Tidbits on October 23, 2006
should seriously consider Camtasia 4 ---
(this may be the most important learning/teaching software ever invented)
earlier editions of Tidbits go to
earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and
other universities is at
Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures
Click here to search this Website if
you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and
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Bob Jensen's Home Page is at
Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
(Also scroll down to the table at
Zaba Search free database of names, addresses, birth dates, and
phone numbers. Social security numbers and background checks are also available
for a fee ---
Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Getting Mooned on Halloween ---
Halloween Hangman ---
Bat Flasher ---
From the NY Public Library
Small Business Video Seminar ---
Celebrating 40 Years of Film in New York City ---
The World According to Sesame Street
From Scientific American: Politicians caught on Internet candid
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!! ---
Free music downloads ---
A Bay-Area Billionaire's Annual Gift of Music
(Blue Grass) ---
Steven Bernstein: Mixing the Strange and Familiar
(Big Band Trumpeter) ---
A Beach Boys Classic Gets an R&B Makeover ---
Folk and Rock Re-Interpreted for the Little Ones
A Forgotten '80s Classic, Reissued at Last
Regina Spektor in Concert ---
Lifter Puller: Loud, Fast and Out of Control ---
Art of the States ---
Italian Pop Star Takes on U.S. Music Market ---
'The Information' Finds Beck at His Best (Punk
Computer Animated Music (link forwarded by Ed
Photographs and Art
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 ---
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Augusten Burroughs' Mother Speaks Out (poems with audio) ---
Adventure by Jack London
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The Final Problem by Arthur Conan
Doyle (1859-1930) ---
Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music
Cheesemaking in Wisconsin: A Short History ---
Cardamom Bread, Wisconsin Style ---
I asked [the ump] if he saw any pitches, because I
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.
"Standard-Bearers," The New Yorker, October 16, 2006 ---
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) ---
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)
Humanity is as it is, it's not a question of
changing it but getting to know it.
Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) ---
Too bad all the people who know how to run the
country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair.
George Burns (1896-1996) ---
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 ---
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,
Parents of outstanding students who are not saving enough should know that,
unless they have low incomes, the opportunities for merit scholarships are
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
Michael Young, "Breaking Up Ain't
Hard to Do: James Baker prepares the exits in Iraq," Reason Magazine,
October 12, 2006 ---
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
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) whereas Iran is Persian (speaking
makes Iraq more closely aligned with the Arabic nations from a language and
cultural perspective. But most Arabic nations follow the
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 ---
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Ken Belson, "Justice Dept. Approves AT&T-BellSouth Deal," The New York Times,
October 12, 2006 ---
"Hong Kong Wrong: What would Cowperthwaite say?" by Milton
Friedman, The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2006 ---
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
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
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.
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
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 ---
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
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
"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,'
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
" '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
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
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 ---
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
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
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
There is no opinion so absurd that some philosopher
will not express it.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC-43 BC)
Heil Bush: Barf Alert from Islamic Scholar at the
University of Wisconsin
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
Inside Higher Ed, October 12, 2006 ---
Law and Economics Blog of UCLA Professor Stephen Bainbridge ---
Two very interesting news stories about
First, from the W$J we
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
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
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
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
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.
should seriously consider Camtasia 4 ---
(this may be the most important learning/teaching software ever invented)
October 4, 2006 message from Richard Campbell
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
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) ---
There's also a RSS feed at this site, an iPod feed, and a free trial offer.
Interesting Video from a Teacher ---
(The tax deductible comment only applies to K-12 teachers, not to college
Bob Jensen's Camtasia videos (using older Camtasia software) are included in
the following sites:
"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 ---
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
"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
Computer scientist Josef
Sivic at Oxford's
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
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
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
by Wade Roush
MIT's Technology Review
October 13, 2006 ---
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
and Six Apart's
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.
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
Bob Jensen's threads on the Downsides of
Open Sharing ---
"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
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.
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
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
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
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 ---
"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 ---
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 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on "Corporate Governance" are at
Bob Jensen's thread on "Outrageous Compensation" are at
Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at
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
Inside Higher Ed, October 12, 2006 ---
NPR's audio account is at
A Harvard economics professor (Greg Mankiw) provides tips on how to write
Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at
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
"PROFILE OF A FRAUDSTER," by Lisa Eversole, LSU Accounting
General characteristics of those who commit occupational fraud:
- Risk taker
- Rule breaker
- Hard worker
- Under stress
- Financial need
- Disgruntled or a complainer
- Big spender
- Overwhelming desire for personal gain
- Pressured to perform
- Close relationship with vendors/suppliers
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 ---
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
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
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;
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
Some Firms Specialize in Pre-employment Background Checks ---
Bureau of Justice Statistics ---
FBI Crime Statistics ---
White House Crime Statistics ---
(Many links are provided here)
State Crime Statistics from 1960 - 2005 ---
Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics ---
White Collar Crime Pays Big Even If You Get Caught ---
Bob Jensen's threads on consumer fraud are at
Association of Certified Fraud Examiner's ACFE’s New Fraud Risk Assessment
Tool to Aid in Detection, Prevention ---
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.
Bob Jensen's threads on fraud are at
Did the Russian's cheat in world chess tournaments?
"Cheating in world chess championships is nothing new, study suggests,"
PhysOrg, October 10, 2006 ---
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
Continued in article
From the Scout Report on October 6, 2006
HandyFind 2.0.3 ---
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 ---
Long-time Winamp users will appreciate this new
release, and those unacquainted with the program will be glad to learn of
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 ---
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
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 ---
"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 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on employee stock options accounting and scandals are at
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 ---
From The Washington Post on October 11, 2006
In the past six years, how many telephone
land lines have fallen out of use?
From The Washington Post on October 13, 2006
What can you do to prevent blur when taking
Increase the ISO
Close down the aperture
Slow the shutter speed
October 5, 2006 message from Carolyn Kotlas
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
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
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
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:
Bob Jensen's threads on "Onsite versus Online Learning" are at
"Students prefer online courses: Classes popular with on-campus
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 Non–Profit
Publishers" By Raym Crow
"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
"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
"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: firstname.lastname@example.org;
"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
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)
"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
Reader a step forward," PhysOrg, September 27, 2006 ---
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 ---
"Gutenberg 1, Sony 0: Its reader is hurt by clunky software and a
clueless bookstore," by Stephen H. Wildstrom, Business Week, October 16,
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
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
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,
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 ---
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
Continued in article
"Review: Sony's Reader uses
e-ink for e-books," MIT's Technology Review, September 27, 2006 ---
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
Is this the iPod for books? Not quite. But it is a
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
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
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
My name is Ivy, and I work for ECNext, Inc. After
reviewing your website, specifically the Links section,
I wanted to propose you consider adding a new online textbooks site,
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 (
) on your Links section.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me (
if you have any questions.
September 28, 2006 message from Ivy Banaag
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 (
), and add us to your website for the benefit of your
Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have
questions or comments.
Thanks, Ivy email@example.com
Bob Jensen's links to free electronic literature are at
Bob Jensen's search helpers, including book search helpers, are at
Bob Jensen's threads on electronic book readers are at
Why did Hewlett-Packard needed to plug leaks from its board of directors?
"Zip It," by James Surowiecki, The New Yorker, October 9, 2006 ---
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
Continued in article
A Wired News interview of Carly is available at
Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at
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 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at
"The Hazards of Whistle Blowing," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher
Ed, October 5, 2006 ---
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
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,
"Unpacking Gide’s Suitcase at Camp Hickiwawa," by Fleur LaDouleur, Inside
Higher Ed, October 5, 2006 ---
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
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.
What is international
Why does it
What are the goals?
Follow the links below
for informative articles (first published in Phi Delta Kappan,
Preparing our Students for Work
and Citizenship in the Global Age
From Community Innovation to National Policy
Americans Think About International Education and Why it Matters
Preparing Urban Youth to
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 ---
The 12 Worst Information Technology Disasters of All Time
"Peter Coffee's Dirty Dozen" ---
Public Library of Science ---
Intute: Interactive Chemistry Tutorials ---
Online Helpers for Physics Educators and Students
The Physics Front ---
Johns Hopkins Medicine Podcasts ---
Search for University Lectures Available as Podcasts
Bob Jensen's threads on podcasting, Apple's iPod U, RSS, RDF are at
Bob Jensen's threads on science and medicine tutorials are at
Rockefeller University: Information Technology (tutorials) ---
Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at
Illuminations: Math Lessons ---
HyperStat Online Statistics Textbook
Bob Jensen's links to math helpers ---
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 ---
Internet Resources for the Mathematics Students ---
Bob Jensen's links to math helpers ---
Free Spanish Math Program and Educational Writing Resources Online
October 5, 2006 message from T.H.E. SmartClassroom
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 ---
Bob Jensen's links to math helpers ---
Great Source Launches Site With Educational Writing
Resources Great Source, a division of Houghton Mifflin Co., has launched
Bob Jensen's writing helpers are at
Learning the French Language in Context
French in Action ---
Elimination of Physics Departments and/or Merging of Physics With Other
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 ---
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
"Opelousas convicted in Southern grade-buying scandal," Nola.com, October
5, 2006 ---
"A Call for Transparency in College Admission," by Peter Van Buskirk,
Inside Higher Ed, October 5, 2006 ---
A great deal of attention has been given of late to
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 (
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
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 ---
Serious Accounting Historians May Find Some Things of Use Here
Advanced Papyrological Information System from Columbia University ---
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 &
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
Bob it will be posted at:
Bob Jensen's threads on accounting history are at
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 ---
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
"DORAL FINANCIAL SETTLES FINANCIAL FRAUD CHARGES WITH SEC AND AGREES TO PAY $25
MILLION PENALTY," AccountingEducation.com, September 28, 2006 ---
The independent auditor for Doral Financial is PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Click Here for Doral's 10-K
PwC's charges to Doral increased from $2.2 million in 2004 to $5.6 million in
"Embezzler Sentenced," The New York Times, October 11, 2006 ---
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
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 ---
Fees Incurred in Fees Incurred in Fiscal Year Fiscal Year Description
$ 419,000 $ 323,000
All other fees
Bob Jensen's threads on Pricewaterhouse Coopers are at
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 ---
Updates from WebMD ---
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,
A study at a New York medical school finds that
mice genetically engineered to get Alzheimer's disease respond to the red
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
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
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 ---
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
"Orange juice beverage fortified with plant sterols lowers indicators of heart
disease risk," PhysOrg, October 11, 2006 ---
"Chemotherapy affects cancer patient's brain for years: study," PhysOrg,
October 7, 2006 ---
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
"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
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 ---
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
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
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
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
"Protein Gel Stops Bleeding in Unknown Way," Scientific American, October
10, 2006 ---
"Control of selfish behavior turned on, off," PhysOrg, October
7, 2006 ---
Selfish, egotistical behavior really is a turn-off,
Swiss and U.S. researchers said, triggered by activating a region of the
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
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,
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
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
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
Cocaine Addicts Do Not Abide by the Assumptions of
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 ---
Building Musical Instruments (some clever crafting ideas)
World's Strongest Dad ---
(Scroll down to video near the end)
From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly
Homer Simpson's Words of Wisdom ---
beer. The cause of and the solution to all of life's problems.
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!
it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!
know those balls that they put on car antennas so you can find them in the
parking lot? Those should be on every car!
I'm going to miss you so much. And it's not just the sex! It's also the food
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!
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...
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!
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!
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?
saying butt-kisser like it's a bad thing!
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.
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!
you got any Skittle Brau? Never mind, just give me some Duff and a pack of
have to speak up, I'm wearing a towel.
- 52 slices of American cheese.
asked for ketchup - I'm eatin' salad here!
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".
think Mr. Smithers picked me for my motivational skills. Everyone always
says they have to work twice as hard when I'm around!
it takes two to lie. One to lie, and one to listen.
because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand!
trying to fix your mother's camera. Easy, easy - Hmmm. I think I need a
tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'.
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.
to alcohol - the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.
bless those pagans.
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!
really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now, quiet,
they're about to announce the lottery numbers!
couldn't fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had an
electrified fooling machine.
ahead and play the blues if it'll make you happy.
white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my
right, let's not panic. I'll make the money by selling one of my livers. I
can get by with one.
hoo! 350 dollars! Now I can buy 70 transcripts of Nightline!
people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know
know boys, a nuclear reactor is a lot like women. You just have to read the
manual and press the right button.
I didn't brain my damage!
die together, like a father and son should.
celebrate this agreement with the adding of chocolate to milk.
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!
you don't want me to get the pony, then you want me to take it back. Make up
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.
what is a wedding? Well, Webster's dictionary describes a wedding as the
process of removing weeds from one's garden.
Marge, don't discourage the boy. Weaseling out of things is what separates
us from the animals. Except the weasel.
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!
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."
don't have to be careful, I've got a gun!
normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me,
they have Internet on computers now.
I swear, I never thought that you would find out.
up, brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-Tip!
so smart, I am so smart, S M R T, I mean S M A R T.
not gonna lie to you, Marge. See ya soon!
Arrogance Produces Profit-Losing Entity
Bill's Attempt to Seize Industry Control
Consumer Device, Rendered Obsolete in Months
Completely Obsolete Business Oriented Language
COMPUTER Capable Of Making Perfectly Uncomplicated Tasks Extremely Rigorous
Defunct Operating System
It Still Does Nothing
Lots of Infuriating & Silly Parentheses
Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious
MACINTOSH Most Applications Crash, If Not The Operating System Hangs
Minesweeper Consultant & Solitaire Expert
Must Consult Someone Experienced
Making Computers Slow Everyday
MICROSOFT Most Intelligent Customers Realize Our Software Only Fools
Mistakes Incurred Per Second
Meaningless Indication of Processor Speed
Non-Athletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks
Never The Same Color
Obsolete Soon Too
Pedantry And Strictness Created A Language
People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms
PENTIUM Produces Erroneous Numbers Thru Incorrect Understanding of
Plain Old Telephone System
Reduced Into Silly Code
System Can't See It
System Can't See It Again
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 ---
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmark
s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter
--- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity
and other universities is at
Three Finance Blogs
Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog ---
FinancialRounds Blog ---
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) ---
Some Accounting Blogs
Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) ---
International Association of Accountants News ---
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries ---
Gerald Trite's eBusiness and XBRL
Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New
Current and past editions of my newsletter called
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud
Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586