The current Sunset Hill House Hotel was once called the "Annex" to a much larger Sunset Hill House Hotel (also called Sugar Hill House) resort that had many buildings, including stables, golf club, a power house, a bowling alley, a casino (behind the golf club), an "Annex" where the hotel staff members resided, and the main Sunset Hill House Hotel with its long front porch. For over 40 years, Easter sunrise services were held on the main hotel's big front porch. Since 1973, the current and much smaller Sunset Hill House hotel (i.e., the former "Annex") has carried on the tradition of holding these Easter sunrise services to watch the sun rise over the White Mountains. Around Easter, the sun generally rises near Mt. Washington in the Presidential Range from our vantage point. On April 8, 2007 the 70th Easter sunrise service will be held in back of the current Sunset Hill House hotel courtesy of the present owners Lon and Nancy Henderson.

The above photograph only shows the hills to the north and does not show the White Mountains to the east or Vermont's Green Mountains to the west. Fortunately, most of the surrounding hills and mountains have not yet been developed into housing tracts. This lack of development is what made northern New Hampshire desirable for our retirement.

In 1973, most of the buildings in the above photograph were demolished. All that remained were three "VIP" houses on the golf course (one of which became our house ), the Golf Club, the Power House (which is now part of our barn) and the Annex which became the current and much smaller Sunset Hill House Hotel. The three so-called VIP houses are not really visible in the above photograph. After the resort was torn down, one of the three VIP houses burned down. One still remains on the golf course. The other one called Brayton Cottage was moved across the tennis courts and placed where the main hotel once stood. The tennis courts are now simply a mound of lawn in our back yard that I have to mow every week in the summer.

Especially noteworthy about Sunset Hill ridge are the winds that come off the mountains from the west or the east. These are blessedly cooling in the summer and lamentably frigid in the winter. The winds build to extremes on top of Mount Washington where average wind speeds are 75 mph and frequently build to over 100 mph. In 1937 (or thereabouts) , wind gusts on the summit hit a world record of 237 mph. Also see

Since 1974 the old resort land is mostly wild flower fields and lawn. Our cottage (formerly called the Tennis Pavilion and later Brayton Cottage) was moved eastward from the edge of the golf course. It presently sits about where the old Sunset Hotel Dining Room was in the big hotel. In the springtime, bits (such as pieces of building foundation or sidewalks) of the old resort sometimes are pushed up by frost heaves in the fields. There are pictures of our cottage at
It now has a glassed in front porch and the addition of a garage and master bedroom in the back.

This begs the question of why most New England and Canadian luxury hotels and resorts built in the 19th Century were either torn down or boarded up in the latter half of the 20th Century. All three of Sugar Hill's 19th Century grand resort hotels are gone now., including the Look Off Hotel just up the road from the Sunset Hill House. Most of these historic resorts are gone from other northern towns as well. The reasons of complicated and interactive:

  1. Explosion of air conditioning that became commonplace after the 1950s, especially in the large cities of Boston, New York, etc. It's no longer necessary to send wives and children to the mountains or sea shore to make city life tolerable in long hot summers (working husbands often visited by train on week ends and holidays).

  2. Demise of passenger rail service to small New England towns, thereby making it more difficult to visit the up-north resorts. In the 19th century, most of these resorts had stables of horses that pulled buggies and wagons down to the train depots.

  3. Women became more liberated and entered their own professional urban careers in the latter part of the 20th Century. They no longer have the freedom to spend entire summers in cooling resorts while their husbands alone provide for the families. In many instances women earn more than their husbands these days.

  4. Improved roads made it possible to have more dispersed summer homes and camps throughout the northern forest and lake country, thereby making it convenient to own or rent private houses rather than reside in increasingly expensive resorts. Construction of power lines into more parts of the forests also made it possible to build comfortable houses and camps.

  5. High costs of maintenance of old resort buildings, especially costs of installing modern heating, plumbing, and wiring in huge old hotels. Many had leaky basements and crumbling foundations as well. Most became fire traps and some burned to the ground.

  6. High cost of labor for large resorts, especially those that are open for winter skiing. Skilled labor is in short supply in New England and can cost $50 or more per hour. This makes maintenance costs of old buildings very expensive.

  7. Changing life styles in the past 60 years accompanied modern jet liner and cruise ships. It became much more popular for families to take varied and extensive vacations in Europe, Hawaii, Canada, Latin America, South America, Africa,  and other parts of the globe rather than to return each summer to an up-north resort.

To the left is the original Sunset Hill House Hotel as
shown on an old postcard.
It was erected in 1879 and eventually accommodated 325 guests.


The above picture shows the views of the White Mountains to the east of the present Sunset Hill House Hotel ---  The old hotel had a little under 200 guest rooms with 325 beds and on site housing for about 300 staff in addition. The current inn (in the above picture) has 21 guest rooms (used to have about 45, but many have been enlarged or turned into other space) and the accompanying Hill House has 7 rooms plus an apartment used for the owner's family.

Betsy Block explains the New England ritual of maple sugaring, and two ways to enjoy it, from ribs to nuts
"March Maple Madness: A Sweet Time of Year," NPR, March 21, 2007  ---


Tidbits on March 26, 2007
Bob Jensen

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Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
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I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

Philippine left-wing groups turn to YouTube, Internet to spread word about killings ---

Hillary wants Americans to be part of the team ---

Are Hedge Funds Out of Control?  (from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School) --- Click Here
Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at

Free music downloads ---

The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky (in its entirety) ---

Monteverdi's 'The Return of Ulysses' from the Welsh National Opera (all five acts) ---

Met Archives: The Metropolitan Opera ---

Two Decades Later, Indigo Girls' Voices Still Strong (folk singers) ---

Dolorean isn't known for looking on the bright side ---

Young Pianist (Robert Glasper) Ready to Be an Ambassador of Jazz ---

Kurt Elling, Giving Jazz a Touch of Poetry ---

Recent (2007) Additions From Jessie (Outstanding for Romantics) ---
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Photographs and Art

Central Park Covered With Snow Accompanied by Boogie Woggie Piano (from Paul Pacter in Hong Kong)

Hi Bob,

I posted some of the photos I took a few weeks ago in Central Park on a gorgeous sunny day, the day after a snowstorm in NYC.

Certainly a lot more manicured than your photos of New Hampshire, but still quite beautiful -- amazing that it's in the heart of a city of eight million.

Photographer Given Rare Access to North Korea (Click on View Gallery) ---

Inspirational PowerPoint Shows ---

Afghans Struggle to Rebuild National Museum ---

The Last Supper of Dogs:  ABC News replaces faces of Christ and his disciples with faces of dogs ---


  • 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 ---

    Jewish women written in the 21st century (magazine)  ---
    Bob Jensen's other links to online reviews ---

    Peter Pan by James Matthew Barrie --- Click Here

    Burning Daylight by Jack London --- Click Here

    The Golden Bowl  by Henry James --- Click Here

    Inspirational PowerPoint Shows of Poetry---

    Quotations from Milton Friedman ---

  • Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures. In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row. Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun. "The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," he said. Solar Cycles Abdussamatov believes that changes in the sun's...
    Kate Ravilious, "Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming, Scientist Says," National Geographic News, March 24, 2007 ---

    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will today announce a $122 million grant to provide 2,000 students from Washington, D.C. high schools with scholarships and mentors for college over the next 15 years, The Washington Post reported. The scholarships will be worth up to $10,000 a year for a maximum of five years.
    Inside Higher Ed, March 22, 2007 ---

    A new report, “The Path of Many Journeys: The Benefits of Higher Education for Native People and Communities,” summarizes data on the historically low college-going rates of American Indians as well as some signs of increases in recent decades. The report also details the impact on tribal groups and tribal colleges of having more members with college degrees. The report was released this week by the Institute for Higher Education Policy and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.
    Inside Higher Ed, March 22, 2007 ---

    Politics is about winning. If you don't win, you don't get to put your principles into practice. Therefore, find a way to win, or sit the battle out.
    David quoted by Mark Shapiro at

    Without losers, where would the winners be?
    Casey Stengel ---

    He don't smoke, he don't drink, he don't chase women and he don't win.
    Casey Stengel as quoted by George F. Will in "Politics After the Reversal," Time Magazine, March 28, 2007, Page 84

    Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It's staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in.
    Casey Stengel ---

    Doesn't matter what you call yourself, matters who you are. Reagan wasn't magic. He was serious, farsighted and brave about the great issues of his time. Republican candidates could try that. If they did, it would have a secondary benefit. They'd start respecting themselves instead of merely being full of themselves. This would help them stop being spooked.
    Peggy Noonan, "A Cure for Political Depression," The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2007 --- Click Here

    Chinese cemeteries are selling paper replicas of Viagra pills to be burned for dead relatives as a wish for satisfying sex in the afterlife, state media reported Wednesday.
    "Chinese burn Viagra replicas for randy ancestors," PhysOrg, March 21, 2007 ---
    Jensen Comment
    If replicas won't work in life, why should replicas work in the afterlife? Perhaps the real thing should be transported along with deathbed wishful thinking. The animal world will be better off in life and afterlife if Viagra takes the place of rhino horn powder (which has never been shown to be effective for the intended purpose).

    RUSSIA MADE a winning move recently when it postponed completion of the billion-dollar nuclear reactor it has been constructing near the Iranian city of Bushehr. Work will stop until Iran agrees to suspend uranium enrichment, as required by the United Nations Security Council.
    "Putin puts Tehran in check," Boston Globe, March 21, 2007 --- Click Here

    Leading Democrats, including Senator Obama of Illinois, are distancing themselves from an essay published this week by one of their party's leading financiers that called for the Democratic Party to "liberate" itself from the influence of the pro-Israel lobby. The article, by George Soros, published in the New York Review of Books, asserts that America should pressure Israel to negotiate with the Hamas-led unity government in the Palestinian territories regardless of whether Hamas recognizes the right of the Jewish state to exist.
    Eli Lake, "Obama Rebuffs Soros:  Billionaire's Comments on Aipac Are Scored," New York Sun, March 21, 2007 ---

    The "Democratic" response to the firing of the U.S. Attorneys is that these actions were political. The "Republican" response is that the Clinton Administration fired all but one U.S. Attorney at the beginning of the Clinton Administration -- so of course, it is all political.
    Stuart M. Gerson, "Inside the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorneys Controversy," The Washington Post, March 21, 2007 --- Click Here

    Al Gore has championed the issue of climate change for decades. But his detractors -- including scientists who are concerned about climate change -- have raised questions about Gore's data, and some of his conclusions.
    Renee Montagne and Richard Harris, "Gore on Climate Change: Scientists Respond," NPR, March 21, 2007 ---

    Two things I love most,
    good horses and beautiful
    women, and when I die I hope
    they tan this old hide of mine
    and make it into a ladies riding
    saddle, so I can rest in peace
    between the two things I love most.
    Epitaph of Russell J. Larsen of Logan, Utah

    Workers of all lands unite. The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Epitaph of Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery, London, England

    What is it like after you are dead? Like it was before you were born and for just as long.
    Epitaph of Eugene Leighton Lawler in Marin County, California

    Error has the victory, but Truth has the hope
    Epitaph of Alfonso Luis Herrera in Mexico City

    Epitaph of Thomas O. Murphy in Vancouver, British Columbia

    Epitaph of  Anne Hewitt in Helensburgh Cemetery, NSW Australia

    Epitaph of  James Thomas Hewitt in Helensburgh Cemetery, NSW Australia

    Gone away
    Owin' more
    Than he could pay
    Epitaph of  Owen Moore in London, England

    Here lays Butch.
    We planted him raw.
    He was quick on the trigger
    But slow on the draw.

    Epitaph of  Butch in Boot Hill Cemetery, Tombstone, Arizona

    Alone we are born
    And die alone;
    Yet see the red-gold cirrus
    Over snow-mountain shine.
    Upon the upland road
    Ride easy, stranger:
    Surrender to the sky
    Your heart of anger.
    Epitaph of New Zealand Poet Jim Baxter

    How to Avoid Predatory Loans

    The following helper sites were recommended by Time Magazine, March 26, 2007, Page 79:

    Dirty Secrets of Credit Card Companies, Banks, and Credit Rating Agencies ---

    Dirty Secrets of Credit Counseling Fraud ---

    Subprime Mortgages: A Primer
    Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are demanding answers from regulators and lenders about subprime mortgages. Many worry that rising mortgage defaults and lender failures could hurt America's overall banking system. Already, the subprime crisis has been blamed for steep declines in the stock market. But just what is a subprime loan — and why should you care? Here, a primer:
    "Subprime Mortgages: A Primer," NPR, March 23, 2007 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on mortgages are at

    "Mortgage Meltdown," by Andy Laperriere, The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2007; Page A19 ---

    Stock markets world-wide have sold off the past few weeks over concerns the collapse of the subprime mortgage industry could prolong and deepen the housing slump and threaten the health of the U.S. economy. Federal Reserve officials and most economists believe the problems in the subprime mortgage market will remain relatively contained, but there is compelling evidence that the failure of subprime loans may be the start of a painful unwinding of a housing bubble that was fueled by easy money and loose lending practices.

    Whether measured in absolute terms or time-tested metrics such as price-to-income or price-to-rent ratios, the rise in U.S. home prices during the past six years is unprecedented. What's more, not only has mortgage debt doubled during this time, but loans have been offered on imprudent terms (for instance, a no down payment, no income verification loan to a borrower with a checkered credit history).

    It's no coincidence that the five-fold growth in subprime lending occurred at a time when home prices soared to nosebleed territory. As home prices kept rising, fewer loans went bad because the homeowner could almost always refinance or sell the property at a profit. (Until the past year or so, it seems the only person in California who sold his house at a loss was the convicted lobbyist who in 2003 bribed former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham by buying his house at an inflated price and selling it six months later for $700,000 less.)

    As the home price boom gained momentum and delinquencies dropped, lenders offered progressively easier and riskier lending terms. Common sense suggests that the boom-time mania that led banks (and investors in mortgage-backed securities) to offer dangerous loans to individuals with poor credit histories also led them to offer the same kinds of risky loans (no income verification, no down payments, high payments as a share of income, low teaser rates) to individuals with good credit scores.

    Far from being limited to the subprime market, the data show these risky loan features have become widespread. According to Credit Suisse, the number of no or low documentation loans -- so-called "liar loans" -- has increased to 49% last year from 18% of purchase loans in 2001, a nearly three-fold increase. The investment bank also found that borrowers put up less than a 5% down payment in 46% of all home purchases last year. Inside Mortgage Finance estimates that nontraditional mortgages -- mostly interest-only and pay-option ARMs that allow the borrower to defer paying back principal or even increase the loan balance each month -- which barely existed five years ago, grew to close to a third of all mortgages last year.

    The Alt-A market, a middle ground between subprime and prime, has increased seven-fold since 2001 and accounted for 20% of home-purchase loans last year. Fully 81% of Alt-A loans last year were no or low documentation loans, according to First American Loan Performance. Why have borrowers employed this kind of risky financing? Because it was the only way many of them could afford a home in some of the hottest housing markets, where prices more than doubled in five years.

    It should come as no surprise that delinquencies on these unconventional loans have increased sharply. Investors were shaken last week by a Mortgage Bankers Association report which found that mortgage delinquencies hit nearly 5% at the end of last year and that prime adjustable rate loans deteriorated at a faster rate than subprime ARMs. A recent UBS report finds that the 2006 Alt-A loans are "on track to be one of the worst vintages ever." This is no subprime niche problem.

    Even if bad loans are more widespread than previously expected, many housing bulls say, the impact on the housing market and the economy will be minimal because total losses due to foreclosures will be a small percentage of outstanding mortgage debt and a still smaller share of the economy. A similar argument holds that bad loans won't lead to a broader foreclosure problem because the average American has plenty of equity in his home.

    Foreclosure losses as a share of the economy will be small and most homeowners have a comfortable amount of equity in their homes. In fact, about one-third of homeowners have no mortgage and own their homes outright, but they are not the reason home prices have been driven to the stratosphere. Home prices -- like all prices -- are set at the margin. It was the marginal buyer, particularly the subprime borrower and housing speculator, who drove prices higher. The easing of lending terms increased the demand for homes, and since the supply of homes is relatively fixed (or inelastic), this increase in demand quickly translated into higher prices. As the loose lending practices are inevitably reversed -- and there is a wide chasm between current lending practices and prudent lending terms -- fewer people will be able to afford to buy a house, which will reduce demand and push home prices lower.

    It's not the size of foreclosure losses as a share of the economy that matters, it is the effect those losses have on the availability of credit. When banks (and investors in mortgage-backed securities) begin suffering losses, they inevitably pull back. This is why so many subprime companies have gone bankrupt virtually overnight; investors balked at buying subprime loans except at a steep discount, which produced immediate losses. In effect, their ability to profitably finance new loans was eliminated.

    What's more, the bank regulators are only now beginning to tighten lending standards and will be under increasing pressure from Congress to do more. After growing by nearly 50% in the first half of 2006, nontraditional loan growth has turned negative since the bank regulators issued new guidelines last September. The CFO of Countrywide recently told an investor conference that 60% of the subprime loans the company is making won't meet proposed federal rules likely to take effect during the summer. The concern that tighter lending standards could reduce access to financing is the reason a widely watched survey of homebuilders conducted by the National Association of Homebuilders dropped earlier this week.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's mortgage advice is at

    Bob Jensen fraud updates are at

    Where have all the (corn) flowers gone?
    Iowa State University and the University of Iowa have experienced unusually large numbers of faculty departures for other institutions in the last year, The Des Moines Register reported, primarily because of low pay compared to peer institutions. Iowa State lost 50 faculty members and the University of Iowa 67.
    Inside Higher Ed
    , March 21, 2007 ---

    Professor Socrates' Teaching Evaluations:  He's such a Drag

    "Hemlock Available in the Faculty Lounge advertisement Article tools," by Thomas Cushman, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 16, 2007 --- id=6fnxs4gx7j6qr4v7qn567y5hb52ywb33

    Teaching evaluations have become a permanent fixture in the academic environment. These instruments, through which students express their true feelings about classes and profes-sors, can make or break an instructor. What would students say if they had Socrates as a professor?

    This class on philosophy was really good, Professor Socrates is sooooo smart, I want to be just like him when I graduate (except not so short). I was amazed at how he could take just about any argument and prove it wrong.

    I would advise him, though, that he doesn't know everything, and one time he even said in class that the wise man is someone who knows that he knows little (Prof. Socrates, how about that sexist language!?). I don't think he even realizes at times that he contradicts himself. But I see that he is just eager to share his vast knowledge with us, so I really think it is more a sin of enthusiasm than anything else.

    I liked most of the meetings, except when Thrasymachus came. He was completely arrogant, and I really resented his male rage and his point of view. I guess I kind of liked him, though, because he stood up to Prof. Socrates, but I think he is against peace and justice and has no place in the modern university.

    Also, the course could use more women (hint: Prof. Socrates, maybe next time you could have your wife Xanthippe come in and we can ask questions about your home life! Does she resent the fact that you spend so much time with your students?). All in all, though, I highly recommend both the course and the instructor.

    Socrates is a real drag, I don't know how in hell he ever got tenure. He makes students feel bad by criticizing them all the time. He pretends like he's teaching them, but he's really ramming his ideas down student's throtes. He's always taking over the conversation and hardly lets anyone get a word in.

    He's sooo arrogant. One time in class this guy comes in with some real good perspectives and Socrates just kept shooting him down. Anything the guy said Socrates just thought he was better than him.

    He always keeps talking about these figures in a cave, like they really have anything to do with the real world. Give me a break! I spend serious money for my education and I need something I can use in the real world, not some b.s. about shadows and imaginary trolls who live in caves.

    He also talks a lot about things we haven't read for class and expects us to read all the readings on the syllabus even if we don't discuss them in class and that really bugs me. Students' only have so much time and I didn't pay him to torture me with all that extra crap.

    If you want to get anxious and depressed, take his course. Otherwise, steer clear of him! (Oh yeah, his grading is really subjective, he doesn't give any formal exams or papers so its hard to know where you stand in the class and when you try to talk to him about grades he just gets all agitated and changes the topic.)

    For someone who is always challenging conventional wisdom (if I heard that term one more time I was going to die), Professor Socrates' ideal republic is pretty darn static. I mean there is absolutely no room to move there in terms of intellectual development and social change.

    Also, I was taking this course on queer theory and one of the central concepts was "phallocentricism" and I was actually glad to have taken Socrates because he is a living, breathing phallocentrist!

    Also, I believe this Republic that Prof. Socrates wants to design — as if anyone really wants to let this dreadful little man design an entire city — is nothing but a plan for a hegemonic, masculinist empire that will dominate all of Greece and enforce its own values and beliefs on the diverse communities of our multicultural society.

    I was warned about this man by my adviser in women's studies. I don't see that anything other than white male patriarchy can explain his omnipresence in the agora and it certainly is evident that he contributes nothing to a multicultural learning environment. In fact, his whole search for the Truth is evidence of his denial of the virtual infinitude of epistemic realities (that term wasn't from queer theory, but from French lit, but it was amazing to see how applicable it was to queer theory).

    One thing in his defense is that he was much more positive toward gay and lesbian people. Actually, there was this one guy in class, Phaedroh or something like that, who Socrates was always looking at and one day they both didn't come to class and they disappeared for the whole day. I'm quite sure that something is going on there and that the professor is abusing his power over this student.

    I learned a lot in this class, a lot of things I never knew before. From what I heard from other students, Professor Socrates is kind of weird, and at first I agreed with them, but then I figured out what he was up to. He showed us that the answers to some really important questions already are in our minds.

    I really like how he says that he is not so much a teacher, but a facilitator. That works for me because I really dislike the way most professors just read their lectures and have us write them all down and just regurgitate them back on tests and papers. We need more professors like Professor Socrates who are willing to challenge students by presenting materials in new and exciting ways.

    I actually came out of this class with more questions than answers, which bothered me and made me uncomfortable in the beginning, but Professor Socrates made me realize that that's what learning is all about. I think it is the only class I ever took which made me feel like a different person afterward. I would highly recommend this class to students who want to try a different way of learning.

    I don't know why all the people are so pissed at Professor Socrates! They say he's corrupting us, but it's really them that are corrupt. I know some people resent his aggressive style, but that's part of the dialectic. Kudos to you, Professor Socrates, you've really changed my way of thinking! Socs rocks!!

    My first thought about this class was: this guy is really ugly. Then I thought, well, he's just a little hard on the eyes. Finally, I came to see that he was kind of cute. Before I used to judge everyone based on first impressions, but I learned that their outward appearances can be seen in different ways through different lenses.

    I learned a lot in this class, especially about justice. I always thought that justice was just punishing people for doing things against the law and stuff. I was really blown away by the idea that justice means doing people no harm (and thanks to Prof. Socrates, I now know that the people you think are your enemies might be your friends and vice versa, I applied that to the people in my dorm and he was absolutely right).

    An excellent class over all. One thing I could suggest is that he take a little more care about his personal appearance, because as we all know, first impressions are lasting impressions.

    Socrates is bias and prejudice and a racist and a sexist and a homophobe. He stole his ideas from the African people and won't even talk to them now. Someone said that maybe he was part African, but there is noooooo way.

    Thomas Cushman is a professor of sociology at Wellesley College.

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

    Bob Jensen's threads on teaching evaluations and learning styles are at

    The Interval of Observation Greatly Impacts Stock Price Predictions

    From Massey University
    "The Interval of Observation," Ben Jacobsen, Ben R. Marshall, and Nuttawat Visaltana, SSRN, February 2007 ---

    We revisit Kendall's (1953) conclusion that "the interval of observation may be very important". Contrary to his other conclusions on return predictability, this conclusion has received surprisingly little attention. Most tests in finance and economics routinely regress daily, weekly and monthly observations on daily, weekly and monthly observations, respectively. This is especially surprising because, while convenient, this convention lacks economic reasoning in many applications. Using similar data to Kendall (commodity prices and US, UK and World Stock Market indices) we show how conclusions regarding stock market return predictability vary drastically once we deviate from this convention. Even more surprising: conclusions whether or not stock returns are predictable fluctuate strongly for almost similar intervals of observation. In other words, had the "Demon of Chance" in 1953 offered Kendall slightly different intervals of observation, Kendall might have concluded that stock market returns were predictable.

    "From PC to TV -- via Apple:  
    We Test Gadget That Lets You Play Digital Video, Music, Photos on Your Widescreen
    by Walter S. Mossberg and Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2007; Page D1 ---

    The race to connect your TV to your computer and the Internet is about to kick into high gear this week when Apple Inc., the company many believe is best positioned to pull off this feat, introduces a slender, wireless set-top box called Apple TV.

    This silvery little $299 gadget is designed to play and display on a widescreen family-room TV set all the music, video and photos stored on up to six computers around the house -- even if they are far from the TV, and even if they are all Windows PCs rather than Apple's own Macintosh models. It can also pull a very limited amount of music and video directly off the Internet onto the TV.

    Apple TV is tiny, just about eight inches square and an inch high, far smaller than a typical DVD player or cable or satellite box, even though it packs in a 40-gigabyte hard disk, an Intel processor and a modified version of the Mac operating system. And it has a carefully limited set of functions.

    Yet, in our tests, it worked great, and we can easily recommend it for people who are yearning for a simple way to show on their big TVs all that stuff trapped on their computers. We tried it with various combinations of Windows and Mac computers, with movies, photos, TV shows, video clips and music. And we didn't even use the fastest wireless network it can handle. It performed flawlessly. However, it won't work with older TVs unless they can display widescreen-formatted content and accept some newer types of cables.

    Like the iPod before it, Apple TV isn't the first gadget in its category. Several other companies have made set-top boxes or even TV sets and game consoles that could link the TV to the digital content that people have on their computers. But none has found a mass audience for this functionality, mainly because they tend to be hard to set up and confusing to use. Apple is hoping that, just as the iPod trumped earlier, but geekier, rivals, Apple TV can do the same by making a complex task really simple.

    Part of the secret of Apple TV is that, like most of Apple's products, it doesn't try to do everything and thus become a mess of complexity. It can't receive or record cable or satellite TV, so it isn't meant as a replacement for your cable or satellite box, or for a digital video recorder like a TiVo. It can't play DVDs, so it doesn't replace your DVD player. Its sole function is to bring to the TV digital content stored on your computer or drawn from the Internet. Like a DVD player, it uses its own separate input on your TV set, and you have to change inputs using your TV remote to use it.

    Apple TV isn't for that small slice of techies who buy a full-blown computer and plug it directly into a TV, or for gamers who prefer to do it all through a game console. And it's not for people who are content to watch downloaded TV shows and movies directly on a computer screen. Instead, it's for the much larger group of people who want to keep their home computers where they are and yet enjoy their downloaded media on their widescreen TVs.

    Apple TV's most formidable competitor is the Xbox 360 game console from Microsoft, which, in addition to playing games, can also play back content from Windows computers on a TV. And Xbox 360 can do something Apple TV can't do, at least not yet, which is to directly purchase and download movies and TV shows from the Internet. But the comparable Xbox costs 50% more than Apple TV, is much larger and stores only half as much material.

    We've been testing Apple TV for the past 10 days or so, and our verdict is that it's a beautifully designed, easy-to-use product that should be very attractive to people with widescreen TV sets and lots of music, videos, and photos stored on computers. It has some notable limitations, but we really liked it. It is classic Apple: simple and elegant.

    In our tests, Apple TV performed perfectly in Walt's house over a standard Wi-Fi wireless network with a Pioneer plasma TV and six different computers -- three Windows machines from Hewlett-Packard and Dell, and three Apple Macs. Setup was a breeze, the user interface was clean and handsome, and video and audio quality were quite good for anyone but picky audiophiles and videophiles. We never suffered any stuttering, buffering or hesitation while playing audio and video from distant computers.

    Continued in article

    The World's Smallest Windows XP Computer

    "Tiny FlipStart PC Gets Caught in Snag Of Too In-Between," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2007; Page B1 ---

    I am writing these words on a teeny, tiny computer, much smaller than even the littlest standard laptop. Yet it's a full-fledged PC running the full version of Windows XP. It's called the FlipStart and it's from FlipStart Labs, a Seattle firm that is one of the companies owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

    The FlipStart is part of a new wave of tiny Windows PCs, which include the second version of a machine called the OQO, the Ultra-Mobile PC from Samsung and Sony's UX series. For a decade or more, the computer industry has been trying to come up with an ultracompact computer that can use standard operating systems and software. They have failed to catch on broadly for several reasons.

    First, they are an awkward, in-between size: too large to fit in a pocket, but too small to allow for minimally comfortable touch-typing keyboards. Second, their screens are often too small to handle the navigation through multiple windows that Windows requires. Third, their battery life has been poor. Finally, they've been very costly.

    I've been testing the FlipStart and found that while it overcomes some of these issues, it can't lick all of them. It runs Windows OK and it even has decent battery life. Its screen resolution and navigation are also pretty good. It weighs just 1.75 pounds, and is smaller in length and width than a standard paperback novel.

    But its price, $2,000, is very expensive for a computer that's too small to be very good for typing, yet isn't small enough to be extra portable. Part of the size problem is that it's thick -- thicker than a 400-page paperback. And I found its keyboard to be too little and crude for laptop-style typing, but too wide for fast thumb typing, like people do on a BlackBerry. It also exhibited some funky behavior in my tests.

    So, like its predecessors and competitors, the FlipStart is likely to be a novelty or niche product. It may be popular with some techies, but it's no match for a small standard laptop, like Lenovo's X models, which start at $1,250, are 2.7 pounds, are thinner than the FlipStart, and include a great keyboard and a screen that's more than twice the size of FlipStart's.

    First, they are an awkward, in-between size: too large to fit in a pocket, but too small to allow for minimally comfortable touch-typing keyboards. Second, their screens are often too small to handle the navigation through multiple windows that Windows requires. Third, their battery life has been poor. Finally, they've been very costly.

    I've been testing the FlipStart and found that while it overcomes some of these issues, it can't lick all of them. It runs Windows OK and it even has decent battery life. Its screen resolution and navigation are also pretty good. It weighs just 1.75 pounds, and is smaller in length and width than a standard paperback novel.

    But its price, $2,000, is very expensive for a computer that's too small to be very good for typing, yet isn't small enough to be extra portable. Part of the size problem is that it's thick -- thicker than a 400-page paperback. And I found its keyboard to be too little and crude for laptop-style typing, but too wide for fast thumb typing, like people do on a BlackBerry. It also exhibited some funky behavior in my tests.

    So, like its predecessors and competitors, the FlipStart is likely to be a novelty or niche product. It may be popular with some techies, but it's no match for a small standard laptop, like Lenovo's X models, which start at $1,250, are 2.7 pounds, are thinner than the FlipStart, and include a great keyboard and a screen that's more than twice the size of FlipStart's.

    Continued in article


    The anti-war movement gets an enormous share of media attention, but it rests more on emotion than scholarship

    At the January 27 peace march in Washington, an unlikely group of students paraded together. It was a lineup that would have been unthinkable four years ago: College Democrats, young socialist radicals, black and Latino students wearing Make Hip-Hop Not War T-shirts, representatives of the student wing of a DC think tank and a reborn Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). "The fact that College Dems and the ISO [International Socialist Organization] were marching together without killing one another--that's a huge change," says David Duhalde, whose organization is a member of the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition (NYSPC). While radical groups have tempered their tone and tactics, mainstream progressive student organizations have become less cautious and more willing to engage in direct action--and all sides, for the first time in years, are eager to work together. "We've realized the war is more important [than our differences]," says Duhalde.
    Sam Graham-Felsen , "Antiwar Students Rising," The Nation, March 21, 2007 --- 

    Most political scientists lean toward leftist politics and an anti-war sentiment.
    Why don’t more political scientists study the antiwar movement?

    "Party in the Streets," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, March 21, 2007 ---

    Here are Five Reasons
    1. The antiwar movement was always a vocal, extreme minority which never represented average Americans. In democratic politics, most of the interesting questions are about majorities.

    2. The antiwar movement was ineffective. Public support for the war actually increased after many large protests. Indeed, the protests themselves were widely reviled even by antiwar people. Hence political scientists don’t think of them as “obviously” powerful events.

    3. The antiwar movement was heavily tied to one set of historical circumstances — a young Baby Boom generation, the existence of conscription, a certain model of campus life and part-time work, relatively friendly court rulings on associational freedoms, and much higher American casualties. This makes it difficult to generalize — even if the fact that n=1 wasn’t enough of a stumbling block.

    4. Political scientists focus largely on politics, or the authoritative allocation of resources. While political protests are frequently included as variables by political scientists, the overall job of explaining social mobilization is really over the the sociologists’ camp. On pattern I note is that Vietnam protests seem to occur more frequently as independent variables in studies of conflict behavior, policy change, electoral outcomes, and public opinion. They are rarely used by political scientists because our standard toolkit has few tools to predict the degree to which groups will mobilize.

    5. Saying we should study the anti-war movement is a little like saying we should study the Dersim Rebellion of 1937. It’s an important and interesting case, but it is only one of more than 250 civil wars that have been fought since 1816. Hence, it would make more sense to compile cross-national, reliably coded data on the size and duration of antiwar (or antigovernment) protests. We cannot produce a patter from a single case, and even a single country is risky. We need something with which to compare the protests (other protests, similar protests in other countries, non-protests, etc). Otherwise, we’ll just develop a series of anecdotes and the plural of anecdote is not data.

    What Are the Sunnis Thinking?
    A primarily sectarian Arab counter-reaction to expanding Iranian power would be a disaster. It might halt Iran and its comrades in the short term, but Arab regimes could soon become sorcerers' apprentices, swallowed by the forces they unleash. Iran, wrongly believing that popular anti-Israeli and anti-American sentiment would overcome Sunni suspicions of their true intentions, should realize what a Sunni backlash would mean for their security. Once opened, the floodgates of Sunni-Shiite antagonism could become a Leviathan, sweeping away the fragile reality on the ground: Even in societies where Sunnis and Shiites now peacefully coexist, sectarian discord would become the norm.
    Michael Young, "What Are the Sunnis Thinking? Sharp red lines in the Middle East," Reason Magazine, January 25, 2007 ---

    If the insurgents are smart they will simply have to wait it out to win and plan their victory parades
    Congress Legislates End of Funding for U.S. Military in Iraq:  A Phased Surrender

    "'A Triumph for Pelosi':  The Democrats send their message on Iraq," The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2007 ---
    Also see the NPR account at

    The House has approved a $124 billion supplemental spending bill to fund the military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill includes a promise that the U.S. will surrender in Iraq by Sept. 1, 2008.
    Carol Muller, Opinion Journal, March 23, 2007

         H R 1591      YEA-AND-NAY      23-Mar-2007      12:43 PM
          QUESTION:  On Passage
          BILL TITLE: Making emergency supplemental appropriations for fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and
         for other purposes

      Yeas Nays PRES NV
    Republican 2 198   1
    Democratic 216 14 1 2
    TOTALS 218 212 1 3


    It turns out that the EU has done a lot for itself and for the United States

    "So, what has Europe ever done for us?" The Independent, March 21, 2007 ---

    Accounting is a prime example of how close cooperation with our US partner is bearing fruit. The EU and the US are advancing on a roadmap for removal of reconciliation requirements based on the principle of equivalence. The Commission is working together with the US SEC towards removing the costly and unnecessary reconciliation requirements for IFRS and US GAAP. Earlier this month I met SEC Commissioner Christopher Cox and we took stock on the progress of the roadmap. I am pleased to confirm that we are well on track. We are both committed to further improving our regulatory cooperation.
    Charlie McCreevy,  European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Priorities in the Internal (EU) Market ---

    Cowards Run in the Iraq Insurgency (72 virgins no longer enough for these adult cowards)
    Insurgents in Iraq detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle with two children in the back seat after US soldiers let it through a Baghdad checkpoint over the weekend, a senior US military official said Tuesday. The vehicle was stopped at the checkpoint but was allowed through when soldiers saw the children in the back, said Major General Michael Barbero of the Pentagon's Joint Staff. "Children in the back seat lowered suspicion. We let it move through. They parked the vehicle, and the adults ran out and detonated it with the children in the back," Barbero said.
    "Iraq insurgents used children in car bombing," WorldNetDaily, March 21, 2007 ---

    Also see

    France opens secret UFO files covering 50 years 
    France became the first country to open its files on UFOs Thursday when the national space agency unveiled a website documenting more than 1,600 sightings spanning five decades . . . Of the 1,600 cases registered since 1954, nearly 25 percent are classified as "type D", meaning that "despite good or very good data and credible witnesses, we are confronted with something we can't explain," Patenet said. 
    PhysOrg, March 22, 2007 ---

    From The Washington Post on March 21, 2007

    Who developed the Fortran programming language in the 1950s?

    A. Kathleen Antonelli
    B. John Backus
    C. Bill Gates
    D. Steve Capps
    Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

    How Internet Stuff Works

    How Internet Infrastructure Works: Backbones
    Do you ever wonder how the Internet really works? How do Web pages, e-mail and music move to and from your computer? Learn all about the OC-48 can transmit 2,488 Mbps (2.488 Gbps). Compare that to a typical 56K modem transmitting 56,000 bps and you see just how fast a modern backbone is...

    How The Airborne Internet Will Work: Floating On Air
    Learn about the airborne Internet and how you might use this technology in the near future. Read more here!..Sky Station International is counting on its blimps to beat Angel to the punch in the race to deliver high-speed Internet access from high altitudes...

    How The Airborne Internet Will Work: NASA's Sub-space Plans
    Learn about the airborne Internet and how you might use this technology in the near future. Read more here!..Not to be left out of the high-flying Internet industry, NASA is also playing a role in a potential airborne Internet system being developed by Aero...

    How The Airborne Internet Will Work: A HALO Over Head
    Learn about the airborne Internet and how you might use this technology in the near future. Read more here!..One the three companies developing an airborne Internet network is Angel Technologies. Its HALO Network may be ready for deployment at the end...

    Introduction To How The Year 2000 Problem Worked
    A fascinating article that describes how and why batteries work!..Archived Edition Although the Y2K problem came and went in January of 2000, we have saved this article as an archived editon of How...

    How Urban Legends Work: Internet Urban Legends
    Internet urban legends spread quickly because of the convenience of email. Learn about common Internet urban legends and the truth behind them...The methods of passing urban legends have evolved over time. In the past 10 years, there has been a huge surge of urban legends on the Internet...

    How Con Artists Work: Business And Internet Cons
    Con artists can trick you out of your money. Learn how to spot con artists, characteristics of con artists, and how to avoid scams..actually selling anything, it's a pyramid scheme. The Nigerian Money Transfer Widespread use of the Internet has given con artists another way to scam...

    How Internet Cookies Work: How Do Web Sites Use Cookies?
    Cookies are widely used by Web sites to keep track of their visitors. Are cookies letting Big Brother into your PC? Find out what Internet cookies..customized weather information. When you enter your zip code, the following name-value pair gets added to MSN's cookie file: WEAT CC=NC%5FRaleigh%2DDurham...

    How Virtual Private Networks Work: Tunneling: Remote-Access
    Private networks give companies a way to extend their secure networks using regular Internet pathways. Find out how remote users can access a local network...2 Tunneling Protocol) - L2TP is the product of a partnership between the members of the PPTP Forum, Cisco and the IETF (Internet Engineering Task...

    How Virtual Private Networks Work: Tunneling
    Private networks give companies a way to extend their secure networks using regular Internet pathways. Find out how remote users can access a local network...Most VPNs rely on tunneling to create a private network that reaches across the Internet. Essentially, tunneling is the process of placing an entire...

    Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at

    Updates from WebMD ---

    Blueberries contain chemical that may help prevent colon cancer
    A compound found in blueberries shows promise of preventing colon cancer in animals, according to a joint study by scientists at Rutgers University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The compound, pterostilbene, is a potent antioxidant that could be developed into a pill with the potential for fewer side effects than some commercial drugs that are currently used to prevent the disease. Colon cancer is considered the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, the researchers say.
    PhysOrg, March 25, 2007 ---

    Root beer may be 'safest' soft drink for teeth
    Exposing teeth to soft drinks, even for a short period of time, causes dental erosion—and prolonged exposure can lead to significant enamel loss. Root beer products, however, are non-carbonated and do not contain the acids that harm teeth, according to a study in the March/April 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD's clinical, peer-reviewed journal. That might be something to consider during the next visit to the grocery store.
    PhysOrg, March 20, 2007 ---

    China pioneers spinal disc transplants 
    The first humans to receive spinal disc transplants experienced no immune reactions and were relatively free of pain five years after surgery, Chinese doctors in Hong Kong and Beijing reported Friday.
    PhysOrg, March 23, 2004 ---

    Psychologists publish three new studies on violent video game effects on youths
    New research by Iowa State University psychologists provides more concrete evidence of the adverse effects of violent video game exposure on the behavior of children and adolescents.
    PhysOrg, March 23, 2004 ---

    A Novel Way of Doing Chemistry
    "Researchers have shown that they can use mechanical force to make a molecule more reactive," by Prachi Patel-Predd, MIT's Technology Review, March 22, 2007 --- 

    By tugging on two sides of a specially designed molecule, chemists have been able to change its shape so that it becomes much more reactive. The researchers were able to control the reactivity of the molecule by applying a mechanical force on its chemical bonds. The energy for such a chemical transformation typically comes from light, heat, or electricity. "The key thing is that force will trigger the molecule to become reactive ... and that [reactive state] would go on to do useful and productive chemistry," says Jeffrey Moore, a chemistry and materials-science professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who published the work in Nature.

    The finding could lead to self-healing materials, in which molecules under stress would change shape and react to make the material stronger. Another use would be polymers that react and light up right when they are damaged. "Say you're a parachutist and you want to know whether the cords are still adequate; you could just get a visual read on them," Moore says. The development could also lead to a new way of doing chemistry by using force instead of heat, light, or catalysts.

    The idea of using force to make a molecule reactive has existed in organic chemistry since the 1940s, but until now it essentially boiled down to breaking long plastic polymers into smaller pieces. The process has not been very useful because no one has been able to control where the polymer breaks.

    Moore and his colleagues were able to control the structure of a ring-shaped organic molecule, not just break it apart. The researchers attach polymer chains to the two sides of the molecule. Then they apply ultrasound frequency to a solution containing the molecule; the ultrasound creates a mechanical force along the polymer chains and pulls them in opposite directions. The chains tug at the molecule and break a chemical bond in the ring, which triggers a more extensive rearrangement of the molecule and makes it reactive.

    Moreover, the researchers found that force rearranges the molecule in a way that is different than if the molecule was exposed to other triggers, like heat and light. "One of the really beautiful, unexpected things about this work is that the reaction that occurs ... is not the reaction that you would expect to happen," says Stephen Craig, a chemistry professor at Duke University. "They pull on one molecule and make it rearrange into something that normally there is no way to rearrange into with heat or light."

    Once the molecule is in this new arrangement, it reacts with another molecule that can be detected with ultraviolet light. Moore says that this concept could be used to make polymers that would give some kind of visual cue when they are just about to break. Or, he says, researchers could further develop the principle and make materials in which, if researchers apply pressure at a certain point, the molecules in that area become reactive and stick together--a novel strategy for creating self-healing materials.

    Craig contrasts the new work with the old-fashioned use of force in chemistry, which was, essentially, to break polymers into smaller fragments. What makes the new work exciting, he says, is that it shows that researchers can use force to make molecules come together and create bigger molecules. "As a long-term vision, one can imagine materials that get stronger, rather than weaker, as they experience greater and greater forces," Craig says.

    Others think that this might be the start of a new way of doing chemistry. "Conceptually, what it demonstrates is that stress can become a new tool to do organic chemistry," says Virgil Percec, a chemistry professor at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's a very elegant and beautiful demonstration." By controlling chemical reactions using small mechanical forces on molecules, "we might be able to eliminate the need of environmentally unfriendly catalysts to do various reactions," he says.

    Next, says Moore, his team plans to find out whether the concept holds in solids and not just in polymer solutions.

    Restoring Damaged Knees (great success on a NFL quarterback)
    "A team of researchers has bioengineered a synthetic scaffold that effectively regenerates tissue in torn knee ligaments," by Brittany Sauser, MIT's Technology Review, March 22, 2007 ---

    Carson Palmer, the Cincinnati Bengals' starting quarterback, was an NFL MVP contender in 2005 until he suffered a tear in his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the knee's main support structure, which is commonly injured in sports. Surgical reconstruction is typically required to repair the ligament, but current methods continue to take significant recovery time, during which a patient may sustain a loss of strength and function. Now, researchers at the University of Virginia have bioengineered a new ACL replacement using a 3-D polymeric fiber braiding process. It's the first synthetic scaffold design to demonstrate exceptional tissue regeneration and healing, and it could lead to a promising ligament-replacement technology.

    "Our goal was to regenerate the ACL using classic design principles from engineering and material that has mechanical properties that mimic the natural ACL," says Cato Laurencin, the team leader and chairman of the University of Virginia Department of Orthopedic Surgery. His team found that it could utilize its newly developed synthetic polymer system with ACL cells to reconstruct the ligament and produce neoligament tissue. "Any solution that can be devised to speed up the healing and long-term function is hugely important to patients," says Laurencin.

    Current surgical treatment requires an orthopedic surgeon to remove the torn ACL and replace it with a new ligament made either from autograft tissue, which is taken from a patient's own healthy tissue (usually from a strip of tendon under the kneecap or hamstring), or from allograft tissue, which is taken from a cadaver. To do this, holes are drilled in the places on the tibia and femur where the ACL attaches, and the new ligament is passed through the holes and held in place with screws. Whether using autograft or allograft tissue, the treatment necessitates an extensive healing time ranging from, depending on the severity of the tear, six months to one year, during which the patient might have to wear a brace or use crutches and undergo physical therapy. Palmer spent the final two of almost six months of rehab doing four to six hours of strength and flexibility work a day with a performance coach. This resulted in his being about 80 percent recovered at the start of football training camp.

    Several groups have explored ligament-like scaffolds using collagen fibers, silk, and composites, but with limited success. "There just hasn't been very much successful work done on tissue-engineering ligaments," says Robert Langer, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at MIT. "This [Laurencin's team's work] is a very significant discovery. I haven't seen anybody do what they are doing with ligaments before."

    The ACL replacement developed by Laurencin's team uses a clinically proven, FDA-approved biocompatible polymer, polyL-lactide (PLLA), which is frequently used in drug delivery systems, biomedical devices, bone plates, and sutures. Laurencin's team uses the polymer to stabilize the knee while the scaffold promotes the regeneration of new ligament tissue. The polymer is an absorbable material: its mechanical properties and mass diminish with time and in a manner that permits a favorable biological response.

    Cancer Atlas: Humongous Science under Fire … Again
    |Prominent cancer experts are calling the NIH's $1.5 billion project to map all mutations in cancer tumors a waste of time and money; not so, say proponents.
    "Cancer Atlas: Humongous Science under Fire … Again," MIT's Technology Review, March 20, 2007 ---

    "Health Care Back in the National Spotlight," by Julie Rovner, NPR, March 19, 2007 ---

    Five Best Novels About Food
    "Nourishing Words The most delectable combinations of fiction and food," The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2007 ---

    1. "The Sea, the Sea" by Iris Murdoch (Viking, 1978).

    Solitary eating: Charles Arrowby, the protagonist in this dense stew of a novel, is the most pedantic eater in English literature. He shops and cooks for one--himself--with the inspired simplicity that marks a certain sort of good eating: "For lunch, I may say, I ate and greatly enjoyed the following: anchovy paste on hot buttered toast, then baked beans and kidney beans with chopped celery, tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil. . . . Then bananas and cream with white sugar. (Bananas should be cut, never mashed, and the cream should be thin.) Then hard water-biscuits with New Zealand butter and Wensleydale cheese." The opening chapters are studded with these little, jeweled repasts. But visitors arrive, his seaside seclusion is lost, and the delicious, self-pleasuring meals dwindle to nothingness.

    2. "The Leopard" by Giuseppe di Lampedusa (Pantheon, 1960).

    Great feasts: We seem to have lost--in both modern literature and life--the art of putting on grand voluptuary gatherings around a table. Giuseppe di Lampedusa's banquets, however--and one is trying not to use the word "blowouts"--are without equal. It helps that he set his novel in the Italy of the 1860s and that he, an aristocrat, had firsthand experience of uninhibited sybaritism. Here is a dinner to pore longingly over: "The appearance of those monumental dishes of macaroni was worthy of the quivers of admiration they evoked. The burnished gold of the crusts, the fragrance of sugar and cinnamon they exuded, were but preludes to the delights released from the interior when the knife broke the crust; first came a mist laden with aromas, then chicken livers, hard-boiled eggs, sliced ham, chicken, and truffles in masses of piping-hot, glistening macaroni, to which the meat juice gave an exquisite hue of suede."

    3. "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier (Atlantic Monthly, 1997).

    Deliverance from starvation: Inman, the Confederate soldier who deserts at Petersburg, Va., late in the Civil War, has lost all acquaintance with food on his hellish trudge back home to the Blue Ridge Mountains when he chances upon a homestead. There, "a young woman, a girl really," feeds him back to life: "The woman served him up a plate heaped high with beans and bread and a big peeled onion. . . . Inman took the plate and a knife and spoon into his lap and fell to eating. A part of him wished to be polite, but it was overcome by some dog organ deep in his brain, and so he ate loudly and in gulps, pausing to chew only when absolutely necessary. He forewent slicing the onion and ate on it like an apple." Unfeeling must be the reader who will not taste that onion on his own palate.

    4. "Like Water for Chocolate" by Laura Esquivel (Doubleday, 1992).

    Food and sex: The two are twinned at some stage in everyone's life, and literature lacks not for lyrical intersections of the carnal and the edible. "To the table or to bed, you must come when you are bid" is the message of Laura Esquivel's winsome Mexican novella (which should not be disparaged merely because it is untaxing). Tita, who yearns for Pedro, her sister's husband--whom she could not marry for reasons embedded in the story--is preparing the mole, or sauce, for his son's baptismal meal. In the kitchen, amid "the smell of browning sesame seeds," Tita is on her knees, "bent over the grinding stone, moving in a slow regular rhythm, grinding the almonds and the sesame seeds." Rivulets of sweat run down her neck to "the crease between her firm round breasts," and Pedro, watching from the doorway, is transfixed. "Tita looked up without stopping her grinding and her eyes met Pedro's." Olé to mole!

    5. "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame (Scribner's, 1908).

    Yummy childhood: Children's books tend to two main themes, fantasy and food. Kenneth Grahame's peerless effort falls into the first category, but it has some of the most delectable, stomach-rumbling passages of any kids' book. My favorite is from the scene when the jailer's daughter visits a hungry Toad in his cell: "She carried a tray, with . . . a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb." There is something about toast--the amiable Rat, in an earlier chapter, is "greasy with buttered toast"--that cheers the young reader (or listener) like no other food. To many children, I wager, it is the most beautiful word in the English language.

    Mr. Varadarajan is an assistant managing editor at The Wall Street Journal.




    Forwarded by Doug Jensen


    1) This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles. (Kelly age 6)

    2) Oysters' balls are called pearls. (James age 6)

    3) If you are surrounded by sea you are an island. If you don't have sea all round you, you are incontinent. (Wayne age 7)

    4) Sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily Richardson. She's not my friend no more. (Kylie age 6)

    5) A dolphin breaths through an asshole on the top of its head. (Billy age 8)

    6) My uncle goes out in his boat with pots, and comes back with crabs. (Millie age 6)

    7) When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the ocean. Sometimes, when the wind didn't blow, the sailors would whistle to make the wind come. My brother said they would have been better off eating beans. (William age 7)

    8) I like mermaids. They are beautiful, and I like their shiny tails. And how on earth do mermaids get pregnant? Like, really? (Helen age 6)

    9) I'm not going to write about the sea. My baby brother is always screaming and being sick, my Dad keeps shouting at my Mom, and my big sister has just got pregnant, so I can't think what to write. (Amy age 6)

    10) Some fish are dangerous. Jellyfish can sting. Electric eels can give you a shock. They have to live in caves under the sea where I think they have to plug themselves into chargers. (Christopher age 7)

    11) When you go swimming in the sea, it is very cold, and it makes my willy small. (Kevin age 6)

    12) Divers have to be safe when they go under the water. Two divers can't go down alone, so they have to go down on each other. (Becky age 8)

    13) On holidays my Mom went water skiing. She fell off when she was going very fast. She says she won't do it again because water fired right up her fat ass. (Jule age 7)

    Forwarded by Aaron Konstam



    A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.


    A place where women curl up and dye.


    Someone who is fed up with people.


    The only animals you eat before they are born and after they are dead.


    A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.


    Mud with the juice squeezed out.


    Someone who is usually me_deep in conversation.


    A person who will never tell a lie if the truth will do more damage.


    Cold Storage.


    Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.


    A female moth.


    An insect that makes you like flies better.


    Grape with a sunburn.


    Something you tell to one person at a time.


    A bunch of bones with the person scraped off.


    The pain that drives you to extraction.


    One of the greatest labor saving devices of today.


    An honest opinion openly expressed.


    Something other people have. You have character lines.

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    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 ---

    Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities ---

    Free Textbooks and Cases ---

    Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials ---

    Free Science and Medicine Tutorials ---

    Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials ---

    Free Education Discipline Tutorials ---

    Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

    Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature ---

    Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness ---

    Teacher Source: Math ---

    Teacher Source:  Science ---

    Teacher Source:  PreK2 ---

    Teacher Source:  Library Media ---

    Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University ---

    VYOM eBooks Directory ---

    From Princeton Online
    The Incredible Art Department ---

    Online Mathematics Textbooks --- 

    National Library of Virtual Manipulatives ---

    Moodle  --- 

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

    Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials




    Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
    190 Sunset Hill Road
    Sugar Hill, NH 03586
    Phone:  603-823-8482