This was a heavy snow melt week. Patches of lawn were visible for three seconds. It's snowing now, and the forecast calls for a foot of new snow this weekend. Such is life during March in the mountains when we're beginning to tire of the white stuff. The good news is that new snow will delay spring cleanup chores.
Better to cover it than clean it --- yeah right!

Tidbits on March 15, 2007
Bob Jensen

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

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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at

Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
       (Also scroll down to the table at )

Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

Video on Science Fiction from MIT's Technology Review ---

"Reviewing Video Review Sites:  Amateur video reviews can give you another perspective on a product that you're considering," by James A. Martin, PC World via The Washington Post, Thursday, March 15, 2007 --- Click Here

Free music downloads ---

Marsalis' Sharp Social Critiques Come with Cool Rif ---

Songs from the CD

Patti Austin Spins New Stories from Old Classics (big band era) ---

Pop Music That Leaks out of the World ---

Grim Ingredients Form a Winsome, Pretty Package (folk music) ---

Guest DJ Songwriter Conor Oberst (rock) ---

Turning the Past Into a Pile of Ash 'Yardsale' by The Avett Brothers (war protest) ---

A Girl-Group Golden Age ---

Photographs and Art

Julian Beever's Amazing Pavement Art ---

Amazing Sand Art ---

Photographs of Israel ---

Roman Drinking Songs ---

XCIX Bottles of Wine on the Wall, XCIX Bottles of Wine,
And if one of those bottles should happen to fall,
That leaves XCVIII bottles of wine on the wall...


  • 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 ---

    Literary Criticism ---

    Quotatio:  Over 50,000 Quotations ---

    A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman by Mary Shelley --- Click Here

    The Cricket On The Hearth by Charles Dickens --- Click Here


  • The world's population is poised to reach 9.2 billion in 2050, with growth mainly in the developing nations and the elderly becoming the dominant age-group, the United Nations said Tuesday.
    PhysOrg, March 14, 2007 ---

  • Facts about the earth in real time ---

    Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) ---
             Also see

    Projected U.S. Population Growth ---

  • Teaching was the hardest work I had ever done, and it remains the hardest work I have done to date.
    Ann Richards (former Governor of Texas) as quoted by Mark Shapiro --- Click Here

    For 26 years, I taught middle school, and I loved it. At least, I thought I was loving it, but retrospectively, I realize something that I did not know while I was still there . . . After so long in a school system, the teachers evolve a mindset that is almost enslavement. We endure schedules and treatment that no other professional would dream of enduring. We allow ourselves to be used and misused and overworked. What other professionals have a clientele that expects to be supported, fed, dressed, taught, enabled, and catered to in every possible way, without showing the least bit of gratitude? Year after year in a public school makes a teacher numb to any other possibility that might be out there for him or her. Every year it gets worse, even while we are hoping that "Next year it will be better." But it never is . . . What happened to us as a people, as a culture, as a nation, that our idea of 'education' has sunk to the level of equating success with a number on a piece of paper? I miss what my former job might have been, in a perfect world.
    Jane Goodwin
    , "Out of the Darkness, Into the Light," The Irascible Professor, March 13, 2007 ---

    My kid sells term papers to your honor student.
    Bumper Sticker

    Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.
    Ludwig van Beethoven as quoted in a recent email message from Kimberlyn Montford

    Now I do not dispute that medicine benefits some kinds of men, 
    but I say that it is deadly for mankind.
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau  --- 
    According to a new study by Wharton professors Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, 
    marriage and divorce rates in the United States are both at historic lows. When Stevenson 
    and Wolfers began to analyze the changing market forces behind these new statistics, 
    one thing became clear: The same forces that play a role in marriage and divorce 
    statistics -- namely birth control, partial closing of the gender wage gap, the rising age 
    of first marriages and dramatic changes in home technologies -- have also had a significant 
    impact on businesses and employees.
    "I Do's and Don'ts: How Changes in Marriage, Divorce and Childbirth Are Redefining the 
    Workplace," Knowledge@wharton, March 7, 2007 --- Click Here 

    It would be a dream come true for the airline industry: A plane that uses up to 30 percent less gas to reach its destination, compared with today's jets. That's the promise of the blended-wing, a radically new kind of aircraft set to take to the skies for the first time this month. Originally conceived by McDonnell Douglas and developed by NASA, the blended-wing merges fuselage and wings and eliminates the tail, reducing drag. That makes it vastly more fuel-efficient than regular "tube-and-wing" jets, according to Boeing (Charts) engineer Norm Princen.
    Benjamin Tice Smith, "Radical new Boeing aircraft takes flight," CNN Money, March 13, 2007 ---

    All the big corporations depreciate their possessions, and you can, too, provided you use them for business purposes. 
    For example, if you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, a business-related newspaper, you can deduct the cost of 
    your house, because, in the words of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger in a landmark 1979 tax decision: Where 
    else are you going to read the paper? Outside? What if it rains?
    Dave Barry --- 
    As long as humanity has been human, it has looked toward the heavens and dreamed that some day, some way, 
    there would be giant federal contracts involved.
    Dave Barry --- 
    Auto racing is boring except when a car is going at least 172 miles per hour upside down.
    Dave Barry --- 
    Camping is nature's way of promoting the motel business.
    Dave Barry --- 
    Jensen Comment
    I'm reminded of a former colleague who set up his boys to an Indian Guide camp out and then checked into a motel. 
    It might have worked out better if the boys had not latter ratted out on their old man when they got home.

    From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on March 9, 2007

    Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

    What to Know When Choosing a Tax Preparer
    by Tom Herman
    The Wall Street Journal

    Mar 07, 2007
    Page: D1
    Click here to view the full article on

    TOPICS: Accounting, Code of Ethics, Code of Professional Conduct, Income Taxes, Personal Taxation, Public Accounting

    SUMMARY: The article describes tax preparation alternatives and can be used in a personal income tax course to prepare students for professional life, particularly in offering tax services. One former IRS official estimates that there are 1.2 million to 1.6 million tax practitioners in the country, though no one is certain of the total. A box highlights tax preparation alternatives, listing CPAs third along with tax-preparation software, chains such as H&R Block, and enrolled IRS agents. The article describes some unscrupulous tax preparation practices, particularly since "concern about paid preparers escalated last year after the U.S. Government Accountability Office found significant mistakes--and even some cheating--by workers at a few major tax-preparation firms." The data on problems in paid preparers' work leads the article, though ensuing paragraphs advise taxpayers with lower incomes and less complex tax situations to consider free or purchased tax software and "higher-income taxpayers with far more complex tax questions [to] consider looking for an enrolled agent, an accountant or another expert with extensive training."

    1.) Do you think this article is helpful to CPAs providing services to identify the benefits of a paid preparers' services? What are the positive aspects of the article for this purpose? What are the negative aspects?

    2.) Must an individual be a CPA to sign as a paid preparer for a tax return? Does the IRS hold any requirements for an individual to fill that role?

    3.) What are the problems with returns by paid preparers uncovered in work by the General Accountability Office (GAO) in relation to 2005 tax return filings? Why do you think the GAO undertook this investigative work?

    4.) Does the IRS have any provisions to penalize paid preparers for errors or other improprieties in their work? Explain.

    5.) How does the American Institute of CPA's (AICPA's) Code of Professional Conduct address the issues with improper tax returns discussed in this article? What is the consequence to a CPA for violating this code?

    6.) How do paid preparers structure fees to clients for tax preparation services? Why do you think these differences exist? List all factors you can think of and specifically refer to requirements based on a CPA's code of professional conduct.



    Bob Jensen's tax helpers are at

    "A Cellphone With 'Talking' Emails," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2007; Page D9 ---

    Every so often, a technology company sticks its neck out and creates a product beyond its repertoire. Dell Inc., known for its computers, began offering television sets four years ago. In 1998, printing titan Hewlett-Packard Co. started applying its imaging expertise to digital cameras. And when Apple Inc. introduced the iPod in 2001, the computer company strayed from its historic path.

    This week, I tested the H-P iPAQ 510 Voice Messenger from Hewlett-Packard, H-P's first real cellphone and a big name for a diminutive product that is due out in April or May for around $300 to $350. Attempts to add phones to H-P iPAQs in the past usually resulted in clumsy interfaces, giving the feeling of a phone crammed into a data device.

    This new 510, however, comes across as the opposite: a gadget with smart-phone capabilities that is limited by its small size and lack of useful physical features, many of which are included on other smart phones. H-P has tried to compensate by using a built-in voice-recognition system that enables email dictation and reads emails aloud, but this is no substitute for a keyboard. Overall, the product is very disappointing.

    Emails you dictate are sent as audio attachments, a technique that doesn't allow the recipient to print the emails, save them as text, or copy and paste the message contents into other emails or documents. The robotic voice that reads emails you receive is bad. And using voice commands to enable the phone's functions brings forth separate frustrations.

    The iPAQ 510 is smarter than it looks: It runs on the new Windows Mobile 6.0 and can use Wi-Fi to provide a notably fast network connection. However, as if to drive home its phone functionality, the 510 disguises its smart-phone brains under the shell of a cute, stylish, basic cellphone. Its edges and keypad are black and the rest of the phone is gray with a handy 1.3-megapixel camera on the back side.

    This gadget's emphasis on looks comes at a price: It relies solely on its numeric keypad rather than a full physical or virtual keyboard, its relatively small two-inch screen doesn't have touch capabilities and it doesn't use a built-in scroll wheel or track ball for fast navigation.

    So what's the point? H-P hopes you'll forget about this device's faults when you use its Voice Commander feature to help you speak your way through navigating, composing emails and even listening as emails are read aloud.

    But hear this: Even though Voice Commander offers over 20 different commands, it still suffers from the same problems as all voice-operated devices. You can't use it in a noisy place, tough names (like my last name, for one) are often misheard and voice recognition still takes longer than pressing buttons.

    The two email-related voice commands are theoretically the most useful, letting you dictate audio emails into the phone and directing Voice Commander to read emails aloud. But dictated email that you send isn't converted into text, as one might hope. Instead, it is sent as an attached WAV file, inconveniently forcing your recipient to first open an attachment and then play your email aloud. And like all audio files, this email attachment isn't as versatile as text, which can be printed, copied, or saved as a separate document.

    What's more, Voice Commander's email dictation and read-aloud features work only with a Microsoft Exchange email address. So, if you're using a Google Gmail or Yahoo email account, for example, you're still stuck using the phone's numeric keypad to write out messages.

    The H-P iPAQ 510 Voice Messenger has a few upsides. It runs on the new and slightly improved version of Microsoft's mobile software. It can easily hop onto any nearby Wi-Fi network, which worked quickly and efficiently in my tests. And H-P boasts that its battery will last for 6½ hours of talk time, about an hour longer than the closest competitor's estimate.

    But these good qualities are overshadowed by the 510's poor design. I dozed off while holding my thumb on the "down" directional key to skim through lists of emails -- it took much longer than using a BlackBerry scroll wheel or a Palm Treo touch screen. For certain Voice Commander functions, I had to repeat my command twice and then confirm that my command was correctly heard; more than once I gave a command that was entirely misunderstood.

    I used many features of the iPAQ 510, focusing on Voice Commander to see if it made a significant difference in the product. Unless you have your phone's earpiece attached, Voice Commander automatically barks, "Say a command," through the phone's speaker. I spoke a command by choosing from the on-screen list of statements, such as, "Call <contact> at <Home/Work/Mobile>," for which I could say, "Call Katie Boehret at work." Voice Command repeated my choice, asked me to confirm that it was about to do the right thing, and proceeded.

    But a lot of basic cellphones already have a voice dialing feature built in. So I focused especially on creating audio emails, speaking my email into the phone just as one might if recording a voice reminder. When I finished, the system played my voice email back, asked me to confirm that I wanted it sent, and emailed the message.

    Continued in article

    "Coming to Order:  How the Supreme Court really works," by John O. McGinnis, The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2007 ---  

    To read certain accounts of the Supreme Court, you would think that it is a place where politicians in robes push the laws and policies they personally prefer, thwart the ones they dislike and look around for some legal reasoning to justify what they have done.

    Jan Crawford Greenburg does not understand things that way. She sees the court's justices as, above all, jurists (to use an old-fashioned term): legal thinkers moved by profound views about the nature of law. Some, like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas on the current court, think that constitutional rulings should proceed only from analysis of the text. Others, like Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy, feel the need to figure into their judgments the concrete effects of the court's decisions. It is jurisprudential conflict--not mere policy dispute--that keeps the court from settling the law once and for all.

    Guided by such insight, Ms. Greenburg offers a fresh and detailed account of how the court works and, relatedly, how presidents decide who gets to sit there. "Supreme Conflict" is by far the most fair-minded portrait of the Supreme Court in a long time, much more rounded and reliable than Bob Woodward's "The Brethren" (1979) and Edward Lazarus's "Closed Chambers" (1998). Rather than celebrate a few "enlightened" jurists doing battle with right-wing ideologues--in the manner of so many court reporters--Ms. Greenburg conveys the entire range of the court's opinions fair-mindedly, even treating conservative jurisprudence with respect. And she overturns conventional wisdom along the way. Clarence Thomas is often depicted as an unthinking disciple of Antonin Scalia; Ms. Greenburg argues that the influence often works the other way. More than once Justice Scalia has abandoned his preliminary votes in conference (following oral argument) upon reading Justice Thomas's dissenting opinions. As for Sandra Day O'Connor--whose retirement in 2005 inspired so much high praise--Ms. Greenburg shows her to have often been indecisive, inclined to decide cases by instinct rather than principle. One example among many: Justice O'Connor applied a "strict scrutiny" requirement to affirmative-action policies (requiring a "compelling government interest") but then effectively relaxed this standard when the University of Michigan wanted to keep discriminating on the basis of race in Grutter v. Bollinger.

    According to Ms. Greenburg, Justice Thomas's steadfast adherence to the original understanding of the Constitution repelled Justice O'Connor. His determination to revisit, or overrule, past decisions struck her as extreme. But Justice Thomas did not have the political skills to temper her disquiet.

    Ms. Greenburg's reporting demonstrates just how important such political skills are. A new justice not only adds his own vote to the court's tally but can also shift the votes of others as fellow justices are pushed to reflect anew on their judicial philosophy (if they have one) or on their reputation and habits of mind (if they don't). Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes called his own court "nine scorpions in a bottle." The current court, in Ms. Greenburg's chronicle, sometimes resembles a group encounter session.

    It makes sense for any president--when he has a chance to nominate a Supreme Court justice--to choose someone who not only embraces a particular judicial philosophy but also possesses a gift for persuasion. Each quality can get lost in the often chaotic nominating process, however. Ms. Greenburg reports that President Reagan nominated Justices O'Connor and Kennedy despite the opposition of internal critics who correctly noted that both nominees lacked a firm originalist philosophy.

    President George H.W. Bush, she reveals, was planning to nominate Kenneth Starr, then solicitor general, but was talked out of it by Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, who threatened to resign if Mr. Bush did so. The decision to cast aside Mr. Starr for David Souter--a New Hampshire judge who had little sense of the national debates in which the court inevitably participates--ranks as one of the great blunders in the history of Supreme Court nominations. Others were no less painful. Dwight Eisenhower famously said of his presidency: "I made two mistakes and both of them are sitting on the Supreme Court." He was referring to Earl Warren and William Brennan. By contrast, George W. Bush may have reason, in future years, to say something famously about his two court triumphs.

    Mr. Bush was determined not to repeat his father's mistake, as Ms. Greenburg shows. When Justice O'Connor announced her retirement, he vetted many nominees. He settled on John Roberts not only because he had a glittering résumé and sound views but because he would be a "good colleague" and not alienate his fellow justices. (Mr. Roberts would eventually replace Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who died in September 2005.) After the debacle of the Harriet Miers nomination, quickly withdrawn, Mr. Bush chose Samuel Alito for essentially the same reasons: impeccable credentials and a measure of the collegiality that Mr. Bush saw in Mr. Roberts. Both men are now in a position to appeal to Justice Kennedy, the key swing vote on the court, and perhaps even to Justice Breyer.

    One possible criticism of Ms. Greenburg's tour de force is that she doesn't spend much time on the ordeal of the confirmation process and its effects on Supreme Court appointments. Benjamin Wittes's "Confirmation Wars" admirably fills the gap. He eloquently laments the descent of the confirmation process into a televised Star Chamber proceeding, marked by crude political bullying and vicious personal attacks.

    The reason for such a descent, he argues, is that American courts in general--and the Supreme Court in particular--now resolve conflicts that were previously left to legislatures. (Today's Supreme Court, he notes, is inclined to strike down Republican-supported laws on the grounds that they violate fundamental rights and Democratic-supported ones on the grounds that they violate property rights and federalism.) Senators of both parties try to wrest from each court nominee a commitment to vote one way or another on particular cases or controversies. The senators are pushing back, Mr. Wittes believes, against what they perceive as judicial usurpation.


    Fast Growth of Online Programs Relative to "Blended Programs"
    Despite the growth of “blended” education — in which instructors mix in-person and online experiences for students — online education appears to be outpacing it in some ways, according to
    a new study by Eduventures, the Sloan Consortium and Babson College. The report found a faster rate of growth in the percentage of classes offered online than for blended courses. The report found that while 55 percent of colleges offer at least one blended course, 64 percent offer at least one online course.

    Inside Higher Ed, March 13, 2007 ---

    MIT's Great Leap Into Open Knowledge Sharing in Multiple Languages

    March 12, 2007 message from abuali twaijry [aat1420@YAHOO.COM]

    Anybody knows about any training course(s) on accounting technology or internet accounting (or similar subject) provided during the summer of 2007.  Please advise.

    March 13, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

    MIT now has most of its entire curriculum of course materials in all disciplines available free to the world as open courseware. This includes the Sloan School of Business Courses ---
    Especially note the FAQs ---

    By the end of the year all MIT's course materials will be available, which is probably the most extensive freely open knowledge initiative (OKI) in the entire world.

    MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) has formally partnered with three organizations that are translating MIT OCW course materials into Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese ---

    What is the most popular download course at MIT?
    Answer: According to ABC News last week it's the Introduction to Electrical Engineering Course.

    Other major universities now have huge portions of their curriculum materials available free (including a lot of video) --- 

    If you want to try something quite different, you might consider some online business and accounting courses from the University of Toyota ---  (These are not free).

    Other online training and education programs are listed at

    Bob Jensen

    Bob Jensen's threads on open access to knowledge are at

    March 12, 2007 reply from Ed Scribner [escribne@NMSU.EDU]


    Comment on AAUP Statement on Open Access
    In a statement released on February 28, 2007, the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) outlined its position on the problematic—and often contentious—issue of providing open access to scholarly information, and declared that what was needed at this juncture was careful experimentation and development and not any risky plunging straight into “pure open access.”
    Pillarisetti Sudhir, "Comment on AAUP Statement on Open Access," University of Illinois blog Issues in Scholarly Communication, March March 8, 2007 ---

    March 9, 2007 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


    Connexions is an "environment for collaboratively developing, freely sharing, and rapidly publishing scholarly content on the Web."

    Connexions was founded in 1999 by Richard Baraniuk, electrical and computer engineering professor at Rice University. The website's "Content Commons" contains materials that range in levels from K-12 to college to professional. Topics are organized in small modules that can be connected into larger courses. The majority of modules are in the areas of science and technology, mathematics and statistics, and the arts. All content is free to use and reuse under the Creative Commons "attribution" license. You can access Connexions materials at

    Connexions is just one of several sharable content collections available on the Web. For links to others, such as MIT's OpenCourseWare and MERLOT, go to



    The first issue of the JOURNAL OF INFORMATION LITERACY (JIL) is online.

    JIL is an international, peer-reviewed, academic e-journal that "aims to investigate Information Literacy (IL) within a wide range of settings. Papers on any topic related to the practical, technological or philosophical issues raised by the attempt to increase information literacy throughout society are encouraged."

    Papers in the inaugural issue include:

    "Transform your Training: Practical Approaches to Interactive

    Information Literacy Teaching"

    "Show Them How to Do It: Using Macromedia Captivate to Deliver Remote


    "An Evaluation of an Information Literacy Training Initiative at the

    University of Dar es Salaam"

    The Journal of Information Literacy [ISSN 1750-5968] is published twice a year by information professionals from several key UK organizations actively involved in the field of information literacy. JIL is an open access title and authors retain copyright for their articles. For more information and to read issues, go to



    The Center for Intellectual Property and Copyright in the Digital Environment (CIP) at the University of Maryland University College

    (UMUC) has launched "(c)ollectanea," a new blog portal to address the cultural, political, and legal context of copyright issues and to provide timely copyright resources for the education and library communities. Each month entries are provided by a CIP "virtual scholar"

    and guest bloggers who have expertise in intellectual property issues.

    You can view and participate in the blog at

    The UMUC CIP "provides resources and information for the higher education community in the areas of intellectual property, copyright, and the emerging digital environment." For more information see


    SEMINAR.NET: MEDIA, TECHNOLOGY & LIFELONG LEARNING is an international, refereed journal "dealing with research into theoretical or practical aspects related to the learning of adolescents, adults, and elderly, in formal or informal educational settings." Papers are available in both English and Norwegian and in both text and video versions. Papers in the current issue include:
    "When Means Become Ends: Technology Producing Values" by Bjorn Hofmann,
    	University of Oslo and the University College of Gjovik
    "Interactive and Face-to-Face Communication: A Perspective from
    	Philosophy of Mind and Language" by Halvor Nordby, Lillehammer
    	University College and the University of Oslo
    "Do Students Profit from Feedback?" by Arild Raaheim, University of
    	Bergen Media, Technology & Lifelong Learning [ISSN 1504-4831] is published twice a year by Lillehammer University College. Subscriptions are free and current and back issues are available on the Web at
    "The increasing enthusiasm for open access as a model for scholarly communication, which grew out of pressure to relieve the financial burden on libraries of maintaining subscriptions to STM (Scientific, Technical, and Medical) journals, presents new challenges and new opportunities for university presses. In its pure form, open access calls for an entirely new funding model, in which the costs of publishing research articles in journals are paid for by authors or by a funding agency, and readers can have access to these publications for free."
    The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) has issued the "AAUP Statement on Open Access," which expresses concerns that these new models of scholarly publishing could cause severe economic harm for already-financially-strapped presses. The statement is online at 
    See also: 
    "University Presses Take Their Stand"
    By Scott Jaschik
    INSIDE HIGHER ED, February 28, 2007 
    The article also includes reader comments.



    "Envisioning the Whole Digital Person"
    By Jonathan Follett
    UXmatters, February 20, 2007

    "As a human society, we're quite possibly looking at the largest surge of recorded information that has ever taken place, and at this point, we have only the most rudimentary tools for managing all this information--in part because we cannot predict what standards will be in place in 10, 50, or 100 years."

    From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on March 9, 2007

    Toyota University Opens Admissions to Outsiders
    by Mike Spector and Gina Chon
    The Wall Street Journal

    Mar 05, 2007
    Page: B1
    Click here to view the full article on

    TOPICS: Accounting, International Accounting, Inventory Systems, Just-In-Time Inventory Management, Kaizen costing, Managerial Accounting, Operational Control Systems, Productivity, Quality Costs

    SUMMARY: Toyota Motor Corp. operates a training center in Gardena, CA, that it began in 1998 to "train the company's own employees in it distinctive business philosophy and 'lean-thinking' approach to producing cars....The school occupies the Toyota Plaza building...' and is run by Mike Morrison, who is referred to as "the dean," and Will Decker, "assistant dean." Toyota is not offering training sessions to outsiders now because of demand for its services by the companies' own workers, but has done so in the past. The article describes Toyota's lean-thinking management and production philosophies and describes several cases of outsiders using its services. One story covered in the article describes how the LA Police Department participated in the training seminar to improve the process for booking inmates. A result of the LAPD participation also was the benefit received when staff police realized their suggestions were taken to heart by management.

    1.) Why has Toyota established its "Toyota University"? Would you call it a university or a training center? What is the difference between these two?

    2.) Why has Toyota offered its management and process training to outsiders? Why is it not doing so now? What are the strategic advantages and disadvantages to offering corporate training to outsiders?

    3.) What production innovations has Toyota developed that form the central philosophy for the training discussed in the article? List the terms for the innovations and define them.

    4.) What hands on learning strategy is used to emphasize the problems with defects that can arise in traditional production planning systems? Why do you think this technique might be more effective than, say, having an instructor merely list the pros and cons of particular production systems?

    5.) Why is it possible for good production process techniques in one industry to benefit very different industries, even government services such as the police force? How does listening and learning about very different circumstances from one's own industry, produce part of this benefit?

    6.) What evidence in the article speaks to the benefits of management listening to staff suggestions?


    Bob Jensen's links to online training and education alternatives are at

    At Google a New Approach Is On For a New Approach to Old Media
    Viacom and CBS have pulled videos from Google's YouTube. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently requested that some Oscar footage be taken down from YouTube as well. And Google's efforts to sell radio and print advertising have not met expectations. In short, Google's ability to navigate the traditional media landscape doesn't seem to be going particularly well. What's the problem? The simple answer: The traditional media environment is complicated. While Google has the resources to create significant deals with content companies, it still must contend with a number of confounding crosscurrents -- content owners' concerns over intellectual property and a clash of advertising models, among others. Signing a deal with a television network like CBS is just the first step; figuring out all the back-end issues to make the partnership work is a whole other issue.
    "At Google a New Approach Is On For a New Approach to Old Media," Knowledge@Wharton, March 7, 2007 ---

    Protecting an African American MBA Program by Shutting Out the Competition
    The Maryland Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that would force the Maryland Higher Education Commission to reconsider its decision to approve a new M.B.A. jointly offered by Towson University and the University of Baltimore. And if the commission doesn’t kill the program, Morgan State University would have the right to go to state court under the bill to try to seek an order to do so. Morgan State, a historically black institution that has offered an M.B.A. for decades, maintains that the new M.B.A. will divert students and funds from it, undermining the state’s desegregation plan.
    Scott Jaschik, "Race and Fairness," Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2007 ---

    "Nationally Recognized Assessment and Higher Education Study Center Findings as Resources for Assessment Projects," by Tracey Sutherland, Accounting Education News, 2007 Winter Issue, pp. 5-7

    While nearly all accounting programs are wrestling with various kinds of assessment initiatives to meet local assessment plans and/or accreditation needs, most colleges and universities participate in larger assessment projects whose results may not be shared at the College/School level. There may be information available on your campus through campus-level assessment and institutional research that generate data that could be useful for your accounting program/school assessment initiatives. Below are examples of three such research projects, and some of their recent findings about college students.

    • The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) The American Freshman: National Norms for 2006
    • The 2006 Report of the National Survey of Student Engagement
    • From the National Freshman Attitudes Report 2007

    Some things in the The 2006 Report of the National Survey of Student Engagement especially caught my eye:

    Promising Findings from the National Surveyof Student Engagement

    • Student engagement is positively related to first-year and senior student grades and to persistence between the first and second year of college.

    • Student engagement has compensatory effects on grades andpersistence of students from historically underserved backgrounds.

    • Compared with campus-basedstudents, distance education learners reported higher levels ofacademic challenge, engaged more often in deep learning activities, and reported greater developmental gains from college.

    • Part-time working students reported grades comparable to other students and also perceived the campus to be as supportive of their academic and social needs as theirnon-working peers.

    • Four out of five beginning college students expected that reflective learning activities would be an important part of their first-year experience.

    Disappointing Findings from the National

    Survey of Student Engagement

    • Students spend on average only about 13–14 hours a week preparingfor class, far below what faculty members say is necessary to do well in their classes.

    • Students study less during the first year of college than they expected to at the start of the academic year.

    • Women are less likely than men to interact with faculty members outside of class including doing research with a faculty member.

    • Distance education students are less involved in active and collaborative learning.

    • Adult learners were much lesslikely to have participated in such enriching educational activities as community service, foreign language study, a culminating senior experience, research with faculty,and co-curricular activities.

    • Compared with other students, part-time students who are working had less contact with facultyand participated less in active and collaborative learning activities and enriching educational experiences.

    Some additional 2006 NSSE findings

    • Distance education studentsreported higher levels of academic challenge, and reported engaging more often in deep learning activities such as the reflective learning activities. They also reported participating less in collaborative learning experiences and worked more hours off campus.

    • Women students are more likely to be engaged in foreign language coursework.

    • Male students spent more time engaged in working with classmates on projects outside of class.

    • Almost half (46%) of adult students were working more than 30 hours per week and about three-fourths were caring for dependents. In contrast, only 3% of traditional age students worked more than 30 hours per week, and about four fifths spend no time caring for dependents.

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation and teaching evaluations are at

    Unacceptable Dropout Rates ---

    Law School Deans Speak Out on Web Site Content
    The deans at two top law schools have admonished the operators of an Internet message board that hosts chats containing personal attacks against female students and racist and homophobic remarks. Letters written by the deans at Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania law schools, were issued after an article in The Washington Post aired the debate over AutoAdmit, a message board that was created as a forum to exchange advice on law schools and firms.
    "Law School Deans Speak Out on Web Site Content:  Yale, Penn Condemn Anonymous Attacks," The Washington Post, March 10, 2007 --- Click Here

    U.S. Supreme Court Speaks Out About Religion on Campus

    "A More Porous Church-State Wall," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, March 14, 2007 ---

    The developments in the last week include the following:
    • A federal judge ruled that the University of Wisconsin at Madison could not deny funds from student fees to a Roman Catholic group just because that group violates the university’s anti-discrimination policies.
    • The California Supreme Court ruled that government agencies could issue bonds on behalf of Azusa Pacific University and California Baptist University even though those institutions are “pervasively sectarian.”
    • The College of William and Mary announced that it would restore to permanent display a cross that had been removed from a historic chapel, setting off alumni protests and the announcement that one donor was rescinding plans to bequeath $12 million.
    In the last year, meanwhile, there have been these developments:

    In one case in the last year, a federal judge ruled that a college — in this case the University of California’s Hastings College of Law — could enforce its anti-bias rules against a Christian group, but that case is being appealed, and even some legal observers who very much applaud the decision in that case aren’t sure it will survive.

    From Rosenberger to Today

    Given that many public colleges have believed for years that they were on solid ground applying their anti-bias statutes to religious groups (effectively keeping them from the benefits accorded “recognized” student groups) or barring funds from going to religious groups, how did the law change under them? While the Rosenberger case cleared the way for financial support, there was an earlier case that set the stage for Rosenberger. In a 1981 case involving the University of Missouri at Kansas City, the Supreme Court ruled that if a public college makes its space generally available to student groups, it can’t automatically exclude religious student groups from this space.

    In that case, though, many colleges thought that the state role was minimal as there was not an issue of support with mandatory student fees collected by the college. The Rosenberger case did deal with such fees and covered much the same philosophical ground of many of the cases of the last year, in that religious students publishing Wide Awake focused on their rights of free expression while the university focused on separation of church and state. The university noted throughout the case that it never tried to stop the students from printing their paper or distributing it — that the only line it drew was providing funds for it.

    The majority decision in the case came down squarely on the side that this was a free speech issue. “Were the prohibition applied with much vigor at all, it would bar funding of essays by hypothetical student contributors named Plato, Spinoza, and Descartes. And if the regulation covers, as the university says it does, those student journalistic efforts which primarily manifest or promote a belief that there is no deity and no ultimate reality, then undergraduates named Karl Marx, Bertrand Russell, and Jean-Paul Sartre would likewise have some of their major essays excluded from student publications,” the ruling said.

    While the dissent focused on the question of religious speech being different from other speech, the majority opinion largely rejected that view.

    Pell of the Center for Individual Rights said that he thinks the reason so many colleges in recent years have still focused more on church-state separation than on free association for religious students is that Rosenberger was such a radical departure. “This was a huge shift in philosophy and thinking and there are many people who disagree with that and who have been trying to find ways around that shift,” he said. “This is part of a deeper cultural battle.”

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

    Does U.S. News intentionally make up false data for its rankings of colleges?
    It’s not unusual for college presidents to complain about U.S. News rankings (at least out of the earshot of U.S. News editors). But on Sunday, the president of Sarah Lawrence College publicly charged that the magazine is preparing to publish made up, false data about her institution. Meanwhile, Inside Higher Ed has learned that 10 other liberal arts college presidents are preparing a letter to be sent to hundreds of college presidents proposing a new set of policies that might challenge the role of the rankings. The policy options include complete non-cooperation with U.S. News and refusing to fill out the “reputational” survey — which many educators deride as a “beauty contest” that is particularly lacking in substance, even though it represents 25 percent of the magazine’s rankings formula.
    Scott Jaschik, "Inside Higher Ed, March 13, 2007 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on the controversies of college rankings are at

    "Remember Baudrillard," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2007 ---

    A few days ago, I tried the thought experiment of pretending never to have read anything by Jean Baudrillard – instead trying to form an impression based only on media coverage following his death last week. And there was a lot more of it than I might have expected. The gist being that, to begin with, he was a major postmodernist thinker. Everyone agrees about that much, usually without attempting to define the term, which is probably for the best. It also seems that he invented virtual reality, or at least predicted it. He may have had something to do with YouTube as well, though his role in that regard is more ambiguous. But the really important thing is that he inspired the “Matrix” movie franchise.

    A segment on National Public Radio included a short clip from the soundtrack in which Lawrence Fishburn’s character Morpheus intones the Baudrillard catchphrase, “Welcome to the desert of the real.” The cover of Simulacra and Simulation — in some ways his quintessential theoretical text, first published in a complete English translation by the University of Michigan in 1994 — is shown in the first film. Furthermore, the Wachowski brothers, who wrote and directed the trilogy, made the book required reading for all the actors, including Keanu Reeves. (It is tempting to make a joke at this point, but we will all be better people for it if I don’t.)

    There was more to Baudrillard than his role as Marshall McLuhan of the cyberculture. And yet I can’t really blame harried reporters for emphasizing the most blockbuster-ish dimensions of his influence. “The Matrix” was entertainment, not an educational filmstrip, and Baudrillard himself said that its take on his work “stemmed mostly from misunderstandings.” But its computer-generated imagery and narrative convolutions actually did a pretty decent job of conveying the feel, if not the argument, of Baudrillard’s work.

    As he put it in an essay included in The Illusion of the End (Stanford University Press, 1994): “The acceleration of modernity, of technology, events and media, of all exchanges – economic, political, sexual – has propelled us to ‘escape velocity,’ with the result that we have flown free of the referential sphere of the real and of history.” You used to need digitalized special effects to project that notion. But I get the feeling of being “flown free of the referential sphere of the real and of history” a lot nowadays, especially while watching certain cable news programs.

    Some of the coverage of Baudrillard’s death was baffled but vaguely respectful. Other commentary has been more hostile – though not always that much more deeply informed. A case in point would be an article by Canadian pundit Robert Fulford that appeared in The National Post on Saturday. A lazy diatribe, it feels like something kept in a drawer for the occasion of any French thinker’s death – with a few spots left blank, for details to be filled in per Google.

    A tip-off to the generic nature of the piece is the line: “Strange as it seems, in the 1970s much of the Western world was ready to embrace him.” Here, Fulford can count on the prefab implication of a reference to that decade as a time of New Left-over radicalism and countercultural indulgence. In fact Baudrillard was little known outside France until the 1980s, and even then he had a very small audience until late in the decade. The strong mood coming from most of Baudrillard’s work is that of bitter disappointment that oppositional social movements of earlier years had been neutralized – absorbed into academic bureaucracy and consumer society, with no reason to think that they would revive.

    Continued in article

    What Happened to Russian Democracy? ---

    What happened to Congressional reform?
    Public-sector lobbyists lavish gifts on congressmen and their staffers. The scandal is it's perfectly legal.
    John Fund, March Madness, The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2007 ---

    Note the Stress on Grades (Point 4 Below)

    "Playbook: Does Your School Make The Grade? Here are four things to consider when applying to an undergrad business program" by Louis Lavelle, with Geoff Gloeckler and Jane Porter, Business Week, March 19, 2007 ---
    Click Here

    Once considered a haven for less academically gifted students, undergraduate business programs are raising their standards. With more students beating a path to their doors, many B-schools are boosting their admissions criteria and getting fussier.

    At schools with four-year programs, sat and act requirements have gone up. The average sat score for freshmen admitted to the Indiana University business program, where applications nearly doubled last year, is now 1340—up from 1312 in 2005-2006 and a full 343 points higher than the national average for test takers who intend to major in business. At universities with two-year business programs, especially those like the University of Iowa where more than 2,000 declared business majors are waiting to join a program designed for 1,300, gpa requirements in pre-business courses are rising, too.

    For students, the higher bar requires a strategic rethink. Many already take standardized tests multiple times to maximize scores. Those with lower scores who are applying directly to four-year business programs are beefing up their applications in other ways, including taking part in extracurricular activities and fund-raisers. Savvy applicants assess the likelihood of being accepted at their first-choice schools and give more thought to less selective "safety" schools.

    Those applying to a four-year school with a two-year business program are advised to contemplate what they'll do if they can't find places as juniors. Can credits accumulated in the first two years be transferred to another school? Can one stay put, declare another major, and obtain a minor in business instead?

    Undergraduate business education used to be a local or regional affair. That's changing. Today, many students attend programs far from home.

    Out-of-state schools may provide a broader array of programs than those available in an applicant's home state. They include leadership, entrepreneurship, and global business. A number of schools have launched specialized programs that place students in hard-to-crack industries that are located in the school's backyard—such as sports marketing at the University of Oregon, home state of Nike (NKE ) and Adidas, among others; energy commerce at Texas Tech University; life sciences at Wharton; and both cinematic arts and computer engineering at the University of Southern California.

    If the academic offerings aren't enough to get the intellectual juices flowing, consider this: Out-of-state tuition at top public universities can be a bargain. Attending a top private B-school like Wharton can easily cost more than $30,000 a year, excluding room and board and other living expenses. A highly ranked public school like the No. 2 University of Virginia costs $25,945; No. 13 University of Texas at Austin is $22,580; and No. 15 University of North Carolina, $18,010.

    Many of the public schools have programs that are roughly on par with private institutions—in terms of class size, faculty-student ratios, and other measures. Public schools can also be easier to get into. The average sat score at Wharton is 1430—compared with 1366 for Virginia, 1335 at unc, and 1275 for Texas-Austin.

    Sometimes out-of-state schools, public or private, are better at finding grads decent jobs. If a school has established recruiting relationships with specific industries, it may be worth a look—no matter where it is. Are you an aspiring accountant? All of the Big Four firms recruit at Texas-Austin. Aiming for Wall Street? Recruiters for eight financial-services giants are among the 10 top recruiters at New York University. For a would-be "master of the universe" living in Oklahoma who is considering the University of Oklahoma—where no big investment banks recruit—the message is clear: change career goals, or start packing.

    Internships are a valuable learning experience. Since many employers use them as extended tryouts for full-time positions, they are also an important pipeline to the most coveted jobs. So scoring one ought to be near the top of every undergrad's agenda. Yet not all programs provide the same access to internships. At No. 5 University of Michigan, 92% of undergrads who completed our survey had internships, compared with less than 25% at No. 81 University of Texas at Dallas. And not all internships are created equal. Co-op programs at the University of Cincinnati, Northeastern University, and Penn State allow students to graduate with up to two years of work experience. Elsewhere, a three-month summer internship is the norm.

    Why the disparity? For one thing, location matters. To a casual observer there wouldn't appear to be much to differentiate the undergraduate B-school program at Fordham University from that of the University of Denver. Both are private, four-year programs. Tuition and enrollment are almost identical. And in last year's ranking they came in at No. 48 and No. 49, respectively. But at Denver, 57 companies recruited undergrads for internships. At New York-based Fordham: 200. Emily Sheu transferred from No. 4 Emory University to No. 34 (this year) Fordham, where she had internships at Bloomberg and Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER ) For her, it was all about location. "Atlanta," she points out, "is no Manhattan."

    Students at three- and four-year programs are more likely to take in-depth business courses early, making them more competitive internship candidates. That's one reason why the University of Michigan is phasing out its two-year program in favor of a three-year model. Also, watch out for summer school. When schools schedule classes in the summer before the junior year, having more than one internship before graduation becomes near-impossible.

    Are grades really such a big deal? The answer is a resounding "yes," especially for those considering schools like Michigan, Babson College, Oregon, or Pennsylvania, where grading curves are a fact of business school life. Curves designed to counter grade inflation by limiting the number of As in any given class can make it difficult for even high performers to land interviews with some recruiters.

    USC's Marshall School of Business grades students on a curve, with professors expected to hold the average gpa to 3.0 in core courses and 3.3 in electives. Most students will get a 3.0, or a B, in each of their 10 core business courses. A handful will earn a slightly higher grade, and the same number will earn a lower grade.

    For recruiters trolling B-school campuses, a gpa of under 3.5 will in many cases consign a résumé to the bottom of the stack. At Marshall, most large employers take the grade structure into consideration, so students are rarely passed over for interviews. But for smaller companies not familiar with the school, students are at a disadvantage. David Freeman, a recent Marshall grad, estimates that he missed out on a dozen interviews because he didn't meet the grade requirements companies were looking for. "Without the curve, my gpa would have been high enough to qualify for these interviews," he says.

    While a grading curve probably isn't a deal-breaker for students choosing among a handful of schools, it's certainly something that should be taken into consideration. It's worth asking, for example, if the policy is school-wide or if individual professors make their own rules, and whether the curve covers core courses, electives, or both.

    Some students say that curves cause morale problems among students, intensifying competition and making it harder to form meaningful teams. Before enrolling in a program, prospective students should find out what, if anything, the school is doing to counter those problems.

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation and teaching evaluations are at

    Updates from WebMD ---

    March 9, 2007 Update

    March 12, 2007

    March 13, 2007

    Living Longer
    MIT's Technology Review examines the emerging technologies in biomedicine, genetics, and medical devices that will change medicine over the next 10 years. These new technologies promise to detect diseases earlier, lead to far more effective drugs, and help us understand what causes diseases ---

    You may think you're awake, but you may be driving or eating while asleep
    The most widely prescribed sleeping pills can cause strange behavior like driving and eating while asleep, the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday, announcing that strong new warnings will be placed on the labels of 13 drugs.
    Stephanie Saul, "F.D.A. Warns of Sleeping Pills’ Strange Effects," The New York Times, March 15, 2007 ---

    "Hospitals Ill Equipped for Weekend Heart Attacks," by Richard Knox, NPR, March 15, 2007 ---

    If you're among the approximately one million Americans destined to have a heart attack this year, hope that it doesn't happen on a weekend.

    Many U.S. hospitals aren't set up to provide state-of-the-art treatment for heart attacks on a 24/7 basis.

    The largest ones are equipped. Massachusetts General Hospital has one of Boston's busiest emergency rooms. On one afternoon this week, all the chairs were filled with patients waiting to be seen.

    But cardiologist Jim Januzzi says there is no wait for a patient who comes in with chest pain. Doctors and nurses leap into action to see whether that patient is having a heart attack.

    Continued in article

    Experts Seek Options on Painkiller Abuse
    Scientists are hunting new ways to help millions of pain sufferers - from addiction-resistant narcotics to using brain scanners for biofeedback - amid a worrisome rise in abuse of today's top prescription painkillers.
    Lauran Needgaard, PhysOrg, March 13, 2007 ---

    Hormone eyed as cancer treatment: Study A hormone that regulates blood pressure has been shown to reduce lung cancer tumors in mice and may provide a new way to treat this type of malignancy, a study released Thursday said.
    PhysOrg, March 15, 2007 ---

    Binge drinking continues to be a problem in Ireland, Britain, Finland and Denmark, according to a European Union survey of alcohol consumption released Wednesday.
    PhysOrg, March 15, 2007 ---

    Researchers study second language loss in elderly
    PhysOrg, March 14, 2007 ---

    Forwarded by Kimberlyn Montford

    Annual English Teachers' awards for best student metaphors/analogies found in actual student papers:

    Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

    His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

    He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

    She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

    She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

    Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

    He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

    The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

    The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

    From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

    The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

    Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

    John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

    He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

    Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

    Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

    The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law George. But unlike George, this plan just might work.

    The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

    He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

    The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

    It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

    He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up

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