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 ---
Those of you that want the latest updates on Erika's recovery
(with pictures) may go to
Tidbits on February 25, 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
Fraud Updates are 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 ---
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 ---
Beethoven: Hear All Nine Symphonies ---
Beethoven's Sonatas: 'From Darkness to Light' ---
Online Conservatory ---
Blues Slide Guitar Cam Strikes Again ---
Levon Helm Studios ---
Love Songs Capture Ancient Ritual in New China
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 ---
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) ---
Complete Work of Charles Darwin ---
The Heathen by Jack London
The Paradise Of Bachelors And The Tartarus
Of Maids by Herman Melville (1819-1891) ---
The Crystal Egg by Herbert G.
Soul of a Bishop by Herbert G. Wells (1866-1946) ---
Letters to Nathaniel Hawthorne by Herman Melville
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
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
Juan Carlos Perez, PC World
via The Washington Post, February 17, 2006 ---
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."
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 ---
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.
The tragic hero prefers death to prudence. The
comedian prefers playing tricks to winning. Only the villain really plays to
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 Amazon.com. 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 ---
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,”
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
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
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
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
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 ---
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 ---
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:
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
agencies that are requiring their authors to make their
publications available to all:
funder-mandate Australian Res Cncl (ARC)
AUSTRALIA funder-mandate National Health and Medical Res
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
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
UNITED KINGDOM funder-mandate Particle Phys & Astron Res
UNITED KINGDOM funder-mandate Wellcome Trust
addition, there are several proposals that will mandate Open
Access that are working their way through the agencies:
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
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 ---
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
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
ONLINE EDUCATION TRENDS
"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
-- Who is learning online?
-- What types of institutions have online
-- Have perceptions of quality changed for online
-- What are the barriers to widespread adoption of
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
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY AND DISTANCE
LEARNING January 2007
"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
2007 HORIZON REPORT ON EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES
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
-- 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
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
SOCIAL SOFTWARE IN EDUCATION
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
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
The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative's "7 Things You
Should Know About..."
series provides concise information on emerging
learning technologies including briefings on
Infobits subscriber Arun-Kumar Tripathi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
recommends DEMOCRATIZING TECHNOLOGY: BUILDING ON ANDREW FEENBERG'S CRITICAL
THEORY OF TECHNOLOGY, edited by Tyler J. Veak (SUNY Press, 2006; ISBN:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
"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.
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
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
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) --- http://www.webmd.com/
How can granny trash her dentures and grow healthy new 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 ---
Portraits of wartime leaders,
from Washington through Churchill to LBJ.
BY JAMES L. SWANSON
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 --- 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