,400 on the three-part SAT and sent graduates to Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Swarthmore and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among other elite universities.

    Yet when Mr. Goldenkranz became principal in September 2005, he was informed by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education that, as he recalled in a recent interview, “in no uncertain terms, we had to develop a path to compliance with N.C.L.B.” Once the teachers were certified, Pacific Collegiate itself would have to pay $6,000 per teacher to the state for their enrollment in a program devised to improve retention of new faculty members.

    Continued in article


    Doral Financiali Settles Financial Fraud Charges
    The Securities and Exchange Commission on September 19, 2006 filed financial fraud charges against Doral Financial Corporation, alleging that the NYSE-listed Puerto Rican bank holding company overstated income by 100 percent on a pre-tax, cumulative basis between 2000 and 2004. The Commission further alleges that by overstating its income by $921 million over the period, the company reported an apparent 28-quarter streak of “record earnings” that facilitated the placement of over $1 billion of debt and equity. Since Doral Financial’s accounting and disclosure problems began to surface in early 2005, the market price of the company’s common stock plummeted from almost $50 to under $10, reducing the company’s market value by over $4 billion. Without admitting or denying the Commission’s allegations, Doral Financial has consented to the entry of a court order enjoining it from violating the antifraud, reporting, books and records and internal control provisions of the federal securities laws and ordering that it pay a $25 million civil penalty. The settlement reflects the significant cooperation provided by Doral in the Commission’s investigation.
    "DORAL FINANCIAL SETTLES FINANCIAL FRAUD CHARGES WITH SEC AND AGREES TO PAY $25 MILLION PENALTY," AccountingEducation.com, September 28, 2006 ---
    http://accountingeducation.com/index.cfm?page=newsdetails&id=143606

    The independent auditor for Doral Financial is PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) --- Click Here for Doral's 10-K
    PwC's charges to Doral increased from $2.2 million in 2004 to $5.6 million in 2006.


    "Embezzler Sentenced," The New York Times, October 11, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/11/business/11embezzle.html

    LUBBOCK, Tex. Oct. 10 (AP) — A former executive who admitted to embezzling millions of dollars from Patterson-UTI Energy Inc., the oil and gas drilling company, was sentenced to 25 years in prison Tuesday.

    The executive, Jonathan D. Nelson, 36, was accused of using a bogus invoice scheme to take more than $77 million from the company, a large operator of land-based oil and gas drilling rigs.

    The authorities said he spent the money on an airplane, an airfield, a cattle ranch, a truck stop, homes and vehicles.

    Mr. Nelson was also fined $200,000 and ordered to pay restitution of about $77 million minus the money that has been recouped from the sale of assets purchased with the stolen money.

    “We are at a crossroads in America where malfeasance in corporate America has reached an all-time high,” Judge Sam R. Cummings of United States District Court said in comments to Mr. Nelson. “This type of conduct simply cannot be tolerated in our society.”

    The independent external auditor was Pricewaterhouse Coopers --- Click Here

    Fees Incurred in Fees Incurred in Fiscal Year Fiscal Year Description
                                                           2004              2003
    Audit fees                                $ 419,000      $ 323,000
    Audit-related fees                     1,141,000        180,000
    Tax fees                                      573,000          81,000
    All other fees                                 19,000          31,000
                                Totals         $2,152,000      $615,000

    Bob Jensen's threads on Pricewaterhouse Coopers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#PwC


    Japan's Commercial Sex Trade
    To outsiders, Japan’s love (for) hotels, no-panty cafés, and anime-costumed call girls are fascinating – and strictly off-limits. But now photographer Joan Sinclair offers a provocative peek into the country’s $80 billion-a-year fuzoku (commercial sex) industry. For her book, Pink Box, the blond, fair-skinned Sinclair spent a year coaxing proprietors to let her inside their establishments, at times for as little as five minutes between customers. Her persistence paid off. The resulting 155 images reveal the dizzying spectrum of fantasy, entertainment, and technology that is fuzoku in all its absurd, neon-lit glory. It’s as intimate a view as most will ever get.
    "Behind the Pink Door," Wired Magazine, October 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.10/play.html?pg=8


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

  • Latest Headlines on October 12, 2006

    Latest Headlines on October 13, 2006

    Latest Headlines on October 14, 2006

    Latest Headlines on October 16, 2006

    Latest Headlines on October 21, 2006

     


  • "Red wine may protect against Alzheimer's," PhysOrg, October 6, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news79347038.html

    A study at a New York medical school finds that mice genetically engineered to get Alzheimer's disease respond to the red wine treatment.

    The research by Dr. Giulio Pasinetti of Mount Sinai School of Medicine is only the latest to find health benefits in moderate red wine drinking. Red wine has also been shown to reduce levels of bad cholesterol and to protect against heart disease and some cancers, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

    Pasinetti and his colleagues, working with mice carrying a gene linked to Alzheimer's, fed them either red wine, water or ethanol. They found that mice given red wine had significantly less memory loss.

    The cabernet was made in the nutrition department at the University of Florida so its chemical makeup is known exactly.

    Scientists believe that natural anti-oxidants found in grape skins and seeds are responsible for the health benefits of red wine. Unlike white wine, red wine is fermented with the skins still on the grapes.


    Science Behind Health Benefits of Moderate Beer Consumption
    There is mounting scientific evidence that moderate consumption of beer or other alcoholic beverages -- defined by the government as one to two servings daily -- may actually have health benefits over not consuming alcohol at all. Research conducted on the potential health benefits of beer and other alcoholic beverages will be presented in the nation’s capital on Tuesday, October 10, at the Ceres® Forum “Beer: To Your Health!” a conference hosted by the University of Maryland Center for Food, Nutrition and Agriculture Policy (CFNAP). The conference is the first of its kind in the U.S. to focus on the possible health benefits of beer and will feature national and international experts on the subjects of moderate alcohol consumption and risk communication.
    "Science Behind Health Benefits of Moderate Beer Consumption," PhysOrg, October 10, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news79728415.html


    Orange juice beverage fortified with plant sterols lowers indicators of heart disease risk
    Plant cholesterols known as sterols -- recognized for their cholesterol-lowering power when added to margarines, salad dressings and other fats -- also have been found to be effective in reducing low-density lipoprotein, or "bad" cholesterol" levels, when added to orange juice. Now, UC Davis researchers have found that twice-daily servings of a reduced-calorie orange juice beverage fortified with plant sterols also reduces levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation and an accepted risk marker for heart disease.
    "Orange juice beverage fortified with plant sterols lowers indicators of heart disease risk," PhysOrg, October 11, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news79799196.html


    "Chemotherapy affects cancer patient's brain for years: study," PhysOrg, October 7, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news79410975.html

    Cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy experience changes in brain metabolism for years after their treatment, according to a study that may explain the mental confusion seen in some survivors.

    The study looked at 21 breast cancer patients who underwent surgery five to 10 years ago. Of the group, 16 women were in chemotherapy following the operation to prevent the cancer from returning.

    The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers scanned the women's brains while they took focus and memory exercises.

    "People with 'chemo brain' often can't focus, remember things or multitask the way they did before chemotherapy," said Daniel Silverman, head of neuronuclear imaging and associate professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at UCLA.

    "Our study demonstrates for the first time that patients suffering from these cognitive symptoms have specific alterations in brain metabolism" and blood flow, he said.

    At least one in four breast cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy have symptoms of mental confusion, the researchers said.

    A recent University of Minnesota study puts the rate at 82 percent, the UCLA researchers said in their study published in the online journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

    More than 211,000 new breast cancer cases are diagnosed each year in the United States.


    About Your Deteriorating Face
    Doctors report the bones in our faces disintegrate as they age, women's sooner than men's. So no amount of plastic surgery can tighten down to the face you once had.
    "About Your Deteriorating Face," Wired News, October 10, 2006 --- http://feeds.wired.com/bodyhack

  • A little known and alarming fact about growing old as a woman is that basically, your facial skeleton is disintegrating and no amount of skin tightening can make you look forever 21.Peggy_lipton_2

    Plastic surgeons Dr. David Kahn at Stanford and Dr. Robert Shaw (former Stanford medical student, now a resident at the University of Rochester Medical Center) have published two studies showing that while your skin sags and wrinkles, your facial bones are are shrinking and changing shape -- and this happens significantly earlier for women than men.

    The surgeons are presenting the second of their two studies on this depressing topic today at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons meeting in San Francisco.

    "Skin tightening, collagen and fat injections, Botox injections, don't take into account changes to the bones," Kahn said in a press release.

    "After you do a face-lift on some patients and look at photos of them when they were young, they look very different," said Shaw. "Part of that may be the tightening of the skin over a bony scaffolding that has deteriorated and changed in shape from when they were 18."

    Surgeons should concentrate on restoring volume "to compensate for the loss of bony volume, and lifting and reducing the aged and less elastic soft tissue," Kahn said. "Plastic surgeons can't turn back the clock. It's more of a 'freshening up'."

    What I think he means to say is if you're a woman, your destiny is a melting face that will look increasingly freakish the more plastic surgery you get.

    You know who looks amazing though? Peggy Lipton, original Mod Squad member, former wife of Quincy Jones, and former tortured other woman on Twin Peaks. Sister is 59! I wonder who does her work. Or maybe she takes a lot of calcium.

    UPDATE: OK, people. Here are the references for the two studies, apologies for not listing them earlier. You should be able to get them at the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal's website, but the site seems to be malfunctioning. I can't get anything to come up. So, here are the references:

    1. Shaw, R.B. et al., Aging of the Bony Orbit: A Three Dimensional CT Study. Plast. Reconstr. Surg. Plastic Surgery 2006 Astract Supplement.

    2. Shaw, R.B. et al., Aging of the Midface Bony Elements: A Three Dimensional CT Study. Plast. Reconstr. Surg. In Press (they presented this one at Plastic Surgery 2005)

     


  • Protein Gel Stops Bleeding in Unknown Way
    A biodegradable protein solution stanches bleeding in mere seconds when applied to open wounds in rodents, according to a new study. How the material works in detail is unclear, but it appears nontoxic and long lasting in animals, suggesting that it may either have advantages over existing bleeding stoppers or be able to complement them, researchers report. A number of different products are in use or are being developed to control bleeding on the battlefield and in routine surgery. All of them have drawbacks, including the potential for excessive heat, blood clots and allergic reactions. The new liquid does not seem to carry these risks, says neuroscientist Rutledge Ellis-Behnke of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who developed the material with his colleagues.
    "Protein Gel Stops Bleeding in Unknown Way," Scientific American, October 10, 2006 --- http://www.sciam.com/print_version.cfm?articleID=000D056A-AAFC-1526-AAB683414B7F0000 


    "Control of selfish behavior turned on, off," PhysOrg, October 7, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news79414946.html

    Selfish, egotistical behavior really is a turn-off, Swiss and U.S. researchers said, triggered by activating a region of the brain.

    User rating Not rated yet Would you recommend this story? Not at all - 1 2 3 4 5 - Highly Researchers studied how activating the area of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex would trigger self-control, researchers from the University of Zurich and Harvard University said Friday in The (London) Telegraph. A weak magnetic field was used to disable this area during the experiment. Researchers said participants gave their permission before undergoing the experiment, the Telegraph said.

    Study participants with the right DLPFC suppressed was less able to keep their self-control in check, the Telegraph said, but they still understood the concept of fairness.

    Earlier studies had suggested self-control was dependent on the DLPFC, among the last areas of the brain to mature. The latest study, published Friday in "Science," noted this part of the brain is not fully developed in young people, the Telegraph said.


    "Skin ages differently for men, women," PhysOrg, October 6, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news79366578.html

    Researchers at Germany's Friedrich Schiller University, using an experimental measuring device, suggest that men's and women's skin age at different rates.

    User rating 3 out of 5 after 1 total votes Would you recommend this story? Not at all - 1 2 3 4 5 - Highly The laser device determined levels of collagen and elastin -- proteins that affect skin's elasticity, tone and texture -- beneath the skin's surface, WebMD.com said Friday. Levels of these proteins usually drop with age.

    Until now, a good way to measure skin aging short of removing the skin and studying it in a lab wasn't available, WebMD.com said.

    The non-invasive laser procedure shows promise because it could eventually help consumers evaluate anti-aging skin products and assist doctors treat skin conditions, WebMD.com said.

    Researchers used an imaging technique on the inner forearms of women and men ages 21 through 84, WebMD.com said. Using data to develop an index, researchers found that women's skin showed more evidence of aging than men of similar ages.

    The difference was greater in post-menopausal women, WebMD.com said. One possibility researchers gave was the menopause-related drop in estrogen and progesterone, WebMD.com said.

    Researchers said more study was needed to confirm the findings, including measuring the index against more established aging benchmarks.


    Commonplace sugar compound silences seizures
    Though in clinical use for decades, a small, sweet-tasting compound is revealing a startling new face as a potential cure for epilepsy. The compound 2-deoxy-glucose, or 2DG, has long been used in radio labeling, medical scanning and cancer imaging studies in humans. But now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found the substance also blocks the onset of epileptic seizures in laboratory rats. Reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the findings have potentially huge implications for up to half of all epileptic patients who currently have no access to treatment, says senior author Avtar Roopra, a UW-Madison assistant professor of neurology.
    "Commonplace sugar compound silences seizures," PhysOrg, October 16, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news80233036.html


    Cocaine Addicts Do Not Abide by the Assumptions of Adam Smith
    People addicted to cocaine have an impaired ability to perceive rewards and exercise control due to disruptions in the brain’s reward and control circuits, according to a series of brain-mapping studies and neuropsychological tests conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory . . . In one study, subjects were given a monetary reward for their performance on an attention task. Subjects were given one of three amounts (no money, one cent, or 45 cents) for each correct response, up to a total reward of $50 for their performance. The researchers also asked the subjects how much they valued different amounts of monetary reward, ranging from $10 to $1000. More than half of the cocaine abusers rated $10 as equally valuable as $1000, “demonstrating a reduced subjective sensitivity to relative monetary reward,” Goldstein said. “Such a ‘flattened’ sensitivity to gradients in reward may play a role in the inability of drug-addicted individuals to use internal cues and feedback from the environment to inhibit inappropriate behavior, and may also predispose these individuals to disadvantageous decisions — for example, trading a car for a couple of cocaine hits. Without a relative context, drug use and its intense effects — craving, anticipation, and high — could become all the more overpowering,” she said.
    "Altered Perception of Reward in Human Cocaine Addiction," PhysOrg, October 16, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news80232632.html

     


    Building Musical Instruments (some clever crafting ideas)
    http://www.wannalearn.com/Crafts_and_Hobbies/Woodworking/Building_Musical_Instruments/




    World's Strongest Dad --- http://cjcphoto.com/can/
    (Scroll down to video near the end)
    From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly




    Homer Simpson's Words of Wisdom --- http://funny2.com/homer.htm

    Ah, beer. The cause of and the solution to all of life's problems.

    Who are you? Why am I here? I want answers now or I want them eventually!

    Because they're stupid, that's why. That's why everybody does everything!

    That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!

    You know those balls that they put on car antennas so you can find them in the parking lot? Those should be on every car!

    Marge, I'm going to miss you so much. And it's not just the sex! It's also the food preparation.

    When I look at the smiles on all the children's faces, I just know they're about to jab me with something.

    America's health care system is second only to Japan, Canada, Sweden, Great Britain, well...all of Europe. But you can thank your lucky stars we don't live in Paraguay!

    It's like something out of that "twilighty" show about that zone.

    Whenever Marge turns on one of her "non-violent" programs, I take a walk. I go to a bar, I pound a few, then I stumble home in the mood for love...

    It's not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a troubled child, but somehow I managed to fit in eight hours of TV a day.

    English? Who needs that? I'm never going to England!

    Oh no! What have I done? I smashed open my little boy's piggy bank, and for what? A few measly cents, not even enough to buy one beer. Wait a minute, lemme count and make sure...not even close!

    Or what? You'll release the dogs? Or the bees? Or the dogs with bees in their mouth and when they bark they shoot bees at you?

    You're saying butt-kisser like it's a bad thing!

    Well, let's just call them, uh, Mr. X and Mrs. Y. So anyway, Mr. X would say, 'Marge, if this doesn't get your motor running, my name isn't Homer J. Simpson.'

    I know what you're saying, Bart. When I was young, I wanted an electric football machine more than anything else in the world, and my parents bought it for me, and it was the happiest day of my life. Well, goodnight!

    Apu, you got any Skittle Brau? Never mind, just give me some Duff and a pack of Skittles.

    You'll have to speak up, I'm wearing a towel.

    Mmmmmm - 52 slices of American cheese.

    Hey, I asked for ketchup - I'm eatin' salad here!

    When I first heard that Marge was joining the police academy, I thought it would be fun and zany, you know like that movie... "Spaceballs". But instead it was dark and disturbing, like that movie "Police Academy".

    I think Mr. Smithers picked me for my motivational skills. Everyone always says they have to work twice as hard when I'm around!

    Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie, and one to listen.

    Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand!

    I'm trying to fix your mother's camera. Easy, easy - Hmmm. I think I need a bigger drill.

    You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'.

    Oh, everything's too damned expensive these days. Like this Bible. It cost 15 bucks! And talk about a preachy book! Everybody's a sinner! Except this guy.

    Here's to alcohol - the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.

    God bless those pagans.

    Don't let Krusty's death get you down, boy. People die all the time, just like that. Why, you could wake up dead tomorrow! Well, good night!

    If you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now, quiet, they're about to announce the lottery numbers!

    You couldn't fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had an electrified fooling machine.

    Go ahead and play the blues if it'll make you happy.

    I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are.

    All right, let's not panic. I'll make the money by selling one of my livers. I can get by with one.

    Woo hoo! 350 dollars! Now I can buy 70 transcripts of Nightline!

    Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.

    You know boys, a nuclear reactor is a lot like women. You just have to read the manual and press the right button.

    I hope I didn't brain my damage!

    We'll die together, like a father and son should.

    Let us celebrate this agreement with the adding of chocolate to milk.

    We're gonna get a new TV. Twenty-one inch screen, realistic flesh tones, and a little cart so we can wheel it into the dining room on holidays!

    First you don't want me to get the pony, then you want me to take it back. Make up your mind!

    Son, a woman is a lot like a... a refrigerator! They're about six feet tall, 300 pounds. They make ice, and... um... Oh, wait a minute. Actually, a woman is more like a beer.

    Now what is a wedding? Well, Webster's dictionary describes a wedding as the process of removing weeds from one's garden.

    Now, Marge, don't discourage the boy. Weaseling out of things is what separates us from the animals. Except the weasel.

    You can't go wrong with cocktail weenies. They look as good as they taste. And they come in this delicious red sauce. It looks like ketchup, it tastes like ketchup, but brother, it ain't ketchup!

    I saw this movie about a bus that had to SPEED around a city, keeping its SPEED over fifty, and if its SPEED dropped, it would explode! I think it was called "The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down."

    I don't have to be careful, I've got a gun!

    I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me, Superman!

    Oh, they have Internet on computers now.

    Marge I swear, I never thought that you would find out.

    Shut up, brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-Tip!

    I am so smart, I am so smart, S M R T, I mean S M A R T.

    I'm not gonna lie to you, Marge. See ya soon!
     

    nti On-Line

    APPLE Arrogance Produces Profit-Losing Entity

    BASIC Bill's Attempt to Seize Industry Control

    CD-ROM Consumer Device, Rendered Obsolete in Months

    COBOL Completely Obsolete Business Oriented Language

    COMPUTER Capable Of Making Perfectly Uncomplicated Tasks Extremely Rigorous

    DOS Defunct Operating System

    IBM I Blame Microsoft

    IBM I Bought Macintosh

    ISDN It Still Does Nothing

    LISP Lots of Infuriating & Silly Parentheses

    LOTUS Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious

    MACINTOSH Most Applications Crash, If Not The Operating System Hangs

    MCSE Minesweeper Consultant & Solitaire Expert

    MCSE Must Consult Someone Experienced

    MCSE Making Computers Slow Everyday

    MICROSOFT Most Intelligent Customers Realize Our Software Only Fools Teenagers

    MIPS Mistakes Incurred Per Second

    MIPS Meaningless Indication of Processor Speed

    NASCAR Non-Athletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks

    NTSC Never The Same Color

    OS/2 Obsolete Soon Too

    PASCAL Pedantry And Strictness Created A Language

    PCMCIA People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms

    PENTIUM Produces Erroneous Numbers Thru Incorrect Understanding of Mathematics

    POTS Plain Old Telephone System

    RISC Reduced Into Silly Code

    SCSI System Can't See It

    SCSI-2 System Can't See It Again

    SNMP Security Not My Problem

    WINDOWS Wonderful Interface No Dos User Would Sanction

    WINDOWS Will Install Needless Data On Whole System

     




     

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

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

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

    Three Finance Blogs

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

    Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

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

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