Often the gale force winds blow the snow off the tops of our White Mountains. The photographs
above were taken last winter when we did not have so much snow in Sugar Hill. I have not yet processed the
deep snow photographs for this winter. My camera shoots directly to a CD, and I'm still
adding pictures to the CD.
In spite of the cold and harsh winds, the maple sap is commencing to flow in
Don't you wish you were here?
March 6, 2007 on Mount Washington
||Wind 321° (NW), 90.5 mph
Wind Chill -82.9°F
Those of you that want the latest updates on Erika's recovery
(with pictures) may go to
Tidbits on March 9, 2007
earlier editions of Tidbits go to
earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
The 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 ---
Funny Commercials ---
Macho Skiing (or just plain nuts) ---
Animated Periodic Table of the Elements ---
Time Waster Animated Cartoon (nice piano in the background)
Others by Bruno Bozzetto ---
Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research ---
Macaulay Library: Sound & Video Catalog ---
Free music downloads ---
A beautiful video that is artistic, humorous, and
Oscar-Nominated Scores: 'Notes On a Scandal' ---
The 'Great Atomic Power' of Charlie Louvin ---
Patty Griffin in Concert ---
Concert Violinist Plays Indie-Rock Gigs ---
The Beatles (with links to podcasts) ---
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 ---
Rudolf Steiner Archive (philosophy) ---
Cooperative Digital Resources Initiative (history of religion
and theology) ---
Kohler Art Library: The Artists’ Book Collection ---.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley ---
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan
Quotation Space ---
Lyrics Search Tool ---
Writing Links & Links for Writers ---
Phrase Thesaurus ---
To arrange a library is a silent way of carrying on
the art of critique.
Jorge Luis Borges
The same might be said about arranging Web sites that serve a public libraries
If we are on a path of getting nowhere fast, technology
is allowing us to get nowhere faster and faster.
John Renesch.as quoted by Mark
Therein lies the real trouble. Learning is labor.
We're selling the fantasy that technology can change that. It can’t. No
technology ever has. Gutenberg’s press only made it easier to print books, not
easier to read and understand them.
Peter Berger, "The Land of iPods and
Honey," The Irascible Professor, February 26, 2007 --- at
A four-year study by sociologists at The University
of Manchester has found that women are much more likely than men to make deep
and lasting friendships. The investigation into social networks by the
"Women are best at being buddies," PhysOrg, March 8, 2007 ---
The poor go to war to fight and die for the whims,
wealth and excesses of others.
I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I
am willing to fight for peace.
Albert Einstein ---
The division in Islam between the Shia minority and
the Sunni majority seems to be deepening, not just in Iran and Iraq, but across
the Middle East. The split occurred soon after the death of the Prophet
Muhammad, nearly 1,400 years ago. It's not known precisely how many of the
world's 1.3 billion Muslims are Shia. The Shia are a minority, comprising
between 10 percent and 15 percent of the Muslim population — certainly fewer
than 200 million, all told. The Shia are concentrated in Iran, southern Iraq and
southern Lebanon. But there are significant Shiite communities in Saudi Arabia
and Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India as well. Although the origins of the
Sunni-Shia split were violent, over the centuries Shia and Sunnis lived
peacefully together for long periods of time.
The Origins of the Shia-Sunni Split, "The Origins of the Shia-Sunni Split,"
NPR, February 12, 2007 ---
Also see "What Are the Sunnis Thinking? Sharp red lines in the Middle East," by
Michael Young, Reason Magazine, January 25, 2007 ---
In October, 2005, a radiation sensor at the Port of
Colombo, in Sri Lanka, signalled that the contents of an outbound shipping
container included radioactive material. The port’s surveillance system,
installed with funds from the National Nuclear Security Administration, an
agency within the Department of Energy, wasn’t yet in place, so the container
was loaded and sent to sea before it could be identified. After American and Sri
Lankan inspectors hurriedly checked camera images at the port, they concluded
that the suspect crate might be on any one of five ships—two of which were
steaming toward New York…
Steve Coll, "The Unthinkable, The
New Yorker, March 12, 2006 ---
We are told again and again by “experts” and
“talking heads” that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority
of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unquantified assertion may
be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us
feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging
across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is, that the fanatics rule Islam
at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who
wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who
systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are
gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the
fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take
over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning
and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is, that
the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority” and it is cowed and extraneous.
Paul E. Merek, "Why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant," BlogSpot,
February 20, 2007 ---
Jeff Hawkins created the Palm Pilot and the Treo.
Now he says he's got the ultimate invention: software that mimics the human
brain . . . It’s this fascination with the human mind that drove Hawkins, in the
flush of his success with Palm, to create the nonprofit Redwood Neuroscience
Institute and hire top neuroscientists to pursue a grand unifying theory of
cognition. It drove him to write On Intelligence, the 2004 book outlining his
theory of how the brain works. And it has driven him to what has been his
intended destination all along: Numenta. Here, with longtime business partner
Donna Dubinsky and 12 engineers, Hawkins has created an artificial intelligence
program that he believes is the first software truly based on the principles of
the human brain. Like your brain, the software is born knowing nothing. And like
your brain, it learns from what it senses, builds a model of the world, and then
makes predictions based on that model. The result, Hawkins says, is a thinking
machine that will solve problems that humans find trivial but that have long
confounded our computers — including, say, sight and robot locomotion.
Evan Ratliff, "The Thinking
Machine," Wired Magazine, March 2007 ---
Alex Kingsbury of U.S. News & World Report says
plenty of useful measures of a university's performance already exist. However,
universities, on the whole, have avoided releasing them. It is often easier to
find a football running back's statistics than a breakdown of his college's
graduation rates by demographic group, Mr. Kingsbury says, leaving potential
enrollees to compare such strengths as campus luxuries, sports success and
"Standardized Measurement of Student Success Is Pushed," U.S. News & World
Report, March 12, 2007
Pollution From China And India Affecting World’s
Weather: Zhang says the culprit is easy to detect: pollution from
industrial and power plants in China and India. Both countries have seen huge
increases in their economies, which means more large factories and power plants
to sustain such growth. All of these emit immense quantities of pollution – much
of it soot and sulfate aerosols – into the atmosphere, which is carried by the
prevailing winds over the Pacific Ocean and eventually worldwide. Using
satellite imagery and computer models, Zhang says that in roughly the last 20
years or so, the amount of deep convective clouds in this area increased from 20
to 50 percent, suggesting an intensified storm track in the Pacific. “This
pollution directly affects our weather,” he explains.
PhysOrg, March 6, 2007 ---
The political left is an evil that only the presence
of the right makes tolerable.
Massimo D'Alema ---
Instead, the (Bush) administration, in an agreement
it reached with the independent regulatory agencies, announced that investors,
hedge fund companies and their lenders could adequately take care of themselves
by adhering to a set of nonbinding principles." . . . The principles, many
already being followed by the sharpest investors and best-run companies, say
that investors should not take risks they cannot tolerate and should carefully
evaluate the strategies and management skills of hedge funds. They also call for
funds to make clear and meaningful disclosures to investors.
Stephen Labaton, "Officials Reject
More Oversight of Hedge Funds," The New York Times, February 23, 2007 ---
In other words, it's "buyer beware" for hedge fund investors. The term "hedge
fund" is a misleading synonym for an "investment club" for wealthy people. Risk
need not be hedged, and the fact of the matter is that many hedge funds are very
risky. Anybody that invests in a hedge fund expects high returns but must also
accept the possible dire consequences for possible wipe outs. Powerful lobbies
have blocked the SEC's concerted fforts for more regulation of hedge funds.
See the term "Hedge Fund" by scrolling down at
Washington 'took great pride in maintaining clear, concise, and
accurate [financial] records,' notes the Library of Congress's
guide to the material. Indeed, at the end of the war, Washington
used those expense accounts to request reimbursement from
Congress for his total expenses of $160,074. That request was
audited by the Comptroller General of the United States
Treasury, James Milligan, with a result that today's CFO can
only dream of: Milligan concluded
Washington was owed an additional eighty-nine ninetieths of one
dollar." Of course, the modern
finance executive might not want to emulate everything about
Washington, particularly when it came to executive compensation.
Washington asked only for his expenses when Congress selected
him as commander of the Continental Army; he refused a salary."
Tim Reason, "Father and CFO of His Country? He won the
Revolution and served as our first President. But George
Washington also kept financial records that would make a modern
CFO proud," CFO Magazine, February 20, 2007 ---
Question (related to the
Will it ever be possible to audit Pentagon spending in modern
"Pentagon Bookkeeping Stops
Auditors," AccountingWeb, February 20, 2006 ---
Department of Defense (DOD) has failed its audit to the
extent that auditors have stopped wasting money trying to
audit their books, according to Black Enterprise. Problems
with the Pentagon books has allowed the DOD to pay troops,
civilian workers, and contractors the wrong amounts; to lose
track of equipment, such as planes and tanks; and to
document trillions of dollars in transactions improperly,
according to Black Enterprise. Gregory D. Kutz, managing
director of the General Accounting Office (GAO), told
Congress last summer that these accounting problems would
cost taxpayers $13 billion in 2005. The GAO is the
investigative arm of Congress.
audit” of DOD books scheduled for 2007 is not in sight,
according to Black Enterprise. The DOD has received a “clean
opinion” on only 16 percent of its assets and 49 percent of
its liabilities as of June 2005, according to Thomas B.
Modly, deputy undersecretary of defense for financial
management. Black Enterprise reported that Modly said the
DOD hopes to settle their balance sheet on 47 percent of
assets and 49 percent of liabilities by 2007. It might help
to understand the problem by understanding the size of
Pentagon operations. Black Enterprise reports it had in
fiscal year 2005:
$1.3 trillion in assets
$1.9 trillion in liabilities
million in personnel
$635 billion in operational costs
2,569 facilities in the country and 807 outside of
the United States
One of the
other problems cited is that DOD has about 5.2 million items
in its inventory, according to Modly. Wal-Mart only has
11,000 and Home Depot only has 50,000 inventory items,
according to Black Enterprise. Another problem is the
gridlock of some 4,150 different business operations,
including 713 different human resources systems.
a Defense Finance and Accounting Service accountant, told
Black Enterprise, “The Pentagon wasn’t in the business of
making money, so they never needed an income statement. They
expensed their assets like planes and buildings and such.
They dished money out, and they never kept track of what
they owned.” Minnery continued, “That’s one of the main
reasons I don’t believe they’ll ever have a clean [audit].”
Minnery complained about missing money in 2002 to earn his
label as a whistle-blower.
Black Enterprise, “Their systems can’t keep track of who
they’ve sold stuff to, who owes them, who they owe.”
Concerning the inter-service gaggle of ordering codes,
Minnery said, “The Navy has a set of [codes], the Army has a
set, the Air Force has a set. They don’t have the same
number of digits, and they don’t match each other.”
In 1990, the
GAO started assigning some government agencies to a “high
risk” list. DOD’s supply chain and weapon systems
acquisitions have remained on this list since that time and
six other defense divisions made the list in 2005. Danielle
Brian, executive director of the watchdog group Project on
Government Oversight, told Black Enterprise, “Nothing’s
gotten better. It keeps getting worse.” Knoxstudio.com
reports that Jeffrey Steinhoff, GAO’s managing director for
financial management and assurance, said, “They’re not close
to the finish line. They have a long way to go.”
the mess has seemed elusive except “by making the business
process support the war-fighter more effectively, we are
seeing a significant amount of momentum,” according to Paul
Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of defense for business
transformation. Effective might be an overly optimistic
opinion as Black Enterprise reports that the government
spent $179 million on two automation systems meant to
resolve disbursement problems that failed, according to the
Wheeler, director of a military reform project at the Center
for Defense Information (CDI), told Black Enterprise, “We
don’t know how badly managed it is. It’s not that DOD flunks
audits, it’s that DOD’s books cannot be audited. DOD aspires
for the position where it flunks an audit. If this were a
public company, it would have gone belly up before World War
II.” CDI is an independent monitor of the military.
wasteful news, Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for
Iraq reconstruction, told Political Gateway that $8.8
billion is unaccounted for due to inadequate oversight from
Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) that “was relatively
nonexistent.” Bowen is in charge of tracing the funds.
Willis, the former number two official at the CPA
transportation ministry, told Political Gateway that the CPA
kept billions in cash to pay for its projects because Iraq
is without the financial infrastructure that would support
the use of checks or money orders. Willis said, “I would
describe (the accounting system) as nonexistent.” Willis
told a CBS interviewer, “Fresh, new, crisp, unspent,
just-printed 100-dollar bills. It was the Wild West.”
other wasteful news, the GAO has released a report finding
that the Bush Administration spent more than $1.6 billion in
public relations and media contracts over two and a half
years, according to the California Chronicle. Congressman
Henry A. Waxman, (D-Calif.), House Democratic Leader Nancy
Pelosi, (D-Calif.), and Congressmen George Miller, (D-Calif.),
and Elijah E. Cummings, (D-Md.), with other senior
Democrats, released the report.
More bad news is continued
March 7, 2007 reply from Ed Scribner
Overhaul church accounting
The archbishop grinned. His public relations aide
was describing the whiz-bang accounting software that purportedly tracked 99
and 44/100 cents of every dollar collected by his parishes.
“Yes, of course, we make every effort to account
for the money,” the archbishop told our correspondent. He chuckled the
knowing laugh of someone about to let you in on a secret. “But it’s
impossible to control everything -- we know a lot of the pastors still have
their little kitties,” he said. (“That’s off-the-record,” interjected the
In fact, the archbishop was disclosing the worst
kept secret in church financial circles. Even in the best-managed dioceses,
parishes are far from the green-eyeshade scrutiny of the chancery’s number
crunchers, assuming such oversight even exists. And the controls that do
exist under canon law -- each parish is to have its own finance council and
each diocese a similar body -- are hardly guarantees of good stewardship at
either the local or diocesan level.
Here are some of the other “secrets,” known to
those who track such events or participate in church governance:
Bishops take gifts, sometimes very expensive gifts,
from those who seek business from the church. Family members and friends of
church officials can unduly benefit from their connections. The vast
majority of U.S. Catholics have no idea how their $6 billion in annual
donations are spent (or misspent) because diocesan and parish financial
reporting, if it exists at all, is generally designed to obscure, to
confuse, and not to enlighten. …(continued in article) ---
Job Performance: Gender Differences on Wall Street Reported by Three
Emory University Professors
We study the relation between gender and job
performance among brokerage firm equity analysts. Women’s representation in
analyst positions drops from 16% in 1995 to 13% in 2005. We find women cover
roughly 9 stocks on average compared to 10 for men. Women’s earnings estimates
tend to be less accurate. After controlling for forecast characteristics, the
difference in accuracy is roughly equivalent to four years of experience.
Despite reduced coverage and lower forecast accuracy, we find women are
significantly more likely to be designated as All-Stars, which suggests they
outperform at other aspects of the job such as client service.
Emory University Professors T. Clifton, Green, Narasimhan Jegadeesh, and Yue
Tang"Gender and Job Performance: Evidence from Wall Street," Emory University,
January 2007 ---
"Wikipedia to Seek Proof of Credentials," PhysOrg, March 7,
Rating the Best 529 College Savings Plans: And the Winners are Utah and
Utah and Virginia offer two of the best plans to save
for a child's college education and Alabama has one of the worst, according to a
new report by Morningstar, Inc. Parents have been turning to so-called 529 plans
to save for their children's college education, and Morningstar is making the
selection process simpler by outlining the wide disparity in performance, costs
and variety of investment options in the dozens of state plans available.
"Rating the Best 529 College Savings Plans," AccountingWeb, March 6,
Morningstar started its 529 survey in 2004, and
Utah and Virginia have been at the top of the lists since then. Nebraska,
Colorado and Maryland are also rated high.
Alabama has been on the worst list for the third
year in a row because of its high costs and few investment options. Also on
the worst list are Nebraska's AIM College Savings Plan and broker-sold
offerings from Alaska, Missouri and West Virginia. Generally, fees are high
and funds are lackluster, Morningstar said. Wyoming's College Achievement
Plan, which remained on the worst list every year, merged with Colorado's
plan last year.
The 529s are named after the part of the tax code.
Parents deposit their after-tax income into mutual funds, usually, and the
distributions are not subject to federal income tax as long as the money is
used for higher education. Congress made the tax breaks permanent last year.
The tax advantage was originally set to expire at the end of 2010.
Continued in article
Who is Phil Zimbardo?
I once spent a year (1972) in a think tank called the Center for Advanced
Study in the Behavioral Sciences which is on leased land from Stanford
University. What sticks in my mind about Phil Zimbardo is an experiment that
Phil discussed. Note that it took place before street drugs made almost every
locale subject to violence. I do not know if the study was ever published, but
the sample size and other controls would make it difficult to publish. In the
experiment, three unlocked cars were left in three different towns. The side
windows were also rolled down. In East Palo Alto, a Good Samaritan took the
trouble to roll up the windows to protect the inside of the car from rain. In
San Francisco the car was stripped of easily stolen parts like the radio. In New
York City the car was stripped and beat to hell as if it became an object for
Phil became wealthy writing textbooks and other books, but he is best known
for the famous and controversial 1974 Prison Simulation using students as
prisoners and guards on the Stanford campus.
"Famed Stanford Professor Gives Final Lecture by Philip Zimbardo:
Developed Controversial 1974 Prison Experiment," CBS, March 7, 2007 ---
Famed psychology professor, lecturer and author,
Philip Zimbardo, gave his final lecture at Stanford University
at Wednesday morning on the subject of Introductory Psychology.
Zimbardo, known for his controversial 1974 Stanford Prison Experiment,
spoke about the psychology of evil, the topic of his new book, The Lucifer
Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.
Zimbardo became the first psychology graduate student at Yale to be given
his own introductory psychology course to teach.
In 1968, he joined the faculty of Stanford University, where he developed
the Stanford Prison Experiment, in which students played the roles of guards
and prisoners in what was to be a two-week experiment.
The experiment was cancelled after six days because students playing
guards became "sadistic" and prisoner students became "depressed and
severely stressed," according to a news release from Stanford University.
Zimbardo recently used his prison experiment results to draw conclusions
about the scandal concerning Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Zimbardo retired from Stanford in 2003 and Wednesday's lecture will mark
his final duty at the university.
How can you add audio to PowerPoint presentations?
March 2, 2007 message from David Fordham, James Madison University
Deborah Johnson writes:
"any recommendations for software that would
enable me to prepare a slide show presentation with audio. Each slide
would be on screen for different lengths of time depending on the
narrative that accompanies it. It would have to be a DVD format
compatible with computers and TV viewing. If it is also compatible with
automobile CD/DVD players would be great for audio only. Deborah Johnson
I'm sure there are a lot of products out there, and
everyone on the list probably has his or her favorite.
Of course, webcasting isn't the same as TV DVD
formats. Are you interested in Webcasting, or DVD playback on a TV?
For the former, I personally like Tegrity
recordings. They are easy to make, use native PowerPoint slides directly,
allow live recording, and publish almost instantly. The recording can even
be viewed over a dial-up line! I don't know if they have a free version or
not, but the full-blown version wasn't very expensive. Others like Richard
Campbell on the list probably know of a host of other products, and they
will vary in terms of ease of use, and some of them may beat Tegrity and be
totally free to boot.
If you are looking for non-web, but TV DVD
playback, Microsoft MovieMaker is about the easiest thing to use I can
imagine. I notice that some manufacturers are now shipping their new
computers with a basic copy of Microsoft MovieMaker already installed. The
last five computers my wife ordered from Dell for clients came with it, even
though it was not ordered nor was it even mentioned in the order specs. A
friend who purchased a new computer from CompUSA also discovered MovieMaker
on his list of installed programs.
Microsoft MovieMaker is one of the lowest
learning-curve products I've seen in a long, long time. The steps you follow
to do what you want to do are:
Use PowerPoint to make your text and title frames,
and export the slides to JPG format.
Record the audio narration as MPEG or WMV, using
one of the audio recorders that comes with windows, or any of the sound
capture programs so popular these days.
Start movie maker, import the slides to
"collections", import the audio, then drag the slides to the storyboard in
the order you want them. Switch to timeline view and adjust the timing of
each slide to your liking by dragging the edge of the slide along the
timeline. Voila. Write your "movie" to a DVD. You can make a 30 minute movie
with about 100 slides (including transitions, etc.) in well under an hour.
The standard DVD format works in any TV DVD player,
as well as on any computer that has a DVD reader. I won't work in standard
CD-format players in the older cars, but you can certainly use Roxio or
something to write a CD of just the MPEG audio file to the orange-book CD
I'm sure others on the listserv will give their
favorites too, so go with what's easiest and most cost-effective and most
easily obtainable for you. Good luck...
PBGH Faculty Fellow
James Madison University
March 2, 2007 reply from Richard J. Campbell
Deborah: I agree with David - you need to choose
one or the other - tv or computer output. As far as computer - inexpensive
route - I like Swishpix available at
- You can see a Valentine I created in Swishpix at:
This is a FORMER girlfriend and I used Snagit to
crop the photo for re-use on eharmony.com.
If you are looking for tv output, your best bet is
to get a studio tool like Roxio creator Nero, or a program like Adobe's
Encore which is more expensive.
Richard J. Campbell
Bob Jensen's "How to" threads are at
Would you like to choose a color and then easily find its RGB number code?
Go to Flickr Color Selectr ---
Microsoft Word Training Modules ---
International Reading Association: Web Resources ---
A list of some useful links
related to Statistics Education from Juha Puranen, Department of
Statistics, University of Helsinki ---
Online Tutorials for Learning About Statistics and Research
Against All Odds: Inside Statistics ---
Exploring Data (Statistics Tutorials) ---
Bob Jensen's links to math and statistics tutorials ---
Medical Dictionary ---
Kodak's Easy Share Photo Gallery ---
"Testing TV on Your Cellphone: MobiTV Service Sends Crisp
Images; Lips Out of Sync," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal,
February 28, 2007; Page D10 ---
Live TV on cellphones isn't new. We first tested it
in 2004. But it was awful then, choppy and almost unviewable, because the
cellular networks were too slow and the phones were too wimpy. So I decided
to try it again.
Many cellphones are capable of displaying streamed
television using built-in services, but few people are aware of these
capabilities and not every phone will work as well as the next. The best
results are delivered on devices with good quality screens that can retrieve
and display the content using high-speed networks.
I used a mobile content-streaming service called
MobiTV on three phones serviced by two carriers, Sprint Nextel Corp. and
AT&T Inc.'s Cingular Wireless, watching a variety of shows on screens
smaller than the palm of my hand. Monthly usage for watching cellphone TV
with these two carriers costs about $25 and $30, respectively, on top of
your voice plan. MobiTV is compatible with more than 150 handsets, offering
roughly 40 channels -- about half of which show live content like that found
on your home TV.
All in all, MobiTV offers a fun and simple solution
for people seeking TV on the run. High-quality images appeared on screen
just moments after I opened the MobiTV application and an on-screen guide
labeled each channel. TLC, ESPN, The Discovery Channel, The Oxygen Network
and major news channels are entertaining enough. And though my eyes hurt
after 30 minutes of watching such a small screen, I only ran into a few
other snafus: on-screen images disappearing while audio continued, certain
channels cutting out and lips moving out of sync with audio. In more cases
than not, these instances were rare or corrected themselves in seconds.
Other carriers offer video clips that might easily
be confused with MobiTV Inc.'s technology. Verizon Wireless, for example,
offers its V Cast service. But V Cast requires that you download clips onto
your device. Sprint and Cingular also offer video-on-demand options. But the
MobiTV service streams content onto your phone, showing it just about a
minute later than the same content on live TV.
If you don't use Sprint or Cingular and you'd like
to download MobiTV to your standard cellphone, or to your Palm or Windows
Mobile smart phone, you can do so through third-party vendors like
Handango.com; these options can be found on www.mobitv.com. Vendors charge
about $10 a month on top of any data charges that you might owe your
Sprint and Cingular encourage you to buy an
unlimited monthly data plan in addition to your voice plan if you'll be
watching TV on your cellphone. Sprint calls its live-TV service Sprint TV
Live -- though it's really MobiTV beneath the covers -- and offers
TV-inclusive data plans for $15, $20 or $25. These return 8, 13 and 25
channels respectively. Sprint's exclusive content includes the NFL network.
To further confuse matters, you can also buy stand-alone Sprint TV Live on
top of those three data plans; it costs about $10 monthly. Cingular charges
users about $20 for its unlimited data plan plus $10 for MobiTV usage. This
carrier keeps the MobiTV name.
MobiTV worked relatively the same way on all three
handsets with both carriers: two Windows Mobile devices, the Sprint PPC-6700
and Cingular 8525, and a basic cellphone, Samsung Electronics Co.'s SGH-A707
with Cingular's 3G network. In my tests, MobiTV came pre-loaded on the
devices, letting me simply select it from a list to start watching streaming
On the Cingular 8525, a smart phone running the
Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system, I browsed through a guide until I found
The Oxygen Network. The Isaac Mizrahi Show, not a favorite of mine, was just
ending. It was followed by a quirky game show called "Can You Tell?"
MobiTV streams two types of programs: Live and Made
for Mobile. Live shows are like those on your regular TV though slightly
delayed and with different commercials in the local ad slots. I watched
MSNBC's "Hardball With Chris Matthews" using MobiTV and my regular TV, and
an interview with Mia Farrow started about a minute earlier on my TV than it
did on my mobile device.
Made for Mobile channels include special MobiTV
content, such as music-video channels, or content for certain channels that
MobiTV stitches together to show in a better format for mobile. The latter
is the case with ESPN; in 15 minutes, I watched clips about football, Nascar,
baseball, boxing and basketball with only a few quick commercials. In these
snippets, however, lips weren't synched with the audio.
I often opted to view content in full-screen mode,
which, in 10 seconds, alters the image to take over the whole screen in
horizontal view. A few times, while watching full-screen view, my on-screen
content froze and had to restart in the regular view.
MobiTV says that using its service to watch
programs saps battery at a rate equal to that of voice calls.
People who use digital video recorders at home to
pause or rewind live TV will be disappointed to find you can't do that with
MobiTV. The company is hoping to offer these capabilities in the future. But
because of the smaller screen, you probably won't want to watch your mobile
screen for as long as you would a regular TV, reducing the need to pause and
MobiTV's services will never replace your
home-entertainment center experience. But the ability to watch TV on your
phone is a great way to stay plugged into news and entertainment. Just be
sure that you're using a fast network and a generously sized screen.
"Don't Get Caught In a Losing Battle Over DVD Technology," by Walter
S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2007; Page B1 ---
Now, however, one gutsy company, LG Electronics, of
Korea, a longtime member of the Blu-ray camp, has broken ranks and
introduced a new combo player that can handle three formats: Blu-ray,
HD-DVD, and regular old DVDs. It's called the BH100 Super Multi Blue.
I've tested this combo player and found that it
plays both new formats, as well as regular DVDs, just fine. But it's more
expensive than most single-format players and has some serious limitations
when navigating through the menus on HD-DVD titles. For now, I can only
recommend it for serious videophiles with deep pockets, but I'm hoping it's
the start of a trend that will end the foolish war.
The BH100 costs $1,200. That's vastly more
expensive than the newest DVD players, which, for less than $100, can take a
regular DVD and "upscale" it so it looks better on a high-definition set.
But that $1,200 isn't so outrageous if you compare it with the price of
buying two separate Blu-ray and HD-DVD players, which can reach or exceed
$1,000 total. And the new LG takes up only one input on your TV, occupies
less space on your component shelf and requires just one remote control.
I tested the LG combo player on my high-definition
TV with this year's Oscar-winning best picture, "The Departed," and with
"Superman Returns," each of which is available in both of the new formats,
as well as on DVD.
All played perfectly. The picture looked great in
both formats and was noticeably better than an upscaled DVD image, which the
LG unit also can produce. The LG outputs both new formats in a high, but
grossly overhyped, resolution called "1080p."
But the BH100 did a much better job with the Blu-ray
discs than with the HD-DVD titles. That's because while the combo player can
play HD-DVD movies perfectly, it can't display the HD-DVD discs' menus for
selecting scenes or accessing special features.
These menus usually offer the title and a photo to
identify a scene, and the title and/or a description of the special feature.
But on the LG BH100, the HD-DVD menus have no pictures, titles, or
descriptions and look nothing like the original. They only identify scenes
by number and duration. That makes it hard to find, say, the deleted scenes
from "The Departed," or the documentaries on the Superman disc.
The BH100 was based on a Blu-ray-only player and
lacks the special chips HD-DVD players use to display the menus properly. LG
had to concoct its own rudimentary replacements for those menus. The company
says a future combo model could include the chips and thus display the
HD-DVD menus as well as it does the Blu-ray menus, but it hasn't decided
whether to make such a product.
One reason for that decision may be the competing
approach to solving the stupid disc war. Warner Brothers is working on a
combo disc, instead of a combo player. This disc would hold both the Blu-ray
and HD-DVD versions of a movie, so you could pop it into whichever type of
player you own.
Until the electronics and movie companies support
universal high-definition players and/or universal high-definition discs, I
don't recommend that most people invest in either technology. Why prolong a
war that's bad for consumers?
Windows Vista: Question for Walt Mossberg
We waited to purchase our new computer until Windows Vista was released.
We now have a new HP Pavilion 9000 and were trudging along the learning
curve when we came to a complete halt -- there is no version of Quicken
available for Vista. Since we use Quicken extensively, we are stuck
using our old computer. When can we expect to be able to use Quicken on
from Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2007,
Page B5 ---
I haven't tested Quicken
in Vista, but Quicken's maker says it works fine in Vista, though you
may have to download and install a free update. According to Intuit, the
manufacturer, "Quicken 2007 has been tested with Microsoft Windows
Vista, and no known issues exist in the most current release." The
current release of Quicken 2007 is called "Release 4 (R4)." If your
release is R3 or below, you will have to download and install a patch.
You can find more information by going to
and typing "Vista" into the search box.
"Pork Spending Drops Drastically," by Elizabeth Redden, Inside
Higher Ed, March 8, 2007 ---
After years of
increase, Congressional “pork-barrel spending” declined by
more than half this year, from $29 billion reported in 2006
to $13.2 billion this year, according to
a new report
released by the
Citizens Against Government
watchdog group attributed the decrease largely to the fact
that Congress approved only 2 of 11 appropriations bills
before it this fall. When
the new Democratic Congress
then decided in December
to largely extend 2006 spending levels
for all other agencies through 2007 with the approval of a
rare continuing joint resolution — complete with an almost
complete moratorium on earmarks — more than $12 billion that
would have funded about 7,000 more earmarks went unspent (on
porky purposes, that is).
So said Tom
Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste,
which on Wednesday continued its annual ritual of releasing
its Pig Book tracking Congressional earmarks — funds
that a member of Congress directs to recipients (including
colleges) absent the approval of a peer-review process that
federal agencies rely upon to dole out most research funds.
. . .
But, the loss of funds might be short-lived.
To the chagrin of government watchdogs and
surely the elation of some scientists,
Schatz characterized the slim size of this
year’s Pig Book as something of a
fluke, “a matter of circumstance, not of
Though reforms are in place to increase the
transparency of the earmarking process,
“there’s no permanent fix” — and nothing to
suggest that lesser earmark spending this
year necessarily suggests a reversal of what
has otherwise been an upward trend. In fact,
Schatz said, lobbyists for public
universities may have actually gained an
advantage in access to their lawmakers in
last year’s ethics package, as he said a
loophole in the law exempts them from
restrictions that private entities now face
when it comes to making gifts to members of
“Whatever higher ed has been able to obtain
in the past, they’ll probably get even more
in the future in part because they’ll have a
different level of access to members of
Congress,” Schatz said.
The following university projects represent
just a few of the 2,658 initiatives that
raked in the government-issued bacon this
year, according to The 2007 Congressional
$11.5 million will
fund the development of a large aperture
telescope at the
with the aim of
preventing space objects from colliding
$1.3 million will fund the study of
structural reliability of smart
munitions and lightweight structures at
the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
$5.5 million will
go to the University of California at
Gallo Clinic & Research Center,
devoted to the
study of basic neuroscience and the
effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the
$3.335 million will fund a variety of
projects at the South Dakota School of
Mines and Technology, which has received
more than $70 million in Congressional
appropriations since 2001.
$12 million will be distributed to an
assortment of yet-unknown universities
to train rural emergency responder
Continued in article
Ig Nobel Prizes by Year ---
This is a list of Ig Nobel Prize winners from 1991
to the present day. The awards are given based on their silliness more than
anything else. Commenting on the 2006 awards, Marc Abrahams, editor of Annals of
Improbable Research, co-sponsor of the awards, said: "The prizes are intended to
celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative - and spur people's interest in
science, medicine and technology." However, all prizes were awarded for real
achievements (except for three in 1991 and one in 1994 due to an erroneous press
release) and are mainly intended to increase interest in science.
- Literature: Daniel
for his report "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized
Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words
- Medicine: Francis M.
Fesmire of the
University of Tennessee
College of Medicine, for his medical case report
"Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal
Massage"; and Majed Odeh, Harry Bassan, and Arie Oliven of
Bnai Zion Medical Center,
for their subsequent medical case report also titled
"Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal
Colleges Often Fail to Account for Costs Even With Their Boards of
"Cost and the College Trustee," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed,
March 6, 2007 ---
Given that many if not most college regents and
trustees have backgrounds in the business world, you’d think they would be
naturally inclined to seek (or demand) information about the finances of the
institutions they govern. But the preliminary results of a survey by two
higher education associations, released Monday at the annual meeting of the
Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities, suggests that
many board members receive relatively little sophisticated data about what
their institutions spend and what that spending produces.
The survey, produced by the trustees’
association and the National Association of College and
University Business Officers as part of
AGB’s Cost Project, was discussed
in broad strokes by Jane V. Wellman, a higher education
finance expert who is leading the AGB project. Wellman’s
session at the association’s annual meeting in Phoenix came
as pressure is growing from a variety of quarters — notably
the Secretary of Education’s
Commission on the Future of Higher Education,
which Wellman advised informally — for
colleges to be far more transparent about their finances
and, where possible, to contain their costs so they can rein
in what they charge to students.
To the extent that there is a “cost
problem” in higher education, Wellman said — which she
defined as colleges spending too much — it flows from three
other concerns: the finance problem, the performance
problem, and the management problem.
The finance problem — which rears
its head in the rapidly escalating tuitions that colleges
are charging to students, “routinely outstripping most other
consumer commodities, including health insurance,
prescription drugs, and new cars,” Wellman said — results
from college leaders feeling the need to raise their
tuitions because they see other sources of revenue (notably
state funds, for public institutions) drying up. That is
particularly true, Wellman said, for non-research and
non-elite institutions (particularly community colleges and
comprehensive state universities that serve more needy
students), resulting in a “growing disparity between
institutions in access to revenue.”
The rapidly rising tuitions might
not be seen as such a crisis if it weren’t for the
“performance problem,” Wellman said. At a time when American
higher education is being confronted with the need to expand
access to growing numbers of (often underprepared) students,
the United States is one of just two of 30 major countries
(along with Germany) in which younger citizens are faring
worse than older ones in college attainment.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
Also see the following at the above site:
- Executives' accountability and responsibility?
- Full Disclosure to Consumers of Higher Education?
- Appearance Versus Reality of Trustee/School Kickbacks
- Controversial Issues in Silver Spoon Admissions and Academic Standards
- Supplemental fees for excellence
- Admissions and Financial Aid Controversies
- Athletics Controversies in Colleges
Controversies Over Learning
Accountability at the Collegiate Level
in the new issue of U.S. News & World
Report, exploring the concerns of many educators about the push
from Margaret Spellings, the education secretary, for testing
and other measures of student learning, also noted the concerns
of colleges about ... U.S. News rankings. The article noted that
the rankings heavily emphasize “inputs” (things like SAT scores
or admit rates) as opposed to what students actually learn, and
it noted instances in which graduates of universities that don’t
do particularly well in the rankings earn more on graduation
than those at institutions favored in the current rankings
scheme. So will U.S. News embrace the Spellings approach to
focus on outputs and overhaul its rankings? Via e-mail, Robert
Morse, who leads the ranking effort (and who didn’t write the
magazine article), noted that colleges don’t like the Spellings
agenda so it is unclear whether it would produce new, nationally
comparable data. He added: “If it actually happens, U.S. News
would very seriously consider incorporating this outcomes
information into our present ranking system or possible creating
a new outcomes system. Of course, we don’t know what the data
would look like. However, if there was national comparable exit
data, it would be very important information for the public to
understand and use as one factor in determining school choice.”
Inside Higher Ed, March 6, 2007 ---
Spellings Announces Plan to Improve Higher Ed ---
Bob Jensen's threads on
higher education controversies are at
More historically black colleges — especially in the public sector — are
offering distance education
new survey released by the Digital Learning Lab of
Howard University reports that 40 of 103 historically black colleges and
universities are offering distance courses this year, up from 29 a year ago.
While the percentages of colleges offering distance education vary by sector,
they tend to be well over half, according to
data from the Sloan Consortium. Nonetheless, the
Howard survey suggests significant progress for black colleges in entering the
distance ed arena.
Scott Jaschik, "Black Colleges Expand Distance Learning," Inside Higher Ed,
March 1, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on distance education and training alternatives are at
Arts and Letters Daily ---
"Teaching Without Textbooks," by Rob Weir, Inside Higher Ed,
March 6, 2007 ---
Here’s a statement with which everyone can agree:
College instructors cannot assume that students come to their classes in
possession of basic knowledge. Now here’s one sure to generate some
controversy: In many cases textbooks deter the pursuit of knowledge more
than they help it. The sciences may be different, but at least in the case
of the humanities, most of us would be better off not assigning a textbook.
Alas, there are still some dinosaurs lumbering
about who only assign a text and subject their students to drill-and-kill
(the spirit) exercises straight out the McGuffey’s Reader era. There’s
really not much to say about such instructors except to wish them a speedy
retirement. If one assumes the ability to read as the rock-bottom criterion
for college entry, there’s really no point to rehashing text material with
students other than to clarify what confuses them, a matter that should be
approached on a case-by-case basis. Any institution still devoted to
text-and-test could usefully place said courses online.
Most of us assign textbooks for what we always
assumed were good pedagogical reasons: We wanted students to be able to fill
in gaps we don’t get to, engage in fact-checking, hear other perspectives,
have easy access to data, find a framework for some of our more esoteric
departures, and provide students with a specialized reference guide rather
than having them reach for a general topics encyclopedia. Great ideas —
except that it doesn’t work that way anymore!
Today’s texts are too expensive, too long, and too
dense to be of practical use. I freely admit that it was the first of these
sins that first led me to eschew a text in my introductory U.S. history
classes. Houghton Mifflin’s People and a Nation retails for $97; Longman’s
America, Past and Present goes for $95.20 and The Pursuit of Liberty for
$99; McGraw Hill’s American History checks out at a whopping $125.75; with
Norton’s Give Me Liberty! and Wadworth’s American Past relative bargains at
$77.75 and $79.95 respectively. All of the aforementioned prices are Barnes
and Noble online quotes; chances are good that a college bookstore near you
will inflate each of these. There are only a handful of U.S. texts under $40
and only one, Howard Zinn’s ideologically loaded A People’s History of the
United States that’s less than $20.
I decided to stop using a text when the $35
paperback I was using shot up to $75 and I simply couldn’t justify the
price, given how little I teach from a text. (Very little generates more
student complaints than a professor assigning a book that’s not used.)
Now comes the weird part — if anything, student
achievement was better after I stopped assigning a text. Part of the reason
for this is that textbooks are too long. Many colleges have a proverbial
“‘gentlemen’s agreement”’ that more than 100 pages per week of reading per
course is excessive. Even those of us who teach in highly competitive
institutions know that there’s an upper limit. Even if you can get away with
200 per week, in an average semester your students will read about 2,500
pages. Do you really want one-third or more of that devoted to a textbook?
My initial trade was easy; dumping the text meant I could assign an extra
three monographs and probe topics in depth that would otherwise have been
glossed. Students consistently tell me they were happy to have read a
biography on Betty Friedan or a study of the civil rights movement rather
than a textbook. I’m sure that they’ll retain much more from such studies.
Here’s the dirty secret that you’ll never see
printed in a publisher’s glossy promo material: Every textbook on the market
is a crashing bore to read. All the publishers will assure you that they’ve
added special features designed to attract today’s young people and that the
prose is lively and engaging. Yeah, right. The colorful maps, pop-out
documents, intra-textual questions to contemplate, vibrant graphics, etc.
serve only to drive up production costs and students won’t use them. Note to
profs: Got an image or a chart you really want students to use? Put it on a
PowerPoint and project it in class.
Texts are not boring because of the people who
write them. I know many of the folks whose names are on texts and know that
they’re dynamic teachers and writers. The problem is density. Put simply,
most texts try to do way too much. I’m a proponent of multiculturalism and
the last thing in the world we need is a return to “dead white men” history,
but the more any text tries to do, the less coherent it will be. What would
make more sense is for publishers to knock out some specialized texts. I’m a
social and cultural historian and there’s little that I teach doesn’t
reference race, class, and gender; hence, I don’t need a text that parrots
me in print. What I could use is a really short political/economic history;
just as those whose specialty is political history would probably appreciate
a nice cultural survey, or perhaps one that discusses multiculturalism.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on metacognition and teaching without textbooks are
March 7, 2007 reply from Paul Williams
Thanks for this. It is timely as we here are about
to deliberate on a textbook adoption. Your threads on teaching without
textbooks are most helpful. Out of curiosity are there any AECMers who have
experience with teaching intermediate accounting without a textbook? I would
appreciate your relating your experiences.
March 7, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly
I taught an intermediate I course back in the
eighties with no textbook. However, I did use the "Original Pronouncements".
The students loved it, and I liked it too.
The course helped the students develop critical
thinking and oral communications skills (they presented critical analysis of
real world stuff).
Then I got out of financial accounting in a hurry.
I saw no synergy no between teaching and research (if I wanted to do
"mainstream" research in the area), and in my opinion the field was
stagnating intellectually, and slowly becoming a haven for Finance wannabes.
I have not taught financial accounting in many
years, and therefore my bleak assessment may be wrong.
One of these days I would like to teach auditing
without a text. I wish AICPA was as generous as FASB has been of late.
March 7, 2007 reply from James M. Peters
I ultimately end up teaching all my classes without
"text books." However, this is a bit deceptive in that you do need to have
written materials that present theory and application to students in a
succinct, structured manner. Oral presentation of material is only half as
effective as written and students need some structure to the underlying
concepts being presented. I end up writing my own "texts" form my classes
that tend to be much more succinct and focused that standard texts.
March 7, 2007 reply from Patricia Doherty
I have followed this discussion with some interest, listening to
everyone's arguments about "no textbook" courses, and criticisms of
published books. I do have a few observations:
1. Textbooks are written by
"us" - that is, academics who believe they have a good way of presenting
difficult material, and want to share that idea. Publishing something
yourself is a thankless task, you need a publisher. They aren't "somebody"
2. We all teach in business schools, so we should be aware of,
understand, be somewhat sympathetic to, "business." That's what a publisher
is, a business. We tell students you have to give the customers what they
want, Well, the publishers are trying to do that. If you have ever been at a
meeting with a group of teachers from different schools, discussing a
textbook (I have attended many) you understand how many viewpoints there
are. And every one says, basically, "If you don't include what I want, I'll
drop my adoption." So the publisher includes everything, especially the
latest "buzz topics" but that proverbial kitchen sink (and looking at the
size of most Intermediate books, I think the sink's in there too).
of us write material for our classes. It is tailored to "our" class - the
school, the students, the course, and each one's unique perspective on
these. We disagree, sometimes vehemently, about what is best. I sure hope we
keep doing so, or this world is going to become terribly boring if we all
suddenly agree and do the same thing. I gave up long ago preaching "my way"
to anyone - if someone likes some of my material, they're welcome to use it.
If they don't, then a sign a teacher long ago had on his office door comes
to mind: "Come in without knocking. Leave the same way."
4. Most of us won't
write a book. It is a long, hard, thankless, and endless (after all, you
have to revise as soon as it hits the shelves) task. Some people will love
it, some will hate it. You might even become one of the "old standards" like
a Horngren or a Garrison or an Anthony. Don't count on it though. Most labor
for a few years and fade into obscurity. Personally, I am too busy with my
full time teaching job plus the part time one and some consulting I do in
the education field trying to pay the bills - I just don't have time to
write that book, although I don't lack ideas and goodness knows I probably
have plenty of ego to boot. But it'll probably never happen. Besides, I
don't have PhD or DBA after my name, so nobody would read it.
5. I teach
managerial, and I like some of the books, including the one I use. It isn't
perfect. None are. Neither am I. But I think it contains enough useful
material to make it worth using. I have no feelings of guilt there about
using it. For what it's worth, people ... and "IMHO"
March 7, 2007 reply from David Albrecht
A little over one-half of my financial principles
book is taught without a textbook, because no textbook has what I currently
do. I'm 57, MY BOOK will be finished by the time I'm 67, it should be easy
to find a publisher.
I essentially teach Intermediate Accounting II
without a textbook, substituting my own chapters on the material covered.
For all courses I teach, I author my own problems
and am constantly writing new learning aides to bring to each class.
March 9, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen
I think the idea behind not having a textbook is that deeper
metacognitive learning arises from added effort (e.g., library and Web
searches and discourse) in finding answers "on your own" or possibly in
teams for some tasks ---
The distinction is not whether a "textbook" is published or handed out as
course notes. A textbook contains a lot of illustrations and concise answers
to topics. It differs from pure "case books" where problems are described
but answers cannot be found in these pure case books. Of course there are
less-than-pure versions that are partly textbooks and partly case books.
issue is whether students must learn on their own rather than being able to
find answers in the same book that every other student uses. Rather than
seeking which students best master a book assigned to all students, the
issue is to have students go through a search process that is a creative
effort. Nothing prevents students from seeking answers in library or Web
textbooks, but the act of having to search is itself a learning aid.
A listing of some of the free textbooks on the Web can be found at
Another issue is having students begin to learn that some discovered
sources are much better than other sources. They discover this by having to
make comparisons in their search process.
This is what the Tony Catanach et al BAM process is all about --- making
students learn on their own. Interestingly, one of the problems with the BAM
approach is that not teaching from a textbook tends to burn teachers out at
a greater rate --- ---
The most popular teachers are often helpful textbook teachers. Making
students learn on their own often tends to lower teaching evaluations.
Students sometimes complain that "everything they learned in the course they
learned on their own." As Tony often says, when they say this it's a "BAM
Part of a message received from Pacter, Paul (CN - Hong Kong)
I did not have time this morning to seek his permission to post his more
personal secret teaching ambition in life.
I agree with your comment:
"The real issue is whether students must learn on
their own rather than being able to find answers in the same book that every
other student uses. Rather than seeking which students best master a book
assigned to all students, the issue is to have students go through a search
process that is a creative effort. Nothing prevents students from seeking
answers in library or Web textbooks, but the act of having to search is
itself a learning aid."
March 9, 2007 reply from Barbara Scofield
I had a related experience this week with an online
student who bitterly complained about the lack of "instruction" in the
online financial accounting course that I teach. It was the first time I had
heard directly from him, and I am sensitive to the lack of interaction in
online classes, so I encouraged him to email me his questions etc.
His response floored me. He said he didn't have
time to email me or to view the posted PowerPoint presentations, videos, or
audio lectures. He was going directly from reading the textbook to
completing the practice tests, quizzes and projects, etc. and it was taking
him 20+ hours per week. Apparently he was depending solely on the textbook.
My suggestion to him was that he might learn the
material faster if he actually took advantage of the content items in the
I haven't heard back from him.
Barbara W. Scofield
Associate Professor of Accounting
University of Dallas
Irving, Texas 75062
March 9, 2007 reply from James M. Peters
The danger in a search-based learning is that the
search must be well-structure by the professor of the students just learn to
thrash and get frustrated. This gets at the root of an age-old debate in
cognitive and educational psychology over experiential learning versus
direct explanation. The bottom line from the science is "all things in
moderation." Providing structure is essential for effective experiential
There is a great article on this by Herb Simon,
John Anderson, and Lynn Reder in a rather obscure math education journal.
Since I lived with these people at CMU for 10 years, I am a bit biased in
that I think the "hit the nail on the head" and their opinions are based on
hard science. Here is the abstract and citation:
"This paper provides a review of the claims of
situated learning that are having an increasing influence on education
generally and mathematics education particularly. We review the four central
claims of situated learning with respect to education: (1) action is
grounded in the concrete situation in which it occurs; (2) knowledge does
not transfer between tasks; (3) training by abstraction is of little use;
and (4) instruction must be done in complex, social environments. In each
case, we cite empirical literature to show that the claims are overstated
and that some of the educational implications that have been taken from
these claims are misguided. Educational Researcher, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp.
March 8, 2006 reply from Steven Hornik
I have been following this discussion and feel that
something is being left out - the CM of this list. Yes, textbooks are
beneficial, I think so far everyone has agreed to that at one level or
another. Yes, we would all love to have the time to craft our very own text
book that suits our University, students, approach to pedagogy, etc., alas
for most there is no time or desire to write textbooks.
Well why don't we (and here I mean all academics)
take advantage of the technology that's available to us. For example, I have
a Wiki (just created, it took 5 minutes, of course nothing is in it) at
I have put in what could be argued is an
comprehensive list of general topics for a financial accounting class.
Anyone can add to these pages and I would imagine in a pretty short time we
would all have a rather good "textbook" to use for our class (well if you
teach financial accounting). And the cost to our students (I think that was
the main motivation behind the original posting) - would be far less (free
even) then what publishers charge. Would this space have all the bells and
whistles as textbooks and there ancillaries, no not initially, but they
could be added - many of us have games/cases/problem generators, etc. that
could be added. In short as a community I think we could build what we want,
pick and choose from the pages what we deliver to our class and take
advantage of the new power we all have to be writers and publishers.
Ok, I'm now stepping off of my soapbox,
Dr. Steven Hornik
University of Central Florida
College of Business Administration
"The Impact of Academic Bias Professors do lean to the left -- but are
students listening?" by Cathy Young, Reason Magazine, March 8, 2007
The debate over bias in the academy usually follows
a predictable pattern. Conservatives tout a survey or study that says
American college campuses are teeming with pinkos. Liberals assail the
report as conservative propaganda. Conservatives mock liberals for denying
The most recent skirmish in this cycle involves a
report released in January, "The Faculty Bias Studies: Science or
Propaganda?" Prepared by the education consultant John Lee and published by
the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the paper concludes that eight
studies frequently cited by conservatives are rife with methodological
flaws, errors, and biases of their own.
Some of the report's targets were quick to respond
with countercharges. Anne Neal, president of the American Council of
Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), told Inside Higher Ed that "AFT's report is not
science-it's propaganda." Neal's group had produced two of the studies
criticized by Lee.
The AFT report identifies some genuine problems
with some widely publicized studies of campus bias. For instance, a major
2005 survey on faculty political leanings by Stanley Rothman, S. Robert
Lichter, and Neil Nevitte cannot be properly peer-reviewed because the
survey instrument has never been made public.
That said, some of Lee's nitpicks make little
sense. Take ACTA's 2006 report "How Many Ward Churchills?," which focused on
cultural and political radicalism in college curricula. The report can
certainly be faulted for inflammatory rhetoric-the title refers to the
University of Colorado professor who derided the victims of the 9/11 attack
as "little Eichmanns"-but it doesn't make sense for Lee to attack it for a
lack of scientific sampling, since it never claimed to be a scientific
More broadly, Lee's attempt to challenge findings
that most college professors are politically left of center seems pointless.
The studies may be flawed, but their conclusion falls into the realm of the
obvious. Even if you were to dismiss the Rothman-Lichter-Nevitte study,
which found that 72 percent of full-time faculty identified as liberal while
15 percent considered themselves conservative and the rest middle of the
road, there still remains the 2001 survey-never mentioned by Lee-by the
Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA. It found that about 5
percent of faculty members called themselves far left, 42 percent were
liberal, 34 percent considered themselves middle of the road, less than 18
percent were conservative, and 0.3 percent placed themselves on the far
right. (One likely reason for the difference between the two surveys is that
the HERI study included two-year colleges in its sample.)
In 2005, when Penn State's Michael Bérubé wrote a
long, snarky blog post assailing the Rothman-Lichter-Nevitte study and its
right-wing sponsors, he went on to cite the HERI study and conceded, "Yes,
we're a pretty liberal bunch."
The more interesting question, usually neglected in
the wash-rinse-repeat cycle of the bias debate, is what danger, precisely,
all this liberal dominance on campus poses to the nation. Are tenured
radicals really brainwashing the young? For answers, you should look to the
voting behavior and party identification of students and recent graduates,
not their professors.
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that
today's 18-to-25-year-olds are "the least Republican generation." In 2006,
48 percent of people in this age group identified themselves as Democrats or
leaning Democratic; 35 percent were Republicans-the lowest result recorded
since Pew started tracking the data in 1987. Meanwhile, Democrats carried
the under-26 vote in the 2006 midterm elections by 58 percent to 37 percent.
So are the conservatives right? Is any of that
attributable to the influence of college? Not necessarily: In the early
1990s, when college attendance was just as high and faculty ideologies
skewed equally leftward, Republican identification in the same age group
spiked to a record 55 percent.
While the HERI does an annual survey of incoming
college freshmen that includes questions about political beliefs, no one has
tried tracking changes in student political beliefs over the college years.
One interesting glimpse is provided by HERI's 2004 report on political
attitudes among freshmen and college graduates. In 1994, 82 percent of
students in the class of 1998 agreed that "the federal government should do
more to control the sale of handguns" and 61 percent agreed that abortion
should be legal. In 1998, these opinions were held by, respectively, 83
percent and 65 percent of college graduates in that cohort.
Thus, while college-educated Americans appear to be
much more liberal than the general population-at least on certain
issues-they also seem to hold those views before they first enter a college
Other evidence that college students aren't
necessarily dancing to the professors' political tune comes from post-9/11
data on opinions about U.S. military action. While opposition to U.S.
strikes in Afghanistan was common among college faculty (as ACTA documented
in its November 2001 report "Defending Western Civilization"), an
overwhelming 79 percent of students supported the war in the fall of 2001.
Granted, support in the general population was even higher: 92 percent.
The December 2005 ACTA study "Intellectual
Diversity: Time for Action," another paper critiqued by Lee, attempted to
measure political bias in the classroom with a survey of students at 50 top
colleges and universities. Only 7 percent of the students strongly agreed
with the statement, "On my campus, there are courses in which students feel
they have to agree with the professor's political or social views in order
to get a good grade." Then again, another 22 percent agreed "somewhat."
Forty-six percent strongly disagreed. The results suggest that there is, at
least, a perception of a problem.
Interestingly, only 21 percent of the students
surveyed agreed either strongly or somewhat that some professors on their
campus are "intolerant of certain political and social viewpoints." It
should be noted that among the students who were surveyed, self-identified
liberals outnumbered conservatives by 46 percent to 13 percent, and it is
usually harder to notice bias against viewpoints to which you are
What is difficult either to deny or to quantify is
that, especially at the more prestigious colleges and universities, the
social climate fosters a strong presumption of liberal like-mindedness and a
marginalization of dissent. Being left of center is the norm, and it is
freely assumed that other people around you, be they students or faculty
members, will share in your joy at the Democratic victories in Congress or
your dismay at the passage of a ballot initiative prohibiting racial
preferences in college admissions. This can translate into not only a chilly
climate for conservatives but in some cases outright hostility.
If a student doesn't subscribe to the campus
orthodoxy, the likely effect is not to convert her but to alienate her from
intellectual life. Others learn only about a narrow range of ideas. One
woman, a Ph.D. student in the social sciences at a Midwestern university,
told me recently that when she started reading conservative, libertarian, or
otherwise heretical blogs, "it was a whole perspective I had never been
exposed to before in anything other than caricature."
When that's the norm, the harm is less to
dissenters than to the life of the mind. It's not good for any group of
people to spend a lot of time listening only to like-minded others. It is
especially bad for a profession whose lifeblood is the exchange of ideas.
Yahoo benefits from new search ad system
People are clicking more often on ads served up by
Yahoo Inc.'s search engine since the company switched to a new ad-ranking system
earlier this month, according to comScore Networks Inc., a firm that measures
Web usage and traffic.
Juan Carlos Perez, PC World via The Washington Post,
February 27, 2007 ---
Writing Links & Links for Writers ---
Phrase Thesaurus ---
Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at
"Iceland's Laffer Curve," The Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2007 ---
The rags-to-riches story of how Iceland's 300,000
citizens became some of the world's wealthiest people is a testament to
capitalism's animal spirits. Only after it opened up the economy, privatized
state companies and slashed marginal taxes did this once famine-plagued
island become a Nordic Tiger.
Happily, the government can't seem to get enough of
a good thing. It convened a special task force in 2005 to look into ways of
transforming Iceland into a financial hub. Headed by Sigurdur Einarsson,
chairman of Kaupthing, the country's biggest bank, the committee recommended
in November that the corporate-tax rate be reduced to 10% from the current
18%. That's below the 12.5% in that other European economic powerhouse
surrounded by water -- Ireland.
Continued in article
From the Scout Report on February 23, 2006
Looking back to the late nineteenth century, one
can find traces of the earliest distance education learning programs at the
university level at places like the University of Chicago and Columbia
University. It would take six decades before an entire university was
created specifically as a distance teaching institution, and it would happen
on the other side of the Atlantic. This school is Open University in
Britain, and they have continued this mission for over four decades.
Recently, they created the LearningSpace website which contains dozens of
different online courses, categorized into disciplines such as education,
modern languages, and history. While visitors don’t have to register to use
the materials, they may find it useful.
Registering will allow visitors to discuss the
materials in a forum, write journal entries, and complete different quizzes.
Bob Jensen's links to distance education alternatives are at
Does barfing beat dying?
Set phasers to "puke"? The military works on a
weapon that makes people so dizzy they fall over and throw up. It can supposedly
shoot through walls, too. IVC proposes to investigate the use of beamed RF
[radio frequency] energy to excite and interrupt the normal process of human
hearing and equilibrium. The focus will be in two areas. (1) Interruption of the
mechanical transduction process by which sound and position (relative to
gravity) are converted to messages that are processed by the brain. (2)
Interruption of the chemical engine which sustains the proper operation of the
nerve cells that respond to the mechanical transduction mechanisms referenced in
item (1). Interruption of either or both of these processes has been clinically
shown to produce complete disorientation and confusion.
"Navy Researching Vomit Beam," Wired News, March 6, 2007 ---
From the Scout Report on February 23, 2006
Global Integrity ---
Many of the world’s national governments have been
plagued by charges of corruption and pervasive malfeasance over the past few
decades. As a result, a number of international organizations have been
created to provide information on corruption and governance trends for the
policy community and the general public. With funding from the World Bank,
the Global Integrity organization produces the Global Integrity Report,
which features a number of “integrity indicators”, which analyze openness,
governance, and anti- corruption mechanisms for a wide range of countries.
Visitors to their site can read the Report in its entirety here, and also
browse through a number of media resources designed for journalists.
Additionally, visitors can also learn more about the organization’s staff
members and their various methodologies for compiling reports.
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
How Wikipedia is Changing the World of Economics
It sounds like something from a futuristic TV thriller:
American spies thwarting a terrorist plot through a shared online community
modeled after Wikipedia, the free user-created, web-based encyclopedia. But
Anthony D. Williams, co-author of the new book, Wikinomics: How Mass
Collaboration Changes Everything, recently told a conference at Wharton's Mack
Center for Technological Innovation that this online community of spies already
exists -- along with a host of other activist-oriented web sites that are
changing the rules of the global economy.
"Make Room, Wikipedia: Internet-based Collaboration Could Change the Way We Do
Business," Knowledge@Wharton, February 21, 2007 ---
Research and Publishing: The Future of Scholarly Communications
"UC Berkeley Awarded A.W. Mellon Grant to Assess the Future Landscape of
Scholarly Communication," The University of Illinois Blog Issues in Scholarly
Communication, March 2, 2007 ---
Center for Studies in
(CSHE) of the University of California, Berkeley
has been recently awarded a grant of more than $400,000 from the
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to continue its research
into the changing nature of scholarly communication and publication
practices in the networked age. The new project,
Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An In-depth Study
of Faculty Needs and Ways of Meeting Them,
under the direction of principal investigators
Jud King and Diane Harley will extend and
complement CSHE’s first phase of research, which considered the importance
of faculty values and the vital role of peer review in faculty attitudes
about their publishing behavior, especially as it relates to the viability
of new electronic and open access publication models. Capabilities afforded
by new technologies, pressures associated with the purchasing power of
library budgets, challenges to economic viability for university presses,
and the pricing structures of the publishing industry make this research
especially timely for the academic and publication communities at large.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on oligopolist journal publisher rip-offs of
university libraries are available at
Musée Achéménide (ancient worlds of Persia, Babylonia, and the Egyptian
Bob Jensen's threads on history (scroll down to the history section) are at
"Corruption in the schools," by Patrick J. Buchanan, WorldNetDaily,
March 6, 2007 ---
However, it is all a giant fraud, exposed as such by the
performances of high school seniors on the National Assessment
of Educational Progress exams known as the "nation's report
card." An NAEP test of 12th-grade achievement was given to what
New York Times called
"representative sample of 21,000 high school seniors attending
900 public and private schools from January to March 2005."
What did the tests reveal?
1990, the share of students lacking even basic reading
skills has risen by a third, from 20 percent to 27 percent.
35 percent of high school seniors have reached a
"proficient" level in reading, down from 40 percent.
16 percent of black and 20 percent of Hispanic students had
reached a proficient level in reading.
high school seniors, only 29 percent of whites, 10 percent
of Hispanic students and 6 percent of black students were
proficient in math.
only the half of it. Among the kids whose test scores on reading
and math were not factored in were the 25 percent of white
students and 50 percent of black and Hispanic kids who had
dropped out by senior year.
dropouts back in, and what the NAEP test suggests is that, of
black kids starting in first grade, about one in eight will be
able to read at the level of a high school senior after 12
years, and one in 33 will be able to do the math. Among Hispanic
kids, one in 10 will be able to read at a high-school senior
level, but only one in 20 will be able to do high-school math.
columnist Steve Sailor writes on VDare.com, the Bush-Kennedy
No Child Left Behind Act
"that all children should reach a proficient level of academic
achievement by 2014."
going to make it. We're not even going to come close.
Wisconsin Folklore Pamphlets, 1921-1945 (From the Wisconsin Historical
The Presidential Timeline of the Twentieth Century ---
A friend who has an undergraduate degree in religion (before becoming a
computer scientist) sent me the following question about markup percentages:
I’m entering a debate with someone and don’t know
exactly where to turn for credible information. A vendor has an item costing
about 13¢ a unit selling for 40¢ a unit. My gut is telling me that is
excessive. My old, primitive, inexperienced notion is that 30% - 40% is what
would be considered “Standard profit”. What resources do you recommend I
My concern is not on this small-ticket item but
other bigger-ticket items, some of which are necessities the consumer pool
has no choice but to purchase from this vendor. The verse “Whoever can be
trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is
dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10)
has come up. I want to be sure that I have a realistic idea of % mark-up
should be. For me, this is not really about price but about justice.
My February 23, 2007 reply was as follows:
There is no “standard” markup except where imposed by law or regulation
or contractual constraints.
Markup percentage does not mean much in terms of costs and prices unless
there is a benchmark based upon volume. HEB sells pinto beans at a very low
markup but factors in the tons of volume of bean sales. HEB sells live Maine
lobsters at a relatively high markup because the sales volume is relatively
low, and there no point of carrying lobsters at all if there is not a
sufficient margin relative to low sales volume.
Even if a monopolist has no competition, it is unwise to set prices too
high to a point where volume crashes. For example, if HEB is the only source
of lobsters in Waco, it would be silly to charge $1,000 per pound and not
sell any lobsters at that price. Similarly, it would be silly to sell them
too cheap to a point where fixed costs are not being recovered. In cost
accounting, this entire topic is covered under the phrase
“cost-profit-volume” analysis ----
When calculating margin, there is also a wide variation of “cost.” For
example, is the cost only the variable cost such as the wholesale price of
lobster plus freight-in charges. Retailers often derive “contribution
margins” defined on the basis of price minus variable costs. One expects
such margins to be relatively high because a portion (sometimes a huge
portion) of the margin goes toward recovery of fixed costs. The break-even
point is where the margin per unit times the number of units equals the
fixed costs. The contribution margin generates profits only after break-even
points are reached.
If margins are calculated after allocating fixed costs, then all sorts of
problems arise in multiple-product firms. Fixed cost allocations to
different products are generally arbitrary and thereby give vendors wide
discretion in “manipulating” margin calculations.
Much of microeconomics is devoted to pricing theory and production
Also note the range of options for calculating markup percentages ---
Now back to your original question: The markup percentage however
calculated means virtually nothing until fixed, variable, and taxation costs
are clearly defined along with other important factors such as sales volume
and various risks are considered such as spoilage risks, obsolescence risk,
sales return risks, etc.
There is also the factor of shelf time and cost of capital. When HEB
sells lobsters and pinto beans, these items typically turn over in less than
a week. When an auto body parts supplier sells new replacement fenders for a
1993 Ford pickup, these fenders may sit in a warehouse for years before they
sell. Money has time value, and money tied up slow moving inventory
justifies higher markup to cover the time value of money. This is a major
reason why low turnover products like jewelry and auto parts often have
A vendor selling an item costing about 13¢ a unit selling for 40¢ a unit
might be losing his shirt or he might be price gouging --- there’s no way to
tell without more information about all the costs involved, including sales
volumes, turnover rates. Inventory risks, sales return risks, and the time
value of money.
Now you have a clue why accounting students are generally a confused
bunch. Better to have been an undergraduate in religion where all the
answers are clear cut.
Payola Déjà Vu
Radio listeners sick
of hearing the same tunes again and again may soon encounter surprising new
voices, thanks to a $12.5 million settlement pending against major broadcasters
accused of taking record companies' bribes. The four broadcast conglomerates,
which together own more than 1,500 stations, have agreed to pay hefty fines and
to provide air time for local artists and independent record labels, government
and industry officials said yesterday. The negotiated settlement is meant to end
a probe into the practice of what is known as "payola," in which large record
companies quietly give cash or other benefits to radio station employees who
agree to play music by the companies' artists.
Charles Babington, "Big Radio Settles Payola Charges: 4 Chains Are Fined, Agree
to Air Music By Smaller Labels, The Washington Post, March 6, 2007, Page
From the Scout Report on February 23, 2007
TrueCrypt 4.2a ---
With more people growing deeply concerned about the
security of their computer files, this latest version of TrueCrypt should
pique their interest. With this application, users can use 11 algorithms to
encrypt their files in a password-protected volume. The program also will
recommend complex passwords and also erase different signs of the encryption
program, including mouse movements and keystrokes. This version is
compatible with computers running Windows XP, 2000, and 2003.
Active WebCam 8.0 ---
A number of users may have heard of various webcam
programs, and if they remain interested in such devices, Active WebCam 8.0
is worth a look. With this application, users can capture images at up to 30
frames per second, and then can also use the program to stream audio and
video. Additionally, users can also control the camera’s pan, tilt, and zoom
features as they see fit. This version is compatible with computers running
Windows 2000, XP, and 2003.
From the Scout Report on March 2, 2007
SUPERAntiSpyware 3.5 ---
This is the latest version of the free version of
SUPERAntiSpyware, and it contains a number of compelling new features. With
this latest version, users can examine broken Internet connections and
desktop problems and also remove pesky bugs and such. Also, this latest
version will allow users to scan the entire system with great speed. This
version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98, Me, 2000, and
Schmap Local for Firefox 1.2 ---
When looking around the Internet, it can be quite
annoying to stop and save addresses or phone numbers. Fortunately, this
handy application recognizes and saves addresses and phone numbers as users
move from page to page. Additionally, the program links up with Skype
application, so users can call any saved phone number with one click of the
mouse. This version is compatible with all computers running Mac OS X 10.1
Updates from WebMD ---
Updates on March 6, 2007
Updates on March 8, 2007
Center for Bioethics ---
AIDS Posters ---
Vitamin Lowdown: The Good, The Bad and the Unknown
Last week, the prestigious medical journal, JAMA,
reported that high doses of antioxidant supplements probably aren't helping you
and might even hurt you. Now consumers, who spend $7 billion a year on vitamins
and supplements, are more confused than ever.
Tara Parker-Pope, "Vitamin Lowdown: The Good, The Bad and the Unknown," The
Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2007; Page D1 ---
For years consumers have heard antioxidant
supplements can boost their immune systems and ward off cancer, but the
latest report showed that users of high doses of antioxidant supplements
were more likely to die during the various study periods than people who
didn't take vitamins.
Many people are voicing their concerns publicly.
Last week, for instance, callers to a popular syndicated show on WOR radio
swamped host Joan Hamburg with questions about the latest vitamin research.
"They don't want to believe it," says Ms. Hamburg, who broadcasts from New
York. "They really want to believe that if you swallow a few pills you are
never going to get cancer or heart disease or lose your memory. They want to
believe that what's in a bottle is going to do that for you."
Most experts now agree that good health can't be
found in a bottle, but for some consumers, there still might be reasons to
take vitamins. Here's a look at the latest research and what it means.
Did the study conclude all vitamins are bad for
you? No. The analysis looked primarily at 47 studies of beta carotene,
vitamins A, C and E and selenium. The broad conclusion was that high-dose
supplementation with beta carotene and vitamins A and E could be harmful.
The study found no benefit from high doses of vitamin C and a potential
benefit from selenium.
Why do some nutrition experts question the design
of the study? Advocates of vitamins have two main problems with the study.
First, the JAMA analysis excluded two large vitamin studies from China and
Italy that showed antioxidant supplements lowered mortality risk. The other
problem is that most vitamin research focuses on unhealthy people, but some
recent research suggests that antioxidant supplements may have different
effects in healthy people.
For instance, a recent study of about 9,500 heart
patients evaluated long-term use of 400 IUs, or International Units, of
daily vitamin E. The vitamin E takers had a 13% higher risk for heart
failure. But another report, called the Women's Health Study, evaluated use
of 600 IUs of vitamin E every other day by nearly 40,000 healthy women. In
that study, the vitamin users over 65 were 26% less likely to suffer a major
cardiovascular event and 24% less likely to die during the study period.
What doses of vitamins were taken by people in the
various studies? Most of the studies involved very high doses of
antioxidants that far exceed the daily dietary reference intakes (DRI) set
forth by health authorities. The doses were also far higher than the
antioxidant levels found in a typical serving of fruits and vegetables. For
instance, a large orange only has about 98 mg of vitamin C. The DRI for
vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. In the JAMA review, the dose
averaged 488 mg, but went as high as 2 grams. The Vitamin E DRI is 22 IUs a
day, but the study averaged 569 IUs and went as high as 5,000. For selenium,
the DRI is 55 micrograms but the study average was 99 micrograms. For
vitamin A, the DRI is 700 IUs for women and 900 IUs for men, but the study
average dose was 20,219 IUs. There is no DRI for beta carotene, but the
study doses average 17.8 mg. All of this means that the doses studied in the
JAMA report aren't very relevant to the average consumer who doesn't gobble
mega-doses of vitamins and just takes a multivitamin or a few extra vitamin
C pills a day.
How should consumers react to the latest vitamin
news? Vitamin users shouldn't be frightened by the study, but it also shows
that you're probably not being helped by high vitamin doses either. If your
doctor has prescribed a vitamin or mineral -- such as vitamin B12, calcium
or Vitamin D -- you should keep taking it unless otherwise instructed. Most
nutritionists agree it isn't a good idea to take beta carotene or vitamin A
supplements -- many cereals and other foods are already fortified with
Vitamin A. For most people, a multivitamin won't hurt and may make sense for
those who aren't healthful eaters. The data are mixed about vitamin C, but a
daily dose of up to 2 grams probably won't hurt you.
"The best way to get your nutrients is through a
varied diet," says Robert Russell, director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human
Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. "I don't
think anybody will argue with that."
Stanford University Compares Four Popular Diets:
The Winner is The Atkins diet, which is high in protein and low in carbs
(but read or listen to the entire article)
Why did Atkins dieters do better? For one, more of the
participants stuck to the diet. Gardner says that could be because the Atkins
diet is so simple: Participants drastically reduce carbohydrates and completely
eliminate any high-fructose corn syrup, white bread or white rice. It could also
be that the Atkins diet keeps you full longer, says Walter Willett, a medical
nutritionist at Harvard's School of Public Health. "When people eat a large
amount of carbohydrates," Willett says, "those kinds of foods leave you hungry.
And within a few hours of eating, we're usually looking for something to eat
Patricia Neighmond, "Low-Carb vs. Low-Fat: A New Study Weighs In," NPR,
March 6, 2007 ---
"Study takes next step -- Why women suffer more knee injuries:
Female athletes are up to eight times more likely to suffer knee injuries during
their careers than males, and now researchers may be closer to understanding
why," PhysOrg, March 7, 2007 ---
"Lack of sleep leaving women stressed: A new survey says more than
60 percent of U.S. women have trouble getting a good night's sleep," PhysOrg,
March 7, 2007 ---
"Healing Bone with Stem Cells: New techniques to boost survival of
adult stem cells could improve surgeries for severe fractures," by Emily Singer,
MIT's Technology Review, March 7, 2007 ---
Implantable materials that grab stem cells and spur
their growth and survival could improve bone-healing surgeries. Linda
Griffith and her colleagues at MIT have created a new tissue-engineering
material that could help cells survive the harsh transplant environment--a
key step in cell-transplant therapies. Scientists are now testing the
material in animals to see how well it can help heal fractures.
"Creating instructional biomaterials like this is
an entirely new way of thinking about what could be put in the human body,"
says Richard Lee, a cardiologist and scientist at Harvard Medical School and
Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston. "It could become an important
component of regenerative medicine."
Patients with severe fractures that can't heal on
their own typically undergo a painful bone biopsy in which a bone fragment
is removed from the hip and then transplanted onto the site of the wound.
But improvements to an alternative procedure developed in the past few years
could soon make this process obsolete. In the procedure, orthopedic surgeons
withdraw bone marrow (which contains bone-forming stem cells) from the
patient and then process and transplant those cells onto the fracture
without the need for bone biopsy.
Continued in article
Deadly Epidemic in Israel
Doctors said an antibiotic-resistant bacterium known as Klebsiella pneumoniae
has killed as many as 200 patients in hospitals across Israel.
Epidemiologist Yehuda Carmeli of the Sourasky Medical
Center in Tel Aviv said 400 to 500 people have been infected by the bug. "Thirty
to forty percent of them have already died," Carmeli told YNetNews. "However, it
is important to note that most of them were in a serious condition, and some
were suffering from prior medical conditions." Infectious diseases specialist
Dr. Galia Rahav told Israel's Channel 1 that 130 patients at Sheba Hospital have
become infected. One-third of those patients have died.
"Hundreds die from deadly bacteria in Israel," PhysOrg, March 7, 2007 ---
Will Biology Solve the Universe?
Dr. Robert Lanza, famous for his stem-cell and cloning
research, believes his ideas will lead to a unified theory of the universe. It's
all in the biology.
Aaron Rowe, "Will Biology Solve the Universe?" Wired News, March 8, 2007
Forwarded by Paula
Subject: saying grace
Last week, I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if
he could say grace.
As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good, God is great. Thank you for the
food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And
Liberty and justice for all! Amen!"
Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman
remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't even know how
to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!"
Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is
God mad at me?"
As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job, and God was
certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked
at my son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."
"Really?" my son asked.
"Cross my heart," the man replied.
Then, in a theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman whose remark
had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A
little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."
Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared
at his for a moment, and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.
He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it in
front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, "Here, this is for you. Ice
cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already."
The Ultimate Rejection Letter ---
Herbert A. Millington
Chair - Search Committee
412A Clarkson Hall,
College Hill, MA 34109
Dear Professor Millington,
Thank you for your letter of March 16. After
careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept
your refusal to offer me an assistant professor position in your department.
This year I have been particularly fortunate in
receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied
and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all
Despite Whitson's outstanding qualifications and
previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does
not meet my needs at this time. Therefore, I will assume the position of
assistant professor in your department this August. I look forward to seeing
Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.
Chris L. Jensen
Library of Humor ---
Library Index ---
Funny Facts ---
Forwarded by Paula
A cardiologist died and was given an elaborate funeral. A huge heart covered
in flowers stood behind the casket during the service. Following the eulogy, the
heart opened and the casket rolled inside. The heart then closed, sealing the
doctor in the beautiful heart forever. At that point, one of the mourners burst
into laughter. When all eyes stared at him, he said, "I'm sorry, I was just
thinking of my own funeral........I'm a gynecologist."
The proctologist fainted.
Forwarded by Auntie Bev
Senior Humor pages featuring the music of Margi Harrell
The Three Sisters
Too Many Pills
I'm A Senior Citizen
A Senior Moment
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