|When I retired in May I took this picture of one of Erika's
flower gardens on my first day home. It has been as warm in January
as it was back in May. The snow completely surrendered to
temperatures over 60 degrees, high winds, and squalls of driving
rain. Even if we get tons of snow in the spring it will still be a
disaster for New England's winter resorts, clothing sales, and snow
equipment sales. I personally hate snow mobiles so the only sweet
justice is that all those machines are like atheist in their coffins
--- all tuned up with nowhere to go. On January 6 it even reached 43
degrees atop our highest mountain ---
Mt. Washington. And wind gusts did not hit 100 mph on the summit
that day. New Englanders would curse El Nino if they could pronounce
In the January 3 edition of Tidbits I provided some details of Erika's
upcoming surgery ---
We leave for Boston tomorrow. A team of surgeons will commence early in the
morning on January 10. For her these 10 -14 hours on the table will pass in an
instant. But she will awaken in pain hell. She's awakened in pain hell on eight
previous spine surgeries. Women who recall the pain of childbirth might
empathize by multiplying childbirth pain by 10 for intensity and 100 for
After having lived in severe and incessant pain for so many years, it puts faith
in God to the test by asking "What did I ever do to deserve this?" or
"Why can't I just die?" Erika's
faith is abiding, and she never asks such questions! She never questions God's
plan for her. It makes her truly appreciate the few good days in which the pain
is less intense. And her expectations for life in Heaven are are much lower than
for most. She'd happily scrub toilets and wait tables for eternity in Heaven if
she can do so free of pain.
It brings tears to her eyes to
know so many of you are praying for her and wishing her well.
For those of you closer friends
intending to send flowers, Erika says she will settle for the "The
Rose" that is given by the hospital itself to all incoming patients.
Erika prefers that you instead send an equivalent amount of money to the
Baptist Hospital --- a small orthopedics and neurosurgery hospital
(150 beds) that has Rank 15 among U.S. hospitals according the US News
Among other distinctions NEBH is the official hospital of the Boston Celtecs ---
a good thing too since they're
pain most of the time.
also chose this hospital for his hip replacement surgery. The NEBH is also
affiliated with two famous medical schools in Boston.
Please mention that her lead surgeon on this tremendous effort is Dr. Stephen
Parazin. He plans to perform the following surgery on Erika Jensen in
Boston's New England Baptist Hospital on January 10. Her surgery is called
Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomity for
Fixed Sagittal Imbalance ---
Ways to Give are summarized at
In the UC --- Berkeley Medical
School, Dr. Parazin conducted some cutting edge spinal surgery research, albeit
case-method research. He also received outstanding training from
uniquely-specialized surgery professors at the UC Medical School
Jean Heck and I updated our paper on the sad state of case-method research in
academic accountancy at
Tidbits on January 8, 2007
earlier editions of Tidbits go to
earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
The new December 31
edition of New Bookmarks is linked at
The new December 31
edition of Fraud Updates is linked at
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 Threads ---
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 ---
A great helper site for HDTV shoppers ---
Columbia University's Redefined MBA (from Business Week
Redneck Comedians ---
A Year's Worth of Memorable Moments on NPR ---
Top 10 Movies of 2006 -- and the Also-Rans ---
Free music downloads ---
Hits From the 1960s (original recordings) ---
A Soul-Singing Legend, Reborn in 'Nashville'
(Country Music) ---
Digital Mozart Museum ---
Peking Opera meets Grand Opera Thursday night on
the stage of New York's Metropolitan Opera, as The First Emperor has its world
'Too Hot to Handel': A Modern 'Messiah' ---
NPR Online Concerts ---
Lieberson's 'Neruda Songs,' Tracing Love's Arc
(Classical Music_ ---
A Lounge-Friendly Blend of Beats and Bass ---
Skate Legend Guerrero on Deck with a New CD (Hard
Tom Waits: Rock Classics, with a Gravelly Rasp
Violin Instruction: The American Suzuki
Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens
Point: the Suzuki Method in Action ---
Guitar Never Seemed So Hard ---
Photographs and Art
Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Bibliochaise online library ---
Brain Juice Biographies ---
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ---
Margaret Ogilvy by James Matthew
Barrie (1860-1937) ---
The Seven Poor Travellers by
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) ---
Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens
The Stark Munro Letters by Arthur
Conan Doyle (1859-1930) ---
The Coxon Fund by Henry James
The Pupil by Henry James
Records of a Family of Engineers
by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) ---
Edinburgh Picturesque Notes by
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) ---
E.E. Cummings Poems ---
Find Quotes ---
The Quotations Page ---
Books in Depth (including
downloads of sample chapters) ---
Magazine, Periodical and Website Book Reviews from around the World ---
There is not the slightest doubt that sustainable
development is one of the most destructive concepts.
A man's worst difficulties begin when he is able to
do as he likes.
Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) ---
The degree of civilization in a society can be
judged by entering its prisons.
Fedor Michailovich Dostoevski
Marijuana is now the biggest cash crop grown in the
US, exceeding traditional harvests such as wheat, corn and soy beans, says a new
report. The study shows that 10,000 tonnes of marijuana worth $35.8bn (£18.4bn)
is grown each year; the street value would be even higher. This dwarfs the
$23bn-worth of corn grown, $17.6bn-worth of soybeans and $12.2bn-worth of hay.
Dan Glaster, "All-time high for
homegrown as pot becomes top cash crop in US ," The Guardian, December
19, 2006 ---
With a bit of street pricing and agricultural investigation, this could be
written up as a classic "make-versus-buy" case for our managerial accounting
courses. Alternately this could be a chapter in Freakonomics Volume II
We should tell University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and co-author of
Freakonomics that abortion is just not doing a sufficient job in reducing
drug crime among all those dealers still living with their mothers.
ExxonMobil Corp. gave $16 million to 43 ideological
groups between 1998 and 2005 in a coordinated effort to mislead the public by
discrediting the science behind global warming, the Union of Concerned
Scientists asserted Wednesday. The report by the science-based nonprofit
advocacy group mirrors similar claims by Britain's leading scientific academy.
Last September, The Royal Society wrote the oil company asking it to halt
support for groups that "misrepresented the science of climate change."
ExxonMobil did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the scientific
advocacy group's report.
PhysOrg, January 3, 2006 ---
The words "mislead" and "misrepresent" are a very loaded conclusions. They imply
diversion or obfuscation of truth. If the truth is unknown, then funding
research to discover greater accuracy is perfectly legitimate. Funding of
challenges of so-called truth is perfectly legitimate. But the funding of
research truly intended to obfuscate the truth is totally contrary to academe
and dangerous in politics. Global warming is such a complicated phenomenon it
seems that there are some undeniable truths such as recent abnormal melting of
ice at the poles of the earth. But much is unknown about underlying causes and
cures. Frustrations in finding causes have led some scientists to claim more
than their data support on both sides of the issue.
In most societies the priesthood strives to establish a
monopoly, often by draconian means, such as
torture and death, in order to preserve its status.
The brief flourishing of the age of science in the last two or three centuries
largely brought that process to a halt but, now that the scientific method and
its inherent scepticism have fallen into disrepute among the powers that be of
the new establishment, the new theologies are beginning to assert their
authority. The journals that were once the great pillars of science and its
methods now openly practice a crude censorship of anything that smacks of
committees of self-styled scientists
brand dissenters and attempt to consign them to
oblivion.The peer review system, another fundamental pillar of science, has
always been prone to corruption by the formation of
interest groups, but the present situation is
orders of magnitude more serious than that. Dissenting arguments are not only
excluded from peer review publications, but they are dismissed by dint of that
very exclusion. Some of the
priests of the new order go to extraordinary
lengths to prevent the publication of challenges to their own preachments. Then
there is control of funding. Those who produce hard evidence embarrassing to the
establishment (such as
why 2003 was supposedly a year of record heat) are
likely to find themselves bereft of cash.Alas, poor science!
John Bignell, "The shaman principle,"
January 15, 2006 ---
A scientist in any serious
scientific discipline, such as genetics, would be in serious trouble if his
fellow scientists were unable to confirm or replicate his claim to have found
the gene for fatness. He would gain a reputation as being 'unreliable' and
universities would be reluctant to employ him. This self-imposed insistence on
rigorous methodology is however missing from contemporary epidemiology; indeed
the most striking feature is the insouciance with which epidemiologists announce
their findings, as if they do not expect anybody to take them seriously. It
would, after all, be a very serious matter if drinking alcohol really did cause
James Le Fanu ---
Bob Jensen's threads on replication are at
The great tragedy of science, the slaying of a
beautiful theory by an ugly fact.
Thomas Henry Huxley as quoted by
John Bignell at
All science is either physics or stamp collecting.
Ernest Rutherford ---
A former US policeman and undercover drug agent has
appalled narcotics officials by introducing a Christmas video for drug users on
how to avoid arrest and fool the police. Barry Cooper, who is described by
former colleagues as perhaps the best drug- enforcement officer in America, will
next week begin marketing Never Get Busted Again, which will show viewers how to
“conceal their stash, avoid narcotics profiling and fool canines every time”. Mr
Cooper, who supports the legalisation of marijuana, made the video because he
believes that the fight against drugs in America is a waste of money.
(and precious prison space for nonviolent marijuana dealers)
Tim Reid, "How to beat the drug
busts - by the best narcotics officer in America," London Times, December
23, 2006 ---
Also see the MSNBC account on December 22, 2006 ---
In yet another assault on childhood fun, the game of
tag has come under fire from Addle-minded, er, Attleboro, Massachusetts. Willett
Elementary School has banned tag from recess. Principal Gaylene Heppe made the
decision because, as she told the Associated Press, recess is "a time when
accidents can happen." . . . Citing concerns over safety and liability, the
school has put a lock on all unsupervised chasing games at recess -- no tag
backs, no free base -- thus ending yet another form of exercise for children.
So, instead of having healthy, well-adjusted kids, Attleboro will soon have a
bunch of fat kids whose parents have a litigation attorney on
Erik Deckers, "You're Dumb!" The Irascible Professor, December 21, 2006
Four year old pervert in Texas? The teacher's aid probably
speed dialed her lawyers as well!
The Nov. 13 letter from La Vega Independent School District
stated his son, who was 4 years old at the time, was
involved in "inappropriate physical behavior interpreted as sexual contact
and/or sexual harassment" after the boy hugged a teacher's aide and "rubbed his
face in the chest of (the) female employee" on Nov. 10. The letter also stated
Blackwell's son, who Blackwell requested not be named in this story for privacy
reasons, spent the day in in-school suspension (ISS) as punishment for the
Emily Ingram, "Hug lands
4-year-old in suspension," Waco Tribune, December 10, 2006 ---
Five year old sexual predator in Maryland? "Sexual harassment" is now on
the child's school record!
Mowen said that definition comes from the Maryland
State Department of Education. According to a school document provided by the
boy's father, the 5-year-old pinched a girl's buttocks on Dec. 8 in a hallway at
the school south of Hagerstown. Charles Vallance, the boy's father, said he was
unable to explain to his son what he had done. "He knows nothing about sex,"
Vallance said. "There's no way to explain what he's been written up for. He
knows it as playing around. He doesn't know it as anything sexual at all." The
incident was described as "sexual harassment" on the school form.
Opinion Journal, December 21, 2006
My son was expelled in the 5th grade for telling
another fifth grader that he liked her. I guess saying that to someone who
doesn't feel the same way now constitutes sexual harrassment.
Opinion Journal, December 21, 2006
"Former ambassador Joseph Wilson asked a federal
judge Wednesday not to force him to testify in the CIA leak case and accused
former White House aide I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby of trying to harass him on the
witness stand," the Associated Press reports from Washington. Hmm, for a guy who
burst onto the scene three years ago as the most garrulous figure since Ted
Turner, and who then wrote a book called "The Politics of Truth," Wilson is
awfully averse to testifying under oath.
Opinion Journal, December 21, 2006
As one of a series of measures to establish a
personality cult, Saparmurat Niyazov had a gold statue of himself put on top of
a building in the capital, Ashgabat. The statue revolves so it always faces the
sun. Niyazov, who was appointed president for life in 1999, changed the names of
the months in honour of members of his own family. . . . Niyazov outlawed ballet
and opera and banned men from listening to car radios; he also banned the use of
recorded music at weddings and other public events.
"The personality cult of Turkmenbashi," The
Guardian, December 21, 2006 ---
Saparmurat Niyazov, ruler of Turkmenistan, who dubbed himself "Turkmenbashi," or
"father of the Turkmen." He died unexpectedly on December 21, 2006 (since
"December" is not the name of a month in Turkmenistan, he really died on
Rukhnama 11, 2006).
British writer David Irving wasted no time Friday
offending Jews and black people at a news conference, a day after his return
from Austria where he was imprisoned for denying the Holocaust. At a news
conference in London, Irving endorsed actor Mel Gibson's drunken comments
earlier this year that Jews were responsible for all modern wars . . . He said
sales from his book on World War II German Gen. Erwin Rommel enabled him to walk
into a car showroom with a paper bag stuffed with cash to buy a "(racial slur)
"David Irving: 'Mel Gibson was right'," The Jerusalem Post, December 22,
The international Global Voices summit brings
together political refugees, human rights advocates and people just determined
to save the world -- or a part of it. What they have in common is a deep
certainty that the internet can do more than just sell us stuff. Exciting things
happen when dedicated bloggers from around the world meet for the first time.
For Briton Rachel Rawlins, being introduced to Tunisian exile Sami Ben Gharbia
was the chance to meet a personal hero.Gharbia is the creator of the
Prison Map -- an idea inspired by a New
York Times interactive map charting
murder locations in New
York City. Gharbia turned the concept on its head: Instead of showing government
figures on crime, he'd display where his former government was behaving
criminally, imprisoning political dissidents for daring to speak out.
Quinn Norton, "Bloggers Shrink the
Planet," Wired News, December 21, 2006 ---
In this startling and absorbing new book, which
created a considerable storm in Germany when it was published in 2005, Götz Aly
advances another explanation. It was, he says, material factors that persuaded
the great mass of Germans to support Hitler and the Nazis almost to the very
end. The Nazi leadership, he claims in Hitler's Beneficiaries, made the Germans
into "well-fed parasites. Vast numbers of Germans fell prey to the euphoria of a
gold rush.... As the state was transformed into a gigantic apparatus for
plundering others, average Germans became unscrupulous profiteers and passive
recipients of bribes." . . . In his new book, he caused an even greater upset in
Germany than before by arguing that it was not only the elites whose support for
the Nazi regime was based on rational, nonideological grounds but also the vast
mass of the people. How does his new claim stand up to critical scrutiny?
Richard J. Evans, "Parasites of
Plunder?" The Nation, December 20, 2006 ---
The American military rushed into Iraq with too few
troops — “They chose to go into battle with a ground combat capability,” General
Barry McCaffrey is approvingly quoted as saying, “that was inadequate, unless
their assumptions proved out.” And neocons had no real clue about what would
spring up immediately behind us as we raced into Baghdad. So back home we
declared “Mission Accomplished” — even as the jihadists and ex-Baathists were
filtering through our attenuated lines to begin their insurrection. When we did
belatedly react, the U.S. military ended up terrorizing civilians and tried to
use clumsy, brute force instead of sophisticated counterinsurgency tactics
against an ever more subtle enemy that hid among civilians. General Tommy
Franks, as the henchman of an imperious Donald Rumsfeld, was undeniably clever
enough to force-feed his flawed plans down the throats of the Pentagon’s top
brass but not wise enough to understand the nature of asymmetrical warfare and
counterinsurgency — and thus predictably bailed to write his memoirs and hit the
lucrative lecture circuit before his victory was mussed up.
Victor Davis Hanson, "A review of
Fiasco: The American Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks (Penguin Press,
2006, pp. 496), December 23, 2006 ---
I think the main assumption that failed was that the Iraqi people would be so
happy to be freed from Saddam's harsh dictatorship that they would gladly come
together and form the jewel of democracy in the Middle East. We should have
learned in Bosnia and Afghanistan that freeing Muslins from tyrants does not
make them either grateful or give them peace among themselves. We never learn.
Will Fannie eventually become an even bigger taxpayer loss than the
infamous Savings and Loan frauds?
Fannie Mae's stock price has been on an upswing since
late summer, reflecting investor confidence that a Democratic Congress would
make strict scrutiny of the mortgage giant less likely (see the nearby chart).
And there's no doubt that with Barney Frank wielding the gavel in the House
Financial Services Committee, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will have a pal on
Capitol Hill. Mr. Frank is already talking about expanding the companies'
operations (and thus taxpayer exposure to any financial accident) . . . The
well-documented allegation is that Fannie's managers manipulated earnings to
ensure that their bonuses and incentive compensation were maximized. If Fannie
didn't in fact reach those earnings targets -- and it has since restated its
earnings by $6.3 billion -- then that money does not belong to the managers who
"Ill-Gotten Raines," The Wall Street Journal, December 20,
2006; Page A18 ---
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to ship thousands
of California inmates to prisons in other states to reduce overcrowding is
faltering because few prisoners - some intimidated by powerful gangs -- have
volunteered to move. . . . Sources familiar with prison operations who spoke on
the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on behalf of
the department say that gang leaders have instructed members not to take the
offer of moving out-of-state because it will upset balances of power in prisons
and leave gang members left vulnerable due to reduced numbers.
Mark Martin, "Gang intimidation
threatens Schwarzenegger's prison plan: Few inmates volunteer to move to
other states," San Francisco Chronicle, December 22, 2006 ---
Canada a haven for pedophiles
A newly released report says that the age of consent
for vaginal sex in Canada – currently set at 14 – has made this country a
favorite destination for child-sex “tourism”. The Global Monitoring Report on
the Status of Action against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children,
says that Canada’s age of consent has made Canada a haven for pedophiles. The
report was issued by the Bangkok-based organization, End Child Prostitution,
Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, or ECPAT
International. It gives Canada 17 recommendations, including raising the age of
consent from 14 to 16.
Hilary White, "Age of Consent at 14
Makes Canada Favoured Sex Tourism," Raiders News Network, December 20,
Some of the most violent criminals at large today
are illegal aliens. Yet in cities where the crime these aliens commit is
highest, the police cannot use the most obvious tool to apprehend them: their
immigration status. In Los Angeles, for example, dozens of members of a ruthless
Salvadoran prison gang have sneaked back into town after having been deported
for such crimes as murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and drug trafficking.
Police officers know who they are and know that their mere presence in the
country is a felony. Yet should a cop arrest an illegal gangbanger for felonious
reentry, it is he who will be treated as a criminal, for violating the LAPD’s
rule against enforcing immigration law.
Heather Mac Donald, "The
Illegal-Alien Crime Wave," City Journal ---
A writer is someone who spends years patiently
trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who
he is. When I speak of writing, the image that comes first to my mind is not a
novel, a poem, or a literary tradition; it is the person who shuts himself up in
a room, sits down at a table, and, alone, turns inward. Amid his shadows, he
builds a new world with words. This man—or this woman—may use a typewriter, or
profit from the ease of a computer, or write with a pen on paper, as I do. As he
writes, he may drink tea or coffee, or smoke cigarettes. From time to time, he
may rise from his table to look out the window at the children playing in the
street, or, if he is lucky, at trees and a view, or even at a black wall. He may
write poems, or plays, or novels, as I do. But all these differences arise only
after the crucial task is complete—after he has sat down at the table and
patiently turned inward. To write is to transform that inward gaze into words,
to study the worlds into which we pass when we retire into ourselves, and to do
so with patience, obstinacy, and joy.
Orhan Pamuk, "MY FATHER’S SUITCASE:
The Nobel Lecture, 2006," The New Yorker, December 25, 2006 ---
One of the things I've learned on the Google is to pull
up maps. It's very interesting to see -- I've forgotten the name of the program
-- but you get the satellite, and you can -- like, I kinda like to look at the
ranch. It reminds me of where I wanna be sometimes.
George W. Bush on an interview with
CNBC. He failed to mention that he could also see where he doesn't wanna be
The best thing about the future is that it comes
only one day at a time.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) ---
A new report by scientists studying Louisiana's
sinking coast says the land here is not just sinking, it's sliding ever so
slowly into the Gulf of Mexico. The new findings may add a kink to plans being
drawn up to build bigger and better levees to protect this historic city and
Cajun bayou culture. If the land is shifting - even slightly - engineers may
need to take that into consideration as they build new levees and draw lines
across the coast to identify areas that should and shouldn't be protected.
PhysOrg, January 3, 2007 ---
Nothing good is going to come from
political haggling over some hypothetical Social Security crisis decades in the
future, when our economy will be vastly different and hugely more productive.
From the completion of a worldwide fiber-optic broadband Internet to cornucopian
energy and medical advances, the global economy is engaged in a siege of
accelerating innovation that will unify it and enrich it increasingly as time
passes. But no legislative reshuffling of taxes and spending today will enhance
the economy's ability to support medical care, housing and transport for the
aged in the future. That will depend not on actuarial trumpery but on the
realities of productivity, technology, immigration and global trade and
investment. The key is keeping the economy open to outside investors as our
population ages and as the productive center of the global economy shifts toward
Asia. As Michael Milken points out, the younger workers around the globe will
use their increasing savings to buy the assets of American seniors as they grow
older, thus offering liquidity to our retirees, sustaining U.S. asset prices,
and expanding U.S. opportunities.
George Gilder, "Economics Is Not For
Actuaries," The Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2007 ---
Changes in Cisco VPN for tunneling into (updating) your on-campus networked
Although my comments below apply to my Trinity University networked
files, they may apply to many of you who maintain networked files back on your
own campus. My networked files are mainly Drive U (email Personal Folders),
Drive W (faculty Web server), and Drive J (LAN drive). In prior years when I had
an office on campus, I installed GoToMyPC on my office computer. As long as the
computer was turned on I could, thereby, operate that computer from anywhere in
the world from virtually any computer. In technical terms GoToMyPC is a very
"thin client" alternative and a very ethical company ---
After I retired from teaching in Texas and moved to New Hampshire, Trinity
extended me emeritus services for computing and a secretary. However, I no
longer have an office on campus and our Computer Center was not enthusiastic
about maintaining a campus computer for my GoToMyPC home base. Techies at
Trinity recommended that I install Cisco VPN's free service (at least its free
to me) ---
Basically I was happy with VPN although there were a few minor frustrations.
For example saving a file from MS FrontPage, MS Excel, or MS Word can take the
better part of the day. But the work around for this is to update all the files
on my local (New Hampshire) computer and then transfer the updated files through
VPN to the campus network drives via Windows Explorer. This is reasonably fast
and effective. You cannot access VPN from public computers such as those found
in Internet cafes and public libraries. This is possible with GoToMyPC.
Over the recent holidays, techies at Trinity installed a security upgrade
to VPN that I find totally frustrating. If I'm connected to VPN, I can access my
network drives. However, I cannot go to off-campus Websites on my browsers
(Internet Explorer and Foxpro). To access off-campus Websites I must disconnect
All the flip flopping between VPN Connect and VPN Disconnect would be
tolerable if it wasn't for a glitch in MS Outlook. If I disconnect from VPN in
order to access off-campus Websites, MS Outlook does not work properly when I
eventually re-connect to VPN. The only way to get MS Outlook to work properly is
to reboot my entire system --- which is a genuine pain.
So that brings me to a work-around that I'm using. When I start my computer I
do not connect to VPN or open MS Outlook. Instead I access my email via the
Internet. For Trinity University the Web Link is
I'm certain most other colleges have an Outlook Web Access site. I can then read
my email messages, send out replies, delete the junk, etc. But I cannot save
message to my Drive U Personal Folders or update my Drive J and Drive W files.
For that I must connect to Cisco VPN. For Drive U Personal Folder access I
must reboot and open MS Outlook.
I'm still learning about Outlook Web Access. I've not yet discovered how to
add a digital signature to my messages sent via OWA. I'm also having troubles
converting to HTML formatting.
There are of course other work-arounds that do not use VPN or GoToMyPC. One
is to use the old fashioned and reliable FTP transfers (which to my knowledge
will not work for my Drive U email Personal Folders) which work for LAN and Web
drives. I keep a large set of files maintained on the Computer Science
Department Web server ---
I maintain these files with FTP. You can read more about FTP services at
Where are young people (and others) turning for uncensored videos, photos, and
other Web site content?
Popular Web sites like
YouTube and MySpace have hired the equivalent of school hallway monitors to
police what visitors to their sites can see and do by cracking down on piracy
and depictions of nudity and violence. So where do the young thrill-seekers go?
Increasingly, to new Web sites like Stickam.com, which is building a business by
going where others fear to tread: into the realm of unfiltered live broadcasts
from Web cameras.
Brad Stone, "Young Turn to Web Sites Without Rules," The New York
Times, January 2, 2007 ---
The Stickam (or is that sick am?) site is at
Stickam is concerned about the safety and privacy
of all of the members of our community, especially minors. However, it is
important to keep in mind that Stickam is intended for broad general use and
some users may consider some content available on Stickam is offensive, indecent
or objectionable. AVC can not be held responsible for any content Posted by
Stickam users. While Stickam has established rules keeping children under the
age of 14 from becoming a member, it is easy for children to lie about their age
and thus gain access to Content which may be inappropriate and unintended for
them. It is up to parents to properly supervise their children’s online
activities. Certain parental control protections are commercially available
which can assist parents in supervising their children’s online activities such
as computer hardware, software, and filtering services which can be used to
block a child’s access to websites such as Stickam.com. You can find tools that
will assist you in supervising your children’s online activities by clicking
Help for the younger generation's planning ahead for their financial
"A Glimpse of the Future: Savings and asset accumulation among Americans
25–34," Journal of Accountancy, January 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's personal finance bookmarks are at
PDF Now Means Pretty Darn Fearful
Computer security researchers said Wednesday they have
discovered a vulnerability in Adobe Systems Inc.'s ubiquitous Acrobat Reader
software that allows cyber-intruders to attack personal computers through
trusted Web links. Virtually any Web site hosting Portable Document Format, or
PDF, files are vulnerable to attack, according to researchers from Symantec
Corp. and VeriSign Inc.'s iDefense Intelligence. The attacks could range from
stealing cookies that track a user's Web browsing history to the creation of
harmful worms, the researchers said. The flaw, first revealed at a hacker
conference in Germany over the holidays, exists in a plug-in that enables
Acrobat users to view PDF files within Web browsers. By manipulating the Web
links to those documents, hackers and online thieves are able to commandeer the
Acrobat software and run malicious code when users attempt to open the files,
according to Ken Dunham, director of the rapid response team at VeriSign's
"Researchers: Adobe's PDF Software Flawed," PhysOrg, January 4, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on computing and network security are at
Study: Age, sex affect traffic accidents
Purdue University engineering researchers showed
statistical differences in traffic accident injuries depend upon the gender and
age of drivers, the university said. Researchers found significant differences
in the severity of injuries sustained in accidents involving men and women and
drivers within three age groups: young, 16-24; middle-aged, 25-64; and older, 65
and above. Among the findings, foregoing seat belts increased the likelihood of
injury by 119 percent for young women, 164 percent for middle-aged women and 187
percent for older women. Fatalities were more likely for middle-aged men who
fall asleep at the wheel, speed, had an accident at an intersection or after
midnight Friday or Saturday, researchers said. The same factors had no
significant effect on the injury levels for middle-aged women.
"Study: Age, sex affect traffic accidents," PhysOrg, January 3, 3006 ---
From the Journal of Accountancy January 2007 Smart Stops on the Web
Onward and Upward
Here CPAs and financial advisers can get a free trial membership and explore
some of the nonfinancial considerations of retirement, such as how to handle
change and revisit past interests as future options. Retirement Resources
has links to Web sites on health, recreation and working after retirement.
Find books on successful retirement in Suggested Reading, get the free
newsletter Next Phase News and download research findings in
“Retirement Trends and Truths.”
Get the Financial Facts
This blog, created by the founder and president of Kim Snider
Financial Communications, has dozens of posts from financial journals and
Web sites on topics including annuities, bonds, cash flow investments,
financial education and investment principles. Find out how Kim Snider
invests her own money and learn her portfolio management strategies with a
free informational session.
A Helping Hand
Personal financial planners with clients that have kids in school will want
to bookmark this Smart Stop for guides on navigating financial aid, loan and
scholarship information. Find links to aid programs from the military and
federal and state governments, as well as resources on education tax
benefits and financial aid applications. Get calculators to project college
costs and help with family budgeting. Or go to Beyond Financial Aid for a
financial aid checklist and links to college selection and jobs and
Follow this blogger’s personal finance journey to learn about the 10 best
domestic equity fund managers and how to properly close a credit card
account. Look up your life expectancy in the Archives or go to the PFBlog
Digest to get the scoop on paying off student loans, starting salaries for
college grads and how 529 plans affect financial aid eligibility.
Make a Clean Break
Financial advisers looking for divorce resources for female clients can go
to this site’s Downloadable Documents section for state-specific divorce
forms, parenting, separation and property settlement agreements. The Legal
Considerations for Women and Financial Information sections offer divorce
strategies and advice on choosing an attorney.
Why was I passed over again this year?
2006 Foot-in-Mouth Awards ---
Women Partners in the Big 4 Accounting Firms
For the tenth consecutive year, Deloitte & Touche USA
LLP tops the Big Four accounting firms in percentage of women partners,
principals and directors, according to Public Accounting Report's 2006 Survey of
Women in Public Accounting. The survey revealed that Deloitte's percentage of
women partners, principals and directors is currently 19.3 percent, surpassing
that of KPMG (16.8 percent), Pricewaterhouse Coopers (15.8 percent) and Ernst &
Young (13.5 percent). Deloitte has held this lead every year since the inception
of the survey in 1997, according to Jonathan Hamilton, editor, Public Accounting
SmartPros, December 26, 2006 ---
Women now make up more than 60 percent of all
accountants and auditors in the United States, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
That is an estimated 843,000 women in the accounting and auditing work force.
AccountingWeb, "Number of Female Accountants Increasing," June 2, 2006
About thirteen years ago, Deloitte embarked on a "Women's Initiative" to help
female employees break the glass ceiling ---
Bob Jensen's accounting career helpers are at
A great helper site for HDTV shoppers ---
"The HDTV Dilemma: Pay for TiVo's Recorder Or Settle for Cable's?" by
Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2006; Page B1
If you just got a high-definition
television, one of the best things you can buy to complement it is a digital
video recorder, or DVR, the tapeless gadgets that save programs so you can
watch them when you choose.
The trouble is, it's hard to find a
DVR that can record in high definition, so most people wind up simply going
with the bare-bones high-definition DVR capability built into the set-top
box supplied by their cable or satellite service.
But TiVo, the pioneer in digital
video recording, has recently entered the high-definition recorder market
with a high-end, high-priced product. It's called the TiVo Series3 HD
Digital Media Recorder and it sells for a whopping $800, as much as some
HDTVs themselves. And that doesn't include the $12.95 a month it costs to
subscribe to TiVo.
I've been testing the new TiVo and I like it a lot,
but it's hard to swallow that huge price, especially since the new Series3
model doesn't include some nice features available on the much cheaper
Series2 version, which doesn't record in high definition. It also can't
handle certain cable features.
So, why not just stick with the high-definition DVR
supplied by the cable company? After all, while it isn't free, it's cheaper
than the TiVo.
The answer is that, at least in my recent
experience with the nation's biggest cable company, Comcast, the
high-definition DVR it supplies is just awful. If cable boxes were sold at
retail like consumer-electronics devices, the Comcast DVR I tested, built by
Motorola, would get creamed by better competitors.
My Comcast box, a Motorola DCT3412 I, which Comcast
rents for about $12 a month, holds a maximum of 15 hours of high-definition
programming or 60 hours of standard programming. The TiVo holds up to 35
hours of high-definition programs or up to 300 hours of standard.
Also, the user interface on the Comcast box is
crude and confusing -- nothing like the elegant interfaces people have
become used to on their personal computers and devices like iPods. The TiVo
interface, by contrast, is effective and attractive.
The worst problem is that the Comcast box flubs the
basic functions of a DVR. It is maddeningly slow at responding to commands
sent by the remote control to pause, play, fast-forward and rewind. You
press pause and nothing happens. So you press it again. You try to return to
normal speed after fast-forwarding through commercials and the unit takes so
long to obey your command that you badly overshoot the resumption of the
This latency problem didn't affect just one dud of
a Motorola box. In our home, we have four of these units, and three have the
problem. All, of course, share the capacity limitations and user-interface
In the program grid, even on a 50-inch,
high-definition screen with acres of room, the Comcast box displays just
four rows of stations at a time. Until recently, there was a fifth row, but
now that has been replaced by an ad. The ad not only sucks up space, but
also is aggravating because it gets selected each time you reach the bottom
of the grid screen.
Advertising is fine, but in this case, sacrificing
20% of an already paltry information screen for an ad just shows contempt
By contrast, the basic TiVo grid shows eight rows
of stations at a time, and offers an alternate view that packs in even more
information using two vertical columns: one displaying stations and the
other showing a list of shows scheduled in the coming hours.
And, unlike the Comcast box, the TiVo Series3 can
be programmed from a Web site, so if somebody at the office tells you about
a great show, you can tell the TiVo to record it long before you get home.
The new TiVo can also play music and display photos that are stored on
Windows and Macintosh PCs on your home network. The Comcast box can't.
But the TiVo also has some downsides. Unlike older
TiVos, it's intended to replace, not complement, a cable box. So, installing
it requires a visit from cable-company technicians to install gadgets called
cable cards that plug into the back of the TiVo. In my case, that process
took over two hours. Even worse, these cable cards don't support Comcast's
on-demand feature, which allows you to see certain programs and movies
whenever you choose.
And the new Series3 lacks the capability of cheaper
TiVos to let you transfer recorded shows to computers and portable devices.
Also, unlike the Comcast box, the TiVo doesn't have
a filtered grid display showing only high-definition shows, which is handy
once you become addicted to HD.
Fortunately, it may be possible to get some, but
not all, of TiVo's superior features by just waiting. In 2007, Comcast and
TiVo expect to roll out an option for downloading TiVo software to Comcast
boxes. This would provide the TiVo interface without sacrificing Comcast
features such as on demand. The pricing and details haven't been announced.
Comcast is also working on other new user interfaces and features using non-TiVo
But, for now, the choice is tough. The Comcast
high-definition DVR is a cheaper, but flawed product and the TiVo Series3 is
an excellent, but overpriced one.
"A New Prescription For Watching iPod Video: We Test the Myvu Viewer
And Like Its Big-Screen Effect; Juicing Up the Dork Factor," by Walter S.
Mossberg and Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, December 27,
2006; Page D1 ---
We tested the iPod-specific version and wore the
Myvu to watch various types of videos, including music videos, television
shows and movies. Overall, it's a pretty cool device, with a good-looking
visual illusion that MicroOptical says is comparable to watching a 27-inch
screen from six feet away. It would certainly come in handy on a long
flight. But you'll scare yourself if you look in the mirror. We can't
imagine wearing one while walking down the street, even though it's designed
to enable seeing above and below the bar of space where its screen appears.
MicroOptical isn't the only maker of a new
video-viewing device, and competitors have proposed products that juice up
the dork factor tenfold. One company proposed a device designed to strap
around your head and hover over one eye. Another company, which introduced
its Myvu-like technology at a recent conference, used a hefty interface box,
partly because this unit is aimed at PCs and game consoles as well as
A lot of this technology was developed for the
military. Tank drivers, for example, used MicroOptical's technology so as to
view information on a projection monitor while driving and remaining aware
of their surroundings.
Myvu comes with accessories to ensure that you're
comfortable while using it, which makes sense, as a three-hour movie could
really take its toll under the wrong conditions.
Continued in article
Walt Mossberg describes how to transfer contacts from Outlook to Outlook
Q: How can I transfer my
contacts from my work computer's Outlook program to my home computer's
Outlook Express program -- assuming that I can't directly connect the two
computers by USB, wireless or other direct link?
A: Using Outlook's Import and
Export function, from the File menu, you would export the Contacts as a
"Comma Separated Values" file, then save that to your hard disk. Next, copy
this file to a USB thumb drive, or burn it to a blank CD. Then, take the
thumb drive or CD home, insert it in your home PC, and copy the file to its
hard disk. Then, fire up Outlook Express, open the address book, and select
"Import" from the File menu. Choose "Other Address Book," then choose "Text
File (Comma Separated Values)." Locate the file, and you should be able to
New Gadgets ---
The Lives They Lived (odd winners from the staff of The New York
Times Magazine, December 31, 2006)
This issue is largely an idiosyncratic selection,
chosen by our editors and writers, who are often following their own passions
and curiosities (generally not my choices) ---
How do scholars search for academic
Scholarpedia Launches at the end of 2006
From the University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communication blog on
December 28, 2006 ---
Scholarpedia feels and looks like
Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia that anyone can
edit. Indeed, both are powered by the same program - MediaWiki. Both allow
visitors to review and modify articles simply by clicking on the edit this
However, Scholarpedia differs from Wikipedia in some very important ways:
• Each article is written by an expert (invited or elected by the public).
• Each article is anonymously peer reviewed to ensure accurate and reliable
• Each article has a curator - typically its author -- who is responsible
for its content.
• Any modification of the article needs to be approved by the curator before
it appears in the final, approved version.
…Currently, Scholarpedia hosts Encyclopedia of
Computational Neuroscience, Encyclopedia of Dynamical Systems and
Encyclopedia of Computational Intelligence. Although all three will
eventually be published in a printed form, they will also remain freely
available and modifiable online. (Producing a hard copy of each encyclopedia
is important for archiving; besides, many academicians have a preconception
that the prestige of an online article is not as high as that of a printed
If there is enough interest and support from the
public, Scholarpedia will grow in the following directions:
• The neuroscience chapter of Encyclopedia of Computational Neuroscience
will be a seed to start Encyclopedia of Cognitive Neuroscience, and then
Encyclopedia of Neuroscience
• Encyclopedia of Dynamical Systems will be a seed to start Encyclopedia of
Applied Mathematics, and then Encyclopedia of Mathematics.
• Encyclopedia of Computational Intelligence will be a seed to start
Encyclopedia of Computer Science.
Read more at
From the University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communication blog on
December 27, 2006 ---
The launch of the new
PLoS ONE scholarly research portal looks like a
big win for open access research content from a number of angles. PLoS ONE
is posting research and will allow interactive review before and after
publication for scientific articles via a very sophisticated publishing
environment. The PLoS ONE platform applies many of the best practices of
social media, providing ready access to comments posting and awareness of
active discussions to draw in more active discussions. PLoS ONE will publish
all papers that are judged to be rigorous and technically sound, and had
already posted more an 100 papers by its launch - a remarkable number for a
just-launched scholarly journal of any kind. By contrast Nature's recently
shuttered open-review portal trial, which ran for around four months,
attracted only 71 authors willing to post their work online and attracted 92
As we noted in our
latest news analysis article one of the keys to
successful social media products is a dedicated core of trusted contributors
who will be able to ensure editorial success. PLoS ONE starts with a global
editorial board of more than 200 scholars, ensuring a broad array of inputs
for reviewing content. Some of the fears about having content rejected after
having had it exposed to comments prior to publication may be relieved by
the PLoS ONE policy that allows papers that have been already rejected by
PLoS Biology and Medicine journals to be re-submitted via PLoS ONE. This is
a potentially valuable feature, allowing research that may not have yet
reached the highest levels of acceptance to mature through its exposure to
comments from a broader audience.
PLoS ONE is finally opening the doors to the
potential for fundamental changes in how scholarly research proves its
worth. With an open exchange of ideas and commentary facilitated by
technologies long available to the general public and a solid body of
research and reviewers PLoS ONE holds out the potential to liberate the
highest levels of scholarly innovation from the regimen of the printing
press. Changing the way that research is paid for was a good first step for
open access, but with the ability to eliminate artificial distribution
bottlenecks that choke off natural conversations PLoS ONE may do for
scholarly research what Wikipedia has done for reference materials - with
much more integrity in the underlying editorial processes.
Content Blogger 12/22/06
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at
How do scholars search for academic references?
PLoS One ---
Google Scholar ---
Not to be confused with Google Advanced Search which does not cover many
scholarly articles ---
Microsoft's Windows "Live Search" or "Academic Search" ---
Amazon's A9 ---
Beginning October 23, 2003,
Amazon.com offers a text search of entire contents of millions of pages of
books, including new books ---
How It Works ---
A significant extension of our groundbreaking Look Inside the Book
feature, Search Inside the Book allows you to search millions of pages
to find exactly the book you want to buy. Now instead of just displaying
books whose title, author, or publisher-provided keywords that match
your search terms, your search results will surface titles based on
every word inside the book. Using Search Inside the Book is as simple as
running an Amazon.com search.
Soon to be the largest scholarly library in the world:
Google Book Search ---
Wikipedia (heavily used by scholars in spite of authenticity
Other Scholarly Search Engines (CrossRef
Scholarly search tools
Citebase is a trial service that allows researchers
to search across free, full-text research literature
ePrint archives, with results ranked according to
criteria such as citation impact.
Gateway to ePrints
A listing of ePrint servers and open access
repository search tools.
A search tool for scholarly citations and abstracts,
many of which link to full text articles, book
chapters, working papers and other forms of
scholarly publishing. It includes content from many
open access journals and repositories.
A search tool for cross-archive searching of more
than 540 separate digital collections and archives,
including arXiv, CiteBase, ANU ePrints, ePrintsUQ,
A search tool for online journals and Web sites in
UCLA Library Scholarly Search Helpers ---
University of Kansas Scholarly Search Helpers ---
Social scientists and business scholars often use SSRN (not free) ---
If you have access to a college library, most colleges generally have
paid subscriptions to enormous scholarly literature databases that are not
available freely online. Serious scholars obtain access to these vast
Librarian's Index to the Internet ---
Searching the Deep Web ---
Open Access Shared Scholarship ---
University Channel (video and audio) ---
Bob Jensen's links to electronic
literature, including free online textbooks and other learning materials ---
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at
December 30, 2006 message from TranslationDirectory.com
We are sorry we are coming back to you so late -
please forgive us the delay.
This is to let you know we have published your
Please verify if everything is fine for you.
If you have other glossaries, please don't hesitate
to submit them to us.
Have a prosperous Year of 2007!
The online version at Bob Jensen's Website is at
Conduct U.S. Government Searches (including sites for buying goods and
services from the Feds) ---
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at
- Free Merriam Webster Online Dictionary/Thesaurus ---
Employees don't leave their job or company, they leave their boss
"Study: Poor managers create big problems," Arizona Daily Sun, January
2, 2006 ---
For most people, it's back to work Tuesday after a
holiday weekend with family and friends. And for many, a new study shows, it
will be under a bad boss.
Nearly two of five bosses don't keep their word and
more than a fourth bad mouth those they supervise to co-workers, the Florida
State University study shows.
And those all-too-common poor managers create
plenty of problems for companies as well, leading to poor morale, less
production and higher turnover.
"They say that employees don't leave their job or
company, they leave their boss," said Wayne Hochwarter, an associate
professor of management in the College of Business at Florida State
University, who joined with two doctoral students at the school to survey
more than 700 people working in a variety of jobs about how their bosses
"No abuse should be taken lightly, especially in
situations where it becomes a criminal act," said Hochwarter.
Employees stuck in an abusive relationship
experienced more exhaustion, job tension, nervousness, depressed moods and
mistrust, the researchers found. They found that a good working environment
is often more important than pay, and that it's no coincidence that poor
morale leads to lower production.
"They (employees) were less likely to take on
additional tasks, such as working longer or on weekends, and were generally
less satisfied with their job," the study found. "Also, employees were more
likely to leave if involved in an abusive relationship than if dissatisfied
The results of the study are scheduled for
publication in the Fall 2007 issue of The Leadership Quarterly, a journal
read by consultants, managers and executives.
The findings include:
39 percent of workers said their supervisor failed
to keep promises.
37 percent said their supervisor failed to give
credit when due.
31 percent said their supervisor gave them the
"silent treatment" in the past year.
27 percent said their supervisor made negative
comments about them to other employees or managers.
24 percent said their supervisor invaded their
23 percent said their supervisor blamed others to
cover up mistakes or to minimize embarrassment.
Workers in bad situations should remain optimistic,
"It is important to stay positive, even when you
get irritated or discouraged, because few subordinate-supervisor
relationships last forever," he said. "You want the next boss to know what
you can do for the company."
And workers should know where to turn if they feel
threatened, harassed or discriminated against, whether it is the company's
grievance committee or finding formal representation outside the employer.
"Others know who the bullies are at work,"
Hochwarter said. "They likely have a history of mistreating others."
Hochwarter also recommended some methods to
minimize the harm caused by an abusive supervisor.
"The first is to stay visible at work," he said.
"Hiding can be detrimental to your career, especially when it keeps others
in the company from noticing your talent and contributions."
The survey was conducted by mail. Workers surveyed
included men and women of various ages and races in the service industry and
manufacturing, from companies large and small, Hochwarter said.
"The Year in Infotech: Technology Review picks the year's most
significant advances in information technology," by Kate Greene, MIT's
Technology Review, December 26, 2006 ---
The way we use
technology is changing. A few years
ago, static e-commerce sites made up
much of the Internet. But now, video
is taking over, and people's viewing
habits are evolving. More people are
searching online for video,
creating, sharing, and editing it
than ever before, and these
activities are driving a slew of new
software applications and hardware
innovations. Below, we've chosen six
of this year's most compelling
information-technology stories, many
of which relate to our culture's
newfound addiction to a novel type
of video experience.
video search. When Google bought
YouTube in October, the Internet
search giant gave credibility to the
burgeoning world of online video.
But one fact still remains: finding
a particular video clip can be
difficult using a traditional search
engine. This year, a number of
academic and commercial enterprises
tried to improve image and video
search. Photo-sharing website Riya
people to search through their photo
collections by face. Later in the
the company released Like.com,
a site that
lets people search for shoes,
handbags, and watches by scouring
the Web for similar pictures.
Researchers at Pennsylvania State
made headway on automatically
tagging images, and a
group at the University of Leeds
used cues from
face-recognition software, closed
captions, and original programming
scripts to identify faces that
appear in episodes of Buffy the
Mobile-phone projectors. While
mobile devices have lots of storage
space for pictures and videos, the
small screen still makes viewing
media awkward. But that could soon
of implementing projection systems
for mobile phones. Researchers at
Cornell University are
working on tiny
small, efficient projectors. And
Microvision, of Redmond, WA, gave
Technology Review a
preview of its mobile-phone
display at next year's Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Geotagging. GPS is becoming a
more common feature in mobile
phones, cameras, and cars. The
result is a world of people,
pictures, cars, and data trails on
Microsoft research project
disparate sensor data to map the
world in real time. Online
photo-sharing site Flickr now lets
tag their photos with the name of
where they were shot, allowing
people to search for photos by
geography. And Nokia is working on
to link the physical world to the
Internet via mobile phones, and
GPS itself is
for content creation and sharing.
In the past year, podcasts, online
photo albums, homemade videos, and
blogs have bloomed all over the
Internet, and many were made by
regular people just looking for
their 15 megabytes of fame. A
blizzard of new software and
content-sharing sites has allowed
for this proliferation.
lets anyone be an expert by
answering questions posed by others.
More people are
blogging from mobile phones. And
video-editing software is migrating
from the desktop to the Web,
people to interact and participate
in a medium that has been closed to
the average person for decades.
Continued in article
The New Internet Sales Tax
Indiana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Vermont,
West Virginia and more than a dozen other states have been busy laying the
groundwork for an Internet sales tax regime that will charge consumers based on
where they live, not where they click to when shopping online. And the system is
already up and partially running . . . But never underestimate the determination
of politicians to impose a new tax. The Supreme Court left open the possibility
of dispensing with the brick and mortar test if complying with various sales
taxes could be made dramatically easier. So six years ago the National
Governor's Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and other
politicians seeking more of your money founded a new organization to oversee the
mammoth effort of aligning sales taxes across state lines. And the group--the
Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board--has made a lot of headway.
"Attention, Online Shoppers: State politicians are creating a de facto
national sales tax," The Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2006 ---
Possible New Internet Tax
"The Virtual Taxman Cometh," by Clive Thompson, Wired News, December
18, 2006 ---
Every time you go online and kill monsters, you're
creating value as surely as if you were working a shift at Starbucks. A few
years back, the economist Edward Castronova stunned the game world by
deducing that people playing Everquest made more than $3 an hour in
real-world value by playing the game -- which gave Everquest a per-capita
gross domestic product nearly as big as Russia's. WoW's economy is easily as
big as that now, or larger.
Things are even more intense in a world like Second
Life, because publisher Linden Labs explicitly lets you own in-game property
and create new in-game objects to sell to others.
Almost everyone agrees these days that if you "cash
out" -- and sell a valuable avatar or big stash of gold on eBay, exchanging
virtual goods for real greenbacks -- you owe taxes on the profit. That's not
But what about stuff that stays inside the game? If
you played WoW for three years and racked up $4,000 worth of avatars and
gold, but never cashed out -- should you still be paying annual taxes on
your increased value, as if it were income? This is where the rubber hits
the road, because the profits currently locked up inside these worlds are
becoming big enough -- hundreds of millions at least, and maybe billions --
that they are a juicy target for the IRS.
"It'll get to the point where the dollar value
becomes so sizeable that the IRS would be almost negligent if it didn't at
least look into the potential of taxing these worlds," says Dan Miller, a
senior economist for the Joint Economic Committee, a congressional think
tank that recommends policy to lawmakers. "It's really just a matter of time
before the IRS says, wait a minute."
Continued in article
December 20, 2006 message from
I just finished assigning grades, and am looking
for something to do. It seems as if PCWorld has come to the rescue at:
Now, if Bob Jensen would just publish his list of
the Internet's 15 best time wasters.
Bowling Green State University
December 21, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
Actually David I have 12,637 time wasters for you!
At my age it's rumored that any mental activity helps the brain forestall
senility. I never fool with video and computer games because I don't
consider them to be much in the way of mental activity. At best they relieve
boredom, but I find them more boring than watching paint dry.
Medical studies suggest that mental activity is overrated for keeping the
brain healthy. Physical activity on the other hand is underrated. For
example, given a choice between a five mile walk and two hours with
crossword puzzles while waiting for your next flight, the five mile walk up
and down the concourse is much better for the brain.
However, five mile walks generally get boring relative to the many
exciting things we can do on a computer. Especially boring is a five mile
walk on a treadmill. I have a television set in front of my treadmill, but
TV is so boring that a five mile walk in front of the TV is still agonizing
I prefer to walk in the mountains, but then I feel great guilt thinking
of all the Tidbits that did not get written because I hiked in the hills.
Given that physical activity is so good for the brain, I force myself to
go through this boring activity almost daily. I can't call it a time waster
because it is so healthy even though it feels like a time waster. Probably
the biggest time waster is that time we spend trying to be creative such as
the time I waste trying to write poetry or fiction. This is a labor of love
that generally ends up in what Microsoft deceptively calls a "recycle bin."
My most creative efforts wind up in the "emptied" recycle bin.
The beauty of having chosen to be professor is that my university gave me
an enormous amount of free time for creativity efforts (better known as time
wasters). But Jon Bon Jovi gave me hope when he said:
Success is falling nine times and getting up
Jon Bon Jovi ---
Note that Bon Jovi made no claim that you will succeed the next time you
get up even though it's your tenth try or try number 12,637. (Sigh!)
Even if all our creative efforts end up in the emptied recycle bin, I
guess they weren't really time wasters because of what we learned a lot
while trying to be creative. Video and computer games generally are true
time wasters since they do not inspire creative effort. I realize that I'm
overstating here because there are a few edutainment games that inspire
So my advice David is to try to write a serious poem or solve one of the
unsolved math problems of which there are 12,637 to date ---
When you're not doing this take a hike! Who knows. Maybe the solution to one
of those 12,637 math problems may come to mind while you're walking in the
Make that 12,636 unsolved math problems instead of 12,637
Grigori Perelman, in articles published on the
Internet more than three years ago, claimed to have solved Poincare's
conjecture, a mathematical puzzle identified in 1904 by the French mathematician
Henri Poincare, the Independent said Friday. His proposed solutions to the
conjecture were validated by other mathematicians in the field of topology,
which is the science of surfaces. "While bringing new results to topology,
Perelman's work brought new techniques to geometry," said Science in announcing
the award. "It cemented the central role of geometric evolution equations,
powerful machinery for transforming hard-to-work-with spaces into
more-manageable ones." Earlier this year, Perelman won the highest honor in
mathematics, the Fields Medal, but refused to accept it, and a separate $1
million prize offered by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Massachusetts.
Perelman lives in St. Petersburg.
"A Russian mathematician's solution to a 100-year-old math puzzle was voted
Breakthrough of the Year by Science, a leading scientific journal," MIT's
Technology Review, December 22, 2006 ---
Well I can't always be correct:
games aren’t such time wasters even though I hate them as much as physical
Seniors should fold the cards in favor of video
games to keep mentally sharp, Canadian researchers suggest. Psychology research
McMaster University in Hamilton showed senior gamers who spend at least four
hours a week playing action video games display an array of skills, the Toronto
Star said Thursday. Doing battle in Medal of Honor drew out skills such as
improved reaction times and good spatial reasoning to a awareness of their
surroundings and better short-term memory. "Just as an elderly adult may do 15
minutes of weight training to fight osteoporosis, so could he or she play video
games to keep the mind sharp," said psychology researcher Jim Karle, a graduate
student in the university's department of psychology, neuroscience and behavior.
"Forget teenagers -- seniors got game," PhysOrg, December 22, 2006 ---
A recent article stresses how mental activity may forestall Alzheimer's
Perhaps not too surprisingly, the study suggests
however that the most effective neuroprotective therapy for Alzheimer's disease
may well not be a pill, but education and intellectual activity. Mounting
evidence accumulated over the last few years supports the notion that
intellectual activity increases what neuroscientists call "the cognitive
reserve". According to the model, a mere 5% increase in the cognitive
reserve in the general population would prevent one third of Alzheimer's cases.
Dr de la Fuente-Fernandez, a neurologist at the Hospital A. Marcide in Ferrol
(Spain), points out that public health policies aimed at implementing higher
levels of education in the general population are likely the best strategy for
preventing Alzheimer's disease.
-- the best pill of all for preventing Alzheimer's?" PhysOrg, December
20, 2006 ---
If you have two hours to burn before your next flight, perhaps it is best to use
half of it walking up and down the concourse and the other half working
crossword puzzles, especially if there's old man Alzheimer in your family
But for the younger generation electronic toys are rarely educational and often a little terrifying
Industry analysts expect toy manufacturers to enjoy
considerable sales gains this year, much of it fueled by consumers' purchase of
expensive electronic toys like Robosapien, as well as "educational" electronic
toys from companies like LeapFrog. Whether they're hoping to give their infants
and toddlers an academic head start, or just entertain them, parents will have
plenty of choices this holiday season. Six of the top ten FamilyFun award
winning toys are electronic. But two recent studies suggest that the oft-touted
educational benefits of such toys are illusory, and child development experts
caution that kiddie electronics, even those bought purely for fun, can have
negative side effects such as inhibiting creativity and promoting short
Christine Rosen, "Too Many Batteries Included: Electronic toys are rarely
educational and often a little terrifying," The Wall Street Journal,
Friday, December 22, 2006 ---
From The Washington Post on January 2, 2006
What is the subject of a database France's
space agency said it will publish online?
"What's the Best Q&A Site?" by Wade Roush, MIT's Technology Review,
December 22, 2006 ---
a lot about something,
whether it's quasars, quilting, or
crayons. But the converse is also
true: there are a lot of things that
most people know nothing about. And
unfortunately, that doesn't seem to
stop them from sharing their
lesson I took away from my recent
survey of the growing collection of
social question-and-answer websites,
where members can post questions,
answer other members' questions, and
rate other members' answers to their
questions--all for free. The
premise of these ventures--which
Wondir, and Amazon's new
that the average citizen is an
untapped well of wisdom.
takes a lot of sifting to get truly
useful information from these sites.
Each boasts a core of devoted
members who leave thorough and
well-documented answers to the
questions they deem worthy. And most
of the sites have systems for rating
the performance or experience of
answerers, which makes it easier to
assess their reliability, while also
inspiring members to compete with
one another to give the best
answers. But not all of the Q&A
sites do this equally well; after
all, the companies that run these
sites are selling advertising space,
attempt to flush out the best of the
bunch, I've spent the past few days
trying to identify what unique
advantages each one offers. I also
devised a diabolically difficult,
two-part test. First, I searched
each site's archive for existing
answers to the question "Is there
any truth to the five-second rule?"
(I meant the rule about not eating
food after it's been on the floor
for more than five seconds, not the
basketball rule about holding.)
posted the same two original
questions at each site: "Why did the
Mormons settle in Utah?" and "What
is the best way to make a grilled
cheese sandwich?" The first question
called for factual, historical
answers, while the second simply
invited people to share their
favorite sandwich-making methods and
recipes. I awarded each site up to
three points for the richness and
originality of its features, and up
to three points for the quality of
the answers to my three questions,
for a total of 12 possible points.
1. AnswerBag ---
2. Askville ---
3. Live QnA ---
4. Wondir ---
5. Yahoo Answers ---
6. Yedda ---
Features: Launched in 2003, AnswerBag is one of the oldest Q&A sites. Members get points for asking and answering questions as well as for rating other members' questions and answers. After earning a certain number of points, members "level up" from Beginner to Novice, Contributor, Wiz, Authority, Expert, and ultimately Professor. Bloggers or webmasters can embed customized AnswerBag "widgets" in their own pages, so that visitors to a site about restoring antiques, for example, can ask AnswerBag members questions about restoration. Points: 1
Is there any truth to the five-second rule? All of AnswerBag's answers about the five-second rule pertained to basketball. Points: 0
Why did the Mormons settle in Utah? By press time--two and a half days after I posted the question--I had received only one answer at AnswerBag. Here it is, edited for brevity (like all the answers quoted here): "The church believes that God directed Brigham Young, Joseph Smith's successor as President of the Church, to call for the Mormons to organize and migrate west, beyond the western frontier of the United States to start their own community away from traditional American society." That's more or less in line with the best answers to this question at other sites. Points: 1
What is the best way to make a grilled cheese sandwich? I rated the answers to this question purely according to their mouthwateringness. The best AnswerBag answer, out of six: "Grate cheddar cheese or similiar [sic] and then add about a quarter of the same amount of Lancashire, cheshire or similiar [sic] crumbly white cheese. Mix them together with a couple of spoonfuls of milk until the consistency goes like thick cottage cheese. Add lots of black pepper. Spread on lightly toasted buttered bread and put back under the grill until the cheese melts and is golden brown. Delish." Points: 2
Continued in article
None of these free services is very good for accounting questions. For me,
Wondir did better with accounting questions than the other alternatives, but
none of these sites would be very helpful in answering questions about
accounting and tax rules.
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at
Magellan Metasearch ---
Metasearch Tool for the Techie Types
is a perl, CGI-based meta search engine, aimed at being highly evolutive. It
provides an extended query language that enables it to perform complex
requests and check the results before showing them.
Bob Jensen's threads on OLAP, XML, and XBRL
University Channel (video and audio) ---
The University Channel makes videos of academic
lectures and events from all over the world available to the public. It is a
place where academics can air their ideas and present research in a
full-length, uncut format. Contributors with greater video production
capabilities can submit original productions.
The University Channel presents ideas in a way
commercial news or public affairs programming cannot. Because it is neither
constrained by time nor dependent upon commercial feedback, the University
Channel's video content can be broad and flexible enough to cover the full
gamut of academic investigation.
While it has unlimited potential, the University
Channel begins with a focus on public and international affairs, because
this is an area which lends itself most naturally to a many-sided
discussion. Perhaps of greatest advantage to universities who seek to expand
their dialog with overseas institutions and international affairs, the
University Channel can "go global" and become a truly international forum.
The University Channel aims to become, literally, a
"channel" for important thought, to be heard in its entirety. Television has
become so much a part of the fabric of our world that it should be more than
an academic interest. It should be an academic tool.
The University Channel project is an initiative of
Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International
Affairs, which is leading the effort to build university membership and
distribution partners. Technical support, advice and services are provided
through the generosity of Princeton University's Office of Information
Technology. Digital video solutions courtesy of Princeton Server Group.
Bob Jensen's threads on podcasting, Apple's iPod U, RSS, RDF are at
The Internet as a Resource for News and Information about Science ---
Bob Jensen's bookmarks for the sciences are at
Current state of scholarly cyberinfrastructure in the humanities and social
From the University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communication Blog
"Our Cultural Commonwealth"
The American Council of Learned Societies has just
issued a report, "Our Cultural Commonwealth," assessing the current state of
scholarly cyberinfrastructure in the humanities and social sciences and
making a series of recommendations on how it can be strengthened, enlarged
and maintained in the future.
John Unsworth, Dean and Professor, Graduate School
of Library and Information Science here at Illinois, chaired the Commission
that authored the report.
The report is at
Bob Jensen's bookmarks for humanities and social sciences are at
Bob Jensen's threads on statistical data ---
China Leadership Monitor ---
A Historically Accurate Indicator of Economic Change for the U.S. May Not Apply Anymore
An index of spot metals prices, compiled by the
Commodities Research Bureau and Reuters, has been around for a quarter-century.
It concentrates on metals that move the fastest when economic conditions change,
and that has made it volatile. . . . For the United States, struggling with
sharp downturns in housing and car sales, the lesson may be that it no longer
rules the world economy. An American recession used to bring on lower commodity
prices, which could help stimulate demand. This time, it might not have such an
impact unless the newly important Asian economies also turn down.
Floyd Norris, "A Historically Accurate Indicator for the U.S. May Not Apply
Anymore," The New York Times, December 23, 2006 ---
Controversies about tenure in the humanities and books that even libraries will
"The Philadelphia Story," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, December
20, 2006 ---
The expression “Internet year” refers to a period
of about two or three months — an index of the pace of life online, in what
the sociologist Manuel Castells has called the “space without a place”
created by new media.
That means a decade has passed since Inside
Higher Ed made its first appearance at the Modern Language Association,
during the 2004 convention held in Philadelphia. So next week is a kind of
homecoming. I’ll be in Philadelphia starting on Tuesday and will not return
home until sometime late on Saturday — and hope to meet as many readers of
Intellectual Affairs as possible along the marathon route in between.
The whole “space without a place” quality of online
experience can, at times, prove more anomic than utopian. So here’s a
thought: Inside Higher Ed will have a booth (#326) in the exhibit
hall. I’ll be there each afternoon between 2 and 4. Please consider this an
invitation to stop by and say hello.
Tell me what you’re reading lately.... What
sessions have blown your mind, or left you cursing under your breath....
Whether you think the
tenure is going to make any difference or not....
What magazines or journals or blogs you read that I have probably never
And, by the way, if I ask you if you’ve heard any
really interesting papers during the week, please don’t then go, “OK,
what’s hot nowadays?” If I want to know what’s hot, I’ll go ask Paris
Hilton. This peculiar insistence on mimicking the ethos of Hollywood
(talking about “academostars,” “buzz,” hunting for the “hot new trend,”
etc.) sometimes makes it seem as if Adorno was an optimist.
To put it another way: I’d much rather know what
you’ve found interesting at MLA (and why) than hear you try to guess at what
other people now think is exciting. Please come by the booth. But if you use
the word “hot,” I hope it is only in the context of recommending someplace
to get a burrito.
That sort of ersatz fashion-mongering is
less a problem than a symptom. Lindsay Waters, the executive editor for the
humanities at Harvard University Press, has been complaining for some time
about the structural imperative for overproduction in some parts of the
humanities — a situation in which people are obliged to publish books,
whether they have anything to say or not. And when scholarly substance
declines as a definitive criterion for what counts as important, then
hipness, hotness, and happeningness take up the slack.
“Few libraries will buy many of the books published
now by university presses with booths at the MLA convention,” wrote Waters
in an essay appearing in the May 2000 issue of PMLA. “Why should
tenure be connected to the publication of books that most of the profession
do not feel are essential holdings for their local libraries?”
He brooded over that question at somewhat more
Enemies of Promise: Publishing, Perishing, and the Eclipse of Scholarship,
a pamphlet issued by Prickly Paradigm Press a couple
of years ago. You hear quite a few echoes of the booklet in the
recommendations of the MLA task force on tenure. “Scholarship,” as the final
report puts it, “should not be equated with publication, which is, at
bottom, a means to make scholarship public, just as teaching, service, and
other activities are directed toward different audiences. Publication is not
the raison d’être of scholarship; scholarship should be the raison d’etre of
Well, yes. But you’ve got the whole problem of the
optative, right there — the complex and uncertain relationship between
“ought” and “is.” (Sorry, had a neo-Kantian flashback for a second there.)
The real problem is: How do you get them to line up?
The task force makes numerous recommendations –
here. I thought it would be interesting to find
out what Waters thought of the report. “It does talk about a lot of the
problems honestly,” he told me, “including the shift to part-time labor.”
But his reservations seem a lot more emphatic.
“My fear for the MLA report,” he wrote by e-mail, “
is that it will be shelved like the report of the Iraq Study Group. And
there may be another similarity: The ISG made a mistake with Bush. They gave
him 79 recommendations, not one. This report runs that risk, too. Like my
Enemies book, the report offers up ideas that it will suit many to
ignore.... Churchill said it so well — the Americans will do the right thing
only after they have exhausted all the other possibilities. The problem is
that this relatively frail creature, the university, has survived so well
for so long in the US because for the most part it was located in a place
where, like poetry (to cite the immortal Auden) executives would never want
to tamper. But they are tampering now. And they are using the same
management techniques on the university that they used on General Motors,
and they may have the same deadly effect.”
Worrying about the long-term future of the
life of the mind is demanding. Still, you’ve still got to pack your luggage
eventually, and make plans for how to spend time at the conference. MLA is
like a city within a city. No accident that the program always looks a
little like a phone directory.
It contains a great deal of information – and it’s
well-organized, in its way. But it can also be kind of bewildering to browse
through. It seems like a salutary development that people have, over the
past couple of years, started posting online lists of the sessions they want
to attend. It’s the next best thing to having a friend or trusted colleague
make recommendations. Here is
If you’ve already posted something about your
conference-going itinerary, please consider using the comments section here
to link to it. For that matter, if you’ve noticed one or two sessions that
you consider not-to-be-missed, why not say so? Consider the space below a
kind of bulletin board.
One tip I hope you’ll consider (despite the
beastly hour of it) is the panel called “Meet the Bloggers.” It is scheduled
for Saturday, December 30th, at 8:30 in the morning. The list of speakers
includes Michael Bérubé, John Holbo, Scott Kaufman, and the professor known
as Bitch, Ph.D.
here. I will also be on the panel, commenting on
the papers afterwards. That is, assuming I can get an intravenous caffeine
There is a nice bit of synchronicity about the date
that the program committee scheduled “Meet the Bloggers.” For it will be the
anniversary (second or tenth, depending on how you count it) of
“Bloggers in the Flesh” — an article that appeared
well before anyone in MLA thought of organizing a panel on the topic.
A lot has happened in the meantime — including a
sort of miniature equivalent (confined entirely to academe) of what
sociologists call a
panic.” For a while there, blogging became a
suspicious activity that threatened to weaken your scholarly reputation,
ruin your job prospects, and cause thick, coarse hair to grow upon your
It all seems kind of silly in retrospect. No doubt
the level of discussion will be much higher at the panel. I hope some of you
will make it. But even if not, please consider stopping by to say hello at
the IHE booth, any afternoon between 2 and 4.
Bob Jensen's threads about this bold new tenure-change and dissertation
requirement change movement in humanities are at
"Demystifying Lenses Focal length, zoom, f-numbers--if you've wondered
about it, we discuss it," Dave Johnson, PC World via The Washington
Post, December 12, 2006 ---
When a good friend of mine recently purchased an
inexpensive digital SLR, I knew that something fundamental in the fabric of
space and time had changed: This is the guy who always used a
point-and-shoot camera and never would have considered a film SLR.
So what has changed? To be honest, I'm not sure.
Perhaps it's that digital SLRs are a lot easier to use and often require
less effort to take better pictures than their film cousins. Whatever the
explanation, a lot of people are making the switch to digital SLRs these
But no matter how easy-to-use digital SLRs become,
some things won't change much. Take lenses, for example: I get tons of
questions about how to purchase and use the myriad lenses available for
today's digital SLRs. So this week I thought I'd answer the top questions I
get about interchangeable lenses.
The technical answer is that the focal length is
the distance from the lens to the point at which light passing through the
lens is focused, measured in millimeters. In more practical (and
understandable) terms, the focal length tells you the magnifying power of
the lens. A small focal length of up to about 35mm is considered wide angle;
focal lengths between 35mm and 70mm are considered normal, because this
range approximates what the human eye sees; and anything beyond 80mm gets
into telephoto territory.
You might hear the term prime bandied about when
discussing camera lenses. A prime lens is simply any lens that only has a
single focal length, whereas a zoom lens has range of focal lengths, such as
12-24mm, 70-300mm, or 18-200mm.
Zoom lenses are obviously more convenient to use,
but there are engineering trade-offs involved in a lens that can move
through a wide range of focal lengths. Prime lenses perform better--and they
are less expensive.
Serious photographers tend to carry a few prime
lenses in common focal ranges, but the rest of us get by with one or two
zoom lenses that cover the whole gamut.
All camera lenses have a maximum aperture
setting--in other words, how big an opening the lens can make to admit light
during exposure. The smaller the number, the larger the opening will be.
Engineering compromises mean that many zoom lenses
can't open as wide as you might like. My nifty 18-200mm zoom, for example,
offers enough wide- and telephoto oomph to cover 90 percent of the
photographic situations I usually encounter. But set to wide angle, it has
an f-number of f/3.5. When I zoom all the way to 200mm, it degrades to
f/5.6. Compare that to some 200mm prime lenses that can open up to f/20, and
you can see that there's a lot less light available to shoot pictures with
my zoom. That means fast-moving subjects will blur unless I increase the ISO
or shoot in the middle of the day when there's plenty of sunlight available.
All things being equal, the lens that offers a
bigger aperture (the smallest f-number) is always the better choice--and it
will always be more expensive.
Some people are surprised to find that there isn't
a standard diameter among interchangeable camera lenses. My 18-200mm lens
has a diameter of 72mm, for instance, while my 80-400mm lens has a 77mm
diameter. Generally, telephoto lenses need more glass to be able to collect
more light. The size of any given lens is the result of many design
decisions, however, and not something to consider in your buying criteria.
Continued in article
Digital Photography Tutorials ---
More workers than ever before have observed ethical misconduct in the
According to a recent survey, more workers than ever
before have observed ethical misconduct in the workplace. However, the same
study reports that fewer employees are reporting the bad behavior they witness.
David Gebler, President of Working Values, explains why corporate culture is the
leading risk factor for compromising integrity and compliance today and how a
cultural risk assessment can minimize those dangers. FAST FACT: Ethics guru
Gebler acknowledges that there is often a gap or a 'disconnect' between the
expectations that are created by the organization's leadership, and the way
things are actually done in the trenches. He counsels companies to identify the
types of pressures their employees face, in order to help people engage in
ethical behavior, including reporting incidents of "bad" behavior.
"Good People Do Bad Things: Is Your Culture a Risk Factor?" SmartPros,
December 18, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on the sad state of whistle blowing are at
Where were the auditors?
Firms cook the books to set executive pay
And these same executives are protesting Sarbanes-Oxley
"Firms cook the books to set executive pay," Editorial, The New York Times,
December 19, 23006 ---
Among the corporate deceits that buttress America's
obscene executive pay is the one about comparability. But a new federal rule
may help expose the reality of so-called "peer groups." Far too often, the
list of comparable CEOs is cooked.
As the New York Times reported in its latest
installment on executive pay, former New York Stock Exchange chairman
Richard Grasso was a poster child for the abuse. His $140-million
compensation package was rationalized, in part, by comparing his job to
those at companies with median revenues 25 times the size of the exchange,
assets 125 times and employee bases 30 times the size.
Grasso was hardly alone. Executives have learned
that the path to personal riches is paved by "peer groups" that include big
and profitable companies. Eli Lilly compared itself to eight companies that
had much higher profit margins. Campbell Soup used one set of companies for
executive pay and a separate one as a benchmark for stock performance. Ford
Motor Co. compared itself to other industries, its proxy statement said,
because "the job market for executives goes beyond the auto industry."
The "job market" argument is particularly
disingenuous. As the New York Times noted, ousted Hewlett-Packard chief
executive Carly Fiorina was replaced by a data processing executive who was
earning less than half her pay. His company, NCR, never appeared on the
Hewlett-Packard "peer group."
The growth in executive pay has been so meteoric in
the past quarter-century that it is demeaning the contributions of average
workers and undermining public faith in corporate America. Last year,
according to the Corporate Library, the average pay for an S&P 500 chief
executive was $13.5-million. The average CEO now earns 411 times the average
worker, up from 42 times in 1980.
The new Securities and Exchange Commission
disclosure rules went into effect on Friday, and compensation consultants
are scrambling to cover their tracks. But stockholders who have been kept
mostly in the dark will now at least have a chance to see the playbook.
That's the first step toward ending these games of executive greed.
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous executive compensation are at
Bob Jensen's threads on fraudulent and incompetent auditing are at
United Nations Environment Programme: The Billion Tree Campaign ---
There is not the slightest doubt that sustainable
development is one of the most destructive concepts.
"The Lingering Stench of Malthus: Debunking Jeremy Rifkin's beef
with cities," by Ronald Bailey, Reason Magazine, December 22, 2006 ---
The majority of human beings are living in cities
for the first time in history. Hurray! As the Renaissance Germans said, "Stadtluft
macht frei," or "City air makes you free." But not everyone is pleased.
Jeremy Rifkin, the president of the leftist Foundation on Economic Trends,
recently wrote an op/ed entitled "The Risks of Too Much City" in the
Washington Post. Mostly it's filled with vacuous platitudes about
"sustainability," but he does decry the growth of cities. "In the great era
of urbanization we have increasingly shut off the human race from the rest
of the natural world in the belief that we could conquer, colonize and
utilize the riches of the planet to ensure our autonomy without dire
consequences to us and future generations," he declares. Of course that's
exactly what we've done and it's a good thing too.
Rikfin's concern about humanity's alienation from
nature has a long pedigree. The foremost philosophical proponent was
Jean-Jacques Rousseau who argued that man's natural goodness has been
corrupted by civilization, the myth of the "Noble Savage." Romantic poet
William Wordsworth penned the lines, "Nature never did betray, The Heart
that Loved her." Rifkin himself paints a picture of a prelapsarian idyll.
"As long as the human race had to rely on solar flow, the winds and
currents, and animal and human power to sustain life, the population
remained relatively low to accommodate nature's carrying capacity: the
biosphere's ability to recycle waste and replenish resources," he writes.
But let's look behind Rifkin's rhetoric. Why, until
a couple of centuries ago, did human population remain, as Rifkin so
delicately puts it, "relatively low?" Mostly because of the "positive
checks" on population growth identified by economist Thomas Robert Malthus
in his Essay on the Principle of Population, e.g., famine, disease, and war.
As a result of these "checks" economic historian Angus Maddison estimates
that in 1800 average life expectancy in France was about 30 years and 36
years in Britain. In the 18th century infant mortality was so great in
cities that they grew chiefly by means of migration from the countryside. In
other words, nature constantly betrayed humanity.
But that began to change in the 19th century. As
Karl Marx noted in The Communist Manifesto, bourgeois capitalism fueled the
growth of cities and "thus rescued a considerable part of the population
from the idiocy of rural life." History has shown that people prefer the
opportunities and excitement of city life to rural idiocy. And the former
country idiots are voting with their feet. While some people may be pushed
by war or drought, or poverty into cities, most people today are pulled in
by the prospect of reinventing themselves, escaping from the narrow
strictures of family, class and community, and a shot at really making it.
As humanity has urbanized, we have become ever less
subject to nature's vagaries. For instance, a globally interconnected world
made possible by the transportation networks between cities means that a
crop failure in one place can be overcome by food imports from areas with
bumper crops. Similarly resources of all types can be shifted quickly to
ameliorate human emergencies caused by the random acts of a brutal insensate
nature. Autonomy is just another word for freedom.
The further good news is that the movement of
humanity's burgeoning population into the thousand of megacities foreseen
that Rifkin is part of a process that ultimately will leave more land for
nature. Today cities occupy just 2 percent of the earth's surface, but that
will likely double to 4 percent over the next half century. In order to
avoid this ostensibly terrible fate Rifkin proclaims, "In the next phase of
human history, we will need to find a way to reintegrate ourselves into the
rest of the living Earth if we are to preserve our own species and conserve
the planet for our fellow creatures." Actually, he's got it completely
backwards. Humanity must not reintegrate into nature-that way lays disaster
for humanity and nature. Instead we must make ourselves even more autonomous
than we already are from her.
Since nothing is more destructive of nature than
poverty stricken subsistence farmers, boosting agricultural productivity is
the key to the human retreat from wild nature. As Jesse Ausubel, the
director for the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller
University, points out: "If the world farmer reaches the average yield of
today's US corn grower during the next 70 years, ten billion people eating
as people now on average do will need only half of today's cropland. The
land spared exceeds Amazonia." Similarly all of the world's industrial wood
could be produced on an area that is less than 10 percent of the world's
forested area today leaving 90 percent of the world's forests for Nature.
Ausubel argues that the wealth produced by human
creativity will spark the Great Restoration of the natural world in this
century. As the amount of land and sea needed to supply human needs
decreases, both cities and wild nature will expand with nature occupying, or
reoccupying, the bulk of the land and sea freed up by human ingenuity.
Nature will become an arena for human pleasure and instruction-much as
Wordsworth desired--not a source of raw materials.
Ultimately Rifkin is just using vague complaints
about urbanization as a stalking horse for "runaway population growth." He
thinks that there are just too many people whether they live in cities or
not. In other words, Rifkin's just another Malthusian boob with a
You can read more about Thomas Malthus at
From the Scout Report on December 22, 2006
OpenOffice 2.1 ---
Some users will already be familiar with the
OpenOffice applications, but for those who haven’t run across it yet will be
equally pleased to learn that there is a new version of the program
available. The application includes a number of features that will allow
users to create text documents, presentations, diagrams, and databases. With
an interface that is similar to a number of existing commercial products,
OpenOffice 2.1 is easy to use and to understand. Finally, users of this
program can save their documents in a variety of formats. This version is
compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and
Avant Browser 11 ---
Web browsers may come and go, but the Avant Browser
seems to have significant staying power. With this latest version,
interested parties will find themselves presented with a number of new and
Along with a number of key new pop-up advertisement
blockers, visitors can also take advantage of the browsers RSS reader.
Additionally, the clean look of the browser’s graphical interface is
noteworthy. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98
As year draws to a conclusion, the Statistical
Abstract of the United States offers plenty of fodder for discussion
around the holiday table Who Americans Are and What They Do, In Census Data
Updates from WebMD --- http://www.webmd.com/
Latest Headlines on
January 3, 2007
Latest Headlines on
January 4, 2007
Latest Headlines on
January 5, 2007
Latest Headlines on
January 6, 2007
"YouTube airs medical help videos," PhysOrg, January 3, 2007 ---
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance ---
"'The Encyclopedia of Everything
Nasty' and Other Health Books Worth Owning," by Tara Parker Pope, The
Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2006; Page D1 ---
"Mayo Clinic Book of
This book, to be published in January, has quickly become one of my favorites.
If you're interested in taking a holistic approach to your health, combining the
best of what conventional and alternative medicine have to offer, then this book
is for you. It includes an alphabetical guide to various herbal supplements and
how alternative remedies can safely be used to help treat 20 common conditions.
It also includes an open-minded exploration of mind-body medicine, energy
therapies and other so-called alternative approaches to health, as explained by
some of the Mayo Clinic's top doctors. The book itself, with fewer than 200
pages, is slim and accessible. But it carries a big message, teaching readers to
take an active role in their own health, and reminding us that the best medicine
treats the mind and the spirit, as well as the body.
"Prevention Magazine's Nutrition Advisor,"
by Mark Bricklin: Billed as "the ultimate guide to the health-boosting and
health-harming factors in your diet," this book is easy to use and packed with
needed information about the pros, cons and cautions about the foods we eat and
drink. Organized by food type -- such as dairy, desserts, fast food and meats --
this book analyzes and rates 1,000 foods ranging from abalone to zwieback. While
many nutrition books tell you exactly what to eat, this book gives you the
nutritional lowdown on the foods you already are eating and gives you
suggestions for more-healthful alternatives.
Johns Hopkins Complete Home Guide to Symptoms & Remedies":
Most health encyclopedias are organized by ailment, but that's helpful only if
you already know what's wrong with you. This guide is organized more like how a
patient thinks, with listings by symptom, such as bad breath, flatulence, ankle
pain or eye redness. It isn't a substitute for a doctor's visit, but having a
guide organized by symptom is a helpful first step for patients who aren't sure
what to make of a new ache or pain. The second half of the book gives detailed
information about various disorders. Some of the potential health problems
linked with certain symptoms can be alarming (such as eye redness related to
toxic shock syndrome), but I think seeing the full range of possible diagnoses
is actually reassuring to patients, and helps them distinguish between routine
health issues and more serious symptoms that require medical intervention.
Body: A Visual Guide," by Beverly
McMillan: This book is filled with interesting photographs that make its
exploration of the human body less daunting than most anatomy books. It's still
a weighty read, much like a textbook, and would likely appeal only to someone
with a keen interest in science, health and the human body. But I like having it
on my bookshelf as a reference guide. Just the other day my daughter asked me
how her eyes worked, and the pictures and explanations in this book helped me
explain it to her.
Housekeeping Family First Aid," by Andy
Jagoda, M.D.: The Internet gives us ready access to complex medical information,
but what most of us really need is information about common family emergencies.
This spiral-bound guide includes a section on how to be prepared for
emergencies, including a detailed description of a well-stocked first-aid kit.
In addition to an A-to-Z guide on how to deal with common health and safety
issues, such as burns, tick bites and head injuries, this guide also has
sections on important household safety issues, such as carbon monoxide and
radon, accidental poisoning, fire-proofing your home and what to do when bad
Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty,"
by Joy Masoff: If the title doesn't grab you then the cover photo of a boy
picking his nose will. Tapping into kids' fascination with body fluids and
emissions, this guide to the gross offers insight into acne, body lint, eye
gunk, scabs and vomit, among other things. Although it ventures outside the
health arena to explore things like maggots and ticks, I think this book is a
good starting point for talking to kids about health and taking care of their
Hormones and Cancer: Assessing the Risks
When researchers reported recently that a precipitous
drop in breast cancer rates might be explained by a corresponding decrease in
the use of hormones for menopause, women reacted with shock, anger and, in some
cases, profound relief that they had never taken the drugs . . . A connection
between hormone use and breast cancer rates did not surprise scientists like Dr.
V. Craig Jordan, vice president and scientific director for the medical science
division at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Dr. Jordan is a leader in
studying the effects of estrogen-blocking drugs on breast cancer. Among his many
awards is this year’s American Cancer Society Award from the American Society
for Clinical Oncology for his work on estrogen and the prevention and treatment
of breast cancer.
Gina Kolata, "Hormones and Cancer: Assessing the Risks," The New York Times,
December 26, 2006 ---
Risk factors for hypertension
By age 10, some black children already have high
nighttime blood pressure, an early signal of impending cardiovascular disease, a
new study shows. As they grow up, black children also show greater increases in
nighttime blood pressure, according to a study that followed children's blood
pressures over 15 years. Blacks experience less of a dip in nighttime blood
pressure than whites. The gap between the pressure measurements of whites and
blacks also widens as children get older. At night, blood pressure should drop
because the body is resting, says Dr. Gregory Harshfield, director of MCG's
Georgia Prevention Institute and a co-author on the study published in the Dec.
19 edition of Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.
"Risk factors for hypertension start young," PhysOrg, December 22, 2006
Medline Plus: Mammography ---
Yale School of Medicine:
Diagnostic Radiology ---
"Neurons targeted by dementing illness may have evolved for complex social
cognition," PhysOrg, December 22, 2006 ---
Economo neurons (VENs) are uniquely shaped brain cells that seem to have evolved
in a select group of socially complex species: great apes, humans, and, as
reported last month, whales.
species, VENs are localized to frontal brain regions associated with cognition,
emotion and social behavior. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a common
neurodegenerative condition, is characterized by early breakdown in social and
emotional awareness and is accompanied by atrophy and dysfunction in the brain
areas where VENs are located.
A new study published in the December 2006 issue of Annals of Neurology,
the official journal of the American Neurological Association, examined brain
tissue acquired at autopsy and found that VENs were devastated in FTD.
Led by William W. Seeley, M.D., of the Department of Neurology at the University
of California, San Francisco, researchers quantified anterior cingulate cortex
VENs in seven patients with FTD, five with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and seven
control subjects who were not demented. All FTD patients had prominent changes
in social behavior and emotion, sometimes accompanied by deficits in cognitive
In contrast, AD patients had an array of cognitive symptoms, including memory
and language impairment, with little change in social behavior. The researchers
found early, severe, and selective loss of VENs in FTD, which showed a 69%
reduction compared to AD and controls after controlling for overall neuronal
loss. "Our findings suggest that selective VEN loss is a defining feature of FTD
but does not apply to AD," the researchers state, adding that future research
should explore how VEN loss relates to specific social/behavioral deficits in
FTD and other disorders where such deficits are a defining feature.
Continued in article
Pets and Health Don't Mix for Adults 20 to 54
Many studies have found that pets can help people cope
with various physical and psychological problems . . . "Pet ownership was very
lightly associated with poor health in the general working-aged population,"
Koivusilta and Ojanlatva conclude. Why? One reason is that pet owners -- even
though they were more likely to enjoy outdoor activities such as hunting,
boating, and fishing -- tended to weigh a little bit more for their height (a
measure known as body mass index or BMI)
Daniel DeNoon, "Pets and Health Don't Mix for Adults 20 to 54; They're More
Overweight, Less Healthy," WebMD, December 28, 2006 ---
Global warming could spell the end of the world's
largest remaining tropical rain forest, transforming the Amazon into a
grassy savanna before end of the century, researchers said Friday . . . Jose
Antonio Marengo, a meteorologist with Brazil's National Space Research
Institute, said that global warming, if left unchecked, will reduce rainfall and
raise temperatures substantially in the ecologically rich region.
"Researchers: Warming May Change Amazon," PhysOrg, December 31, 2006 ---
"Why Iraq is a success," by Kevin McCollough,
December 22, 2006 ---
The leading cell phone company, Iraqna, is set to
take in nearly $520 million in revenues in 2006. That follows a record year
in 2005 of $333 million. The leading export of Iraq is producing nearly $41
billion in revenues. In 2004, there were only 8,000 registered companies
with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – today there are over 34,000.
While we in the U.S. are thrilled to hear about GDP
(gross domestic product) growth coming in at around 4 percent (so much so
that it begins to bring down our national debt faster than expected),
imagine enjoying Iraq's GDP growth of 13 percent in 2006 – which followed a
record year in 2005 of 17 percent.
Since 2003, the salaries of average Iraqis have
risen in excess of 100 percent. In addition, the Iraqi government has
slashed the income tax rates from 45 percent to just around 15 percent. That
has resulted in the average Iraqi family being able to develop long-term
nest eggs (we call them IRAs).
Gasoline is only 56 cents a gallon. It wouldn't be
that high except that Iraq decided to pay off some of its debt to the World
Bank and is using energy profits to do so.
In addition, much of the formerly centralized
organization of the economy has been turned over to private sector
endeavors, and while some government sectors have seen a spike in
unemployment, private sector unemployment is hovering around 30 percent.
(High to you and me, but still better than in the Saddam era.)
There will be many who will read this latest round
of good news and dismiss it out of hand. But thinking people will understand
that this growth did not happen in a vacuum.
Are there still significant challenges before the
Iraqis? Yes, and there will be for decades – but the violence so reported in
the daily news grind does not begin to give one even a slight glimpse of the
The militias need to be disbanded. Iran needs to
keeps its nose out of the Shia population, and the Saudis out of the Sunnis.
But while these debates are occurring, don't miss what's happening behind
the scenes. Every single day 25 million Iraqis are going to jobs, coming
home, paying bills, putting some into savings, educating their children –
and living in freedom.
Those who still disagree will argue that their
freedom was not worth the cost in the numbers of lost American lives. And
they do so dishonestly – knowing that we've lost fewer lives in the Global
War on Terror than in any other armed conflict America has fought in (based
on the numbers of American citizens and the percentage serving during war
But some things are more valuable than life, and
freedom is just such a treasure. Honorable people have always recognized
this and in turn expressed tremendous gratitude for the sacrifice made.
Dishonorable people have always preferred tyranny to freedom, and the most
dishonorable believe in freedom only for themselves.
The Global War on Terror has been and will continue
to be a tough, long slog. In Iraq, the news has not been the best in recent
months. Yet there is good news, and it deserves to be noted.
Iraq will succeed. The terrorists will fail. And
the longer the arm of freedom can reach, the more both statements will be
And in an economic sense – we need no greater
"Essential books for
understanding Christianity," by George Weigel, The Wall Street Journal,
December 23, 2006 ---
1. "The Oxford
Dictionary of the Christian Church" Edited by F.L. Cross and E.A.
Livingstone (Oxford University, 1997).
"The Christian Church has been so closely
interwoven with the course of Western civilization that her history,
life and institutions are matters of deep concern . . . to all who
take an intelligent interest in contemporary culture." With that
robust prefatory sentence, the late F.L. Cross anticipated the
readership of this marvel of erudition, concision, fairness and
accuracy--arguably the best one-volume reference work on
Christianity ever produced. Cross's ecumenical sense of audience
probably excludes the likes of Richard Dawkins and other members of
the Guild of Village Atheists. But for anyone interested in how
Christian doctrines, heresies, liturgical practices, artistic
achievements and personalities (admirable and deplorable) shaped our
world, this volume is indispensable.
2. "Jesus Through the Centuries" by
Jaroslav Pelikan (Yale University, 1985).
Because Christianity is, above all, a
personal encounter with Jesus Christ, the New Testament Gospels hold
a uniquely privileged position in Christian literature. Yet some
find the prospect of reading the Gospels intimidating. Happily, one
can begin to understand the pivotal figure in human history in a
different way, through Jaroslav Pelikan's lucid and learned
explication of how the idea or image of Jesus Christ in any given
historical moment shaped a period's culture. An example: Pelikan
discusses how Christianity's theological wrestling with, and final
acceptance of, representational art helped make possible
accomplishments of the magnitude of Chartres' stained glass and
Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes. It's something to consider
when pondering what a triumph by jihadist Islam might mean for the
greatest artifacts of Western civilization.
3. "The Divine Comedy" by Dante
Alighieri, translated by Dorothy L. Sayers (Penguin Classics, 1949,
Dorothy L. Sayers was far more than the
mystery writer who created Lord Peter Wimsey. Her Dante remains
among the best, both for the elegance of the translations of the
"Inferno," "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso" (this last completed by
Barbara Reynolds after Miss Sayers's death in 1957) and for the
subtle theological intelligence of her introductory commentaries and
notes on this greatest of Christian poems, a complex allegory of the
breadth of human experience and yearning. At a time when it is
frequently suggested that nature--humanity included--is an accident
of galactic biochemistry, Sayers's "Divine Comedy" offers a
genuinely humanistic alternative: a glimpse (to cite the last phrase
of Dante's masterwork) of "the love that moves the sun and the other
4. "The Challenge of Jesus" by N.T.
Wright (InterVarsity, 1999).
More than 200 years of "historical
criticism" of the Bible have vastly increased our knowledge of
biblical times and vastly decreased many Christians' confidence in
their sacred text. Wright, now the Anglican bishop of Durham, takes
the historical-critical method with utmost seriousness but, by
challenging some of its assumptions, offers readers not the
desiccated shadow-Christ of the notorious "Jesus Seminar" but a
historically reliable portrait of the man, his teaching and his
mission--a portrait that is, in its own way, an invitation to faith.
5. The Sources of Christian Ethics by
Servais Pinckaers, O.P. (Catholic University of America, 1995).
Christianity--classic Christian morality in
particular--is frequently pilloried as dour and nay-saying. Father
Servais Pinckaers offers a different, more humane and more accurate
perspective: the Christian moral life as a process of growing in
"freedom for excellence," the freedom to choose the good as a matter
of habit. By linking the best of Christian moral theology to the
virtue-ethics of Aristotle, Pinckaers shows how human happiness is
the goal of moral action. He thus provides a bridge across which
Christians and non-Christians can discuss the full meaning of the
Mr. Weigel, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy
Center, is the author, most recently, of "God's Choice: Pope
Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church" (HarperCollins).
Best Books on Outer Space
"The Final Frontier Books on space that soar above the rest," by William
Burrows, The Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2006 ---
1. "A Man on the Moon" by Andrew Chaikin
(Time-Life Books, 1999).
This meticulously researched, lavishly
illustrated three-volume boxed set is a glorious upgrading of the
version of the "A Man on the Moon" published in 1994 to commemorate
the 25th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969.
Tom Hanks--unabashed space junkie and the executive producer of the
1998 HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" based on the
book--wrote the introduction for this edition. "A Man on the Moon"
captures the sweep of the successive Mercury, Gemini and Apollo
programs. But what sets this history apart from others is that it
completes the story by following the astronauts long after they
accomplished their monumental feats. Frank Borman, for example,
decided to work for Eastern Airlines and got caught in a cat's
cradle of politics for which even life coping with NASA's
bureaucracy had failed to prepare him.
2. "Challenge to Apollo" by Asif A.
Siddiqi (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2000).
With the advent of glasnost in the 1980s,
the Soviet space archives were opened to outsiders, revealing the
full extent of Moscow's effort to compete with the U.S.--and
providing NASA historian Asif Siddiqi with the material for this
clearly written, exhaustively detailed historical narrative. As
"Challenge to Apollo" makes clear, the Soviets' program was
undermined by ferocious infighting between Sergei Korolev, the
storied chief designer of the Soviet space effort, and his
archrival, Valentin Glushko. But even if those two had reached their
own glasnost, the Soviet effort was doomed to fall behind: The
political and economic system under which Korolev and Glushko
operated was grossly unequal to the task of beating its capitalist
competitors to another world.
3. "Lost Moon" by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey
Kluger (Houghton Mifflin, 1994).
"Lost Moon" is really two stories. One is
familiar: that of the astronauts aboard Apollo 13, the only one of
the seven moon-landing missions that did not make it to luna firma.
An oxygen tank exploded, forcing the spacecraft to abort the
landing, swing around the far side of the moon and limp home. It's a
nail-biting saga as told by one of the astronauts who was there, Jim
Lovell. But he and science writer Jeffrey Kluger also excel in
describing the less well-known--but in some ways just as
gripping--tale of the usually anonymous cadre of ground controllers,
mission directors, engineers and others who worked to save Apollo
13--and without whom there would be no space missions.
4. "Sky Walking" by Thomas D. Jones
Thomas D. Jones, or "TJ" to his friends and
colleagues, has written a thoughtful and engrossing memoir about
training to be an astronaut and then flying on four shuttle
missions. He displays a joy in his experience that is deeply
spiritual, but he is also pragmatic. "Never have I felt so
insignificant, part of a scene so obviously set by God," Jones says
of looking at the home planet while floating near the International
Space Station 200 miles aloft. Yet he also describes in practical
terms the wary camaraderie of working with former Cold War rivals
from Russia, the challenge of spending 52 days in orbit and the
frustration of having a space walk scrubbed for the most mundane of
reasons: The handle on the hatch door stuck.
5. "Bad Astronomy" by Philip Plait
Philip Plait is a California astronomer who
evidently became so exasperated with the contemporary warping of
science by ideology or just plain ignorance that he wrote "Bad
Astronomy" as an antidote. This primer on basic astronomy explains,
among much else, why the moon sometimes hits your eye like a big
pizza pie (it happens when the moon reaches the perigee of its
elliptical orbit and is closest to us). But Plait's astronomical
discussions also take on creationism. My favorite part of the book:
when he goes after the crowd that claims the Apollo moon landings
were a hoax. Years ago, Buzz Aldrin showed one way to deal with this
bizarre belief when someone shoved a Bible at him and demanded that
he swear he actually landed on the moon; Aldrin decked the guy.
Plait achieves the equivalent with words.
Mr. Burrows is the author of "This New Ocean: The Story of the
First Space Age." His most recent book is "The Survival Imperative:
Using Space to Protect Earth" (Tor/Forge, 2006).
Crazy stunt wins a top Darwin Award (High on Life) ---
Two students who died after climbing into a huge
helium-filled balloon for the 'buzz' of inhaling the gas have been named the
winners of the 2006 Darwin Awards. Jason Ackerman and Sara Rydman, both 21, were
discovered with their feet sticking out of a deflated balloon used to advertise
property in LakeView, South Florida. The two apparently pulled the balloon out
of the sky and squeezed themselves inside, where they died of oxygen starvation.
"Crazy stunt wins Darwin Award" ---
The 2006 Darwin Awards are listed at
History Exam forwarded by Auntie Bev
1. In the 1940's, where were automobile headlight dimmer switches located? a.
On the floor shift knob b. On the floor board, to the left of the clutch c. Next
to the horn
2. The bottle top of a Royal Crown Cola bottle had holes in it. For what was
it used? a. Capture lightning bugs b. To sprinkle clothes before ironing c.
Large salt shaker
3. Why was having milk delivered a problem in northern winters? a. Cows got
cold and wouldn't produce milk b. Ice on highways forced delivery by dog sled c.
Milkmen left deliveries outside of front doors and milk would freeze, expanding
and pushing up the cardboard bottle top.
4. What was the popular chewing gum named for a game of chance? a. Blackjack
b. Gin c. Craps!
5. What method did women use to look as if they were wearing stockings when
none were available due to rationing during W.W.II a. Suntan b. Leg painting c.
6. What postwar car turned automotive design on its ear when you couldn't
tell whether it was coming or going? a. Studebaker b. Nash Metro c. Tucker
7. Which was a popular candy when you were a kid? a. Strips of dried peanut
butter b. Chocolate licorice bars c. Wax coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar
8. How was Butch wax used? a. To stiffen a flat-top haircut so it stood up b.
To make floors shiny and prevent scuffing c. On the wheels of roller skates to
9. Before in-line skates, how did you keep your roller skates attached to
your shoes? a With clamps, tightened by a skate key b. Woven straps that crossed
the foot c. Long pieces of twine
10. As a kid, what was considered the best way to reach a decision? a.
Consider all the facts b. Ask Mom c. Eeny-meeny-miney-mo
11. What was the most dreaded disease in the 1940's-50's?
a. Smallpox b. AIDS c. Polio
12. "I'll be down to get you in a ________, Honey" a. SUV b. Taxi c.
13. What was the name of Caroline Kennedy's pet pony? a. Old Blue b. Paint c.
14. What was a Duck-and-Cover Drill? a. Part of the game of hide and seek b
What you did when your Mom called you in to do chores c. Hiding under your desk,
and covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill.
15. What was the name of the Indian Princess on the Howdy Doody show? a.
Princess Summerfallwinterspring b. Princess Sacajawea c. Princess Moonshadow
16. What did all the really savvy students do when mimeographed tests were
handed out in school? a. Immediately sniffed the purple ink, as this was
believed to get you high b. Made paper airplanes to see who could sail theirs
out the window c. Wrote another pupil's name on the top, to avoid their failure
17. Why did your Mom shop in stores that gave Green Stamps with purchases? a.
To keep you out of mischief by licking the backs, which tasted like bubble gum
b. They could be put in special books and redeemed for various household items
c. They were given to the kids to be used as stick-on tattoos
18. Praise the Lord, and pass the _________? a. Meatballs b. Dames c.
19. What was the name of the singing group that made the song "Cabdriver" a
hit? a. The Ink Spots b. The Supremes c. The Esquires
20. Who left his heart in San Francisco ? a. Tony Bennett b. Xavier Cugat c.
1. b) On the floor, to the left of the clutch. Hand controls, popular in
Europe , took till the late '60's to catch on.
2. b) To sprinkle clothes before ironing. Who had a steam iron?
3. c) Cold weather caused the milk to freeze and expand, popping the bottle
4. a) Blackjack Gum.
5. b) Special makeup was applied, followed by drawing a seam down the back of
the leg with eyebrow pencil.
6. a) 1946 Studebaker.
7. c) Wax coke bottles containing super-sweet colored water.
8 a) Wax for your flat top (butch) haircut.
9. a) With clamps, tightened by a skate key, which you wore on a shoestring
around your neck.
10. c) Eeny-meeny-miney-mo.
11. c) Polio. In beginning of August, swimming pools were closed, movies and
other public gather- ing places were closed to try to prevent spread of the
12. b) Taxi. Better be ready by half-past eight!
13. c) Macaroni.
14. c) Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an
15. a) Princess Summerfallwinterspring. She was another puppet.
16. a) Immediately sniffed the purple ink to get a high.
17. b) Put in a special stamp book, they could be traded for household items
at the Green Stamp store.
18. c) Ammunition, and we'll all be free.
19. a) The widely famous 50's group: The Inkspots.
20. a) Tony Bennett, and he sounds just as good today..
17 - 20 correct: You are older than dirt, and obviously gifted with mental
abilities. Now if you could only find your glasses. Definitely someone who
should share your wisdom!
12 -16 correct: Not quite dirt yet, but you're getting there.
0 -11 correct: You are not old enough to share the wisdom of your
More Tidbits from the Chronicle
of Higher Education --- http://www.aldaily.com/
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmark
s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter
--- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity
and other universities is at
Three Finance Blogs
Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog ---
FinancialRounds Blog ---
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) ---
Some Accounting Blogs
Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) ---
International Association of Accountants News ---
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries ---
Gerald Trite's eBusiness and XBRL
Blogs --- http://www.zorba.ca/
Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits ---
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