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 Sugar Hill.
Don't you wish you were here?

March 6, 2007 on Mount Washington
Temp -30.1°F 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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Erika2007.htm


Tidbits on March 9, 2007
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

The December 31 edition of New Bookmarks is linked at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

Fraud Updates are linked at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

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
http://www.searchedu.com/.


Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/resume.htm#Presentations   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/


Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm
       (Also scroll down to the table at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ )




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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

Funny Commercials --- http://veryfunnyads.com/

Macho Skiing (or just plain nuts) --- http://www.glumbert.com/media/descent

  • Animated Periodic Table of the Elements --- 
    http://www.animatedsoftware.com/elearning/Periodic Table/AnimatedPeriodicTable.swf

  • Time Waster Animated Cartoon (nice piano in the background) --- http://www.bozzetto.com/neuro.htm
    Others by Bruno Bozzetto --- http://www.bozzetto.com/

    Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research --- http://siepr.stanford.edu

    Macaulay Library: Sound & Video Catalog --- http://www.animalbehaviorarchive.org/


    Free music downloads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

    A beautiful video that is artistic, humorous, and musical --- http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xf9oo_jerome-murat

    Oscar-Nominated Scores: 'Notes On a Scandal' --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7550328

    The 'Great Atomic Power' of Charlie Louvin ---
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7718685

    Patty Griffin in Concert --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7241099

    Concert Violinist Plays Indie-Rock Gigs --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7677066

    The Beatles (with links to podcasts) --- http://www.thebeatles.com/


    Photographs and Art

    Famous Fake Photographs --- http://blog.wired.com/wiredphotos54/

    Infrared Astronomy --- http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/cosmic_classroom/ir_tutorial/

    Cities Around the World --- http://www.uwm.edu/Libraries/digilib/cities/index.html

    AIDS Posters --- http://digital.library.ucla.edu/aidsposters/

    Amusing America --- http://sfpl.org/news/onlineexhibits/amusing/

    Omaha Indian Heritage --- http://omahatribe.unl.edu/

    Brooklyn Museum: Mut Precinct http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/features/mut/

    Sorcerers of the Fifth Heaven: Nahua Art and Ritual of Ancient Southern Mexico --- http://www.princetonartmuseum.org/nahua/

    Kohler Art Library: The Artists’ Book Collection ---. http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/ArtistsBks

    Ladybirds of Ireland --- http://www.habitas.org.uk/ladybirds/index.html

    Photo of the Day Contest --- http://www.dailydigitalphoto.com/cgi-bin/potd/potd.pl?day=17&month=2&year=2007

    Penny Postcards from the 50 States --- http://www.rootsweb.com/%7Eusgenweb/special/ppcs/ppcs.html

    Landscape Photographs --- http://www.outdoor-photos.com/

    Funny Photos --- http://feelbetteraboutthings.com/angle.html

     


    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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

    Rudolf Steiner Archive (philosophy) --- http://www.rsarchive.org/

    Cooperative Digital Resources Initiative (history of religion and theology) --- http://www.atla.com/digitalresources/

    Kohler Art Library: The Artists’ Book Collection ---. http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/ArtistsBks

    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley --- Click Here

    Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift --- Click Here

    Quotation Space --- http://www.quotationspage.com/

    Lyrics Search Tool --- http://www.evillabs.sk/evillyrics/

    Writing Links & Links for Writers --- http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/wrlinks-wordstuff.htm

    Phrase Thesaurus --- http://www.phrasefinder.co.uk/

    Cliches --- http://www.suspense.net/whitefish/cliche.htm




  • To arrange a library is a silent way of carrying on the art of critique.
    Jorge Luis Borges --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Luis_Borges
    Jensen Comment
    The same might be said about arranging Web sites that serve a public libraries of sorts.

    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 Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-02-26-07.htm

    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
    http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-02-26-07.htm

    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 University's Research.
    "Women are best at being buddies," PhysOrg, March 8, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news92508891.html

    The poor go to war to fight and die for the whims, wealth and excesses of others.
    Plutarch --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutarch

    I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace.
    Albert Einstein --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7332087
    Also see "What Are the Sunnis Thinking? Sharp red lines in the Middle East," by Michael Young, Reason Magazine, January 25, 2007 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/118301.html

    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 --- http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/12/070312fa_fact_coll

    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 --- http://cjunk.blogspot.com/2006/02/why-peaceful-majority-is-irrelevant.html

    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 --- http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.03/hawkins.html 

    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 partying opportunities.
    "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 --- http://physorg.com/news92397166.html

    The political left is an evil that only the presence of the right makes tolerable.
    Massimo D'Alema --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 ---
    Click Here
    Jensen Comment
    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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm#H-Terms

    "(George) 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 ---
    http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/8722891?f=EditorsLetter022207

    Question (related to the above quotation)
    Will it ever be possible to audit Pentagon spending in modern times?

    Answer:  Never!

    "Pentagon Bookkeeping Stops Auditors," AccountingWeb, February 20, 2006 ---
    http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101798

    The 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.

    The “clean 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
    • 3 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.

    Jack Minnery, 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.

    Minnery told 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.”

    Untangling 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 GAO.

    Winslow T. 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.

    In more 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.

    Frank 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.”

    In 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 at http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101798

    March 7, 2007 reply from Ed Scribner [escribne@nmsu.edu]

  • 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 aide.)

    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) --- http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2007a/030907/030907z.htm 

     




  •  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 --- http://www.bus.emory.edu/cgreen/Green,Jegadeesh,Tang.pdf 


    "Wikipedia to Seek Proof of Credentials," PhysOrg, March 7, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news92507189.html

    Also see http://www.technologyreview.com/Wire/18286/


    Rating the Best 529 College Savings Plans: And the Winners are Utah and Virginia
    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, 2007 ---
    http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=103239

  • 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


  • Question
    Who is Phil Zimbardo?

    Answer --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 venting anger.

    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 --- http://cbs5.com/local/local_story_066143030.html

    Famed psychology professor, lecturer and author, Philip Zimbardo, gave his final lecture at Stanford University today 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.

     


    Question
    How can you add audio to PowerPoint presentations?

    March 2, 2007 message from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

  • 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 Miami, FL

    My response:

    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 format.

    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...

    David Fordham
    PBGH Faculty Fellow
    James Madison University

  • March 2, 2007 reply from Richard J. Campbell [campbell@VIRTUALPUBLISHING.NET]

  • 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 www.swhishzone.com  - You can see a Valentine I created in Swishpix at:

    http://www.virtualpublishing.net/annrjc/annrjc.html 

    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
    mailto:campbell@VirtualPublishing.NET

  • Bob Jensen's "How to" threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm


    Question
    Would you like to choose a color and then easily find its RGB number code?

    Go to Flickr Color Selectr --- http://color.slightlyblue.com/


    Microsoft Word Training Modules --- http://www.internet4classrooms.com/on-line_word.htm


    International Reading Association: Web Resources --- http://www.reading.org/resources/index.html


    A list of some useful links related to Statistics Education from Juha Puranen, Department of Statistics, University of Helsinki --- http://noppa5.pc.helsinki.fi/links.html 

     

    Online Tutorials for Learning About Statistics and Research
    Against All Odds: Inside Statistics ---  http://www.learner.org/resources/series65.html

     

    Exploring Data (Statistics Tutorials) --- http://exploringdata.cqu.edu.au/

    Bob Jensen's links to math and statistics tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics


    Medical Dictionary --- http://www.medterms.com/script/main/hp.asp


    Kodak's Easy Share Photo Gallery --- Click Here


    "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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/the_mossberg_solution.html

    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 carrier.

    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 content.

    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 rewind.

    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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/personal_technology.html

    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?


    Quicken on 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 Vista?

    Answer from Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2007, Page B5 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/mossberg_mailbox.html
    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
    quicken.custhelp.com and typing "Vista" into the search box.


    "Pork Spending Drops Drastically," by Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, March 8, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/03/08/pork

    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 Waste.

    The 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 will.”

    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 Congress.

    “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 Pig Book:

    • $11.5 million will fund the development of a large aperture telescope at the University of Hawaii, with the aim of preventing space objects from colliding with earth.
    • $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 San Francisco’s Ernest Gallo Clinic & Research Center, devoted to the study of basic neuroscience and the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the brain.
    • $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 teams.

    Continued in article


    Ig Nobel Prizes by Year --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ig_Nobel_Prize_winners
    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."[1] 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.

    2006

    • Literature: Daniel Oppenheimer of Princeton University for his report "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly."
    • 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, Haifa, Israel, for their subsequent medical case report also titled "Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage."

     


    Colleges Often Fail to Account for Costs Even With Their Boards of Trustees

    "Cost and the College Trustee," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, March 6, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/03/06/agb

    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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm
    Also see the following at the above site:



    Controversies Over Learning Accountability at the Collegiate Level
    An article 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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/03/06/qt

    Spellings Announces Plan to Improve Higher Ed --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6146394

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm
     


    More historically black colleges — especially in the public sector — are offering distance education
    A 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 --- http://insidehighered.com/news/2007/03/01/hbcu

    Bob Jensen's threads on distance education and training alternatives are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm


    Arts and Letters Daily --- http://www.aldaily.com/


    "Teaching Without Textbooks,"  by Rob Weir, Inside Higher Ed, March 6, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/03/06/weir

    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 at
    http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/265wp.htm

    March 7, 2007 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]

    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.
    PFW

    March 7, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]

    Paul,

    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.

    Regards,

    Jagdish

    March 7, 2007 reply from James M. Peters [jpeters@NMHU.EDU]

    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.

    Jim Peters
    NMHU

    March 7, 2007 reply from Patricia Doherty [pdoherty@BU.EDU]

    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" they're us.

    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).

    3. Many 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 [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

    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.

    David Albrecht
    Bowling Green

    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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/265wp.htm 

    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.

    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. A listing of some of the free textbooks on the Web can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks 

    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 --- --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/265wp.htm

    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 success."

    Bob Jensen

    Part of a message received from Pacter, Paul (CN - Hong Kong) [paupacter@deloitte.com.hk]
    I did not have time this morning to seek his permission to post his more personal secret teaching ambition in life.

  • Bob,

    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 [scofield@GSM.UDALLAS.EDU]

  • 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 course.

    I haven't heard back from him.

    Barbara W. Scofield
    Associate Professor of Accounting
    University of Dallas
    Irving, Texas 75062

    scofield@gsm.udallas.edu

  • March 9, 2007 reply from James M. Peters [jpeters@NMHU.EDU]

    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 learning.

    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. 5-11"

    Jim Peters

    March 8, 2006 reply from Steven Hornik [shornik@BUS.UCF.EDU]

  • 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 http://financialaccounting.wikispaces.com/ 

    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 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/119026.html

    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 obvious.

    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 survey.

    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 classroom.

    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 unsympathetic.

    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 --- http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/wrlinks-wordstuff.htm

    Phrase Thesaurus --- http://www.phrasefinder.co.uk/

    Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries


    "Iceland's Laffer Curve," The Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2007 --- Click Here

    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 

    LearningSpace --- http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/

    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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm


    Question
    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 --- http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/03/navy_researchin.html


    From the Scout Report on February 23, 2006 

    Global Integrity --- http://www.globalintegrity.org/ 

    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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm


    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 --- Click Here


    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 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

    The Center for Studies in Higher Education (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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#ScholarlyJournals


    Musée Achéménide (ancient worlds of Persia, Babylonia, and the Egyptian empire) --- http://www.museum-achemenet.college-de-france.fr/

    Bob Jensen's threads on history (scroll down to the history section) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks


    "Corruption in the schools," by Patrick J. Buchanan, WorldNetDaily, March 6, 2007 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54565

    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 the New York Times called a "representative sample of 21,000 high school seniors attending 900 public and private schools from January to March 2005."

    What did the tests reveal?

     

    • Since 1990, the share of students lacking even basic reading skills has risen by a third, from 20 percent to 27 percent.

       

    • Only 35 percent of high school seniors have reached a "proficient" level in reading, down from 40 percent.

       

    • Only 16 percent of black and 20 percent of Hispanic students had reached a proficient level in reading.

       

    • Among high school seniors, only 29 percent of whites, 10 percent of Hispanic students and 6 percent of black students were proficient in math.

    This is 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.

    Factor the 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.

    Yet, as columnist Steve Sailor writes on VDare.com, the Bush-Kennedy No Child Left Behind Act mandates "that all children should reach a proficient level of academic achievement by 2014."

    We're not going to make it. We're not even going to come close.

     


    Wisconsin Folklore Pamphlets, 1921-1945 (From the Wisconsin Historical Society) --- http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1622



    The Presidential Timeline of the Twentieth Century --- http://www.presidentialtimeline.org/

     

     


    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 should consult?

    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 ---- http://www.bookrags.com/research/cost-volume-profit-analysis-eom/ 

    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 functions --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Production%2C_costs%2C_and_pricing 

    Also note the range of options for calculating markup percentages ---
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markup_(business) 

    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 higher markups.

    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.

    Bob Jensen


     

    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 D01 ---
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/05/AR2007030501286.html
     



    From the Scout Report on February 23, 2007

     

    TrueCrypt 4.2a --- http://www.truecrypt.org/ 

    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 --- http://www.pysoft.com/ 

    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  --- http://www.superantispyware.com/ 

    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 XP.


    Schmap Local for Firefox 1.2 --- http://www.schmap.com/ 

    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 and newer.

     



    Updates from WebMD ---
    http://www.webmd.com/

     

    Updates on March 6, 2007

    Updates on March 8, 2007

     

     

     


     

    Center for Bioethics --- http://www.bioethics.umn.edu/

     


     

    AIDS Posters --- http://digital.library.ucla.edu/aidsposters/

     


    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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/health_journal.html

    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 again."
    Patricia Neighmond, "Low-Carb vs. Low-Fat: A New Study Weighs In," NPR, March 6, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7732955 

     


    "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 --- http://physorg.com/news92509743.html

     


     

    "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 --- http://physorg.com/news92460005.html

     


    "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 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/18274/

     

    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 --- http://physorg.com/news92510151.html 

     


     

    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 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/medtech/0,72910-0.html?tw=wn_index_1
     

     





    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 --- http://www.chaosmatrix.org/library/humor/reject.html

    Herbert A. Millington
    Chair - Search Committee
    412A Clarkson Hall,
    Whitson University
    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 refusals.

    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 you then.

    Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.

    Sincerely,
    Chris L. Jensen

    Chaos Matrix

    Library of Humor --- http://www.chaosmatrix.org/library/humor/

     

    Library Index --- http://www.chaosmatrix.org/library/


     

     

    Funny Facts --- http://funny2.com/facts.htm

     


     

    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 http://llerrah.com/thethreesisters.htm 

    Too Many Pills http://llerrah.com/toomanypills.htm 

    I'm A Senior Citizen http://llerrah.com/seniorcitizen.htm 

    A Senior Moment http://llerrah.com/seniormoment.htm 

     

     

     




    More Tidbits from the Chronicle of Higher Education --- http://www.aldaily.com/

    Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
    For earlier editions of New Bookmark s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 
    Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

    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 http://www.searchedu.com/.

    Three Finance Blogs

    Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
    FinancialRounds Blog --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/
    Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) --- http://financemusings.blogspot.com/

    Some Accounting Blogs

    Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
    International Association of Accountants News --- http://www.aia.org.uk/
    AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
    Gerald Trite's eBusiness and XBRL Blogs --- http://www.zorba.ca/
    AccountingWeb --- http://www.accountingweb.com/   
    SmartPros --- http://www.smartpros.com/

    Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/JensenBlogs.htm
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

    Richard Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/ 

    Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
    190 Sunset Hill Road
    Sugar Hill, NH 03586
    Phone:  603-823-8482 
    Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu