friends Lon and Nancy Hendersen own the Sunset Hill House down the road from our
cottage. The above picture is the first slide in their promotional slide show at
Tidbits on November 27, 2006
earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
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
Bob Jensen's Home Page is at
Bob Jensen's blogs and various
threads on many topics ---
(Also scroll down to the table at
Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
What a shock --- CNN looks inward and blames a biased
U.S. and European media for helping jihadists
CNN host Glenn Beck criticizes the rest of the
Western media, including by implication his own station CNN, for drastically
failing to properly report on Islamic extremism. This documentary, screened on
the American (but not so far on the international) version of CNN, has now been
posted on You Tube, and it is so important that I strongly recommend everyone to
make time to watch it in full ---
Great Telemarketing Reply
Write down the script and place it beside your phone
Audio version ---
From The New Yorker
The photographer Samantha Appleton talks to Matt Dellinger about making pictures
in Nigeria, Iraq, and Lebanon ---
Moving Images Pinewood Dialogues (for students of film) ---
Her Dash on Earth (slide show) ---
Video of Senator Byrd Snoozing during Speech of
Soldiers Dying in Iraq ---
But he did not snore as loudly as Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg! See
"Snorer in the court? Ruth Bader Ginsburg dozes off during political
redistricting hearing: Colleagues let her sleep," ---
Bank of America meeting - funny/terrible "One" cover
(Universal Studio and banking competitors were not amused) ---
National Academies in September 2006 convened a convocation
was designed to address the topic of maintaining a competitive environment in
the United States for innovation, research, higher education, and K-12 science
and mathematics education ---
Don't get smart and threaten an old lady ---
Free music downloads ---
The politically correct
Iwo Jima ---
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to
the bottom of the page.
In the Garden ---
An Irish Blessing (Great
Photography and Inspirational Message if You Listen to it All) ---
Good band music and good
Lila Downs' Cross-Border
Musical Influences ---
The James Bond Title Songs
Never Say Die ---
'Mary Poppins' Musical
Adds to the Songbook ---
Dorothy Ashby and a Harp
That Swings (Jazz) ---
A Joyful Pop Chorus, 29
Members Strong ---
Damien Rice: From a
Whisper to a Scream ---
Ornette Coleman: Decades
of Jazz on the Edge ---
Dennen's Earnest Message
Eased by Funky Groove (Folk Songs) ---
Photographs and Art
Online Books, Poems, References, and Other
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 ---
LibriVox Free Audio Books ---
Forbidden Books ---
by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) ---
Mudfog and Other Sketches
by Charles Dickens (1812-1870) ---
by Charles Dickens (1812-1870) ---
by H.G. Wells (1866-1946) ---
The Door in the Wall by H.G.
Wells (1866-1946) ---
The 25 Funniest Analogies (Collected by High School English
Books in Depth ---
The Ups and Downs of Financial Theory: Skirt Lengths and Stock Price Moves (which
If these shocking socioeconomic theorists are correct, is there an upper bound to
puzzle: Why must there always be ups and downs?
Put another way, is this the reason the Taliban can never prosper in a market
Socioeconomic.com hypothesizes that social mood and fashion determine level of
prosperity rather than the customary assumption that the level of prosperity
dictates social mood and fashion. If this is true, perhaps prosperity is merely
a matter of looking up. Put another way, fashion designers should be able to
earn abnormal returns on the stock market. Does Britney Spears know more than
previous finance theorists? Perhaps hemline trends are a better way to improve
pro forma reporting, especially shortened pro forma accounting
Watch the controversial video (free clip) at
Click on one of
the “Watch the video online” choices?
How to interpret the current inverted yield curve
(no hemline theory here)
Some new studies suggest that the yield curve inversion might not be quite as
ominous as some of us have been assuming. The yield spread is the gap between a
long-term interest rate Rt (such as the ten-year Treasury rate) and a short-term
rate rt (such as the 3-month Tbill rate). The spread Rt - rt is usually
positive, reflecting a preference of lenders for short-term liquidity. But when
the spread as recently becomes small or turns negative, that is often a
harbinger of slower economic growth or even a recession.
Econbrowser, November 13, 2006 ---
The federal budget deficit is a concrete example.
Regardless of whether you supported or opposed the Bush tax cuts, it is clear
that the long-run budget is in shambles. With the baby boom generation about to
retire, the budget should be in surplus. But instead, we face cumulative 10-year
deficits of $3.5 trillion -- and worse after that. You can blame this sorry
state of affairs on either excessive tax-cutting or on profligate spending --
take your pick. It's more accurate to blame both, because fiscal discipline has
utterly broken down. Restoring that discipline will doubtless mean both spending
restraint and new revenues -- more hard decisions that the voters want
politicians to make.
Roger C. Altman and Alan S. Blinder,
"The Economic Front," The Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2006; Page
Just saying 'no' prevents teenage pregnancy the way
'Have a nice day' cures chronic depression.
A friend is one who would help you move. A best
friend is one who would help you move a body.
To err is human ... to really foul up requires the
Cuyahoga County has
1.05 million registered voters, which tops the number of adults in the county by
200,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Joan Mazzolini, "41 percent of
Cuyahoga voters took part in election," Cleveland's Plain Dealer,
November 15, 2006 ---
Rumor has it that consultants were called in from Duval County in Texas to
advise Cuyahoga on how to register voters residing in cemeteries.
To keep your marriage
with love in the loving cup,
whenever you're wrong, admit it;
whenever you're right, shut up.
Ogden Nash ---
The most popular
labor-saving device today is still a
husband spouse with money.
Joey Adams (1911-1999) ---
High-earning women are supporting their husbands as
they quit their jobs in search of more fulfilling careers, a report disclosed
yesterday. A growing number of men are becoming disillusioned with desk-bound
jobs and are seeking more creative professions such as teaching, says the
Training and Development Agency for Schools. Successful career women are
fuelling the trend, say researchers, who found that a third of male graduates
had a wife or girlfriend who earned as much if not more than them.
Nicole Martin, "High-paid wives let
husbands do own thing," Daily Telegraph, November 23, 2006 ---
Why are CEOs making such a fuss over the accounting
for stock options? It has nothing to do with their concern about accounting
theory, argues J. Edward Ketz. "If they cared about accounting theory, CEOs
would be more supportive of the FASB, the SEC, and the IASB in developing and
improving accounting practice. They don't want improvements in accounting, else
somebody might actually know what they are up to.
J. Edward Ketz, "The Accounting
Cycle Accounting for Stock Options (Part Three): Why CEOs Fight Stock Option
Accounting," SmartPros, November 2006 ---
I'm too dumb for opera
and too smart for NASCAR.
Overheard by Phil Cooley at a conference.
Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we
oft might win by fearing to attempt.
William Shakespeare in "Measure for
Measure" I iv 77-79 (as it appears in a recent email message from Phil Cooley)
Better to let people think you a fool, than to open
your mouth and remove all doubt.
Why did he have to phrase it that way?
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God
who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forget
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) ---
It's possible to have
your venison and eat it too.
Bryan James Hathaway, a Superior, Minnesota man accused of having carnal
relations with what he called "venison"
Duluth Tribune, November 17, 2006 ---
Click Here or read the Smoking Gun's account at
Hathaway's attorney pleaded for dismissal since the deer was dead at the time of
the infraction. The trial judge pointed out that Minnesota statutes do not draw
a line between alive versus dead, at least not as far as animals are concerned.
At death, an animal
ceases to be an animal. As
Crystal noted in
Bride (1987), "There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead."
Opinion Journal, November 17, 2006
I really do feel that genuine translation of text
requires understanding of the text, and understanding requires having lived in
the world and dealt with the physical world and is not just a question of
Douglas Hofstadter (1945) ---
New York's highest court on Monday ordered the state
to pay an additional $1.93 billion a year to provide "a sound, basic education"
to New York City school children. That's billions less than had been sought in a
landmark lawsuit launched more than a decade ago.
"N.Y. Is Ordered to Pay $1.93 Billion for City Schools," The
New York Times, November 20, 2006 ---
As long as the courts have taken over control of the state spending, continued
funding of impotent state legislatures is a waste of money. Perhaps the State
Legislatures of New York and elsewhere should retire for good and leave revenue
and expense decisions to the courts.
Once upon a time, I berated American troops for
entering a mosque wearing boots. But it is clear after this Thanksgiving weekend
— when Iraqi Shiite Muslims grabbed Iraqi Sunni Muslims inside a mosque, doused
them with gasoline, and burned them alive — that we are way past boots, past the
American occupation of Iraq, and past debates on staying the course. Iraq is now
in the throes of a far larger war, among Muslims and within the faith. It would
be wise for third parties to get out of the way of such a clash.
Oussef Ibrahim, "In Iraq, War Among
Muslims," New York Sun, November 27, 2006 ---
Tribal chiefs and Coalition forces clashed with
Al-Qaeda insurgents in Al-Anbar province killing 50 terrorists, it was announced
here Sunday. Al Qaeda terrorists attacked the Abu Soda tribe in Sofia yesterday
and in response, Coalition Forces provided support to the Abu Sodas fight
against Al Qaeda, a US Army statement said. "The Americans have come to the aide
of the Abu Soda tribe. They have understood the dire situation that the Abu Soda
are currently battling the Al Qaeda, because the Americans see it as a fight
against a common enemy," said Sheikh Ahmed, Sheikh of Abu Resha.
"Tribal chiefs clash with Qaeda in Anbar killing 50 terrorists,"
Kuwait News Agency, November 26, 2006 ---
We've been waiting for more solid and realistic new policy in Iraq:
The L.A. Times has got it right at last!
So allow me to propose the unthinkable: Maybe, just
maybe, our best option is to restore Saddam Hussein to power. Yes, I know.
Hussein is a psychotic mass murderer. Under his rule, Iraqis were shot, tortured
and lived in constant fear. Bringing the dictator back would sound cruel if it
weren't for the fact that all those things are also happening now, probably on a
wider scale . . . Meanwhile, we have admirably directed our efforts into
training a professional and nonsectarian Iraqi police force and encouraging
reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites. But we haven't succeeded. We may be
strong enough to stop large-scale warfare or genocide, but we're not strong
enough to stop pervasive chaos. Hussein, however, has a proven record in that
department. It may well be possible to reconstitute the Iraqi army and state
bureaucracy we disbanded, and if so, that may be the only force capable of
imposing order in Iraq.
Jonathan Chait, "Bring back Saddam
Hussein," The Los Angeles Times, November 27, 2006 ---
If General Hussein is sneaked out of prison, the finest Arab horse in all of the
Middle East should await his return to power. Perhaps Oliver Stone will have a
Los Angeles Times film crew on hand to film the Return of the
to power. Our beleaguered outside contractors could then find work
reconstructing Saddam statues throughout Iraq. Saddam's enemies will no longer
cause trouble because it's really hard to build bombs, fire AK-47s, and go to
the bathroom efficiently with
both hands chopped off.
Seriously, the Los Angeles Times Has Been Strategically Trying to
Discourage the U.S. Military in Iraq
Al Qaeda is winning the media war and this is why!
. . . there were no airstrikes in Ramadi that day, while the L.A. Times
stringer claimed there had been an airstrike. When I checked into it, the weight
of the evidence indicated that the soldier was right and the L.A. Times was
wrong. The military flatly denies that there was an airstrike — a denial that
the L.A. Times has failed to report to this day. Several other media reports
state that civilians died from small-arms fire and tank fire, and not an
airstrike. . . . The [L.A. Times article] is an example of why you simply
cannot believe most media reports coming out of Iraq. The LA Time[s] reporter,
Solomon Moore, is not in Ramadi. He relies on an Iraqi stringer here who has
ties to insurgents. In this article, Moore repeats almost verbatim, insurgent
propaganda we have intercepted. The fighting in question occurred in my battle
space within Ramadi and I was personally and intimately involved . . . Every
target engaged was well within what our restrictive rules of engagement
authorize. I am disgusted by the editorial slant of this article, by what passes
from journalistic integrity at the LA Times, and by their complicity with our
mortal enemies. My Soldiers fight with great precision and skill on a very
difficult urban battlefield. The LA Times dishonors them and give aid and
comfort to my enemies.
A soldier in Iraq uncovered a propaganda fabrication by Al Qaeda
reported as fact by the Los Angeles Times ---
liberal press is buying into unfounded theories that
Bush and Cheney intentionally bombed (if there were bombs) the Trade Towers
and the Pentagon with no compassion for how many thousands of Americans were
killed. Media sources are reporting that Bush got out of the White House because
he'd planned to bomb
that as well if passengers on United Flight 93 had not intervened. Did he
really leave unexploded bombs behind in the closets of his own bedroom?
Opposing bombing theories will probably be disputed forever by so-called
experts. That Bush and Cheney actually planted them is liberal wishful thinking
with dreams of bringing down business enterprise with any concocted theory that
works. A smart strategy now would be for Bush to call for
the new Democratic leadership to conduct a full investigation just to prove they
cannot connect the dots of 9/11 terror back to him.
one example of how The Nation is reporting the 9/11conspiracy theory with
great fanfare ---
Counter theories seem to be ignored by
The Nation. I
don't mind freedom to express theories. But I do mind when alternate theories
are filtered out by liberal editors with a single-minded agenda to bring down
the entire free market economies of the world. See
William Greider, "The Future
Is Now," The Nation, June 26, 2006 ---
All journalists and their media news outlets must be
thoroughly investigated. Those found guilty of consistently and knowingly taking
bribes from Saudi Arabia, publishing Islamic propaganda as news, publishing
outright lies, and/or doctored photos should have criminal charged filed against
them for aiding and abetting Islamic terrorism.
Naomi Ragen, Email message on
November 26, 2006 ---
What a shock --- CNN looks inward and blames a biased
U.S. and European media for helping jihadists
CNN host Glenn Beck criticizes the rest of the
Western media, including by implication his own station CNN, for drastically
failing to properly report on Islamic extremism. This documentary, screened on
the American (but not so far on the international) version of CNN, has now been
posted on You Tube, and it is so important that I strongly recommend everyone to
make time to watch it in full ---
The Western media does not speak with one voice --- this is a long-time
advantage of freedom of the press. What's frustrating is that leading media
sources in Europe, South America, Latin America, and North America are becoming
increasingly propaganda tools for jihadists. In some respects this indirectly
results from media bashing of the Bush and Cheney administration and the
multinational businesses they represent. There is so much hate over the
Iraq invasion and business prosperity that hate blinds reporters to the larger
picture of orchestrated worldwide terror that will come home to roost.
When CNN founder Ted Turner suggests that Iran should perhaps be allowed to have
a counterbalancing arsenal of nuclear weapons it gets downright scary how close
the world is approaching WMD winter. Clearly Ted Turner and Glen Beck are
not on the same page ---
George Bush made a strategic error by opening the door for
Iran to take over the entire Middle East. Iran's main obstacle, at least in the
short term, will be an Israel that may not die quietly and U.S. backing of
Israel that will increase under the rejuvenated Democratic Party. All bets are
off for the long term when and if jihadists get control of all oil in the Middle
East with designs of taking over the entire world. Someday they might be stupid
enough to confront China, but they will most likely focus more on North and
The logo adorning the main page and document is an
AK-47 rifle. The propaganda appearing on the
presence of the Venezuelan subsidiary of Hezbollah talks about installing
the kingdom of God in Venezuela by imposing a military-theocratic type of
government, an explosive mixture similar to what already exists in Iran. It
claims: "The brief enjoyment of life on earth is selfish. The other life is
better for those who follow Allah." Where have we heard this before? In the
leaflets that encourage the suicide missions of children and teenagers in
"HEZBOLLAH in Venezuela: Chávez joins the terrorists on his
path to martyrdom," Vcrisis, November 26, 2006 ---
If true it makes little sense for Chávez to promote such a threat to his own
regime. His hope might be to use this as a training base to launch suicide
bombers to harass leaders who cooperate with the U.S. imperialists. But the
tribe of the
Wayuu where this religious epiphany is initially taking place is not exactly
loyal to Venezuela or Chávez and is seeking a nation of its own. What's certain
is that Hezbollah, the militant puppet funded by Iran, is taking the fanatical
jihad global. America is not yet ripe for conversion to fanatical Islam. But
millions of poor and uneducated unemployed in Latin America and South America
are ripe for revolutionary fever and Iranian roadside bombs.
What a shock! A leading liberal magazine in the U.K. actually printed a pro-Israeli
We live in dangerous times when, in parts of the left especially, you can't be a
friend to Islam or to Muslims unless you are anti-Israel. That is exactly what
al-Qaida wants us to think. Events in Rochdale at the last election represent a
microcosm of what we are sleepwalking into globally. The Islamists and the left
argued that, because I supported Israel and its right to exist, all my work for
my Muslim constituents was a lie. They suggested I was an opportunistic, neocon
Zionist, aiming to dupe them. Israel's willingness to compromise for peace has
never been enough, because Israel alone cannot gain peace. The Palestinians and
others in the region also have to want peace. Israel needs a serious
interlocutor so that peace can stand a chance. So my question to the left is
this: why not concentrate your attention there, rather than on the one player in
the region who has always been serious about peace?
Lorna Fitzsimons, "Why
I'm backing Israel," The Guardian, November 24, 2006 ---
American Jews expressed flagrant support for
Democratic candidates for Congress, contributing to a turnaround in the House of
Representatives. According to a CNN sampling of voters, 87 percent of Jewish
voters voted Democrat . . . Democratic Party wins largest percentage of Jewish
support since 1994. Elections expert:
Jews voted for candidates good for Israel . . .
Yitzhak Benhorin, "87 percent of Jews vote Democrat,"
YNet News, November 8, 2006 ---
"Borat" is many things: a sidesplitting triumph of
slapstick and scatology, a runaway moneymaker and budding franchise, the worst
thing to happen to Kazakhstan since the Mongol hordes, and, as columnist David
Brooks astutely points out, a supreme display of elite snobbery reveling in the
humiliation of the hoaxed hillbilly. But it is one thing more, something Brooks
alluded to in passing but that requires at least one elaboration: an
unintentionally revealing demonstration of the unfortunate attitude many liberal
Jews have toward working-class American Christians, especially evangelicals .
. . Yet, amid this gathering darkness (Anti-Semitism
in Europe), an alarming number of liberal Jews are
seized with the notion that the real threat lurks deep in the hearts of American
Protestants, most specifically Southern evangelicals. Some fear that their
children are going to be converted; others, that below the surface lies a pogrom
waiting to happen; still others, that the evangelicals will take power in
Washington and enact their own
Charles Krauthammerm, "Just an
Anti-Semitic Laugh? Hardly," The Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2006
Also see "Christians
kicked off campus at Brown University" ---
There are many reasons that actions like Blair's
strategic retreat from reason and responsibility have gone uncriticized by the
media. It is not simply that Western, and particularly European journalists are
overwhelmingly anti-American and virulently anti-Israel. One of the central
reasons for the silence of Western intellectuals and media in the face of
actions like Blair's is fear of death at the hands of jihadists.
Caroline Glick, JPost,
November 20, 2006 ---
"There is no excuse for calling civilians to the
scene of a planned attack," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at
Human Rights Watch. "Whether or not the home is a legitimate military target,
knowingly asking civilians to stand in harm's way is unlawful." Various media
have reported that other Palestinian officials and armed groups have voiced
support for these tactics. In a visit to Baroud's house on Sunday, Prime
Minister Ismail Haniyeh of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority reportedly said:
"We are so proud of this national stand. It's the first stop toward protecting
our homes ... so long as this strategy is in the interest of our people, we
support this strategy." A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees was
also quoted as saying: "We call upon all the fighters to reject evacuating their
houses, and we urge our people to rush into threatened houses and make human
Independent Media Review Analysis, November 22, 2006 ---
Using children as shields will continue to be a popular tactic as long as the Western media cameras
There are no limits on our rocket attacks and we
will prove that in coming days . . . Indeed, Israeli security sources said
Palestinian rockets fired in recent weeks at Sderot have been packed with more
explosive material than ever before.
Abu Abaida, spokesman for Hamas, WorldNetDaily,
November 22, 2006 ---
Terror leader says rocket attacks on Israeli towns
to intensify . . . "We promise we will keep hitting them because this process
(of launching rockets at Jewish communities) is starting to bring results. We
are working to improve our rockets to hit further and cause more Jews to
evacuate," said the terror leader, speaking to WND from Gaza.
"Hamas 'very satisfied' with fleeing Jews Terror leader says
rocket attacks at Israeli towns to intensify," WorldNetDaily, November
21, 2006 ---
Russia, as the prime subcontractor for Iran's
nuclear program, is providing: 1) Six nuclear reactors for Iran. Four are at
Bushehr and two are at Akhvaz. 2) A uranium-conversion plant at Bushehr that can
be used for uranium enrichment. 3) An exemption in the UN resolution on Iran. In
its draft resolution the Russians have exempted “materials, equipment,
technology" used at Bushehr 1. This exemption will allow Iran to convert the
lightly-enriched fuel in the light-water nuclear reactor into weapon-grade 235.
It need only remove fuel rods from Bushehr, then extracting their pellets, and
feed this enriched uranium into its centrifuges. The centrifuges could then
produce weapon-grade U-235 in less than 2 months.
Edward Jay Epstein, "Question of the Day," November 23, 2006 ---
Most analysts conclude Russia is supporting Iran's nuclear quest for money. I
instead think its because of money --- Iran continues to supply the funding for
terrorists around the world. Russia appears to be giving in to extortion! The
deal is giving nuclear technology to Iran in exchange for suspension of
terrorism funding to a Muslim population that is almost 50% of the Russian
populace. Russia has, thereby, made a deal with the Devil ---
We were betrayed by
jihadists in our nuclear bargains with Iran --- they're war was supposed
to only be with the West..
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin's dying words when Moscow was vaporized in
a mushroom cloud, Al Jazeera, March 12, 2019
Also see "Russia starts delivery of TOR-M1 missiles to Iran," AFP,
November 24, 2006 ---
If you can't
Harry S. Truman ---
From the man who twice dropped nukes to dash all
Japanese hope of military conquest ---
We'll wipe Israel off the map.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ---A bitter leader with deep hate who's not
convincing but succeeds at being
confusing --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad
Politically correct media networks in the U.S. rarely show videos of rocket-fleeing Jews and injured Jewish
children, because Western news reporters are mostly on the Hamas side awaiting
to dramatize Jewish retaliations. Israel is scorched by the media when injuring
Palestinian civilians with
reckless rockets while Hamas
Jewish civilians almost unnoticed ---
More and more academics are similarly siding with Palestinians in large part because
it's another way for the Academy, like our media, to whip the Bush/Cheney
Administration --- using Israel by a whipping boy. See "Dual Loyalty and the
Israel Lobby," by Gabriel Schoenfeld, Commentary Magazine, November 2006
Republicans can no longer be trusted to restore fiscal sanity, control
spending, and restrain corruption. Old ones need to be thoroughly flushed down
the toilet in shame (except
for Jeff Flake) before new ones can evolve. If we have a Democratic Party sweep the Presidential and
Congressional races in 2008, we can anticipate a much more friendly liberal media
toward Israel since Jews are intensely loyal (over 87% in the 2006 election) to
the Democratic Party. American Jews were a leading force bringing the Democratic
Party back in power in 2006. They must know something we don't know.
Sadly all sides of the terrorism wars in the Middle East
continue to commit civilian atrocities with
intent on the part of jihadists and
recklessness on the part of Israel. Israel appears to be placing its
last shred of hope on the Democratic Party to save Israel from Iran, Syria, and a fully-nuked
Premature Israeli bombing of nuclear sites in Iran will badly damage
Democratic Party support for Israel. Let's hope that Israel does not make such a
huge blunder. Why interrupt crude and uncertain homemade nuclear bomb construction efforts and,
force oil-rich Iran to immediately buy fully, albeit very expensive, operational Russian, Pakistani or
Asian nukes on the black market ? That's a much faster and surer way, perhaps in an
insane temper tantrum, to "wipe Israel off the map."
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one
thinks of changing himself.
Leo Tolstoy ---
Some lovely day someone will set the spark off and
we will all be blown away.
Kingston Trio ---
The problem with the rat race is even if you win
you're still a rat.
Lily Tomlin ---
When the Children Cry
If the sound does not commence after 30
seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on.
If the sound does not commence after 30
seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on.
November 24, 2006 message from my
ALIENS ARE COMING TO ABDUCT THE BEST OF THE HUMAN
GENE POOL TO SAFETY.
YOU CARRY ON DOING YOUR THING BOB --- I'M JUST EMAILING TO SAY GOODBYE
A Possible Solution to the University of
Michigan's Latest Affirmative Action Dilemma
Mary Sue Coleman is president of the University of
Michigan, which has already spent millions of taxpayers' dollars defending its
racial preferences in courts. She addressed what Tom Bray of the Detroit News
called "a howling mob of hundreds of student and faculty protestors" last week.
"Diversity matters at Michigan," she declared. "It matters today, and it will
John Fund, "Preferences Forever? The
University of Michigan's president does her best George Wallace impersonation,"
The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2006 ---
Rather than spend millions more in taxpayer money fighting the new law (making
race-based admission and financial aid preferences illegal) or exposing the
University of Michigan to lawsuit risk, President Coleman should engineer the
University of Texas System solution to affirmative action in Michigan's higher
education system --- that highly effective Ten Percent Rule. Public universities
in Texas must give student admission and financial aid priorities to the top ten
percent of the graduates of any high school in the State of Texas without regard
An applicant of any race with a low SAT and high grades from an
inner-city or poor rural high school may thereby have priority over a high SAT
applicant from a wealthy suburban Texas high school or a high SAT applicant from
out of state.. Many educators in Texas praise the results
in in both encouraging more integration in housing and high schools as well as
the tremendous affirmative action success that cannot really be challenged in
Some educators criticize that many of the best students in the
states are punished due to geographic happenstance. That is unavoidable as long
as all universities in the state are not perceived as having the same prestige
and opportunity. Actually I see nothing wrong with spreading the highest SAT
graduating seniors around to all state universities rather than concentrating
that talent at the two largest flagship state universities in Texas.
I'm a vocal supporter of the Ten Percent Rule, although it
greatly complicates high school grading where the top ten percent of a high
school class must be designated out of perhaps twenty percent of the graduates
having straight A grades under current grade inflation practices by teachers
and/or easy curriculum choices by devious students. (The
Boston Globe reports We're seeing 30, 40 valedictorians per class).
Learning is more than grades but grades have become the focal point for
opportunities in life. The President of the
University of Texas also expressed concerns that the Ten Percent Rule showed
signs of eventually taking all admission discretion away from the leading
universities in the system. Pros and cons of this Texas affirmative action
initiative were highlighted in a CBS Sixty Minutes video.
See "Is The
"Top 10" Plan Unfair?" at
I've not seen where this affirmative action alternative has been advocated for
Michigan --- the state where affirmative action seems to be the most
controversial at the moment. To read about other alternatives tried in other
I recommend that President Coleman lobby for the Ten Percent Rule in
Grade Inflation from High School to Graduate School
The Boston Globe reports seeing 30-40 valedictorians per
Extra credit for AP courses, parental lobbying and genuine hard work by
the most competitive students have combined to shatter any semblance of a
An increasing number of Canada's business schools are literally selling MBAs
to generate revenue
[some] professors who say their colleagues are so afraid of bad student
evaluations that they are placating students with A's and B's.
From Jim Mahar's blog on November 24, 2006 ---
Grade inflation from HS to Grad school
Three related stories that are not strictly
speaking finance but that should be of interest to most in academia.
In the first article, which is from the
, accelerated and executive
MBA programs come under attack for their supposed detrimantal impact
on learning in favor of revenue.
MBAs dumbed down for profit
"An increasing number of Canada's business
schools are literally selling MBAs to generate revenue for their
ravenous budgets, according to veteran Concordia University
finance professor Alan Hochstein.
The second article is a widely reported AP
article that that centers on High School grade inflation. This high
school issue not only makes the admissions process more difficult
but it also influences the behavior of the students ("complaining
works") and their their grade expectations ("I have always gotten
A's and therefore I deserve on here").
That apparent trend to make master of business administration
degrees easier to achieve at a premium cost is leading to
'sub-standard education for enormous fees,' the self-proclaimed
whistleblower said yesterday"
A few look-ins from
Boston Globe's version:
"Extra credit for AP courses, parental
lobbying and genuine hard work by the most competitive students
have combined to shatter any semblance of a Bell curve, one in
which 'A's are reserved only for the very best. For example, of
the 47,317 applications the University of California, Los
Angeles, received for this fall's freshman class, nearly 21,000
had GPAs of 4.0 or above."
or consider this:
""We're seeing 30, 40 valedictorians at a
high school because they don't want to create these distinctions
"The average high school GPA increased
from 2.68 to 2.94 between 1990 and 2000, according to a federal
This is not just a High School problem. In
part because of an agency cost problem (professors have incentives
to grade leniently even if it is to the detriment of students), the
same issues are regular discussions topics at all colleges as well.
For instance consider this story from the
"A proposal to disclose class rank on
student transcripts has ignited a debate among University of
Colorado professors with starkly different views on whether
grade inflation is a problem....
I would love to wrap this up with my
own solution, but obviously it is a tough problem to which there are
no easy solutions. That said, maybe it is time that I personally
look back at my past years' class grades to make sure I am not
getting too soft. If we all did that, we'd at least make a dent in
[some] professors who say their colleagues
are so afraid of bad student evaluations that they are placating
students with A's and B's.
The few professors who grade honestly
end up with dismal scores on student evaluations, which affect
their salaries, professor Paul Levitt said. There is also the
"endless parade of malcontents" in their offices."
"Admissions boards face 'grade inflation'," by Justin Pope, Boston
Globe, November 18, 2006 ---
That means he will have to find other ways to
"It's extremely difficult," he said. "I spent
all summer writing my essay. We even hired a private tutor to make sure
that essay was the best it can be. But even with that, it's like I'm
just kind of leveling the playing field." Last year, he even considered
transferring out of his highly competitive public school, to some place
where his grades would look better.
Some call the phenomenon that Zalasky's
fighting "grade inflation" -- implying the boost is undeserved. Others
say students are truly earning their better marks. Regardless, it's a
trend that's been building for years and may only be accelerating: Many
students are getting very good grades. So many, in fact, it is getting
harder and harder for colleges to use grades as a measuring stick for
Extra credit for AP courses, parental lobbying
and genuine hard work by the most competitive students have combined to
shatter any semblance of a Bell curve, one in which 'A's are reserved
only for the very best. For example, of the 47,317 applications the
University of California, Los Angeles, received for this fall's freshman
class, nearly 21,000 had GPAs of 4.0 or above.
That's also making it harder for the most
selective colleges -- who often call grades the single most important
factor in admissions -- to join in a growing movement to lessen the
influence of standardized tests.
"We're seeing 30, 40 valedictorians at a high
school because they don't want to create these distinctions between
students," said Jess Lord, dean of admission and financial aid at
Haverford College in Pennsylvania. "If we don't have enough information,
there's a chance we'll become more heavily reliant on test scores, and
that's a real negative to me."
Standardized tests have endured a heap of bad
publicity lately, with the SAT raising anger about its expanded length
and recent scoring problems. A number of schools have stopped requiring
tests scores, to much fanfare.
Continued in article
"Regents evaluate grade inflation: Class Ranking Debated," by
Jennifer Brown, Denver Post, November 2, 2006 ---
A proposal to disclose class rank on student
transcripts has ignited a debate among University of Colorado professors
with starkly different views on whether grade inflation is a problem.
On one side are faculty who attribute the
climbing grade-point averages at CU to the improved qualifications of
entering students in the past dozen years.
And on the other are professors who say their
colleagues are so afraid of bad student evaluations that they are
placating students with A's and B's.
One Boulder English professor said departments
should eliminate raises for faculty if the GPAs within the department
rise above a designated level.
The few professors who grade honestly end up
with dismal scores on student evaluations, which affect their salaries,
professor Paul Levitt said. There is also the "endless parade of
malcontents" in their offices.
"You have to be a masochist to proceed in that
way," said Levitt, one of 10 professors and business leaders who spoke
to CU regents about grade inflation Wednesday.
CU president Hank Brown suggested in August
that the university take on grade inflation by putting class rank or
grade-point-average percentiles on student transcripts.
Changing the transcripts would give potential
employers and graduate schools a clearer picture of student achievement,
At the Boulder campus, the average GPA rose
from 2.87 in 1993 to 2.99 in 2004.
Regents are not likely to vote on the issue for
a couple of months.
Regent Tom Lucero wants to go beyond Brown's
suggestion and model CU's policy after Princeton University, where
administrators instituted a limit on A's two years ago.
"As long as we do something to address this
issue, I'll be happy nonetheless," he said.
But many professors believe academic rigor is a
faculty issue and regents should stay out of it.
"Top-down initiatives ... will likely breed not
higher expectations but a growing sense of cynicism," said a report from
the Boulder Faculty Assembly, which opposes Brown's proposals.
Still, the group wrote that even though grade
inflation has been "modest," the issue of academic rigor "deserves
serious ongoing scrutiny."
"More important than the consideration of
grades is the quality of education our students receive," said Boulder
communication professor Jerry Hauser.
CU graduates are getting jobs at top firms,
landing spots in elite graduate schools and having no trouble passing
bar or licensing exams, he said.
But faculty who believe grade inflation is a
serious problem said they welcome regent input.
Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation are at the following two sites:
They're Ignorant of Their Ignorance
students can’t accurately predict their academic performance or skill levels.
Earlier in the semester, a writing assignment on study styles revealed that 14
percent of my undergraduate English composition students considered themselves
“overachievers.” Not one of those students was receiving an A in my course by
midterm. Fifty percent were receiving a C, another third was receiving B’s and
the remainder had earned failing grades by midterm. One student wrote,
“overachievers like myself began a long time ago.” She received a 70 percent on
her first paper and a low C at midterm.
Shari Wilson, "Ignorant of Their
Ignorance," Inside Higher Ed, November 16, 2006 ---
This does not bode well for self assessment.
Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at
Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to
remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.
George Carlin as quoted by Mark Shapiro at
"The Infinite Mind" program on Cheating
Email message on November 15, 2006 from Richard
I heard the program Monday night on KSTX,
and some of you may find it interesting, especially the first 30 minutes or
so that focuses on academic cheating. Here’s the link:
Richard Reams, Ph.D.
One Trinity Place
San Antonio, Texas 78212-7200
215 Coates University Center
In this hour, we explore
Cheating. Four out of five high school students say they've cheated. More
than half of medical school students say the same thing. Even The New York
Times has cribbed from somebody else's paper. Is everybody doing it? Guests
include Dr. Howard Gardner, professor in Cognition and Education at the
Harvard Graduate School of Education and co-director of a large-scale
research study called the GoodWork Project; renowned primate researcher Dr.
Frans de Waal, professor of psychology at Emory University; Dr. Helen
Fisher, research professor in the department of anthropology at Rutgers
University and author of Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating,
Marriage, and Why We Stray; and country music group BR5-49, who perform the
Hank Williams classic, "Your Cheatin' Heart."
Host Dr. Fred Goodwin begins
with an essay in which he explores some of the reasons why attitudes toward
cheating seem to be more permissive than ever. He mentions "moral
relativism" in elite education; a media culture that end up making
celebrities of high-profile cheaters like Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass;
and the construction of elaborate laws and rules to codify and enforce moral
behavior, which sends the implicit message, "if it's legal, it's ethical."
Cheating among students is
rampant. Four out of five high school students admit to having cheated at
some point. Why is it so common? And why don't more students speak out? To
begin today, we hear from Mary Weed Ervin. She is now a freshman at Duke
University, but when she was a senior in high school in Virginia, she caught
her classmates cheating and did something about it, despite the
After catching students in
her AP Biology class cheating, she told the teacher. Her classmates treated
her as if she were the bad guy. She felt even her friends would not stand up
for her, since they continued to hang out with the kids who cheated and
others who outright shunned her. She was insulted by some kids and, after
one party, she was even worried she might be attacked. As a result, she
stopped doing normal senior activities, and she felt very alone. At the end
of the year, though, she was awarded "Senior of the Year" by her peers, so
she knows a lot of her classmates must have supported what she did, even
though they never said so.
Then the Infinite Mind's
Devorah Klahr reports on cheating in schools. Remember when cheating meant
looking over your friend's shoulder? Well, not anymore. Today, many students
use technology to cheat. In addition to buying term papers off the Internet,
they use cell phones, text messaging, and digital computers, sometimes in
elaborate schemes to outwit teachers. "I’m just using my technology to my
advantage pretty much," says one high school cheater. "They gave me all the
tools to do it and I’m just using it to help myself. Because my parents
expect me to have good grades."
To catch these cheaters,
teachers are realizing they, too, have to become more tech savvy. Lou
Bloomfield, a professor at The University of Virginia, created "copyfind," a
computer program to catch cheaters. And many schools use an even larger
search engine called turnitin.com, which scans term papers against a large
database, ensuring that writing is original and not plagiarized. At the
University of Pennsylvania, Michele Goldfarb directs the office of student
conduct. She investigates suspicious looking papers. She remembers a term
paper that was especially obvious. "The faculty member thought the paper was
unusually sophisticated for the student," Goldfarb says, "… use of words
like, 'the pock marked landscape' and 'the steep sided hollows.'
Undergraduates do not talk that way, do not write that way.”
Educators seem to agree that
teaching integrity is the only way to stop cheating. Nobody's going to win
this technology arms race. Elizabeth Kiss is a professor of political
science at Duke University and a board member of the Center for Academic
Integrity. At the beginning of the semester, she tells her students to look
up at the ceiling and think about the trustworthiness of the architect who
designed the structure and the builders who built it. "So I get them to
think about the ways we depend every day on the honesty of other people. And
when people aren't trustworthy, others get hurt."
Next, Dr. Goodwin interviews
the distinguished developmental psychologist and neuropsychologist Dr.
Howard Gardner. He's a professor in Cognition and Education at the Harvard
Graduate School of Education and co-director of a large-scale research study
called the GoodWork Project. Perhaps best known for his theory of multiple
intelligences, he's the author of eighteen books and hundreds of articles.
Most recently, he co-authored the book Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics
Meet. A new book, Making Good: How Young People Cope with Moral Dilemmas at
Work will be out in February, 2004.
For The GoodWork Project,
Dr. Gardner has been interviewing people working in different fields --
science, journalism, and theater -- about good work, which he defines as
excellent and ethical. Everyone he spoke to knows the difference between
what is ethical and what is not, but the disturbing thing is how many people
said they cannot afford to do the right or honest thing if they want to get
ahead in their careers. He says there is a tension between the people they
want to be and the people they think they need to be to succeed.
He says that scientists --
geneticists, in particular -- had the easiest time doing good work, since
everyone wanted the same thing from them, and there was plenty of money and
support for their work. Many said they felt their only limitation was their
own abilities. Journalists, on the other hand, were in a very different
situation. They felt pulled in many directions -- to work faster, to cut
corners, to be more sensational ("if it bleeds, it leads") -- and, as a
result, it was difficult to do good work. As an example, Dr. Gardner
discusses the Jayson Blair case at The New York Times. Blair was caught
fabricating elements in stories, submitting receipts for trips he never
took, and, ultimately, plagiarizing. But, even before these things were
discovered, he had numerous corrections in his stories. Dr. Gardner says the
problem was that he was not chastised, but promoted. He did not have any
kind of deep mentoring -- in which someone conveys the larger purpose of the
work, explains why it is important not to cut corners, and provides regular
In contemporary society,
particularly with the Internet, there are many ways to get around doing your
own work. He says being ethical requires a good, old-fashioned conscience --
even though we might be able to get away with cheating, we need to be able
to stop ourselves because we knows it's wrong and because we would not want
to live in a world where everyone cheated. In such a world, we would not be
able to trust anyone or anything.
To contact Dr.
Gardner, please write to: Dr. Howard Gardner, Harvard Graduate School of
Education, 201 Larsen Hall, 14 Appian Way, Cambridge, MA 02138. Or visit
To order Good Work: When
Excellence and Ethics Meet, click here.
Believe it or not, cheating
- and feeling cheated - is not unique to humans. Even monkeys want to be
treated fairly. Dr. Goodwin interviews primate researcher Dr. Frans de Waal,
a professor of psychology at Emory University and the author of many books,
including The Ape and the Sushi Master and, his latest, My Family Album:
Thirty Years of Primate Photography.
Dr. de Waal discusses two
different kinds of cheating found in primates. The first, deception, is
generally seen only in the great apes, who are our closest relatives and
capable of the highest levels of cognition. He says that in one chimp
colony, in which lower ranking males were not allowed to court females, he
saw one openly inviting a female to mate (which he does by showing her an
erection). At that moment, the alpha male rounded the corner, and the
lower-ranking male covered his penis with his hands -- hiding the evidence
of his wrongdoing. Dr. de Waal has also seen a chimp try to disguise his
nervousness in front of a rival. Chimps show nervosity by baring their
teeth, and this chimp used his fingers to press his lips together over his
teeth. This kind of behavior requires that the animal be aware of how others
perceive him or her. Chimps end up distrusting other chimps who often
deceive -- they develop methods for detecting cheaters. All this requires
Dr. de Waal then discusses
the other kind of cheating -- being shortchanged. He describes a recent
study he and a student, Sarah Brosnan, conducted with capuchin monkeys. They
set up a bartering system with the monkeys, in which they would give the
monkeys pebbles, and then the monkeys would exchange the pebbles for
cucumber pieces. Alone, a monkey would do this over and over again, until
the cucumber was gone. They then put two monkeys next to each other, and, in
exchange for the pebbles, they gave one of them a cucumber slice and the
other a grape, which is much better. The monkey getting the cucumber seemed
to have a very strong emotional reaction. He threw the pebbles out of the
cage, wouldn't accept the cucumber, and basically refused to participate in
the experiment. Dr. de Waal says this illustrates that monkeys have a sense
of fairness. In cooperative societies (whether monkeys or humans),
individuals need to make sure that they are not doing more work than others
for the same reward, or the same work for less reward. He says economists
have studied this in humans, since the reactions can seem irrational -- for
example, a person who was perfectly happy making $40,000 a year may get very
upset and quit her job if she realizes a co-worker doing the same job is
making $80,000. He believes his work with the monkeys may give us clues to
the evolution of the emotions behind this sort of reaction.
To contact Dr. de
Waal, please write to: Dr. Frans de Waal, C. H. Candler Professor of Primate
Behavior, Department of Psychology, 325 Psychology Building, Emory
University, 532 N. Kilgo Circle, Atlanta, GA 30322. Or visit
To order My Family Album:
Thirty Years of Primate Photography, click here.
Next, we turn our attention
to a different kind of cheating -- adultery. In a special performance just
for The Infinite Mind, the country music group BR5-49 performs what may be
the ultimate anthem for spurned lovers -- Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin'
To find out more about
BR5-49 or order a CD, please visit http://www.br549.com/.
It's hard to get an accurate
picture of how common adultery is -- surveys estimate it occurs in anywhere
from 15 to 80% of all marriages. Why do so many people do it? And has
technology redefined cheating? Dr. Goodwin speaks with Dr. Helen Fisher, a
research professor in the department of anthropology at Rutgers University.
She's the author of Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage,
and Why We Stray. Her new book Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of
Romantic Love will be out in early 2004. Dr. Fisher has joined us previously
for shows on Romance and Sexual Attraction.
Dr. Fisher says that she has
studied societies all over the world, and, in all of them, people cheat.
Because it seems to be so universal, she believes there must have been some
kind of evolutionary payoff. Looking back to our ancestors, she guesses that
since, in Darwinian terms, children are the way we spread our lineage to
future generations, a man who cheated might have doubled the number of his
genes getting passed on while a woman who cheated might have either received
more resources for her babies or increased the genetic variety of her
offspring. While none of this was conscious, of course, it would result in
the genes for this kind of behavior being passed on. Dr. Fisher says that
monogamy is not a common reproductive strategy in animals -- it only occurs
in species where both parents are needed to rear the young. But even among
birds, in which most species form pair bonds, there is "cheating." DNA
testing shows 10% of birds' offspring are not biologically related to the
Dr. Fisher then discusses
what she believes are three different circuits in the brain -- one for the
sexual drive, one for romantic love, and one for attachment. She think these
developed to serve different functions. The sex drive evolved so that we
would go after anything at all; romantic love evolved to focus our mating
energy on one person, and therefore be more efficient; and attachment
evolved so that we could tolerate the individual we are with, at least long
enough to raise one child. These systems often interact (i.e. at the start
of a relationship, we generally feel both sexual attraction and romantic
love), but they don't always interact, and that's where adultery comes in.
We can feel attachment for one person while we feel romantic love for
another. This does not mean, however, that we are destined to cheat. Dr.
Fisher says the part of the brain that makes us human is the prefrontal
cortex -- where we make decisions.
In response to a caller,
Jon, who is involved in a very serious email relationship with a married
woman, Dr. Goodwin and Dr. Fisher talk about how technology is allowing
people today to be more secretive about their affairs (hence all the
services advertising they'll catch your cheating spouse). Another caller,
Sheila, says that she thinks that any email relationship (like Jon's) or
serious office friendship that takes time and energy away from a spouse is
cheating. She asks what the costs are to a marriage, even with this kind of
cheating, which is not sexual. Dr. Fisher says the costs are enormous --
instead of building a relationship, you're undermining it. Ultimately, all
three people will get hurt. And although a spouse who is cheated on may get
over the betrayal, he or she will never forget it. She concludes by saying
she thinks forming an attachment to another person is the most ornate and
worthwhile single thing that the human animal can do.
To contact Dr. Fisher,
please write to: Dr. Helen Fisher, Department of Anthropology, Ruth Adams
Building, 131 George Street, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey,
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1414. Or visit
To order Anatomy of Love: A
Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray, click here.
Finally, commentator John
Hockenberry wonders, just what defines cheating these days? He says, "In the
landscape of American culture, you can find cheating all over the map.
Cheating is that place between triumph and immorality, between out of the
box thinking and exploitation of the unsuspecting. The cheat-free similarly
inhabit a murky place between naïve stupidity and sainthood."
Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at
And educators are blaming everybody except for the cheaters doing the cheating
"Malaise," by Peter Berger, The Irascible Professor, November 25, 2006
Thirty-seven summers ago Jimmy Carter spoke to
the nation about our "crisis of spirit." His address became known as his
"malaise" speech, even though he never actually used that word. Webster
defines malaise as an "indefinite lack of health" or "vague sense of
mental or moral ill-being." In order to grapple with problems like the
energy crisis and unemployment, President Carter called on us to examine
our outlook and our priorities.
Public schools have been staggering through
their own crisis for more than a generation. Part of the blame rests
directly on culprits we can see at school: bankrupt education theories
and assorted follies like self-esteem, whole language, and enfeebled
classroom discipline. The roots of the problem also extend to our homes
and civic institutions and appear as children from single-parent
families, drug use, and crime.
These are all issues we should address, but
we're also suffering from an underlying malaise of unsound priorities
and entitlement that's less visible but just as destructive to American
education. Here are a few symptoms of our ill-being.
There's nothing new about classroom
troublemakers. They've been disrupting other people’s education since
before chalk was invented, but today we don't call them troublemakers.
Instead, we obfuscate and invent syndromes for what they do. We say
they're "behaviorally challenged." We turn their conduct into ailments
like "oppositional defiance disorder." According to the psychologist who
coined this syndrome, when kids with ODD have tantrums and refuse to do
what they're told, they aren't "using coercion or manipulation to get
what they want." They're just the victims of their own "inflexibility"
and "poor frustration tolerance."
ODD isn't alone in the pantheon of euphemistic,
exculpatory conditions. Horn-blasting, tailgating, and obscene gestures
are no longer just unsafe, obnoxious driving. They’re not even "road
rage" anymore. They're evidence of "intermittent explosive disorder."
Remember that the next time some driver cuts you off and treats you to a
IED also causes "temper outbursts," "throwing
or breaking objects and even spousal abuse," although "not everyone who
does those things is afflicted." How do you tell the difference?
Apparently, IED outbursts are characterized by "threats or aggressive
actions and property damage" that are "way out of proportion to the
situation," as opposed presumably to threats, aggressive actions, and
property damage that aren't way out of proportion to the situation.
According to researchers, a recently
administered questionnaire determined that IED afflicts sixteen million
Americans. Fortunately for the rest of us who have to endure IED
tantrums and assaults, they aren't "bad behavior." They're "biology."
Critics frequently charge that too many high
school graduates aren't prepared for college. The new bad news is that
too many college graduates aren't prepared for life. Universities are
responding with "life after college" programs. These "transition
courses" in what officials term "real life" skills teach college
students everything from "managing their credit cards" and "paying
taxes" to "making a plate of pasta" and "choosing a bottle of
We're not talking about second-rate
institutions. Alfred University's cooking program includes lessons in
"boiling water." Across the continent Caltech awards three credits for
its kitchen survival course. Sympathetic experts explain that today's
college seniors "lack practical skills because they spent their teens
more preoccupied than previous generations with racking up the grades,
SAT scores, and activities needed to get into top colleges."
That’s ridiculous. My 1960s high school peers
and I lived and died by our permanent records. Claiming that college
admissions suddenly became competitive is like arguing that today's
youth need extra self-esteem because they live under a nuclear threat, a
popular rationalization that conveniently ignores the fact that little
kids like me spent the 1950s hiding under our desks.
According to the Los Angeles Times, "preparing
meals" ranks high among parents' and students' "major concerns." This
begs two questions: Why aren't the concerned parents teaching these
skills, and is learning how to boil water and pay your bills really what
universities are for?
While they may be lost in the kitchen, students
are proving themselves adept in other endeavors. Aided by cell phones
and the Internet, cheating is on the rise at public schools and
colleges. In a Rutgers survey, ninety-seven percent of students polled
admitted to cheating in high school. Even allowing for the notorious
inaccuracy of student polls, the figure is alarming.
Still more alarming, cheating has its champions
among education reformers. One enlightened Northwestern University
professor blames schools when students copy answers, purchase term
papers, and steal exams. He's outraged that students can't copy each
other's work during tests. He endorses plagiarism and objects when a
student "receives no credit" for a paper just because it "was written by
somebody else." "No wonder", he fumes, that students "feel compelled to
lie" and put their own names on work they've "found."
He encourages "honest copying" where students
get credit for copying other people's work as long as they put the real
author's name on it. The professor maintains that allowing this species
of larceny would "reinforce the correct behaviors." Instead of being
"punished," the copier should be "rewarded" for "knowing where to seek
the information." In short, we need to "recognize cheating for the good
that it brings."
He's not the only advocate of cheating out
there. The Educational Testing Service's "teaching and learning" vice
president puts the blame for cheating on tests squarely on the tests
themselves and the schools that give them. She holds that it’s "small
wonder" that students "attempt to affect the outcomes" by cheating. She
argues that until we allow kids to "assist each other" during tests,
we're "inviting a culture of cheating."
Let's review. Psychologists are declaring
obnoxious, antisocial behavior a disease. Colleges are teaching adults
to boil water. And educators are blaming
everybody but the cheaters for cheating.
Sounds like a malaise to me.
Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at
From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on November 17,
TITLE: Colleges, Accreditors Seek Better Ways to Measure Learning
REPORTER: Daniel Golden
DATE: Nov 13, 2006 PAGE: B1
SUMMARY: The article discusses college- or university-wide accreditation by
regional accreditation bodies and reaction to the Spellings Commission report.
Questions extend the accreditation discussion to AACSB accreditation.
1.) What is accreditation? The article describes university-wide accreditation
by regional accrediting bodies. Why is this step necessary?
2.) Does your business school have accreditation by Association to Advance
Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)? How does this accreditation differ from
3.) Why are regional accrediting agencies planning to meet with Secretary
4.) Did you consider accreditation in deciding where to go to college or
university? Why or why not?
5.) Do you think improvements in assessing student learning are important, as
the Spellings Commission argues and accreditors are now touting? Support your
SMALL GROUP ASSIGNMENT: Find out about your college or university's
accreditation. When was the last accreditation review? Were there any concerns
expressed by the accreditors? How has the university responded to any concerns
Once these data are gathered, discuss in class in groups:
Has this information been easy or difficult to find? Do you agree with the
assessment of concerns about the institution and/or the university's responses?
Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island
TITLE: Colleges, Accreditors Seek Better Ways to Measure Learning
REPORTER: Daniel Golden
DATE: Nov 13, 2006 PAGE: B1
At the University of the South, a highly regarded
liberal-arts college in Sewanee, Tenn., the dozen professors who teach the
required freshman Shakespeare course design their classes differently,
assigning their favorite plays and writing and grading their own exams.
But starting next fall, one question on the final
exam will be the same across all of the classes, and instructors won't grade
their own students' answers to that question. Instead, to assure more
objective evaluation, the professors will trade exams and grade each other's
The English department adopted this change --
despite faculty grumbling about losing some classroom independence -- under
pressure from the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. The
association, one of the six regional groups that accredit nearly 3,000 U.S.
colleges, told the University of the South that, to have its accreditation
renewed, it would have to do a better job of measuring student learning.
Without such accreditation, the school's students wouldn't qualify for
federal financial aid.
The shift "does cut into the individual faculty
member's autonomy, and that's disturbing," says Jennifer Michael, an
associate professor. "On the other hand, it's making us think about how do
we figure out what students are actually learning. Maybe having them take
and pass a course doesn't mean they've learned everything we think they
Regional accreditors used to limit their
examinations to colleges' financial solvency and educational resources, with
the result that well-established schools enjoyed rubber-stamp approval. But
now they are increasingly holding colleges, prestigious or not, responsible
for undergraduates' grasp of such skills as writing and critical thinking.
And prodded by regional accreditors, colleges are adopting various means of
assessing learning in addition to classroom grades, from electronic
portfolios that collect a student's work from different courses to
standardized testing and special projects for graduating seniors.
The accreditors aren't moving fast enough for the
Bush administration, though. In the wake of a federally sponsored study
published in 2005 that showed declining literacy among college-educated
Americans, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and a commission she
appointed on the future of higher education want colleges to be more
accountable for -- and candid about -- student performance, and they have
criticized accreditors as barriers to reform.
Congress sets the standards for accreditors, and
the Education Department periodically reviews compliance with those
standards. Congress identified "success with respect to student achievement"
as a requirement for accreditation in 1992, and then in 1998 made it the top
priority. That imperative, along with the advent of online education, has
spurred accreditors to rethink their longtime emphasis on such criteria as
the number of faculty members with doctorates. Since 2000, several regional
accreditors have revamped their rules to emphasize student learning.
"Accreditors have moved the ball forward," says
Kati Haycock, a member of the Spellings commission and the director of the
nonprofit Education Trust in Washington, D.C., which seeks better schooling
for disadvantaged students. "Not far enough, not fast enough, but they have
moved the ball forward."
An issue paper written for the commission by Robert
Dickeson, a former president of the University of Northern Colorado,
complained that accreditation "currently settles for meeting minimum
standards," and it called for replacing regional accreditors with a new
national foundation. "Technology has rendered the quaint jurisdictional
approach to accreditation obsolete," Mr. Dickeson wrote.
The commission didn't endorse that recommendation,
but its final report last month cited "significant shortcomings" in
accreditation and called for "transformation" of the process. In a Sept. 22
speech marking the release of the report, Secretary Spellings said that
accreditors are "largely focused on inputs, more on how many books are in a
college library than whether students can actually understand them....That
David Ward, a commission member and the president
of the American Council on Education, a higher education advocacy group,
declined to sign the report, in part because he objected to its criticism of
accreditors as overly simplistic.
Russell Edgerton, president emeritus of the
American Association for Higher Education, says "there's no question that
American colleges are underachieving," but he argues that accreditors are
rising to the challenge. "Ten years ago, I would have said that regional
accreditors are dead in the water and asleep at the wheel," he says. But
"there's been a kind of renaissance within accreditation agencies in the
past five to six years. They're helping institutions create a culture of
evidence about student learning."
Mr. Edgerton also thinks the federal government's
emphasis on new accountability measures is flawed because it bypasses the
judgment of traditional arbiters like faculty and accreditors. "The danger
is that the standardized testing approach in K-12 would slop over into
higher education," he says. "Higher ed is different."
Jerome Walker, associate provost and accreditation
liaison officer for the University of Southern California, agrees that the
administration's attacks on accreditors are unfair. The Western Association
of Schools and Colleges, which accredits USC, "has been extremely sensitive"
to student learning, he says.
According to the Western Association's executive
director, Ralph Wolff, the group revamped its standards in 2001 to require
colleges to identify preparation needed by entering freshmen and the
expectations for student progress in critical thinking, quantitative
reasoning and other skills. Its accreditation process now takes four years,
up from 1½, and it features a detailed, peer-reviewed proposal for
improvement and two site visits, including one devoted to "educational
Historically, research universities like USC "used
to blow off" accreditation, Mr. Wolff says. "Now this has become a real
challenge for them in a good way."
Encouraged by Mr. Wolff, USC last year assigned the
same two essay questions -- one about conformity, another based on a
quotation from ethicist Robert Bellah -- to freshmen in a beginning writing
course and juniors and seniors in an advanced course. A group of faculty
then evaluated the essays without knowing the students' names or which
course they were taking. The reassuring outcome, according to Richard
Fliegel, assistant dean for academic programs, was that juniors and seniors
"demonstrated significantly more critical thinking skills" than freshmen,
and that advanced students who had taken the first-year course outperformed
transfer students who hadn't taken beginning writing at USC.
Because the writing initiative is tailored to USC's
curriculum, the results -- while helpful to administrators and accreditors
-- wouldn't necessarily help the public compare USC to other schools. That
is a big drawback as far as the Bush administration is concerned. "I have
two kids in college now," says Vickie Schray, deputy director of the
Spellings commission. "It's a huge expense. Yet there's very little
information on return of investment or ability to shop around for the
She adds, though, that it is a "misconception" to
think that the administration wants to have "one standardized test for all
institutions" or to extend the testing requirements of the "No Child Left
Behind" law for K-12 schools to higher education.
Even so, one standardized test of critical
thinking, the Collegiate Learning Assessment, is becoming popular. It
adjusts for students' scores on the SAT and ACT college-entrance exams,
potentially allowing more meaningful comparisons of the value added by
colleges. The number of schools using the assessment has soared from 54 two
years ago to 170 this year. Among those using the test this fall: the
University of Texas at Austin, Duke University, Arizona State University and
Washington and Lee University.
Roger Benjamin, president of the nonprofit Council
for Aid to Education, which sponsors the test, says state officials and
university administrators have been the principal forces behind its
increasing use. "Accreditors are coming to the party, but a bit late," Mr.
Meanwhile, Secretary Spellings plans to meet with
accreditors in late November to discuss how to "accelerate the focus on
student achievement," Ms. Schray says. Accreditors say they welcome the
opportunity to tout their progress. "We have made a lot of reforms," says
the Western Association's Mr. Wolff. "We'd like to bring the secretary
up-to-date on the significance of these reforms and the impact they're
already having on institutions."
Colleges, Accreditors Seek Better Ways to Measure Learning
Assessment/Learning Issues: Measurement and the No-Significant Differences ---
Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education
controversies are at
The NFL's Highest Paid Quarterback Finds His Most Reliable Use for Both Hands
Michael Vick apologized for making an obscene gesture
toward Atlanta fans as he walked off the field after the Falcons' fourth
straight loss Sunday. Vick used both hands to deliver the gesture and flashed an
angry look toward the handful of fans remaining in the Georgia Dome.
Paul Newberry, The Herald Tribune, November 26, 2006 ---
Next time this store clerk most certainly won't forget to go to confession
The Rev. Joseph Tu Tran, 51, from St. Charles Borromeo
Catholic Church in Pointe-aux-Chenes, was "highly intoxicated" when he went into
Roland’s Mini-Mart in Bourg around 8 p.m. carrying a 12-gauge shotgun and later
threatened a store clerk with a .270-caliber rifle,
"Karina Donica, "Houma-area priest charged with assaulting officer, firing
weapon," WWLTV New Orleans, November 26, 2006 ---
Grants Available from the FASB: YOU
MUST ACT SOON
November 21, 2006 from Neal Hannon at the FASB --- Neal Hannon
The Financial Accounting Foundation and XBRL
US, Inc. are looking for a few SEC notes and disclosures experts for a
short-term assignment. The primary need is to build a data model for the
XBRL tagging of notes to financial statements. Subject matter experts
need to research authoritative literature, research current reporting
practice, and assemble the results into a data model that can be coded
with XBRL. Focusing on SEC filings, our team has identified over 175
notes and is in the process of assembling accounting subject matter
experts. The work is fully funded at corporate rates. It may be possible
that some assignments can be completed during the Christmas break.
Training in XBRL for subject matter experts is scheduled for Dec 13-15
at the FDIC training center in the Washington, DC area. If you are
interested, please forward your resume to
Thanks, Bob and I wish both of you all the
PC World's Digital Duo Videos (Tech Advice) ---
"The Single Worst Thing About MS Office 2007," by Jim C, PC World,
November 20, 2006 ---
I've said here that I'm a fan of
Microsoft Office 2007. After using it even
more, for most of my daily work, I still am. But one major downside
merits mention: It's kind of an unfinished product.
What I mean by that is that the suite's
new interface, which is by far the major
reason to consider upgrading, has only been implemented in some of the
applications. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access have it throughout;
Outlook has it for the tools relating to composing e-mails, tasks, and
But everything else in Office 2007 has the old,
traditional, menu-oriented interface--the one which Microsoft says its
own research shows users think pales in
comparison to the new one. Here, for instance, is a bit of Word 2007's
tabbed, visual look:
So what's new? Every Microsoft product is an unfinished product!
Since when does lack of interest count when setting curriculum
The University of Reading, in Britain, announced
Monday that it would go ahead with plans to close its physics department,
The Guardian reported.
The university has cited a lack of fund and declining student interest, but
the decision has been widely criticized by scientists throughout Britain,
who see it as a sign of potential erosion of the country’s science capacity.
Inside Higher Ed, November 22, 2006
New Gizmos for Spying On Your Spouse or
Your Kids or Your Employees
One evening two months after I installed the
CarChip, I suggested to my wife that we light some candles, put on some soft
music, gather at my computer, and review her driving record. Although the
CarChip records only how fast the car is moving, the patterns in my wife's
daily routine made it easy for us to figure out where it had been traveling
at which points on the graph. When the car starts at 8:50 a.m., drives three
miles, and stops at 9:15 a.m., that's a pretty good indication that my wife
has just taken our twins to school--and gotten there 15 minutes late. She
does this with staggering regularity.
Simpson Garfinkel, "Spying On My
Wife: Surveillance gizmos are a part of my life. What do they reveal?"MIT's
Technology Review, November 14, 2006 ---
BOZO + PhD = GOD
New Study of Doctorate Recipients in the United States
"Science Ph.D.’s Continue to Grow," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed,
November 20, 2006 ---
It is unlikely to quiet the burgeoning cries of alarm about
a perceived crisis in American scientific
new report from the National Science Foundation
offers some evidence both of progress and of continued problems.
The report finds that the number of science and
engineering Ph.D.’s awarded by American universities in 2005 reached an
all-time high of 27,974, surpassing the previous record of 27,273 from 1998.
Also peaking in 2005 were the number of doctorates granted to women, to
Asian Americans and to members of underrepresented minority groups, and the
number awarded in several of the so-called “STEM” fields.
But the sharpest growth of all occurred among
non-U.S. citizens, who earned 13.4 percent more doctorates from American
universities in 2005 than they had the year before, and who have seen their
share of all doctorates grow since 2001. In 2005, foreign-born researchers
earned 41 percent of the science and engineering Ph.D.’s awarded by American
universities, up from 36 percent in 2001 and 39 percent in 2004, as seen in
the table below:
Science and Engineering Doctorates Awarded by
U.S. Universities, 2001-5
||% of 2005 total
(Note: Those whose gender, ethnicity or citizenship
are unknown are excluded from subtotals.)
The report released by the National Science
Foundation Friday contains summary data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates
that is produced each year by six federal agencies: the NSF, the National
Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration.
broader report, the annual Doctorate Recipients
from U.S. Universities: Summary Report 2005, was also made available
Numerous fields saw more Ph.D.’s awarded in 2005
than in any other previous year, including engineering, the biological
sciences, mathematics and computer sciences. The increase in engineering
Ph.D.’s was spread across most of the major subdisciplines, with the biggest
gains occurring in electrical engineering (to 1,852 from 1,650), chemical
(to 875 from 725), civil (to 757 from 673) and mechanical (to 978 from 852).
The number of doctorates awarded in non-science
fields actually declined in 2005, the report finds, falling to 15,380 from
15,845 in 2004. Most of that drop occurred in education, with a slight
uptick in health fields, as seen in the table below:
Doctorates Awarded by Discipline, Selected
|Non-science and engineering
Although women are continuing to make up an
increasing proportion of all doctoral degrees awarded, the distribution is
uneven, as the table below shows:
Proportion of Ph.D’s Earned by Women in Selected
A total of 416 institutions in the United States
and Puerto Rico awarded at least one of the 43,354 doctorates in 2005. But
the top 10 percent of institutions awarded nearly half of all Ph.D.’s. The
top 20 universities in doctorates awarded are:
|1. U. of California at Berkeley
|2. U. of Texas at Austin
|3. U. of Michigan
|4. U. of Wisconsin at Madison
|5. U. of California at Los Angeles
|6. U. of Minnesota
|7. Stanford U.
|8. U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|9. Pennsylvania State U.
|10. Ohio State U.
|11. Massachusetts Inst of Technology
|12. U. of Florida
|13. U. of Southern California
|14. Purdue U.
|15. Texas A&M U.
|16. U. of Washington
|17. Harvard U.
|18. U. of Maryland
|19. Michigan State U.
|20. Columbia U.
The following is an excerpt from Page 53 of the
full report at
Business & Management Doctorate Recipients
| Count Percent
|| Count Percent
|| Count Percent
|| Count Percent
|| Count Percent
|| Count Percent
| 787 2.4
|| 640 2.1
|| 789 2.5
|| 1036 2.9
|| 1330 3.2
|| 1065 2.6
|| 1168 2.7
The report does not break out Business doctoral
recipients by discipline, although the Plumlee et al. (2006) American Accounting
Association Doctoral Shortage Study Committee documents severe declines in the
last decade in the number of accounting doctoral recipients. In a study
of the critical shortage of doctoral students in accountancy, Plumlee et al.
(2006) discovered that there were only 29 doctoral students in auditing and 23
in tax out of the 2004 total of 391 accounting doctoral
students enrolled in years 1-5 in the United States. ---
"YouTube and the Cultural Studies Classroom,"
by Christopher Conway, Inside Higher Ed, November 13, 2006 ---
On December 17, 2005,
“Saturday Night Live” ran a skit by Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg called
a rap video about going out on a “lazy Sunday” to see
The Chronicles of Narnia and procuring some cupcakes with “bomb frostings”
from the Magnolia Bakery in New York City. The rap touches on the logistics of
getting to the theater on the Upper West Side: “Let’s hit up Yahoo Maps to find
the dopest route./ I prefer Mapquest!/ That’s a good one too./ Google Maps is
the best!/ True that! Double true!/ 68th and Broadway./ Step on it, sucka!”
Parnell and Samberg make
it to the Magnolia for their cupcakes, go to a deli for more treats, and hide
their junk food in a backpack for smuggling past movie security. They complain
about the high movie prices at the box office ("You can call us Aaron Burr from
the way we’re dropping Hamiltons") and brag about participating in the pre-movie
trivia quiz. Doesn’t seem like much if you’ve never seen it, but for pure
joie de vivre, and white suburban dorkiness, “Lazy Sunday” just can’t be
beat. What makes “Lazy Sunday” special, however, is how its original airing
coincided with the birth of Internet video-sharing, enabling the two minute clip
to be viewed millions of times on
free service that hosts videos posted by users. In fact, the popularity of the
clip on YouTube was so great that NBC forced the site to remove it several
months later, citing copyright infringement. The prospect of its programming
being net-jacked by Internet geeks and magnified through YouTube’s powerful
interface was just too much for NBC.
I bring up “Lazy Sunday” to
foreground my discussion of the pedagogical uses of YouTube because it sums up
its spirit and helps us define the genre of video with which YouTube is most
associated. Although YouTube is awash in clips from television and film, the sui
generis YouTube video is the product of collaborative “lazy Sunday” moments when
pals film each other or perform for the camera doing inane things like dancing,
lip synching or making bottles of Diet Coke become volcanic after dropping
Mentos candies in them.
Parnell and Samberg’s
references to Internet tools and movie trivia, as well as their parody of rap,
perfectly capture a zeitgeist in which all pleasures can be recreated,
reinvented and repeated ad nauseam through the magic of the Web. As Sam Anderson
describes it in
YouTube is “an incoherent, totally chaotic accretion of
amateurism — pure webcam footage of the collective unconscious.” Whatever you’re
looking for (except porn) can be found in this Borgesian hall of mirrors: videos
of puppies, UFO footage, ghosts on film, musical memento mori about
recently deceased celebrities, movie and documentary clips, real and faux video
diaries, virtuoso guitar picking performances and all kinds of amateur films. In
my case, the video that sold me on YouTube was
Hell is Matt Harding Dancing Now?” — a strangely
uplifting video of a guy called Matt Harding who traveled around the world and
danced in front of landmarks such as Macchu Picchu in Peru, Area 51 in the U.S.,
the head-shaped monoliths of Easter Island, and the Great Wall of China, among
OK, that’s all nice, but
what can YouTube do for professors, apart from giving them something to look at
during their lunch breaks? Inside Higher Ed has reported on the ways in
is causing consternation among academics because it is
being used by students to stage moments of guerilla theater in the classroom,
record lectures without permission and ridicule their professors. Indeed, a
search on YouTube for videos of professors can bring up disquieting clips of
faculty behaving strangely in front of their students, like
the professor who coolly
walks over to a student who answers a ringing cell phone in class, politely asks
for the device, and then violently smashes it on the floor before continuing on
with his lecture as if nothing had happened. It could be staged (authenticity is
more often than not a fiction on YouTube) but it is still disturbing.
But I would like to argue for an
altogether different take on YouTube, one centered on the ways in which this
medium can enrich the learning experience of college students by providing video
realia to accompany their textbooks, in-class documentaries and course lectures.
Although I can’t speak to the applicability of YouTube to every discipline, in
what follows I make a case for how the service can be harnessed by professors in
the humanities and social sciences.
As a professor Latin
American literature and culture, I often teach an introductory, third year
course called Latin American Culture and Civilization in which students study
history, literature and any other media that the instructor wishes to include in
the course, such as music, film, comics and the visual arts. My version of the
course emphasizes student engagement with foundational documents and writings
that span all periods of Latin American history and that I have annotated for
student use. One of the figures we study is President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela,
whose outsized political persona has made him a YouTube star. Apart from having
my students watch an excerpt of his
“Bush as sulfurous devil” speech at the United
Nations, I assigned a series of
animated cartoons prepared by the Venezuelan state to
educate children about the Bolivarian constitution championed by Chávez. These
cartoons allow students see the ways in which the legacy of the 19th-century
Venezuelan Liberator, Simon Bolívar, remains alive today.
The textual richness of
these cartoons invites students to visually experience Bolivarian nationalism in
a way that cannot be otherwise recreated in the classroom. It invites them to
think critically about the ways in which icons such as Bolívar are creatively
utilized to instill patriotism in children. In a similar vein, a Cuban cartoon
about Cuba’s founding father, José Martí, depicts how a child is transformed
into the future champion of independence and social justice when he witnesses
the horrors of slavery (this video has now been removed from YouTube). With
regard to the Mexican Revolution, one of the most important units of the class,
YouTube offers some fascinating period film of the revolutionary icons
Villa, and especially their deaths. Although I cannot
say that these are visual texts that lend themselves to the kind of rich
dialogue provoked by the aforementioned cartoons, they are nonetheless an
engaging visual complement to readings, discussions and lectures.
Another course in which
YouTube has played a part in is my senior-level literature course on the Chilean
Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda. It may seem farfetched to use Internet video in a
poetry class, but in this case, YouTube offers several useful media clips. I
have utilized film clips in which Neruda’s poetry appears (such as Patch
Adams and Truly, Madly, Deeply), as well as music videos of
American singers who use lyrics by Neruda. More than
anything that I could say in class, these videos illustrate the reach and
enduring quality of Neruda’s poetry in Latin American and North American
culture. This said, there are a surprising number of student-produced videos
about Neruda on YouTube that are
cringe-worthy, the “Lazy Sunday” versions of the poet
and his poetry. These are quite fascinating in of themselves as instances in
which young people use video to interpret and stage Neruda, in ways that might
be set into dialogue with more literary and canonical constructions of his
legacy, but I confess that I am not yet convinced of their pedagogical value.
Continued in article
November 14, 2006 message from Bill Lucey
Do you have any
recommendations on how to find the top 10 imports/exports?
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
November 15, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
The best place to look for actual products
and dollar amounts is the CIA ---
Who makes the goods we buy ---
Who buys the goods we make ---
Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics are
What might become the first for-profit university in the United Kingdom? Perhaps
that should be termed "legitimate" university since the U.K. has a number of
unsavory diploma mills.
Kaplan International is preparing to seek permission to
become Britain’s first for-profit university,
The Financial Times reported, which indicated that
some British university administrators are not happy about the development.
Inside Higher Ed, November 21, 2006 ---
The Kaplan International home page is at
Use Your Frequent Flier Account; Inactive Programs Can be Cancelled
The incentive to redeem frequent flier miles – that
free ticket – is not as appealing for travelers as it once was, because of
blackout dates, limits on eligible seats, especially for popular destinations,
and the lower fares on discount carriers, but not visiting your frequent flier
accounts can have a price. Two carriers, Delta and US Airways, recently imposed
new rules on inactive accounts. Starting January 31, 2007, US Airways Dividend
Miles accounts will be closed and all miles forfeited if there has been no
activity in the account for 18 months. Delta Airlines will close their SkyMiles
accounts after two years, retroactive from December 31, 2006, the New York Times
"Use Your Frequent Flier Account; Inactive Programs Can be Cancelled,"
AccountingWeb, November 21, 2006 ---
That is provided you can use them. Due to the seat limitations (usually seven
seats maximum on any flight), I generally find it increasingly impossible to
redeem these useless things (although I did have quite a few free flights to
Europe years ago). On multiple leg flights, it is common to have just one of the
flights block the redemption of frequent flier points. These programs are really
deceptive in the past few years.
"Tips for Holiday Travel in the Air, on the Road or by Rail,"
AccountingWeb, November 21, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's travel helpers are at
In Iran: Separate and Unequal in Either Case
Religious leaders in Iran have started a campaign to
end all university programs that educate men and women together,
The Guardian reported. The push follows the
release of statistics showing dramatic gains for women at Iranian universities,
where they now outnumber men in key programs. The Guardian quoted a cleric as
saying that universities were turning into “fashion shows.”
Inside Higher Ed, November 21, 2006 ---
Over half the first-year students don't return the second year
new report from the Public Policy Institute of
California criticizes the state’s community colleges for having low graduation
and transfer rates. Half of all students in the mammoth system — the largest in
American higher education — don’t return for a second year, the report found.
The transfer rate for Asian students was double the rate for students from other
Inside Higher Ed, November 17, 2006 ---
Graduation rates at
four-year colleges and universities are heavily influenced by the socioeconomic
background of students, with rates dropping as the proportion of low-income
students enrolled increases, according to
a report released Thursday by the National Center
for Education Statistics. Women graduate at higher rates than do men, the study
Inside Higher Ed, November 17, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education
controversies are at
Web Sites Not Liable for Posts by Others
Web sites that publish inflammatory information written
by other parties cannot be sued for libel, the California Supreme Court ruled
Monday. The ruling in favor of free online expression was a victory for a San
Diego woman who was sued by two doctors for posting an allegedly libelous e-mail
on two Web sites. Some of the Internet's biggest names, including Amazon.com,
America Online Inc., eBay Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc.,
took the defendant's side out of concern that a ruling against her would expose
them to liability. In reversing an appellate court's decision, the state Supreme
Court ruled that the Communications Decency Act of 1996 provides broad immunity
from defamation lawsuits for people who publish information on the Internet that
was gathered from another source.
"Web Sites Not Liable for Posts by Others," PhysOrg, November 21, 2006
Online Tutorials for Learning About Statistics and Research
Against All Odds: Inside Statistics ---
1. What Is Statistics?
Using historical anecdotes and contemporary applications, this
introduction to the series explores the vital links between
statistics and our everyday world. The program also covers the
evolution of the discipline.
With this program, students will see how key characteristics in the
distribution of a histogram — shape, center, and spread — help
professionals make decisions in such diverse fields as meteorology,
television programming, health care, and air traffic control.
Through a discussion of the advantages of back-to-back stem plots,
this program also emphasizes the importance of seeking explanations
for gaps and outliers in small data sets.
This program examines the difference between mean and median,
explains the use of quartiles to describe a distribution, and looks
to the use of boxplots and the five-number summary for comparing and
describing data. An illustrative example shows how a city government
used statistical methods to correct inequity between men’s and
Students will advance from histograms through smooth curves to
normal curves, and finally to a single normal curve for standardized
measurement, as this program shows ways to describe the shape of a
distribution using progressively simpler methods. In a lesson on
creating a density curve, students also learn why, under steadily
decreasing deviation, today’s baseball players are less likely to
achieve a .400 batting average.
With this program, students will discover how to convert the
standard normal and use the standard deviation; how to use a table
of areas to compute relative frequencies; how to find any
percentile; and how a computer creates a normal quartile plot to
determine whether a distribution is normal. Vehicle emissions
standards and medical studies of cholesterol provide real-life
Statistics can reveal patterns over time. Using the concept of
seasonal variation, this program shows ways to present smooth data
and recognize whether a particular pattern is meaningful. Stock
market trends and sleep cycles are used to explore the topics of
deriving a time series and using the 68-95-99.7 rule to determine
the control limits.
Models for Growth
Topics of this program include linear growth, least squares,
exponential growth, and straightening an exponential growth curve by
logic. A study of growth problems in children serves to illustrate
the use of the logarithm function to transform an exponential
pattern into a line. The program also discusses growth in world oil
production over time.
Segments describe how to use a scatterplot to display relationships
between variables. Patterns in variables (positive, negative, and
linear association) and the importance of outliers are discussed.
The program also calculates the least squares regression line of
metabolic rate y on lean body mass x for a group of
subjects and examines the fit of the regression line by plotting
With this program, students will learn to derive and interpret the
correlation coefficient using the relationship between a baseball
player’s salary and his home run statistics. Then they will discover
how to use the square of the correlation coefficient to measure the
strength and direction of a relationship between two variables. A
study comparing identical twins raised together and apart
illustrates the concept of correlation.
Multidimensional Data Analysis
This program reviews the presentation of data analysis through an
examination of computer graphics for statistical analysis at Bell
Communications Research. Students will see how the computer can
graph multivariate data and its various ways of presenting it. The
program concludes with an example of a study that analyzes data on
many variables to get a picture of environmental stresses in the
The Question of Causation
Causation is only one of many possible explanations for an observed
association. This program defines the concepts of common response
and confounding, explains the use of two-way tables of percents to
calculate marginal distribution, uses a segmented bar to show how to
visually compare sets of conditional distributions, and presents a
case of Simpson’s Paradox. The relationship between smoking and lung
cancer provides a clear example.
Statistics can be used to evaluate anecdotal evidence. This program
distinguishes between observational studies and experiments and
reviews basic principles of design including comparison,
randomization, and replication. Case material from the Physician’s
Health Study on heart disease demonstrates the advantages of a
Blocking and Sampling
Students learn to draw sound conclusions about a population from a
tiny sample. This program focuses on random sampling and the census
as two ways to obtain reliable information about a population. It
covers single- and multi-factor experiments and the kinds of
questions each can answer, and explores randomized block design
through agriculturalists’ efforts to find a better strawberry.
Samples and Surveys
This program shows how to improve the accuracy of a survey by using
stratified random sampling and how to avoid sampling errors such as
bias. While surveys are becoming increasingly important tools in
shaping public policy, a 1936 Gallup poll provides a striking
illustration of the perils of undercoverage.
What Is Probability?
Students will learn the distinction between deterministic phenomena
and random sampling. This program introduces the concepts of sample
space, events, and outcomes, and demonstrates how to use them to
create a probability model. A discussion of statistician Persi
Diaconis’s work with probability theory covers many of the central
ideas about randomness and probability.
This program demonstrates how to determine the probability of any
number of independent events, incorporating many of the same
concepts used in previous programs. An interview with a statistician
who helped to investigate the space shuttle accident shows how
probability can be used to estimate the reliability of equipment.
This program discusses binomial distribution and the criteria for
it, and describes a simple way to calculate its mean and standard
deviation. An additional feature describes the quincunx, a
randomizing device at the Boston Museum of Science, and explains how
it represents the binomial distribution.
The Sample Mean and Control Charts
The successes of casino owners and the manufacturing industry are
used to demonstrate the use of the central limit theorem. One
example shows how control charts allow us to effectively monitor
random variation in business and industry. Students will learn how
to create x-bar charts and the definitions of control limits and
This program lays out the parts of the confidence interval and gives
an example of how it is used to measure the accuracy of long-term
mean blood pressure. An example from politics and population surveys
shows how margin of error and confidence levels are interpreted. The
program also explains the use of a formula to convert the z*
values into values on the sampling distribution curve. Finally, the
concepts are applied to an issue of animal ethics.
This program explains the basic reasoning behind tests of
significance and the concept of null hypothesis. The program shows
how a z-test is carried out when the hypothesis concerns the
mean of a normal population with known standard deviation. These
ideas are explored by determining whether a poem “fits Shakespeare
as well as Shakespeare fits Shakespeare.” Court battles over
discrimination in hiring provide additional illustration.
Inference for One Mean
In this program, students discover an improved technique for
statistical problems that involve a population mean: the t
statistic for use when σ is not known. Emphasis is on paired samples
and the t confidence test and interval. The program covers
the precautions associated with these robust t procedures,
along with their distribution characteristics and broad
Comparing Two Means
How to recognize a two-sample problem and how to distinguish such
problems from one- and paired-sample situations are the subject of
this program. A confidence interval is given for the difference
between two means, using the two-sample t statistic with
conservative degrees of freedom.
Inference for Proportions
This program marks a transition in the series: from a focus on
inference about the mean of a population to exploring inferences
about a different kind of parameter, the proportion or percent of a
population that has a certain characteristic. Students will observe
the use of confidence intervals and tests for comparing proportions
applied in government estimates of unemployment rates.
Inference for Two-Way Tables
A two-way table of counts displays the relationship between two ways
of classifying people or things. This program concerns inference
about two-way tables, covering use of the chi-square test and null
hypothesis in determining the relationship between two ways of
classifying a case. The methods are used to investigate a possible
relationship between a worker’s gender and the type of job he or she
Inference for Relationships
With this program, students will understand inference for simple
linear regression, emphasizing slope, and prediction. This unit
presents the two most important kinds of inference: inference about
the slope of the population line and prediction of the response for
a given x. Although the formulas are more complicated, the
ideas are similar to t procedures for the mean μ of a
This program presents a detailed case study of statistics at work.
Operating in a real-world setting, the program traces the practice
of statistics — planning the data collection, collecting and
picturing the data, drawing inferences from the data, and deciding
how confident we can be about our conclusions. Students will begin
to see the full range and power of the concepts and techniques they
Bob Jensen's bookmarks for online tutorials on mathematics and statistics are
From the University of Wisconsin
Animated Periodic Table of the Elements ---
Bob Jensen's links to online science tutorials are at
Keeping Score Symphonic Music Tutorials ---
Bob Jensen's links to free online music are at
Moving Images Pinewood Dialogues (for students of film) ---
Aviation Education Multimedia Library ---
Bob Jensen's links to open sharing courses are at
This Might be Interesting to Add to Ethics
"Animals Seem to Have An Inherent Sense Of Fairness
and Justice," by Sharon Begley, The Wall Street Journal, November 10,
2006; Page B1 ---
The concept of equity -- and
fury when it is violated -- lies deep in the human psyche. But scientists
have long wondered whether it is a product of learning or something innate,
from deep in our evolutionary past. That question has taken on added
importance as behavioral economists probe why people sometimes make
"irrational" decisions, such as rejecting a payoff that would leave them
quantitatively better off if a rival unfairly benefits.
Sammy's reaction, righting
the inequity, hints at something even more intriguing: Animals other than
humans are not only sensitive to unfairness, but are driven to rectify it.
Philosophers have long argued that this ability underlies much of our human
The search for the roots of
our sense of equity began, as science often does, with casual observations.
Primatologist Frans de Waal of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center,
Atlanta, once saw a female chimp, Puist, help her male friend, Luit, chase
off a rival. The rival took it out on Puist. Although Puist reached out her
hand to Luit in a plea for backup, Luit "did not lift a finger to protect
her," recalls Prof. de Waal in a recent paper. You could imagine the "that's
not fair!" module in her mind turning on. Once the rival left, Puist "turned
on Luit, barking furiously. She chased him across the enclosure and pummeled
Treat me unfairly? Take
Capuchins, too, know
unfairness when they see it. They prefer grapes to cucumbers, and when a
scientist gave a grape to one capuchin and a cucumber to another, the latter
threw it onto the ground and stalked away rather than acquiesce to this
Now, the research is moving
from observations to experiments, such as the pull-tray that triggered
Bias's tantrum. To test how sensitive capuchins are to inequity, Prof. de
Waal and colleagues counterweighted the tray so that it required only one
monkey to reel it in. In this case, the monkey almost never shares its apple
with the monkey who hasn't helped. No work, no pay is fair.
When pulling the tray
requires two monkeys' efforts, but only one cup is filled, the lucky monkey
often shares its spoils. "Winners were, in effect, compensating their
partners for received assistance," Prof. de Waal writes. It was the fair
thing to do.
To be sure, a saintly
commitment to fairness isn't the only thing going on here. By being
magnanimous, the monkey who shares his reward with a hard-working but
unrewarded partner makes it more likely that when the tables are turned, she
will be treated with equal generosity.
Paired with a relative,
monkeys are even more willing to pull the tray, even if their own cup (which
they can see from afar) is empty. "Fair," it seems, covers a family member
reaping the rewards of your labors even if you don't.
Even when little or no
effort is required, chimps and capuchins balk at unfair situations, says
anthropologist Sarah Brosnan of Emory University. In a series of
experiments, the animals learned to trade a "token" (a rock or plastic pipe)
with a trainer for food. If they saw a cagemate trade for a delectable
grape, but were offered a cucumber in exchange for their own token, they
were much more likely to refuse to hand it over for the stupid vegetable.
Better to go hungry than to give in to this unfairness.
A sense of fairness
underlies irrational choices by humans, too. Economists assume that economic
decisions are rational, but in many cases people prefer to gain less in
order to punish someone who is behaving unfairly. If a partner proposes a
$7/$3 split of $10 offered in an experiment, many people reject it outright,
gaining nothing rather than accepting the inequity. "People are willing to
give up their own potential gain to block someone else from unfairly getting
more than themselves," says Ms. Brosnan, who points to resistance to
globalization and free trade as current examples.
It isn't hard to see the
survival value of being able to detect inequity. Cooperation requires a
grasp of fairness. You need to be able to detect (and punish) freeloaders to
keep a cooperative society running. "Fairness counts," she says. "Humans and
other animals are able to detect unfairness because doing so is beneficial."
And, it seems, it's an
ancient attribute of the primate mind.
November 16, 2006 reply from J. S. Gangolly
This is the ethics version
of Chomskyan idea of linguistic competence (and his idea that linguistics is
a branch, in some sense, of cognitive psychology, and perhaps ultimately, of
biology). I am sure not many have yet bought the idea of biological basis
for ethics (in my opinion, thank Goodness!).
David Hume (1978) once
called (Treatise of Human Nature) values determined exogenous to human
social interaction as 'vulgar'. He observed,
"We have naturally no real
or universal motive for observing the law of equity, but the very equity and
merit of that observance; and as no action can be equitable or meritorious,
where it can not arise from some separate motive, there is here an evident
sophistry and reasoning in a circle. Unless, therefore, we will allow that
nature has established a sophistry , and rendered it necessary and
unavoidable , we must allow that the sense of justice and injustice is not
derived from nature, but arises artificially, tho necessarily from
education, and human conventions."
Once a year I speak with our
MBA students on ethics (every department in our school meets with the MBAs
to talk about ethics). In my meeting, I have always talked about two pieces
of writing, one to emphasize need to temper one's greed, and the other to
stress the importance of introspection & self-reflection to precede action.
The two respectively are,
1. "How much land does a
man need?' by Lev Tolstoy
2. The Portrait of Dorian
Gray, by Oscar Wilde
3. To the above, this year
I'll add a third, coming surprisingly from Milton Friedman -- his saying
that most important things in life are free.
"Breaking the 'boy code' can improve learning,
author says," by Kevin Wack, Portland Press Herald, November 18, 2006
School-age boys, whose
classroom struggles have recently been the cause of much concern in
education circles, are being hurt by an unwritten set of social rules
that discourage them from showing their emotions, a Harvard psychologist
told a group of teachers Friday.
William Pollack, the author
of "Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood," used a mix
of anecdotes and statistics to argue that stereotypical images of
manhood are detrimental to boys.
"If a boy puts on a
football helmet and cleats, then he's a real boy," said Pollack,
co-director of the Center for Men at Harvard Medical School. "If he puts
on a ballet outfit and tutu, then we say we hope he'll grow out of it."
Pollack's remarks came
during a daylong conference at Bates College on how to support the
academic success of boys. About 100 people attended, most of them
teachers from schools around Maine.
Nationally, a conversation
is under way about the academic struggles of boys, their causes and what
can be done about them. In Maine, statistics show that boys consistently
lag behind their female peers, scoring lower on standardized tests,
graduating from high school at lower rates and earning just 38 percent
of all bachelor's degrees conferred by the state's public universities.
But even among researchers
convinced that those statistics underscore a serious problem, there are
differing views about what is to blame.
Some researchers are
focusing on the biological differences between girls and boys. Some call
for more competition in the classroom. Pollack, on the other hand,
emphasizes the social messages that boys absorb from their parents,
teachers and peers.
Pollack calls these lessons
the "boy code." He told teachers Friday that the code includes the
following messages: Don't show weakness, be independent, and don't show
any emotion unless it's anger. He also gave tips on how teachers can
connect with male students.
Pollack's speech struck a
chord with Colleen Madden, an English teacher at Morse High School in
"He's just giving
some formal scientific words for what we've been observing for years,"
Madden said. "He's just giving it a vocabulary."
Continued in article
Can we adequately meet current human needs while protecting and restoring
planetary life support systems for the welfare of people today and generations
Stanford Initiative on the Environment and Sustainability ---
From the Scout Report on November 20, 2006
FastStone Capture 4.8 ---
Faster than a moving pop-up advertisement,
FastStone Capture 4.8 is able to capture just about anything that appears on
the monitors of those who decide to try out this program. Visitors who
utilize the program can capture such features as scrolling windows and other
objects. The other features of the program include the ability to resize and
crop these captured features. This version is compatible with all computers
running any version of Windows.
Also see SnagIt ---
Camtasia Screen Movement Capturing ---
How to Make Faux Billions
Billionaires Lock Out Millionaires from ‘Forbes’ List [Real Player]
Rich Uncle Pennybags
Comics Page: Annie
The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Suit [Real Player]
"Online Retailers Can't Wait to Snare Shoppers,"
byy Yuki Noguchi and Ylan Q. Mui, The Washington Post, November 17, 2006
Buy more, get free
shipping! Tell the whole Web about your favorite brand! Bust down that
virtual door and grab the limited supply of Xbox 360s!
Thanksgiving, starting point
for the holiday shopping race, is still six days away, but the online
marketing frenzy is already upon us, pushing, prodding, poking: Shop early,
shop often, and oh, by the way! -- the Internet is open 24-7.
Here's Amazon.com, with its
"door-buster" promotion, asking customers to vote on their most-desired item
from a selection -- Xbox 360, mountain bike or Barbie Dancing Princesses --
and a limited number of the winning products (generally 1,000 to 2,500) will
go on sale at up to 75 per cent off at 2 p.m. every Thursday, including
Thanksgiving, for the next four weeks.
There's Best Buy, trotting
out the lawyers and issuing cease-and-desist letters. That's because several
Web sites published the retailer's Black Friday circular, and the company
wants to keep some suspense until next Friday, when a 4-gigabyte iPod Nano
paired with a $25 gift card will cost $199, and the Sony PlayStation
2-and-game package will go for $129.99, down from $174.97. That information
was taken down.
Wal-Mart is cutting prices
on some of its high-end items, such as cashmere scarves. RedEnvelope.com is
suggesting relatively new services including "shop now, ship later," to
minimize the clutter of hiding presents before they're given.
With $32 billion in online
spending expected to be at stake this holiday season, it's no wonder Amazon
and other retailers are trying to get shoppers to turn to their computers
instead of the malls, ahead of what retailers are calling Cyber Monday, when
workers are supposed to hit their desks shopping after the Thanksgiving
Cyber Monday is the online
equivalent of Black Friday, which retailers call the biggest shopping day of
the year. More hype? Neither of those days turns out always to be when the
most money is spent.
retailers, that's typically the Saturday before Christmas. And Cyber Monday?
Last year, it was only the ninth-busiest online shopping day. Buyers spent
the most on Monday, Dec. 12 -- $556 million, according to ComScore Networks
So, if you weren't among the
35 percent of online shoppers who, according to the National Retail
Federation, started shopping before Halloween this year -- breathe.
"We think Cyber Monday is an
amusing myth," said Cliff Conneighton, senior vice president of marketing
for software company Art Technology Group Inc., which powers the Web sites
of retailers such as J.Crew, Neiman Marcus and Best Buy.
Amazon says its heaviest
holiday shopping is in mid-December, near one of the last days to take
advantage of free shipping. "We intentionally chose [Thanksgiving] so that
customers could have their experience online before heading to the malls on
Black Friday," said Craig Berman, a company spokesman.
Of course, it's to
retailers' advantage to rack up sales early.
"If the heaviest shopping
day is earlier in the year, [retailers] don't have to scramble as much" for
the remainder of the season, said Patti Freeman Evans, senior retail analyst
for Jupiter Research.
The most coveted buzz of
all, of course, is word of mouth.
So this year retailers are
busy monitoring chat sites and user reviews to see what kind of buzz people
are generating over promotions or products, Evans said.
In the future, such buzz may
come from independent sites creating communities of people sharing feedback
on their purchases. ThisNext.com, Kaboodle.com and Wists.com all allow
subscribers to search for products -- and comment on them.
ThisNext has more than
10,000 members who have signed up to volunteer reviews of everything from
Seven for All Mankind skinny jeans to leather Rocket 7 cycling shoes.
One poster waxed ecstatic
about biking gear: "They were a bit spendy, but man are they comfy."
Iraq is not the only nation wanting to divide up by tribal boundaries: The
new and independent nation of Scotland?
Almost two-thirds of English voters want full
independence for Scotland, a dramatic new poll revealed last night. A clear
majority on both sides of the Border are in favour of Scotland breaking away
from the United Kingdom, according to the survey by ICM. It finds that 59% of
English voters want Scotland to go it alone, while independence is backed by 52%
Brian Brady, "English tell Scots to go for independence," The Scotsman,
November 27, 2006 ---
"Kevin Mitnick's Security Advice," Wired News, November 15, 2006
Ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick came by his
security expertise the hard way. In the 1990s, his electronic penetration of
some of the biggest companies in the world made him a notorious tech
boogieman, and ultimately landed him five years in prison.
Here's my Top 10 list of
steps you should take to protect your information and your computing
resources from the bad boys and girls of cyberspace.
- Back up everything! You
are not invulnerable. Catastrophic data loss can happen to you
-- one worm or Trojan is all it takes.
- Choose passwords that
are reasonably hard to guess -- don't just append a few numbers to a
no-brainer. Always change default passwords.
- Use an antivirus
product like AVG or Norton, and set it to update daily.
- Update your OS
religiously and be vigilant in applying all security patches released by
the software manufacturer.
- Avoid hacker-bait apps
like Internet Explorer and disable automatic scripting on your e-mail
- Use encryption software
like PGP (pretty good privacy) when sending sensitive e-mail. You can
also use it to protect your entire hard drive.
- Install a spyware
detection app -- or even several. Programs that can be set to run
frequently, like SpyCop, are ideal.
- Use a personal
firewall. Configure it to prevent other computers, networks and sites
from connecting to you, and specify which programs are allowed to
connect to the net automatically.
- Disable any system
services you're not using, especially apps that could give others remote
access to your computer (like Remote Desktop, RealVNC and NetBIOS).
- Secure your wireless
networks. At home, enable WPA (Wi-Fi protected access) with a password
of at least 20 characters. Configure your laptop to connect in
Infrastructure mode only, and don't add networks unless they use WPA.
Hackers are becoming more
sophisticated in conjuring up new ways to hijack your system by exploiting
technical vulnerabilities or human nature. Don't become the next victim of
unscrupulous cyberspace intruders.
Bob Jensen's threads on computing and network
security are at
Download 12 movie DVDs in the same two minutes
The two-minute animated video, which was a scientific
visualization of a cell structure from a bacterium, was streamed at a rate of
7.5 gigabits per second with a peak transfer rate of 8.4 gigabits per second. At
that speed, the researchers could have transmitted approximately 12 movie DVDs
in the same two minutes.
"Not YouTube, HUGETube: Purdue researchers stream massive Internet video,"
PhysOrg, November 16, 2006 ---
Some Important Buzzwords of Computing Technology
"Before Going to Buy High-Tech Devices, Learn the
New Terms," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2006;
Page B1 ---
This is the graphical user interface that's a key part of Microsoft's new
Windows Vista operating system, due out around Jan. 30. If you want to get
the full benefit of Vista, make sure any Windows PC you buy this season is
capable of running Aero. Many are not.
Also known as antishake or image stabilization, this is a crucial feature of
digital cameras today. Because few cameras have optical viewfinders, users
tend to hold them at arm's length to frame the shot on the LCD screen. This
increases the likelihood of shaking the camera. An anti-blur feature can
correct that. The best anti-blur technology is optical. Digital versions are
This is a new, faster, longer-range version of the popular Wi-Fi wireless
networking system, and many new Wi-Fi products are built to comply with it.
It succeeds the common "G" flavor of Wi-Fi. But, there's a catch. As the
name implies, this technology is based on a draft of the forthcoming new
Wi-Fi standard, to be called "N." And the final standard could be different
enough to make Draft N gear outdated in 12 to 18 months.
A computer that is configured to boot, or to start up, in two different
operating systems, depending on which the user chooses at any one time. The
most important example of this currently is on Apple's Macintosh computers,
which now can be set up to run either the Mac operating system or Microsoft
Windows using Apple's free dual-boot software, called Boot Camp.
A type of microprocessor -- the brain that runs a computer -- which packs
the equivalent of two processors into a single chip. The best known
dual-core processors in consumer computers are Intel's Core 2 Duo and Core
Duo, but rival AMD also makes them. They are a good bet for most people.
Player: A small-capacity digital music player, like Apple's iPod Nano
and Shuffle. These players use flash memory, a type of memory chip that
behaves like a small hard disk to store music, photos and videos. Larger
players, such as the full-size iPod and the new Microsoft Zune, use actual
hard disks, like the ones in computers. Flash memory is also what's inside
the small memory cards used in digital cameras.
This acronym, for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, describes a new kind
of cable for hooking high-definition TVs to things like cable boxes and DVD
players. It provides a high-quality digital feed, and combines both audio
and video signals via a single connection. When shopping for an HDTV, make
sure it has HDMI connectors on the back.
An awkward name for a new high-speed cellphone network being deployed in the
U.S. by Cingular Wireless. Its full name is High Speed Downlink Packet
Access, and it's intended to compete with successful high-speed networks
from Verizon and Sprint called EVDO, or Evolution Data Only. All of these
new networks allow Internet access at about the speed of a slow home DSL
line, which is a big boost for cellphones. If you care about email and
Internet access on a phone, and you are using Cingular, get a phone that can
A cellphone that handles all four bands, or frequencies, used in various
countries by wireless phone companies adhering to a world-wide standard
called GSM. Examples are Cingular and T-Mobile in the U.S., and Vodafone and
Orange in Europe. A quad-band phone can be used on any GSM network anywhere,
so if you travel overseas a lot, you may want one.
file format for digital photographs that is uncompressed and largely
unmodified by the camera's chips, and therefore includes every detail of the
color and image. It is prized by professional photographers and serious
amateurs, who look for cameras and photo software that can handle the RAW
format. But it produces enormous files, so most users should ignore it and
stick with the very good, very common compressed photo format, called JPEG
Memory: A computer configuration in which the video circuitry lacks its
own dedicated memory and must share, or drain off, a portion of the
computer's main memory. This is common in lower-price computers. It's fine,
but it reduces the amount of memory available to the nonvideo functions of
the computer, so you may want to add extra memory to a PC of this type.
Any wide-area network, such as a cellphone network, that can be used to send
and receive data. It is distinguished from a LAN, or local area network,
such as the wired and wireless networks deployed inside a business or home.
Some computer makers use the term for the built-in cellphone modems in their
Bob Jensen's technology glossary is at
"College football contracts are dotted with extras and provisions," by
Jodi Upton and Steve Wieberg, USA Today, November 17, 2006 ---
•Lifetime care: Air
Force's Fisher DeBerry will get a lifetime monthly annuity after he steps
down — $7,000 a month if he coaches through the 2006 season, a figure that
rises to $9,000 a month if he coaches through the 2010 season. His wife
would collect two-thirds of the monthly amount if he dies before she does.
•No rocking chair here: Colorado
State wrote a retirement clause into 69-year-old Sonny Lubick's contract
extension in January. If he retires before January 2, 2010 Lubick can stay
at the school for up to two years as a $75,000-a-year "public relations and
•Sharing the cost of
education: Florida's Urban Meyer gets $100,000 a year for family
•Getting away: Hawaii's
June Jones gets 10 economy-fare round-trip tickets a year for personal use
or use by his family "to any destination in the United States."
•After coaching: Michigan
reworked Lloyd Carr's contract in 2003, extending it through the 2007 season
with automatic one-year rollovers and stipulating that, at its conclusion,
Carr will be appointed an associate athletics director. Duties will include
fundraising and speaking.
•For (lots of) family and
friends: Kansas' Mark Mangino can request up to 50 tickets per home
game, between the 35-yard lines on the west side of Memorial Stadium, and
gets use of a stadium suite. He also gets four men's basketball season
tickets in the lower level, between the free throw lines, of Allen
•Flight time: Oklahoma's
Bob Stoops gets up to 35 hours a year of private plane availability. Ohio
State's Tressel gets 10 hours of jet time for personal use. Virginia's Al
Groh gets "reasonable use of the University's aircraft and vehicles" for his
•You cheat, you pay: Arizona
State's Dirk Koetter must pay up to $300,000 in damages if he's fired for
NCAA or conference rules violations. Arizona's Mike Stoops must pay
•Cost of being a Michigan
man: LSU's Les Miles must pay $500,000 to leave before his contract
expires at the end of 2011 — $1.25 million if he leaves for Michigan, where
he played, graduated with a degree in economics and coached under Bo
Schembechler and Gary Moeller.
•Tough on crime: Cincinnati's
Mark Dantonio and Florida's Urban Meyer can be suspended or fired for
"commission of a crime ... whether prosecuted or not." Not counting minor
Compensation Special Report, Parts I & II, CFO Magazine,
November 2006 ---
DIRECTOR & OFFICER COMPENSATION
A Farewell to Perks?
The SEC's new compensation-disclosure rules could mean the end of luxurious
wine cellars and questionable stipends.
IRS Chief: CFO Pay Should Be Fixed
At a Senate hearing, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Mark Everson says
finance chiefs shouldn't be paid in options, and a ranking senator seems
itching to legislate.
Battle Lines Drawn on Executive Pay
A House bill would require shareholder approval for corporate compensation
Study: Director Pay Hikes Slowing Down
Further, fewer companies are making stock options a component of directors'
compensation packages, with 53 percent providing them 2005— down from 59
percent in 2004 and 66 percent in 2003.
Directors Say Exec Pay Hurts Image
Two-thirds of board members also believe that the current model for
executive compensation has contributed to superior corporate performance,
according to a new survey; less than one-quarter of institutional investors
share that view. Executive Pay Prognosis: Marginal Change The market for
senior management pay is likely to keep compensation up—even in the face of
more disclosure. Survey Says Comp Rules No Big Deal Even as multiple Senate
hearings focus on executive compensation, a survey of human resource
professionals says new SEC rules will have little impact on compensation or
Study: Talent Will Cost More
Hiring qualified employees could hit companies in the wallet in the coming
State's Rights: Many Lift Minimum Wage
While Congress fiddles, the states are raising the minimum wage.
BACKDATING BLOWS UP
When Is Backdating a Crime?
The burden will be on DoJ prosecutors to prove Brocade executives
deliberately misled investors. Is Spring-loading Wrong? Testimony on Capitol
Hill today did nothing to resolve the ongoing debate over whether
spring-loading of stock options is illegal or unethical. Backdating Blamed
on 1993 Tax Rule Disturbed by the manipulation of option grants, Congress is
toying with eliminating the $1 million tax cap on executive compensation.
Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous executive compensation are at
Hundreds of old-economy companies also committed backdating fraud
Abuses of stock option grants are perceived to have
spread like a virus among high-technology companies. But a new study suggests
that hundreds of old-economy companies may also have caught the backdating bug.
In a paper to be released today, researchers estimate that 590 nontechnology
companies appear to have manipulated options so their chief executives received
them at the lowest price of the month. That compares with 130 technology
companies that appear to have backdated their chief executives’ options to a
Eric Dash, "Study Charts Broad Manipulation of Options," The New York Times,
November 17, 2006 ---
From The Washington Post on November 15,
Which region of the world had the
greatest Internet usage growth in the last six years?
Retirement? Less cash and more moles!
November 13, 2006 message from Saeed Roohani
Talking about social
security and retirement, I am sure there are many of us contemplating
retirement in the next 5, 10, or15 years. Also, now that you are a proud
retired professor I think it would be helpful for you and Denny and others
to share experiences of being retired and also tips for making it the best
November 13, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
Denny has not yet retired. I cannot imagine
how he juggles all his speaking engagements, Board of Director Memberships
(including being head of the Audit Committee for Fannie Mae), serious
consulting, committee assignments within his university, and full-time
teaching at Georgia. Denny has taught graduate courses online for many
years. He's one of my proud examples of a distance education instructor who
did not burn out.
You can listen to Denny talk about his
online teaching at
I retired from teaching and moved to the
mountains, but my work is backlogged as much as ever. I spend less time
teaching and a bit more time on a tractor, but not much. Mostly I'm still
running workshops on derivatives and consulting. It does save me a little
time now when clients from places like Boston agree to drive up to my home
rather than make me travel to the flatlands. Travel results in a lot of
wasted time, and it's no longer much fun. But I still fly out for my
I'm still writing papers. I just finished a
module for a forthcoming book for the IASB and Routledge. I'm also finishing
a re-submit paper that I mistakenly sent to a journal. If it wasn't for my
co-author I'd probably just revise the paper for my Website. I'm getting too
old to devote a hundred hours trying to please referees who have opposing
requests. These referees will probably never agree with each other. Another
drawback is that the paper will probably be out of date before it ever
appears in print --- journals one day will realize that the traditional
approach to scholarly communications is like a horse and buggy on a Web
To be honest with you, the greatest bulk of
my time is answering email questions from accounting faculty, students,
brokers, bankers, reporters, and many friends. The hardest ones are the
inquiries about technicalities of FAS 133 and IAS 39. Sometimes students
contact me just before their exams. Often faculty write with questions,
especially faculty in developing countries. I especially try to help them
when I can be of help.
One thing to consider before creating a huge
Website is that Web crawlers will find some of your many documents, many of
which you forgot you ever wrote. This, in turn, results in a lot of email
inquiries. I still feel committed to helping people, but I must warn that a
huge Website can greatly cut into your discretionary time. However, the
messages from others are also educational. In countless instances these
messages have helped me learn and helped me improve my Web documents.
So I guess I will answer your question with
What's retirement other than less monthly cash
Bye for now. I'm going
out on my tractor and try to squish down gopher/mole hills. These critters
become more active this time of year. Possibly it's because I quit mowing
for the season and simply take more notice of mound buildups. Then again
those little buggers may be digging deeper in advance of another cold
We don't have any pests
up here like poisonous snakes, roaches, rats, and even the mosquitoes are
not bothersome (possibly due to the wind). But we've got chipmunks (cute),
mice (not cute), and
moles (kinda cute). There are so many moles that I can see them scurry
about in front of the mower. Up in Alaska the wolves live mostly on moles
and mice, but I don't think we have any wolves.
I guess I'm making
mountains out of mole hills!
What's retirement other than less monthly cash flow and more moles?
Updates from WebMD ---
Latest Headlines on
November 16, 2006
Latest Headlines on
November 17, 2006
Latest Headlines on
November 20, 2006
Latest Headlines on
November 21, 2006
Latest Headlines on
November 22, 2006
Grandma's Veggies May Have Been More Nutritious
Some studies show that vegetables grown today contain
fewer vitamins and minerals than vegetables grown in 1950. But even if that's
true -- and it's a matter of debate -- you're still better off eating your
fruits and vegetables.
Dan Charles, "Grandma's Veggies May Have Been More Nutritious," NPR,
November 18, 2006 ---
Test Your Hearing
Listen To Your Buds is a consumer awareness campaign by the American
Speech-Language-Hearing Association about the potential risk of hearing loss
from unsafe usage of personal audio technology ---
Virtuous Calories Are Still Calories
PEPSICO this week announced that it plans to acquire
the Naked Juice Company as part of its effort to “expand into natural, healthy,
good-for-you products” that “address growing consumer health and wellness
needs.” . . . But have they? Given an equal number of calories, fruit
juices and smoothies — and particularly the “super premium” ones made by Naked
Juice and Odwalla — are certainly healthier than sugary, nutrient-free soft
Dan Mitchell, "Virtuous Calories Are Still Calories,"
The New York Times,
November 25, 2006 ---
Get More Than One Opinion Before Having Back Surgery
Study: Surgery Just One Option for Herniated Disk
Listen to NPR's broadcast at
"Study Questions Need to Operate on Disk Injuries," by Gina Kolata,
The New York Times, November 22, 2006 ---
People with ruptured disks in their lower backs
usually recover whether or not they have surgery, researchers are reporting
today. The study, a large trial, found that surgery appeared to relieve pain
more quickly but that most people recovered eventually and that there was no
harm in waiting.
And that, surgeons said, is likely to change
The study, published in The Journal of the American
Medical Association, is the only large and well-designed trial to compare
surgery for sciatica with waiting.
The study was controversial from the start, with many
surgeons saying they knew that the operation worked and that it would be
unethical for their patients to participate in such a study.
In the end, though, neither waiting nor surgery was
a clear winner, and most patients could safely decide what to do based on
personal preference and level of pain. Although many patients did not stay
with their assigned treatment, most fared well with whatever treatment they
Patients who had surgery often reported immediate
relief. But by three to six months, patients in both groups reported marked
After two years, about 70 percent of the patients
in the two groups said they had a “major improvement” in their symptoms. No
one who waited had serious consequences, and no one who had surgery had a
Many surgeons had long feared that waiting would
cause severe harm, but those fears were proved unfounded.
“I think this will have an impact,” said Dr. Steven
R. Garfin, chairman of the department of orthopedic surgery at the
University of California, San Diego. “It says you don’t have to rush in for
surgery. Time is usually your ally, not your enemy,” Dr. Garfin added.
As many as a million Americans suffer from
sciatica, said Dr. James Weinstein, a professor of orthopedic surgery at
Dartmouth who led the study. The condition is characterized by an often
agonizing pain in the buttocks or leg or weakness in a leg.
It is caused when a ruptured disk impinges on the
root of the sciatic nerve, which runs down the back of the leg. And an
estimated 300,000 Americans a year have surgery to relieve the symptoms, Dr.
Patients are often told that if they delay surgery
they may risk permanent nerve damage, perhaps a weakened leg or even losing
bowel or bladder control. But nothing like that occurred in the two-year
study comparing surgery with waiting in nearly 2,000 patients.
The study did not include people who had just lower
back pain, which can have a variety of causes. Nor did it include people
with conditions that would require immediate surgery like losing bowel or
Instead, they were typical of a vast majority of
people with sciatica who are made miserable by searing pain. For such
patients, fear that delaying an operation could be dangerous “was the
800-pound gorilla in the room,” said Dr. Eugene J. Carragee, professor of
orthopedic surgery at Stanford.
Continued in article
"Alzheimer's Research Makes Dramatic Shift To Widen Perspective," by
Sharon Begley, The Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2006; Page B1
Proponents of the leading theory of Alzheimer's
have been in pitched battle with scientists who have other ideas about this
awful neurodegenerative disease. For more than 20 years, the leading theory
has held that sticky blobs in the brain called amyloid plaques cause
Alzheimer's. Because that idea has numerous problems, doubters argued that
the plaques might be innocent bystanders to the real, "upstream" culprit. If
so, targeting the plaques, or the rogue protein called beta-amyloid that
forms them, would do nothing to help the 4.5 million Americans who suffer
You might think this debate would play out with
each side conducting research, in a "may the best science win" approach. But
as I've written before, many scientists whose work challenges the amyloid
dogma have been unable to publish in top journals, and their grant
proposals, "go down in flames," as Mark Smith of Case Western Reserve
University School of Medicine told me. "Among the major journals and funding
agencies, the attitude was, 'if it isn't amyloid, it isn't AD.' "
Hence the impact of that "there is more to"
statement. It is the focus of a paper in the October issue of the journal
Alzheimer's & Dementia reporting on a "research roundtable" convened by the
private, nonprofit Alzheimer's Association. Finally, academic scientists and
leaders in biotech, medical imaging and big drug companies recognize "there
is more to AD than B-amyloid alone," the paper concludes. Which is why the
roundtable's goal "was to address, primarily, strategies that do not hinge
on directly modulating levels of B-amyloid" (my emphasis)
It's a remarkable turnaround. "This is the first
concerted effort by the Alzheimer's Association to focus on things beyond
beta-amyloid," says John Trojanowski of the University of Pennsylvania, who
has done pioneering work on the role of so-called neurofibrillary tangles in
To get a sense of what a sea change this is,
consider the Alzheimer's drug pipeline. Five drugs have been approved in the
U.S. One (tacrine) causes liver toxicity, so is rarely prescribed anymore.
None of the other four treat what anyone considers the real cause of the
disease. Instead, they nibble around the edges, using strategies to maintain
the brain's "cognitive reserve" so that when Alzheimer's sets in you don't
become senile quite so fast. None of the drugs provides more than marginal
benefit, if that, and help only some patients. And the disease keeps
marching through the brain.
Some of the estimated 100 Alzheimer's drugs in
clinical trials also nibble around the edges, such as by trying to lower
cholesterol or inflammation (thought to worsen Alzheimer's). But of those
that aim at a suspected cause of the disease, "the pipeline is full of
antiamyloid therapies," says William Theis, vice president for medicine and
science at the Alzheimer's Association. "The field was lulled into a false
sense of confidence that beta-amyloid was the culprit," says Dr.
Trojanowski. "But there is a great deal of uncertainty that the beta-amyloid
hypothesis will be validated, although some stalwarts still strongly believe
in it. We need to have a balanced portfolio of targets."
Thankfully, there are other suspects for what
causes the disease. This month marks the 100th anniversary of Alois
Alzheimer's report on his senile patient, Auguste D.: Her brain had stringy
tangles inside neurons and "senile plaques" around them. The tangles, it
turns out, are made of a protein called tau that gets transformed in such a
way that strands of it stick together like cold pasta. The plaques are those
globs of beta-amyloid. For many reasons, including the discovery of genes
having to do with amyloid, the search for causes and treatment focused on
But when you think about it, concluding that
B-amyloid and plaques cause Alzheimer's is like believing a scab on your
knee causes pain. The scab is the body's response to an earlier injury.
Similarly, there is evidence that amyloid plaques don't cause Alzheimer's.
Some elderly people who die with the disease don't
have senile plaques. Some who show no sign of dementia do. When an
Alzheimer's brain has plaques, they often are not where neurons have died,
casting doubt on their toxicity. Also, in people with early Alzheimer's, tau
tangles sometimes form before plaques, suggesting that plaques are a
response (and maybe a therapeutic one), not a cause. If so, ridding the
brain of plaques could cause harm.
"I definitely think it's time to think along other
lines of treatment, and that's finally becoming more widespread," says
Robert Mahley, president of the nonprofit J. David Gladstone Institutes, San
Francisco, and a leading Aer's researcher. "Big pharma has had all its
eggs in [the amyloid] basket, and is starting to worry about that."
As a result, there is new emphasis on finding
pathologies that lie upstream of beta-amyloid and plaques, or that have
nothing to do with them. Next week, I'll discuss some of these ideas and
experimental treatments based on them.
HIV up 20-fold in less than 10 years in eastern Europe, Central Asia
With drug use and non-sterile injection equipment still
at large, the number of people living with HIV climbed to 1.7 million in eastern
Europe and Central Asia in 2006, a twenty-fold increase in less than a decade,
the latest UNAIDS epidemic survey said Tuesday.
"HIV up 20-fold in less than 10 years in eastern Europe, Central Asia,"
PhysOrg, November 21, 2006 ---
The relentless hike saw an estimated 270,000 people
newly infected in 2006, with almost a third of new infections diagnosed in
people aged 15 to 24.
The majority of young people living with HIV/AIDS
reside in the Russian Federation and Ukraine, which together account for
about 90 percent of HIV infections, and where the use of non-sterile
hypodermic needles remains the main mode of transmission.
In eastern Europe, the use of non-sterile injecting
drug equipment accounted for almost two-thirds (63 percent) of reported HIV
cases for which information on the mode of transmission was available, the
UN agency report said.
But it added that "an increasing proportion of HIV
infections -- 37 percent of reported cases in 2005 -- are estimated to be
occurring during unprotected sexual intercourse."
This meant that an increasing number of women were
taking the brunt of HIV, with women under 25 accounting for 41 percent of
new infections in 2005.
Continued in article
Will the Roman Catholic Church change its position on condom use to prevent
The Vatican's office for health care has concluded a
study on the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS, and a long-awaited report
on it is now being examined by the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog, a senior
cardinal said Tuesday. But the prelate gave no indication of the position the
study takes or when a final pronouncement might be made.
"Vatican Concludes Study on Condoms," PhysOrg, November 21, 2006 ---
Nobel Prizes and Israel
November 14, 2006 message from Naomi Ragen
A few weeks ago, I read a remarkable article in an
Israeli newspaper: an interview with Israel's two Nobel prize winners, who
met to discuss the state of the nation. It is very long, very heartbreaking,
and very important. It may also be an overdose of reality for some readers,
coming on the heels of my own gloomy piece. If so, save it for another day.
But do read it. Thanks to the person who translated it from the Hebrew.
Monday, November 13, 2006 Sever Plocker, Yediot
Aharanot, October 28, 2006 (translation from Hebrew)
Special: The Two Israeli Nobel Prize Laureates
Foresee a Gloomy Future for the State
From a political point of view, they are poles
apart, but on one topic Prof. Yisrael Aumann and Prof. Aharon Ciechanover
are of the same opinion: Pitiful and failed leadership is leading Israel to
destruction │ What worries them most is the deterioration in academics and
education │ "There is a close connection between the sinking of the Israeli
spirit and the downfall of the State," they warn │ Everything here seems
lacking in values, temporary, one patch on top of another, a thin bandage
that can be torn off with any breeze."
Two men, neither young, looked into each other's
teary eyes. Behind them, on a green chalkboard, were written complex
formulae. They shared stories of their experiences, but not in chemistry or
in mathematics. They spoke with enthusiasm and uplifted spirits about
Hassidic niggunim [melodies] and Jewish prayers. Their voices cracked, their
chins trembled. In a minute, I thought, they will break down crying. It was
The two men, Prof. Yisrael (Robert) Aumann and
Prof. Aharon Ciechanover, are Israeli scientists and Nobel Prize winners.
The weekend supplement to Yediot Aharanot had arranged a discussion between
them on the subject of the weakening of the Israeli spirit and the failings
of the Israeli leadership. I was there to report on what was a deep,
painful, gloomy, and sometimes truly frightening discussion, one that leaves
the listener with very little hope and a great deal of discomfort.
The State of Israel, say the two professors, who
are poles apart in their political views, is moving in the wrong direction.
It is being swept away into the darkness, headed on a path toward possible
destruction-and not because of our external enemies. Rather, we have only
ourselves to blame: ourselves and our leaders, or those who call themselves
Aumann and Ciechanover found a way out of their
shared pessimism in their Jewish roots. "As a scientist, I am only a tourist
in the palace of the Holy One, blessed be he," said Ciechanover, "who
discovers secrets of the universe that he created, systems that were hidden
in it for millions of years. If there are apparent flaws in them, I try,
through medicine and science, to fix them."
Aumann stroked his white beard - just as my own
grandfather did, according to the only photograph of him that survived the
Holocaust and his escape - and said, "I feel the same way you do - I feel
the same way you do."
Were their eyes full of tears at the end of their
discussion because of the emotions aroused by the memory of the Hassidic
niggun? That was not my impression. From time to time, in speaking of the
fate of Israel and the failure of its leaders, Ciechanover and Aumann
sounded like people on the verge of tears - two outstanding scientists who
are tormented by fear for the future of our State.
The discussion began with my question, Are any more
Israelis expected to win Nobel Prizes? "The question is totally irrelevant,"
answered Ciechanover. "The Nobel Prize," he explained, "is a rare event -
rarer than the chance of being struck by lightning on a sunny day."
Ciechanover: "The State does not have to aspire to
Nobel Prizes as a national agenda. So what if three people who received
Nobel Prizes live here? What Israel needs is a broad educational system, a
critical mass of researchers and philosophers and ethicists and men of
letters who will lead her."
And there is no critical mass like that?
Prof. Ciechanover: "There is academic deterioration
at all levels. Even among people with academic degrees, I find garbled
language, a lack of cultural depth, and ignorance of general history and of
the history of the Jewish people. We need institutions of higher learning
headed by path-breaking leadership, but that kind of leadership has
disappeared. Where are the outstanding men of letters of the past? I see a
close connection between the sinking of the Israeli spirit and the downfall
of the State. Without developed humanities and Jewish studies, quality
science of any kind cannot exist in the State of Israel - not physics, nor
chemistry, nor mathematics, nor medicine. In order to flourish, scientists
of nature and technology must be nourished by the humanities: by ethics,
philosophy, literature, history, and Judaism.
"The fact that the State of Israel has not become
the great world center for Jewish thinking and history," says Prof.
Ciechanover, "is our greatest cultural bankruptcy. If we do not have here,
in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the leading world center for Jewish
historical research, it is proof of the fact that we have gone bankrupt."
Prof. Aumann: "You are one hundred percent
The Soap Bubble of Kadima
What is your opinion of our governmental elite?
"They are pitiful," Prof. Aharon Ciechanover says
decisively, while Prof. Yisrael Aumann vigorously nods his head in
They are so repulsive?
Ciechanover: "It is truly pitiful that there is not
one among them who instills in the public a sense of inspiration. There is
no one with whom you would like to speak, whose ideas you would want to
hear. To tell the truth, the members of the Israeli elite in general do not
voice ideas. They lack discussion, discourse - they don't even have an
agenda! They use all kinds of verbs in the Hebrew language - to disengage,
to dismantle - that lack all meaning and sense. They are devoid of content,
and in the middle of it is a soap bubble called the Kadima party."
That is to say, the downfall of the universities is
not occurring in a vacuum.
Ciechanover: "Certainly not. What we see in the
universities is merely a symptom of a serious and much more comprehensive
disease. I would even call it a fatal disease: spiritual diminution. It is a
cancer that has spread throughout Israeli society, to all its bodily limbs."
The politicians, in the opinion of the two Prize
winners, have stained public life with their behavior. Prof. Ciechanover
said, "Our leadership is always raising moral questions; the public's trust
in it has been lost completely. Of all the national symbols, only the anthem
and the flag are not yet subject to investigation by the Attorney General or
the State Comptroller. All the other symbols have already been consumed."
"With such leadership," adds Prof. Ciechanover with
great passion, "It is not surprising that the people's internal cohesion is
weakening. The external enemy does not scare me; with the help of technology
and wisdom, we will find a cure for it. What do worry me are the processes
within Israeli society itself. They are the destructive ones. Even our army
failed [in this summer's war in Lebanon] morally and practically - just look
at the way the IDF is now investigating itself!
You sound pessimistic:
Prof. Ciechanover: "I am extremely pessimistic. I
fear for the very existence of the State of Israel. Everything here seems
lacking in values, temporary, one patch on top of another, a thin patch
cover that can be torn off with any breeze."
Prof. Aumann (turns to Prof. Ciechanover): "I
listened to your words and wanted so much to disagree with them, but I
couldn't find a reason to do so. Just the opposite: Everything you say is
correct. Your claims are problematic, but I entirely agree with them. I,
too, am pessimistic. The problem is not with our neighbors, the problem is
with ourselves, with our lack of patience, with the selfishness that has
developed among us. Our national agenda is all mixed up: the collective
interest has been pushed to the sidelines by the personal interest. The
State of Israel in 2006 is something entirely different than what it was
when I immigrated in 1956, during the Sinai campaign."
How is it so different?
Prof. Aumann: "Today, everyone worries first and
foremost for himself - I, and only I. This is all well and good for a
country like Switzerland, but it is very bad for Israel. We cannot allow
ourselves a selfish agenda."
This selfishness - is it not also a result of the
privatization and subjugation of everything to a competitive market regime?
The competitive market lauds and praises selfishness and the advancement of
private interests. It has no place for national, religious, ethical and
cultural values of which you speak so highly.
Prof. Aumann: "I am a great fan of the market
economy and of the incentives that it creates. There is no opposition or
contradiction between it and Jewish values: Judaism has to be deeply
absorbed in our identity. The incentive to be a Jew has to be assimilated
into our soul. The Israeli educational system has to be built in such a way
that the population will want to fund the study of the humanities - the
humanties, theatre, all those things that are not strictly "economic" - just
as Haredi Jews fund systems of gemilut hassadim [charitable acts of
Prof. Ciechanover: "I was competitive all my life.
Without competition, I would not have succeeded in anything - even my
scientific success is a competitive success. Nevertheless, I am convinced
that there is no place for a competitive market economy in preserving values
that are critical for our existence. Our profitable and historical
inalienable assets cannot be managed like a profit-making economic factory."
How did the academic downfall and spiritual
Prof. Ciechanover: "The downfall began long before
the demise of the university: It began in the lower schools. I have no doubt
of it. It is, first of all, the ongoing erosion of the status of the
teacher, the main reason for which is the frequent changes in the head of
the Ministry of Education. Long-term reforms in education take dozens of
years; in the Israeli political reality, this is simply impossible. Does the
name 'Dovrat Commission' [the most recent national commission on educational
reform] still mean something to you? It has already been erased from our
Have we betrayed education?
Prof. Ciechanover: "We have betrayed education and
therefore betrayed everything. For the State of Israel, education, academia,
the humanities are everything. Unfortunately, not even one of the country's
universities is rated among the 100 outstanding universities in the world.
The President of the Hebrew University will tell you, and the President of
the Technion will tell you, and the soon-to-retire President of Tel-Aviv
University will tell you: we are not capable of bringing new scientists to
Israel, nor are we capable of seeking them out, as we are constantly forced
to cut and cut and cut our budgets."
Prof. Aumann: "Our academic failure is not only a
budgetary problem. The professors all cry that we need more money for
education and for the universities. Even the doctors demand more money for
medicine and road planners more money for infrastructure - as we say in the
Neilah prayer on Yom Kippur, 'Many are the needs of Your people, and their
understanding is limited.' We don't have to appeal to the State budget and
the Ministry of the Treasury for everything. Sometimes one has to do things
Putting One's Hand in the Public's Pocket
Prof. Aumann: "Instead of putting one's hand in the
public's pocket, one can appeal to private sources. We can raise large
contributions for humanities departments, and for the teaching of Judaism as
well, and "sell" donors on the importance of these fields for the protection
of Israel and its future. But this is still not enough. I also support an
extreme increase in tuition at the universities; I would increase it ten
times, to NIS 120,000 per year, even NIS 140,000 per year. At the same time,
I would increase [government] stipends and grant generous loans on special
terms. There is no need for the State of Israel to subsidize every student
in the field of business administration or finance or technology. Let them
pay a realistic tuition, or take loans, and when they receive high salaries,
which are standard in these professions, they will gradually pay back the
debt. But there is a definite need to subsidize the humanities, where the
jobs do not offer large salaries. The state should grant them stipends and
forgive the loans. If you go to law school and pay NIS 140,000 per year and
later become a successful lawyer in the business world, then you certainly
have to return the money that you received from the state. This is just,
this is right. This is also how it works in America, where the leading
universities are not public, but rather are organized as non-profit
But in Israel there is no tradition of business
corporations that contribute, shall we say, NIS 50,000,000 to the Faculty of
the Humanities or the department of Jewish history at one of the
Prof. Ciechanover: "Even if such a corporation
could be found, I don't see this as the desired solution. Three national
matters in Israel - education, health, and security - must be the
responsibility of the State. These are the foundation stones of our
existence here; the State of Israel cannot entrust education to private
hands. Who will fund the kindergartens and the high schools that are not, as
is well-known, attractive targets for contributions? Our universities will
not exist without a broad educational and academic infrastructure that only
the state is capable of maintaining."
Should we leave the universities outside the arena
of the economic game?
Prof. Ciechanover: "Not entirely. I do support the
system of stipends and loans and rewarding members of the faculty according
to their achievements, as none other than the Ministry of the Treasury
proposed. I cannot accept a situation in which a faculty member who brings
in research grants, draws attention [to his university], trains students,
works publicly in the university, and is concerned about his community can
receive in shekels, down to the last agora, the same salary as a member of
the faculty who sits idly with his legs crossed and does nothing. Economic
competition in certain fields in the universities is critical for moving the
wheels of the system."
No One with his Hand on the Rudder
Prof. Yisrael Aumann is a Haredi Jew; Prof. Aharon
Ciechanover describes himself as a religious Jew: "The only music that I
listen to," he tells me, "is cantorial selections. I have a huge collection
of them. I grew up in a home with a deep-rooted Jewish culture. I truly and
honestly believe that we will not achieve success in physics if we do not
also study Jewish philosophy and Jewish ethics and the history of the Jewish
people. These things are interdependent."
You could have "starred" in any university in the
world. Why are you here?
Prof. Ciechanover: "Because I was born here and I
want to live in a Hebrew-speaking environment, in the State that I fought
for and in which I believe-on account of the long history of my people - it
is important to live. This country is the essence of my existence. My
parents came to Israel as Jews from Poland because they wanted to establish
a state in which no one would call them Zhid - a Jewish state in which they
could live a free life. They knew what they were aiming for. But this is not
necessarily true of all Israelis. Our internal cohesion is falling apart;
the rifts are growing from within.
"I grew up with clear values, and, to my sorrow, I
see around me their steady erosion. At this juncture, we have lost sight of
our goal, and have no one with his hand on the rudder."
Are we at the edge of the abyss? Is Israel in
Prof. Ciechanover: "Yes, and if we do not regain
our balance, we will cease to exist. I say this in very clear language: If
we don't change, we will cease to exist. We will be uprooted from this
Prof. Aumann: "I, too, am very pessimistic and
depressed. We lack the will to exist, we lack the patience to exist. We lack
Zionism with a capital "Z." We have turned into post-Zionists, to our own
worst enemies. From my point of view, the blackest moment in the history of
the State of Israel, and perhaps in the history of the Jews in the world,
was the Tenth of Av 5765."
The day that the evacuation from Gaza started:
Prof. Aumann: "The day that the expulsion started
was the blackest moment. This was an unjustified act, immoral, not
strategic, not political. It wasn't anything. My people went mad - simply
Why the people? Why not the leadership?
Prof. Aumann: "Because the leadership is the
product of the people; look at the last election results."
Prof. Ciechanover: "Until a few months ago, I would
not have agreed with Prof. Aumann. Today, even though I haven't changed my
place on the political map, I have no choice but to agree with him. Last
year, I was in favor of the idea of disengagement, which seemed to me to be
an act of unilateral generosity towards the Palestinians. I hoped that they
would respond to us in kind, but I was wrong: after the unilateral
disengagement, we received only terror and more terror. The unilateral idea
was bankrupt and at the same time the soap bubble [Kadima] that arose from
its base went bankrupt. It is indeed still in power, but what is its message
today? This party, and with it this entire government, doesn't have even a
morsel of an agenda."
What do you actually expect from the government?
Prof. Ciechanover: "I expect the Prime Minister and
the Minister of Defense and all the ministers to wake up in the morning and
ask themselves: After six months in office, what have we done to this
country? Have we achieved even one objective that we set for ourselves and
those who elected us? This is the moral minimum demanded of them. I wonder:
how can they live with the failure that they created with their own hands?"
You mean, why are they not ashamed?
Prof. Ciechanover: "They are not ashamed because
they don't care. They don't think about us. I look at them and I do not know
what my future is in this country. I am very, very pessimistic and
Prof. Aumann: "I am also pessimistic and depressed.
But I have not forgotten that this is all our own fault - all our own
In this way the discussion between the two Prize
winners, our most distinguished scientists, ended but was not concluded.
They parted with a hug, and I saw tears mounting in the corners of their
Forwarded by Team Carper
Idiot Awards for 2004
These people are actually allowed out in public --- without supervision!
Number One Idiot of 2004 - I am a medical student currently doing a
rotation in toxicology at the poison control center. Today, this woman
called in very upset because she caught her little daughter eating ants. I
quickly reassured her that the ants are not harmful and there would be no
need to bring her daughter into the hospital. She calmed down and at the
end of the conversation happened to mention that she gave her daughter some
ant poison to eat in order to kill the ants. I told her that she better
bring her daughter into the emergency room right away. Here's your sign,
lady. Wear it with pride.
Number Two Idiot of 2004 - Early this year, some Boeing employees
on the airfield decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s. They
were successful in getting it out of the plane and home. Shortly after they
took it for a float on the river, they noticed a Coast Guard helicopter
coming towards them. It turned out that the chopper was homing in on the
emergency locator beacon that activated when the raft was inflated. They
are no longer employed at Boeing. Here's your sign, guys. Don't get it wet;
the paint might run.
Number Three Idiot of 2004 - A true story out of San Francisco: A
man, wanting to rob a downtown Bank of America, walked into the branch and
wrote "this iz a stikkup. Put all your muny in this bag" While standing in
line, waiting to give his note to the teller, he began to worry that someone
had seen him write the note and might call the police before he reached the
teller's window. So he left the Bank of America and crossed the street to
Wells Fargo. After waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to the
Wells Fargo teller. She read it and, surmising from his spelling errors that
he wasn't the brightest light in the harbor, told him that she could not
accept his stickup note because it was written on a Bank of America deposit
slip and that he would either have to fill out a Wells Fargo deposit slip or
go back to Bank of America. Looking somewhat defeated, the
man said, "OK" and left. He was
arrested a few minutes later, as he was
waiting in line back at Bank of America. Don't bother with this guy's
sign. He probably couldn't read it anyway.
Number Four Idiot of 2004 - A guy walked into a little corner store
with a shotgun and demanded all of the cash from the cash drawer. After the
cashier put the cash in a bag, the robber saw a bottle of Scotch that he
wanted behind the counter on the shelf. He told the cashier to put it in
the bag as well, but the cashier refused and said, because I don't believe
you are over 21. " The robber said he was, but the clerk still refused to
give it to him because he didn't believe him. At this point, the robber
took his driver's license out of his wallet and gave it to the clerk. The
clerk looked it over and agreed that the man was in fact over 21 and he put
the Scotch in the bag. The robber then ran from the store with his loot.
The cashier promptly called the police and gave the name and address of the
robber that he got off the license. They arrested the robber two hours
later. This guy definitely needs a sign!
Idiot Number Five of 2004 - A pair of Michigan robbers entered a
record shop nervously waving revolvers. The first one shouted, "Nobody
move!" When his partner moved, the startled first bandit shot him. This guy
doesn't need a sign, he probably figured it out himself.
Idiot Number Six of 2004 - Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty
badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor
store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and
heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and
hit the would be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. It seems the
liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on
videotape. Oh, that smarts. Give him his sign.
Idiot Number Seven of 2004 - Ann Arbor: The Ann Arbor News crime
column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan
at 12:50 A.M., flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down
because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food
order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't
available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away. Sign please.
Please note that all of the above people are allowed to vote and have
More Tidbits from the Chronicle
of Higher Education ---
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmark s go to
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
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 ---
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586