The above picture was taken last winter in 2006. This winter's February 14, 2007 big storm left much deeper snow that now covers the entire fence. I came home from Boston this week to check on the house in preparation for Erika's anticipated release from her rehab hospital. I knew there was a lot of new snow, but I was not aware that this "Nor'easter" was one of the worst storms in decades. I came home to nearly three feet of new snow that gale-force winds had whipped into huge drifts twice as deep. My plowed driveway is like a tunnel. Snowplows on the road buried my mailbox so deep that my neighbor used a backhoe to try to find my mailbox. It was badly bent out of shape when he found it. Whereas Boston on the coast was covered in deep ice, Sugar Hill in the mountains was buried in snow ---
although not as deep as some places in upstate New York where entire houses were buried in earlier storms.

In the February 26, 2007 issue of Time Magazine, Page 6 is entitled "A Little Taste of the Arctic Close to Home:  If you like awful weather, you'll love spending a night on Mount Washington." To read about the history and mean weather on this mountain --- Click Here
Also see

Those of you that want the latest updates on Erika's recovery (with pictures) may go to


Tidbits on February 25, 2007
Bob Jensen

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

The new December 31 edition of New Bookmarks is linked at 

Fraud Updates are linked at

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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

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 ---

Take One Step for a Healthy Heart ---

Senator Kennedy on Net Neutrality ---

Accounting Rap (wipe off that smirk) ---

The Best New Years Party ---

Blues Slide Guitar Cam Strikes Again ---

Independent Lens Online Short Video Festival ---

Free music downloads ---

Met Archives: The Metropolitan Opera ---

Handel ---

Beethoven: Hear All Nine Symphonies ---
Beethoven's Sonatas: 'From Darkness to Light' ---

Online Conservatory ---

Blues Slide Guitar Cam Strikes Again ---

Drummerworld ---

Levon Helm Studios ---

Love Songs Capture Ancient Ritual in New China ---

Photographs and Art

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum: Educator Resource Center ---

The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 ---

100 Years of SLIS: Images Celebrating Our Past ---

Turn of the Century Posters ---

Armando Reverón ---

Collections Online: Joseph Cornell ---

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Flight and Rescue ---

''It's Alive!'' exhibit explores biotech 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 ---

The Phrase Finder (including commentaries on the history of the phrase) ---

Thurgood Marshall Law Library: Historical Publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights --- 

On The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin (1809-1882) --- Click Here

The Complete Work of Charles Darwin ---

The Heathen by Jack London (1876-1916) --- Click Here

The Paradise Of Bachelors And The Tartarus Of Maids by Herman Melville (1819-1891) --- Click Here

The Crystal Egg by Herbert G. Wells --- Click Here

Soul of a Bishop by Herbert G. Wells (1866-1946) --- Click Here

Letters to Nathaniel Hawthorne by Herman Melville (1819-1891) --- Click Here

  • A male cichlid can rank potential rivals from strongest to weakest by watching how they perform in territorial fights with other males, according to a new study by Stanford scientists. The researchers say their discovery provides the first direct evidence that fish, like people, can use logical reasoning to figure out their place in the pecking order.
    Mark Schwarz, "Study: Cichlids can determine their social rank by observation," Stanford Report, February 2007 ---
    Jensen Comment
    My question is whether there are playoffs for the Super (Fish) Bowl Trophy?

    The popular Wikipedia online encyclopedia cracked the top ten list of most popular Web sites in the U.S. for the first time in January.
    Juan Carlos Perez, PC World via The Washington Post, February 17, 2006 --- Click Here

    The Wikipedia Foundation supports the new policy, the Free Press (Middlebury College) said. In an e-mail to the newspaper, the foundation said it is an "ideal place to start" for students; "however, it is not an authoritative source."
    Jensen Comment
    The above quotation was recently circulated by Bob Blystone in response to email messages from professors who ban student use of Wikipedia. I agree with this quotation whole heartedly. If a professor bans student use of Wikipedia, such a ban is at best naive and at worst hypocritical. Many Wikipedia modules are very scholarly and are often written and modified by professors or other experts in a discipline. The best entries have links to online and offline authoritative references. A professor who refuses to ever use Wikipedia may be sorry. A professor who bans student use of Wikpedia and uses it for personal research/scholarship is a hypocrite. The trick is to master the art of using it. Unfortunately experts on a topic have some obvious advantages when looking up that topic in Wikipedia. They may nevertheless find important things they did not know that were provided by other experts.

    How do you measure the best religion? The best marriage? Hard to say. The same is true in assessing colleges.
    Bernard Fryshman, "Comparatively Speaking," Inside Higher Ed, February 21, 2007 ---
    Also see

    Here we have a game that combines the charm of a Pentagon briefing with the excitement of double- entry bookkeeping.
    Cecil Adams on Dungeons & Dragons

    The wise learn many things from their enemies.

    The penalty of success is to be bored by the people who used to snub you.
    Lady Astor

    The tragic hero prefers death to prudence. The comedian prefers playing tricks to winning. Only the villain really plays to win.
    Mason Cooley

    Valentine’s Day is a good day to think about universal brotherhood and the meaning of the word “love”. I truly believe that “love” is a choice that one makes to treat another as a brother or sister, equal in dignity. That is one reason why I brought a couple of speakers on campus last week to speak about the economy of communion. In contrast to our materialistic society in which businesses seek only to generate profits without regard to the human dignity of their workers, their customers, or their competitors, the EOC sees all as working together and of equal dignity. There is a pretty decent article in the Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law about this project—see link at 
    Linda Specht, Accounting Faculty, Trinity University, February 14, 2006

    It was at least the third truck bomb in a month to employ chlorine, a greenish gas also used in World War I, which burns the skin and can be fatal after only a few concentrated breaths. The bomb killed at least two people and wounded 32 others, many of them sent to hospitals coughing and wheezing, police and medical officials said.
    Damien Cave and Ahmad Fadah, "Iraq Insurgents Employ Chlorine in Bomb Attacks," The New York Times, February 22, 2007 ---

    Amazingly Simple to Shop Online at Amazon
    I've had to order some home medical equipment in anticipation of Erika's return. Tremendous selections at great prices can be easily found on Simply go to the main Amazon site and then choose the Health and Personal Care category under the main search box ---

    I also acquired the Amazon Visa to use only for online shopping. This provides some serious savings in prices and shipping.


    Medical Students Turn to Drama
    A group of first-year med students recently attended a reading of Molière's "The Imaginary Invalid" as part of a new program that encourages the future doctors to develop societal - as well as scientific - skills. The new "Medicine and the Arts" program offers students cultural events as part of their curriculum.
    Mitzi Baker, "Give the textbooks a rest—the play is the thing," Stanford Report, January 31, 2007 ---



    Suppose your neighbor phones you and says that the police or fire departments need to enter your house. How can you unlock the house remotely if the neighbor cannot find the key you left with her five years ago?


    One way is to have a GSM doorbell lets you use your mobile phone to open your door from nearly anywhere in the world.


    "Palm Treo 750," by John Blau, PC World via The Washington Post, February 21, 2007 --- Click Here 

    Don't let the sleek design of Palm's new Treo 750 fool you: This is a serious business device. The Windows Mobile-based phone, available for $500 with a two-year contract from AT&T's Cingular Wireless unit, includes mobile Office applications, world phone capabilities, and support for Cingular's 3G UMTS high-speed network; but business users may not tolerate its poor talk-time battery life.

    Like the consumer-oriented Treo 680 (also available from Cingular), the 750 has an internal antenna and a slimmer design than earlier models exhibited. Its soft-touch, midnight-blue casing is attractive, and the device is comfortable to hold during phone calls. Call quality and volume were quite good, too. Unfortunately, the Treo 750 lasted only 3 hours, 53 minutes in our lab tests of its talk-time battery life. Though that's close to Palm's advertised talk time of 4 hours, it's the lowest among all PDA phones we've tested recently.

    Continued in article


    Best Practices in Undergraduate Research


    Council on Undergraduate Research ---


    Grade Inflation is Destroying Predictive Value of Grades
    Analysis finds that they (standardized tests) predict success in graduate and professional schools better than do college grades.
    "A Defense of Standardized Tests," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, February 23, 2007 ---

    The most striking thing about the study, he said, was the common findings across different graduate admissions tests. “Across all the major standardized tests, they all predict a variety of important outcomes — grades, licensure passage, obtaining the degree,” Kuncel said.

    One of the major concerns about standardized admissions tests is their impact on minority enrollments. Black and Latino students, on average, receive lower scores than do white and Asian students. Many educators have questioned the predictive value of the tests for some minority students and urged colleges and graduate programs to place less emphasis on them.

    Kuncel said that the review for his study found no evidence of bias in test questions, or any difference in predictive value for different racial or ethnic groups. The study says that while there is evidence that some tests underpredict the performance of women in college, there is no similar evidence for graduate and professional school.

    Those who want to know why black and Latino students don’t score as well need to stop looking at the tests, Kuncel said. “These tests are acting as a thermometer for other societal issues,” he said.

    Asked whether his research would discourage colleges from questioning standardized tests, Kuncel said that there were separate questions for graduate schools to consider: One set of questions concerns what tests measure and another concerns what kind of class a graduate school wants to produce.

    “If a law school values students who will pass the Bar at a high rate, the LSAT does a great job of that,” Kuncel said. But a law school could make a perfectly legitimate issue to focus on other issues, he added.

    While the analysis published Thursday focused on tests for graduate school, Kuncel said he expected similar findings would come from looking at the tests used in undergraduate admissions. “All of these tests are very similar in structure,” he said.

    Bob Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, disputed the findings, which he called “a meta-analysis of pro-testing meta-analyses” and said that the analysis ignored “considerable research that reaches opposite conclusions.” He compared the study to research sponsored by the tobacco industry to demonstrate that cigarettes do not cause cancer.

    He also noted the ties of the authors to the testing industry.

    Continued in article


    Grades Rise as Reading Skills Drop in High School Study ---
    Diana Jean Schemo, The New York Times, February 22, 2007 --- Click Here


    Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation (and its main causes) are at



    Update on Open Knowledge Access Mandates


    From the University of Illinois Blog Issues in Scholarly Communications on February 5, 2007 ---



  • Stevan Harnad has created a summary of the universities, university departments, and funding agencies that are requiring their authors to make their research available in an open access mode. See his blog entry, "Pit-Bulls vs. Petitions: A Historic Time for Open Access" on the blog Open Access Archivangelism.
    You'll notice that Europe is ahead of the U.S. in this activity, though the U.S. will catch up if several important U.S. funder mandates are passed.

    University / Departments mandating Open Access:
    AUSTRALIA inst-mandate Queensland U. Technol
    AUSTRALIA inst-mandate U. Tasmania
    EUROPE inst-mandate Eur Org Nuc Res (CERN)
    INDIA inst-mandate Nat Inst Tech Rourkela
    INDIA inst-mandate Bharathidasan U
    PORTUGAL inst-mandate U. Minho
    SWITZERLAND inst-mandate U. Zurich
    AUSTRALIA dept-mandate U. Tasmania Sch Comp
    FRANCE dept-mandate Lab Psych Neurosci Cog
    UNITED KINGDOM dept-mandate U Southampton Dept ECS
    UNITED KINGDOM dept-mandate Brunel U Sch Info Sys Comp Maths

    Funding agencies that are requiring their authors to make their publications available to all:

    AUSTRALIA funder-mandate Australian Res Cncl (ARC)
    AUSTRALIA funder-mandate National Health and Medical Res Cncl (NHMRC)
    UNITED KINGDOM funder-mandate Arthritis Res Foundation
    UNITED KINGDOM funder-mandate Biotech Bio Sci Res Cncl (BBSRC)
    UNITED KINGDOM funder-mandate Chief Sci Off (Scottish Exec Health)
    UNITED KINGDOM funder-mandate Economic and Social Res Cncl (ESRC)
    UNITED KINGDOM funder-mandate Medical Res Cncl (MRC)
    UNITED KINGDOM funder-mandate National Environmental Res Cncl (NERC)
    UNITED KINGDOM funder-mandate Particle Phys & Astron Res Cncl (PPARC)
    UNITED KINGDOM funder-mandate Wellcome Trust

    In addition, there are several proposals that will mandate Open Access that are working their way through the agencies:

    CANADA proposed funder-mandate Can Insts Health Res (CIHR)
    EUROPE proposed funder-mandate European Res Advisory Board (EURAB)
    EUROPE proposed funder-mandate European Res Cncl (ERC)
    EUROPE proposed funder-mandate European Commission
    UNITED STATES proposed funder-mandate Fed Res Pub Access Act (FRPAA)
    UNITED STATES proposed funder-mandate Nat Insts Health (NIH)

  • Bob Jensen's threads on the Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) and open access to course materials around the world are at



    Digital History ---


    Franck-Bertacci Collection: Louisiana Digital Library ---


    Bob Jensen has two sites with links to online history learning:



    Online Mathematics Textbooks


    National Library of Virtual Manipulatives --- 


    Bob Jensen's threads on free online mathematics tutorials are at


    Bob Jensen's threads on online textbooks are at ---



    Virtual Courseware for Science Learning


    Chem1 Virtual Textbook ---


    Bob Jensen's threads on online helpers for science and medicine learning are at


    Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing of courseware are at



    The Basics of 3D/4D Ultrasound ---



    University Teachers: Know Your Copy Rights!
    From the University of Illinois Blog Issues in Scholarly Communications on February 12, 2007 ---


    The American Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has recently produced a 6-page pamphlet about the rights teachers and teaching assistants have to share with their classes the intellectual property produced by others. Know Your Copy Rights: What You Can Do provides tips and guidelines for when articles, video, music, images, and other intellectual property can be shared with students under the banner of "fair use".

    Among the topics covered in the brochure are: fair use, the advantages of linking to instead of copying works, and special provisions for displaying or performing works in classes. It also includes a handy one-page chart that highlights 24 situations when various categories of works can be used.

    The pamphlet is free to download.


    Bob Jensen's threads on the dreaded DMCA are at




    February 2, 2007 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


    "Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006" is the fourth annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and the Sloan Consortium. The report, based on responses from over 2,200 colleges and universities, addresses these questions:

    -- Has the growth of online enrollments begun to plateau?

    -- Who is learning online?

    -- What types of institutions have online offerings?

    -- Have perceptions of quality changed for online offerings?

    -- What are the barriers to widespread adoption of online education?

    For more information or to download the complete report, go to

    The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is a consortium of institutions and organizations committed "to help learning organizations continually improve quality, scale, and breadth of their online programs according to their own distinctive missions, so that education will become a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines." Sloan-C is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. For more information, see

    For a related article, see:

    "The Invisible Professor and the Future of Virtual Faculty"
    By Martha C. Sammons, Wright State University, and Stephen Ruth, George
    Mason University


    "Although the online teaching continues to grow in popularity, it places greater demands on faculty than traditional courses. The Sloan report found that this problem exists at all levels of postsecondary education, from doctoral-granting institutions to community colleges. A significant number of full-time professors are thus understandably reluctant to participate in distance learning, and faculty questions about online teaching continue. Traditional professors are disappearing from online classrooms as distance learning has altered their roles and responsibilities, as well as their professional status, job security, workload, rewards, and intellectual freedom. This article delineates some of the most significant challenges and suggests that distance learning has created new questions about the future of virtual faculty."



    The 2007 Horizon Report is a collaboration between the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative that "seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, or creative expression within higher education."

    Some key trends that the report calls attention to include

    -- Increasing globalization is changing the way we work, collaborate, and communicate.

    -- Information literacy increasingly should not be considered a given.

    -- Academic review and faculty rewards are increasingly out of sync with new forms of scholarship.

    -- The notions of collective intelligence and mass amateurization are pushing the boundaries of scholarship.

    -- Students' views of what is and what is not technology are increasingly different from those of faculty.

    The complete report is available at ---

    The New Media Consortium (NMC) is an "international 501(c)3 not-for-profit consortium of nearly 200 leading colleges, universities, museums, corporations, and other learning-focused organizations dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies."
    For more information, go to

    The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) is a "strategic initiative of EDUCAUSE. While EDUCAUSE serves those interested in advancing higher education through technology, ELI specifically explores innovative technologies and practices that advance learning." For more information, go to

    In "If the Academic Library Ceased to Exist, Would We Have to Invent It?" (EDUCAUSE REVIEW, vol. 42, no. 1, January/February 2007, pp. 6-7) Lynn Scott Cochrane argues that "if college and university libraries and librarians didn't exist, we would certainly have to invent—better yet, re-invent—them."
    The article is available at



    The growing popularity of social software (e.g., instant messaging, blogs, wikis, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube) among college students raises questions on how can these tools be used to support instruction. Here are some resources that address the topic and/or provide background information on the tools.

    "Social Networking Websites and Teens: An Overview"

    Pew Internet & American Life Project report

    "More than half (55%) of all online American youths ages 12-17 use online social networking sites, according to a new national survey of teenagers conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The survey also finds that older teens, particularly girls, are more likely to use these sites. For girls, social networking sites are primarily places to reinforce pre-existing friendships; for boys, the networks also provide opportunities for flirting and making new friends."

    "Digital Rendezvous: Social Software in Higher Education"

    EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research
    Research Bulletin, vol. 2007, issue 2, January 16, 2007

    (Registration required to access this report.)

    "The origins of social software -- from blogs to facebooks to instant messaging to wikis -- are firmly based in the information technologies of the past few decades. This research bulletin explores the genesis of some of the current social software products, helps define common characteristics, describes how the software is being used in higher education, and examines the implications for activities in colleges and universities."

    The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative's "7 Things You Should Know About..."

    ( series provides concise information on emerging learning technologies including briefings on



    Instant Messaging



    Social Bookmarking


    Infobits subscriber Arun-Kumar Tripathi ( recommends DEMOCRATIZING TECHNOLOGY: BUILDING ON ANDREW FEENBERG'S CRITICAL THEORY OF TECHNOLOGY, edited by Tyler J. Veak (SUNY Press, 2006; ISBN: 0-7914-6918-2 pbk).

    The book is a festschrift honoring Feenberg, who is Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Technology, School of Communication at Simon Fraser University.

    "Largely because of the Internet and the new economy, technology has become the buzzword of our culture. But what is it, and how does it affect our lives? More importantly, can we control and shape it, or does it control us? In short, can we make technology more democratic? Using the work of Andrew Feenberg, one of the most important and original figures in the field of philosophy of technology, as a foundation, the contributors to this volume explore these important questions and Feenberg responds."

    You can preview portions of the book online through Google Books:

    Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at


    "Uninspiring Vista:  How Microsoft's long-awaited operating system disappointed a stubborn fan," by Erika Jonietz, MIT's Technology Review, January 8, 2007 --- 


  • For most of the last two decades, I have been a Microsoft apologist. I mean, not merely a contented user of the company's operating systems and software, not just a fan, but a champion. I have insisted that MS-DOS wasn't hard to use (once you got used to it), that Windows 3.1 was the greatest innovation in desktop operating systems, that Word was in fact superior to WordPerfect, and that Windows XP was, quite simply, "it."

    When I was forced to use Apple's Mac OS (versions 7.6 through 9.2) for a series of jobs, I grumbled, griped, and insisted that Windows was better. Even as I slowly acclimated at work, I bought only Windows PCs for myself and avoided my roommate's recherché new iBook as if it were fugu. I admitted it was pretty, but I just knew that you got more computing power for your buck from an Intel-based Windows machine, and of course there was far more software available for PCs. Yet my adoration wasn't entirely logical; I knew from experience, for example, that Mac crashes were easier to recover from than the infamous Blue Screen of Death. At the heart of it all, I was simply more used to Windows. Even when I finally bought a Mac three years ago, it was solely to meet the computing requirements of some of the publications I worked with. I turned it on only when I had to, sticking to my Windows computer for everyday tasks.

    So you might think I would be predisposed to love Vista, Microsoft's newest version of Windows, which was scheduled to be released to consumers at the end of January. And indeed, I leaped at the opportunity to review it. I couldn't wait to finally see and use the long-delayed operating system that I had been reading and writing about for more than three years. Regardless of widespread skepticism, I was confident that Vista would dazzle me, and I looked forward to saying so in print.

    Ironically, playing around with Vista for more than a month has done what years of experience and exhortations from Mac-loving friends could not: it has converted me into a Mac fan.

    A little context and a caveat: in order to meet print deadlines, I had to review the "RC1" version of Vista Ultimate, which Microsoft released in order to gather feedback from over-eager early adopters. Such post-beta, prerelease testing reveals bugs and deficits that in-house testing misses; debuggers cannot mimic all the various configurations of hardware, software, and peripherals that users will assemble. And Vista RC1 was maddeningly buggy. Although I reminded myself repeatedly that most of the problems I encountered would be fixed in the final version, my opinions about Vista are probably colored by my frustrations.

    Still, my very first impression of Vista was positive. Quite simply, it's beautiful. The Aero visual interface provides some cool effects, such as translucent window borders and a way to scroll through a 3-D "stack" of your open windows to find the one you want. Networking computers is virtually automatic, as it was supposed to be but never quite has been with Windows XP. The Photo Gallery is the best built-in organizer I've used to manage digital pictures; it even includes basic photo correction tools.

    But many of Vista's "new" features seemed terribly familiar to me--as they will to any user of Apple's OS X Tiger operating system. Live thumbnails that display petite versions of minimized windows, search boxes integrated into every Explorer window, and especially the Sidebar--which contains "Gadgets" such as a weather updater and a headline reader--all mimic OS X features introduced in 2005. The Windows versions are outstanding--they're just not really innovative.

    Unfortunately, Vista RC1 contained bugs that rendered some promising features, such as the new version of Windows Media Center, unusable for me (an acquaintance who acquired a final copy of Vista ahead of release assures me that all that has been fixed).

    My efforts to get Media Center working highlighted two big problems with Vista. First, it's a memory hog. The hundreds of new features jammed into it have made it a prime example of software bloat, perhaps the quintessence of programmer Niklaus Wirth's law that software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster (for more on the problems with software design that lead to bloat, see "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Meta"). Although my computer meets the minimum requirements of a "Vista Premium Ready PC," with one gigabyte of RAM, I could run only a few ­simple programs, such as a Web browser and word processor, without running out of memory. I couldn't even watch a movie: Windows Media Player could read the contents of the DVD, but there wasn't enough memory to actually play it. In short, you need a hell of a computer just to run this OS.

    Second, users choosing to install the 64-bit version of Vista on computers they already own will have a hard time finding drivers, the software needed to control hardware sub­systems and peripherals such as video cards, modems, or printers. Microsoft's Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor program, which I ran before installing Vista, assured me that my laptop was fully compatible with the 64-bit version. But once I installed it, my speakers would not work. It seems that none of the companies concerned had written a driver for my sound card; it took more than 10 hours of effort to find a workaround. Nor do drivers exist for my modem, printer, or several other things I rely on. For some of the newer components, like the modem, manufacturers will probably have released 64-bit drivers by the time this review appears. But companies have no incentive to write complicated new drivers for older peripherals like my printer. And because rules written into the 64-bit version of Vista limit the installation of some independently written drivers, users will be virtually forced to buy new peripherals if they want to run it.

    Struggling to get my computer to do the most basic things reminded me forcefully of similar battles with previous versions of Windows--for instance, the time an MIT electrical engineer had to help me figure out how to get my computer to display anything on my monitor after I upgraded to Windows 98. Playing with OS X Tiger in order to make accurate comparisons for this review, I had a personal epiphany: Windows is complicated. Macs are simple.

    Continued in article


    February 10, 2007 message from Mark McCrohon

    Dear Bob,

    I have developed a plagiarism detection tool called DOC Cop that may be of interest to you and your colleagues.

    DOC Cop does NOT take ownership or copyright of your material. It does not retain your material beyond the time it takes to generate your report.

    DOC Cop is lightning fast:

    * When processing documents, DOC Cop scans a document of up to 500 words against the web in minutes.

    * When processing a corpus, DOC Cop scans one million words, a thousand thousand-word documents or Homer's Odyssey against Joyce's Ulysses within 20 minutes.

    DOC Cop is on the web at  and processes your material free of charge.


    * 8-hour turnaround
    * Create and submit your own corpus
    * Detailed reports
    * Entirely web based, no installation necessary
    * Exclude repetitious text (e.g. the question itself)
    * Include your own material (e.g. lecture notes)
    * Online support * SSL Security (128 Bit)

    Thank you very much for your consideration of DOC Cop.

    Sincerely, Mark McCrohon
    DOC Cop Plagiarism Detection
    ABN: 97 815 799 245 

    * DOC Cop Plagiarism Detection guarantees that no submission is copied, retained elsewhere, passed on to others or sold. DOC Cop Plagiarism Detection guarantees to delete every submission once processing is complete.

    * Mark McCrohon developed software for the Department of Economics, the Department of Accounting and Business Information Systems and the Teaching and Learning Unit in the Faculty of Economics and Commerce at The University of Melbourne from 1998 to 2005.

    Throughout 2006, Mark devoted himself to the development and deployment of DOC Cop Plagiarism Detection.

    Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at




    Ending Oil Dependence ---




    February 15, 2006 message from Mike Gasior []

    As recently as 1980, the cost of electricity produced by the wind was running around $.80 per kilowatt-hour.  By 1991 the cost had dropped to $.10.  Today, the most efficient on-shore installations in the U.S. are producing power at a cost between $.03 and $.04 per kilowatt hour, but more commonly the cost runs from $.06 to $.09, which does include government subsidies that are currently 1.9 cents per kilowatt-hour.  This makes wind power an already viable competitor to coal and it will beat natural gas if the gas prices remain high, even without subsidies.


    Interestingly, the U.S. government has even admitted as much in a Department of Energy report issued in 2006.  It stated that the cost of producing one kilowatt-hour of electricity for power plants coming online in 2015 would be as follows:


    -- Wind 5.58 cents


    -- Natural Gas 5.25 cents


    -- Coal 5.31 cents


    -- Nuclear 5.93 cents


    The report did not include or quantify what the environmental impact of any of the production methods, but focused purely on cost.





    Paying More for a Lower-Ranked University: Where What You Pay is Supposed to Mean Prestige


    "The High-Price Leaders," by Mark Shapiro, The Irascible Professor, February 20, 2006 ---

    An "op-ed" piece in the February 18, 2007 issue of the Los Angeles Times by staff writer Peter Hong caused the IP to do a double take. Hong pointed out that George Washington University (GW to anyone who has lived in the Washington, DC area), which is located in the Foggy Bottom section of our nation's capital, now is the most expensive undergraduate institution in the United States. At $50,000 a year for tuition and mandatory fees (including housing), GW now charges the highest tuition and mandatory fees of any college or university in the country. One might have expected to find some of the "Ivies" or top-ranked science and engineering schools such as MIT and Caltech leading the tuition race. But surprisingly, the highest undergraduate tuition rates last year were found at places like Landmark College in Vermont, GW, University of Richmond, Sarah Lawrence, Kenyon, Vassar, Trinity, Bennington, Simon's Rock College of Bard, and Hamilton University. Most of these institutions are reasonably well-respected, but not exactly at the top of the heap in academic quality. Among national universities, GW is tied with Syracuse University for 52nd place in the 2007 U.S. News and World Report rankings. Among national liberal arts colleges the University of Richmond tied for 34th place with the University of the South, Sarah Lawrence ended up in a three-way tie for 45th place with Rhodes College and Gettysburg College, Kenyon tied for 32nd place with Holy Cross, Vassar did a bit better tying for 12th place with Claremont McKenna College, Trinity came in 30th, Bennington was rated 91st, Simon's Rock didn't even make the top 100, and Hamilton came in 17th.

    The bottom line is that none of these colleges and universities that are charging the highest tuition rates in the country were ranked among the top ten in academic quality. As Hong notes in his "op-ed" piece, the current median income for US households is slightly more than $46,000 per year, so only the very wealthiest families can afford to send their children to colleges and universities with tuition and fees than approach $50,000 per year. Even relatively well-to-do families with more than one child in college would be hard-pressed to cover costs this high. To be sure, most of these pricey colleges and universities offer financial aid packages to many of their students. For example as many as 40% of GW's students receive some kind of financial aid. But often that aid includes substantial student loans at relatively high interest rates, which often leave the student heavily in debt upon graduation.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at



    Controlling Music Downloads on Campuses Gets Harder and Harder

    Cracking down on college students, the music industry is sending thousands more complaints to top American universities this school year than it did last year as it targets music illegally downloaded over campus computer networks.
    "Downloading Music," MIT's Technology Review, February 21, 2007 ---


    FAS 159 (which greatly affects FAS 157 and FAS 133)
    FASB Issues Fair Value Option (but only for financial assets and liabilities)


    From SmartPros on February

    The objective is to reduce both complexity in accounting for financial instruments and the volatility in earnings caused by measuring related assets and liabilities differently.

    Generally accepted accounting principles have required different measurement attributes for different assets and liabilities that can create artificial volatility in earnings. The standard aims to help to mitigate accounting-induced volatility by enabling companies to report related assets and liabilities at fair value, which would likely reduce the need for companies to comply with detailed rules for hedge accounting.

    "Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 159, The Fair Value Option for Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities," also establishes presentation and disclosure requirements designed to facilitate comparisons between companies that choose different measurement attributes for similar types of assets and liabilities.

    The standard requires companies to provide additional information that will help investors and other users of financial statements to more easily understand the effect of the company's choice to use fair value on its earnings. It also requires entities to display the fair value of those assets and liabilities for which the company has chosen to use fair value on the face of the balance sheet. The new statement does not eliminate disclosure requirements included in other accounting standards, including requirements for disclosures about fair value measurements included in FASB Statements No. 157, Fair Value Measurements, and No. 107, Disclosures about Fair Value of Financial Instruments.

    This statement is effective as of the beginning of an entity's first fiscal year beginning after Nov. 15, 2007. Early adoption is permitted as of the beginning of the previous fiscal year provided that the entity makes that choice in the first 120 days of that fiscal year and also elects to apply the provisions of Statement 157.



    Jensen Comments

    Good News
    This can simplify some aspects of FAS 133 and IAS 39 accounting since hedging contracts adjusted to fair value and hedged item contracts can both be adjusted to fair values that offset to the extent that hedges are effective. The complicated hedge accounting rules of FAS 133/IAS 39 can, thereby, be avoided in many circumstances.


    Bad News
    A huge problem is that there will be a whole lot if confusion over inconsistencies over the way any two companies account for a financial contracts. Another problem is that adjustments to fair value more often than not create fiction in financial statements for transactions that never took place.


    Other good news and bad news aspects of fair value accounting are discussed by Bob Jensen at



    Especially note the link to a paper that will soon be published in a book entitled Routledge Companion to Fair Value in Financial Reporting ---



    Migration of Firms Across Size and Value Portfolios


    "Migration,"  by Eugene Fama and Kenneth French, SSRN, February 2007 ---


    We study how migration of firms across size and value portfolios contributes to the size and value premiums in average stock returns. The size premium is almost entirely due to the small stocks that earn extreme positive returns and as a result become big stocks. The value premium has three sources: (i) value stocks that improve in type either because they are acquired by other firms or because they earn high returns and so migrate to a neutral or growth portfolio; (ii) growth stocks that earn low returns and as a result move to a neutral or value portfolio; and (iii) slightly higher returns on value stocks that remain in the same portfolio compared to growth stocks that do not migrate.


    From the Scout Report on February 16, 2007


    Rendezvoo 1.0 --- 

    There are many fine ways to get the good word out to other like-minded individuals on the web, and Rendezvoo is certainly one of the best new entries. Billed as the “word-of-mouth platform”, users can come here to post materials for other guests, connect with other members, and also rate the posts as they see fit. Another feature allows users to find posts by looking through a list of tags that include such headings as “politician”, “teacher”, and “foodie”. This version of Rendezvoo is compatible with computers running Firefox 1.0+, Internet Explorer 6.0+ and Safari 2.0+

    Trailfire Toolbar 1.0.978 --- 

    With all the talk about user-generated content out on the web, there’s been less interest in what people are talking about as they browse around. Trailfire may create more discussion about such material, as it allows users to leave electronic notes on various webpages for other visitors. It’s quite a bit of fun, and visitors can also view different “guides” posted by other users to the Trailfire homepage. A basic tutorial will help new users get started, and there are also a number of support forums here as well. This version of Trailfire is compatible with all operating systems running Windows XP or Vista.



    From the Scout Report on February 2, 2007


    Drupal 5.0 --- 

    With more and more groups and individuals becoming interested in placing content online, a number of programs have been developed to simplify this process, with a minimum of technical know-how. Drupal 5.0 allows users to create everything from personal websites to e-commerce applications. Visitors will also want to learn about the different modules that can extend Drupal's functionality and look over the forums, which are heavily trafficked. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and newer.

    Moodle 1.7 --- 

    The word moodle is an acronym for "modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment", which is quite a mouthful. What Scout Report readers should know is that Moodle 1.7 is a tremendously helpful opens-source e-learning platform. With Moodle, educators can create a wide range of online courses with features that include forums, quizzes, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, and surveys. On the Moodle website, visitors can also learn about other features and read about recent updates to the program. This application is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and newer.


    Updates from WebMD (in changed format) ---


    How can granny trash her dentures and grow healthy new teeth?


    Regrowing Teeth
    "Researchers are finding ways to use stem cells to regrow teeth--a potentially easier and healthier alternative to dentures and dental implants," by Jennifer Chu (no pun intended), MIT's Technology Review, February 22, 2006 ---



    Take One Step for a Healthy Heart ---


    Geriatric Nursing Resources for Care of Older Adults: Assessment Tools ---

    Genetic Predisposal for Deep Depression
    Medical School researchers have located a specific region on one chromosome that may predispose some people to severe depression. If problematic genetic variations could be identified, it would open the door to new avenues of investigation and future treatment possibilities.
    "Closing in on genes linked to severe depression," by Louis Bergeron, Stanford Report, February 2007 ---




    Why do non-smokers get lung cancer?
    Researchers at the Medical School and the Northern California Cancer Center have taken the first steps toward analyzing why people who never smoked get lung cancer. Their data, published in the February 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, shows that never-smokers get lung cancer more often than thought, with women even more at risk than men.
    Sarah C.P. Williams, "Lung cancer rates higher among female non-smokers than once thought," Stanford Report, February 14, 2007 --- 



    Five Best Books of Wartime Leaders According to James Swanson
    The Wall Street Journal, February 17, 2006 ---

    Commanding History
    Portraits of wartime leaders, from Washington through Churchill to LBJ.

    Saturday, February 17, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

    1. "President Washington's Indian War" by Wiley Sword (University of Oklahoma, 1985).

    He won the Revolution and secured American Independence several years before his 1789 inauguration, so we do not think of George Washington as a wartime president. But frontier conflicts in the old northwest bedeviled his administration. The struggle climaxed on Nov. 4, 1791, with the great "Columbian Tragedy," the massacre of almost 1,000 U.S. soldiers by the forces of Chief Little Turtle in the Miami Valley of Ohio. The stunning catastrophe caused many to suspect divine disfavor for the prospects of the young republic and to question the destiny of the American enterprise. Wiley Sword, renowned for his Civil War scholarship--including the classic "Shiloh: Bloody April"--chronicles the little-known but pivotal battles to expand the territory of the new nation. A master of combat narrative, Sword also reveals how President Washington's Indian-war policy set the stage for the century-long conflict to come between the federal government and the Native Americans who occupied the continent's coveted western and southern lands.

    2. "Polk" edited by Allan Nevins (Longmans, Green, 1929).

    Allan Nevins, America's greatest narrative historian in the first half of the 20th century, distilled the cumbersome four-volume edition of the diaries of James K. Polk, first published in 1910, into "Polk: The Diary of an American President, 1845-1849." It is an accessible and revealing self-portrait of the president who did as much as Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt to transform the U.S. into a world power with international interests. The Mexican War (1846-48), overshadowed by the Civil War that followed a generation later, set in motion a chain of events that added vast new territories to the American map, caused the expansion of slavery, brought notice--and ridicule--to an obscure antiwar congressman named Abraham Lincoln, ignited the embers of Southern nationalism, and, ultimately, incited secession and armed rebellion. Ignored today, but in fact one of our five most important and successful presidents, Polk sent a shock wave through American history that still reverberates. His diary takes the reader into the mind that envisioned the American empire and sent the nation in frenzied pursuit of her Manifest Destiny.

    3. "Lincoln and His Generals" by T. Harry Williams (Knopf, 1952).

    Most books on Abraham Lincoln focus on and often romanticize his pioneer youth, prairie wanderings, folksy law practice, family life, antislavery leadership, rise to the presidency and poetic writings. Indeed, the trend in recent scholarship is to cut the thinnest possible slice from the Lincoln pie and subject it to microscopic and often tedious scrutiny. This will not do for the warrior Lincoln, who saved the Union and smashed slavery, evolving from an inexperienced chief executive reluctant to challenge his generals into an intuitive master strategist who fired them in rapid order until he found one, Ulysses Grant, who shared his killer instinct. In a vintage study--one of the best Lincoln books ever--a great historian of the old school reveals how Lincoln remade himself and won his war.

    4. "Franklin and Winston" by Jon Meacham (Random House, 2003).

    The outcomes of our wars have turned not only on troops and tactics but also on the individual characteristics and personalities of our presidents. The "friendship that changed the world" genre has become overpopulated of late--possibly a tribute to the brilliance of Jon Meacham's account of the relationship between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. It did not begin as a friendship of equals. From 1939 to late 1941, while Britain was engaged in a death struggle with Hitler's Germany, the U.S. sat on the sidelines. Churchill believed that without America he would lose the war, and he tried desperately to bring Roosevelt into the conflict. After Pearl Harbor, when the U.S. joined against Japan and Germany, Churchill said he knew that no matter how long it took, or what price it would cost, England was saved. Roosevelt and Churchill exchanged almost 2,000 letters and spent 113 days spent in each other's company during the war, forming a partnership that Churchill called "the rock on which I build for the future of the world." The image of these convivial men plotting the defense of civilization over cocktails and champagne in the White House, chatting and laughing late into the night, is magical.

    5. "Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream" by Doris Kearns (Harper & Row, 1976).

    Before there was Robert Caro (whose grand multivolume work has not yet taken Lyndon Johnson into the presidency), there was a young historian who had served LBJ and whose debut book remains the essential character portrait of the wily Texan. A shrewd observer of power and politics, Doris Kearns (Goodwin was added later) anticipated the current Johnson revival, which does not ignore Vietnam but looks beyond it. Kearns's LBJ is a man of Shakespearian proportions who could at one moment humiliate a bullied foe and at the next deliver, 100 years after the Gettysburg Address, one of the greatest speeches in modern politics, calling on the nation to complete Lincoln's promise to black Americans. Kearns not only documents the ruin of Johnson's administration in the jungles of Vietnam but also unfolds one of the saddest "what might have been" stories of the American presidency.

    Mr. Swanson, senior legal scholar at the Heritage Foundation, is the author of "Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer," out this month in paperback from HarperPerennial.


    Forwarded by a friend


    While watching a football game a couple weeks back, my wife and I were discussing life and death.

    I told her, "Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

    She promptly got up, unplugged the TV and threw out all my beer.

    Some days I hate being married to a smart ass.


    Ole had a car accident. In court, the trucking company's lawyer was questioning Ole .

    "Didn't you say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine,'?" asked the lawyer.

    Ole responded, "Vell, I'll tell you vat happened. I had just loaded my favorite mule, Bessie, into the..."

    "I didn't ask for any details", the lawyer interrupted. "Just answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine!'?"

    Ole said, "Vell, I had just got Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road...."

    The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question."

    By this time, the Judge was fairly interested in Ole 's answer and said to the lawyer, "I'd like to hear what he has to say about his favorite mule, Bessie".

    Ole thanked the Judge and proceeded. "Vell as I vas saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into the trailer and vas driving her down the highway ven this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my truck right in the side. I vas thrown into one ditch and Bessie vas thrown into the other. I vas hurting, real bad and didn't vant to move. However, I could hear Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible shape just by her groans. Shortly after the accident a Highway Patrolman came on the scene. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over to her. After he looked at her, and saw her fatal condition, he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes. Then the Patrolman came across the road, gun still in hand, looked at me and said, "How are you feeling?" "Now vat the HELL vould you say?

    Forwarded by Paula

    Remember when you'd be hanging out clothes and it'd be so cold they'd freeze by the time you got them on the line? Remember how wonderful the clean sheets and towels smelled?

    This reminds me of one of my Grandmother's sayings: "Always tell the truth, pay your bills, and hang out a white wash." For all of us who are older, this will really bring memories. For those of you who are younger, it will add some thoughts.

    1. You had to wash the clothesline before hanging any clothes. Walk the length of each line with a damp cloth around the line.
    2. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order and always hang whites with whites and hang them first.
    3. You never hung a shirt by the shoulders, always by the tail... what would the neighbors think?


    A clothesline was a news forecast To neighbors passing by. There were no secrets you could keep When clothes were hung to dry. It also was a friendly line For neighbors always knew If company had stopped on by To spend a night or two. For then you'd see the fancy sheets And towels upon the line; You'd see the company table cloths With intricate design. The line announced a baby's birth To folks who lived inside As brand new infant clothes were hung So carefully with pride. The ages of the children could So readily be known By watching how the sizes changed You'd know how much they'd grown. It also told when illness struck, As extra sheets were hung; Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too, Haphazardly were strung. It said, "Gone on vacation now" When lines hung limp and bare. It told, "We're back!" when full lines sagged With not an inch to spare. New folks in town were scorned upon If wash was dingy gray, As neighbors raised their brows, And looked disgustedly away.

    But clotheslines now are of the past For dryers make work less. Now what goes on inside a home Is anybody's guess.

    I really miss that way of life. It was a friendly sign When neighbors knew each other best By what hung on the line!


    More Tidbits from the Chronicle of Higher Education ---

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    Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
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