The April 16 Nor'easter with driving rains and winds in excess of 156 mph (on Mount Washington) and 80+ mph at our cottage above pretty much took away our snow and half the shingles on the north side of our new roof. Now comes the mess to clean up the yard in preparation for spring grass and flower gardens. I only lost two trees (a pine and a birch) in our woods. We were lucky relative to neighbors who lost more trees and bigger trees. Our power has been restored such that life is much better.

There's not much new to report about Erika. She still hurts a lot ---
We're still waiting for her surgeon's report on her April 10 CAT Scan. He's been out of town (Boston).


Tidbits on April 23, 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 ---
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Set up free conference calls 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 ---

Virginia Tech:  Pictures of victims and a memorial video of the April 17 massacre.--- 

How to find full-length TV shows online ---

Had a Little Work Done (country swing video about plastic surgery) ---

HGTV: Gardening, Hardscaping, and Landscaping ---,1784,HGTV_3546,00.html

Earth & Sky ---

Custer:  An American Journey Part 1 ---

Defining America's CPAs: Maryland (and Elsewhere) ---

Jihadist Video Shows Boy Beheading Man ---
The SKY version is at,,30000-1261896,.html

Acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Sheik Ahmad Bahr from Hamas, Declared during a Friday Sermon at a Sudan Mosque that America and Israel Will Be Annihilated and Called upon Allah to Kill the Jews and the Americans "to the Very Last One" ---
Video 1426 ---

VideoNation travels to Pakistan to assess the nation's future through the eyes of students at the progressive National College of Arts and the extremist-dominated Punjab University, The Nation, April 5, 2007 ---

Free music downloads ---

Janie Breck's tribute to Virginia Tech 
You can read about the Virginia Tech tragedy at

 You (We) Are Blessed as forwarded by Dick and Cec ---

Had a Little Work Done (country swing video about plastic surgery) ---

Grandma Faith's Website to Boogie Through Life ---

NPR's Free Music Selections ---

April 16, 2007 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

I thought I would pass this along. Jeff Rhodes of  is one of the most prolific multimedia programmers in the world. He has some liks to multimedia exams on the Beatles and other classic rock groups below.

Richard J. Campbell
 School of Business 218 N. College Ave. University of Rio Grande Rio Grande, OH 45674


Photographs and Art

New Footage Of Gallipoli Landings in 1915 Found ---,,31200-1261506,.html

Urban Legends Storm Clouds (link forwarded by Paul Golliher) ---

Douglas Menuez Photography Collection ---

Microscope Imaging Station ---

West Virginia Historical Photographs Collection ---

Comic Abstraction: Image Breaking, Image Making [Macromedia Flash Player]

Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art ---

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

National Poetry Month 2007
James Longenbach's "Second Draft" is from his third book of poems, Draft of a Letter. Of the collection, The Los Angeles Times Book Review said, "A sensibility this cogent, this subtle and austere is rare; even rarer is its proof that poetry still flows through all things and transforms all things in the process."
NPR, April 18, 2007 ---

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

Oneliners ---

Life is like a roll of toilet paper The closer it gets to the end, the faster it have fun, think "good thoughts" only, learn to laugh at yourself, and "count your blessings."
The first part is attributed to Andy Rooney

I am not young enough to know everything.
Oscar Wilde --- Click Here
Paraphrased:  I'm old enough to know nothing.

Knowledge is proud she knows so much;
wisdom is humble that she knows no more.


Knowing is not enough;
We must Apply.
Willing is not enough;
We must Do.


Sex education may be a good idea in the schools, but I don't believe the kids should be given homework.
Bill Cosby ---

The average Canadian family spends more money on taxes than on necessities of life such as food, clothing, and housing, according to a study from The Fraser Institute, an independent research organization with offices across Canada. The Canadian Consumer Tax Index, 2007, shows that even though the income of the average Canadian family has increased significantly since 1961, their total tax bill has increased at a much higher rate.
The Fraser Institute, April 16, 2007 ---

Canada's prison population has become far more violent and the proportion of prisoners classified as maximum security has doubled over the past eight years, according to a Correctional Services Canada report recently tabled in Parliament. CSC's Report on Plans and Priorities 2007-08 paints a grim picture of the country's 12,700 federal inmates, characterizing them as more violent than ever before, including a greater percentage of inmates serving time for homicide. "In recent years, the offender population has been increasingly characterized by offenders with extensive histories of violence and violent crimes, previous youth and adult convictions, affiliations with gangs and organized...
Tom Brodbeck, Winnipeg Sun, April 22, 2007 ---

Federal authorities have charged Ramani Sri Pilla, who teaches statistics at Case Western Reserve University, with making false statements by reporting threatened hate letters that she herself wrote, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. Starting in January, Pilla told federal agents that she had been receiving threatening letters and she sued Case Western for not doing enough to protect her. She said she was a victim of discrimination because of her gender and Indian heritage. According to the newspaper, Case Western spent $80,000 investigating the claims. Court documents indicate that Pilla has admitted to writing the letters. Her lawyer declined to comment.
Inside Higher Ed, April 18, 2007
Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are

The Army is enlisting far more soldiers than before the war, officials said. "Pre-invasion, the military was in a different mode. The Cold War had ended and the Army didn't need to be at such full strength," said Army spokesman Jeff Landenberger. "Now a lot of people come in strictly for patriotism. They want to be part of history," added Army Sgt. Aaron Stuckey, 28, of Birmingham.
"Despite war, Army draws recruits," by Natalie Lombardo, The Oakland Press, April 16, 2007 --- 

The Taleban have threatened that hundreds of suicide bombers will attack the Afghan government and foreign military targets this year. (snip) It seems as if the Taleban's much-hyped spring offensive may have finally begun, but not in any formal sense, at least not in the contested provinces of southern Afghanistan.. . .  "They're mostly young men from Pakistan," he says. They're brainwashed in the madrassas, the religious schools
BBC News, April 22, 2007

As a child, I helped my mother hang laundry in our backyard in Tamaqua, Pa., a small coal mining town. My job was handing up the clothespins. When everything was dry, I helped her fold the sheets in a series of moves that resembled ballroom dancing. . . . I remember this as I'm studying energy-saving tips from Al Gore, who says that when you have time, you should use a clothesline to dry your clothes instead of the dryer. A clothesline. It strikes me that I haven't seen one since 1991, when I moved to Rolling Hills, Calif., a gated community about an hour south of Los Angeles. There are rolling hills, ranch houses, sweeping views of the ocean and rocky cliffs--plenty of room--but not a single visible clothesline. I decide to rig a clothesline as an experiment. My mother died many years ago and the idea of hanging laundry with my own daughter, Isabel, who is 13 and always busy at the computer, is oddly appealing. I'm also hoping to use less energy and to reduce our monthly electric bills which hit the absurdly high level of $1,120 last summer.
Kathleen A. Hughes, "To Fight Global Warming, Some Hang a Clothesline," The New York Times, April 12, 2007 ---
Click Here
Jensen Comment
I remember helping both of my Iowa grandmothers hang clothes on lines and  wash them in tubs by rubbing the clothes on washer boards. I also remember adding "bluing" to the water to make clothes whiter and brighter. On Mondays they washed and on Tuesdays they ironed (no permanent press clothes in those days). They heated the water on iron stoves fired with corn cobs and coal. They had no refrigerators or freezers. To prepare chicken they flipped off the heads of live chickens and had them baked by noon. ---

The Real Threat to 'Social Europe:  ' A shrinking population isn't a problem in itself; rising "old-age dependency" is.. Hans Martins, The Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2007 --- Click Here 

He may be controversial in the United States, but Lawrence H. Summers, the ousted president of Harvard University, is a huge hit whenever he lectures in Asia, reported The New York Times.
Inside Higher Ed, April 17, 2007 ---

If Karl, instead of writing a lot about capital, had made a lot of it ... it would have been much better.
Karl Marx's Mother

Kids need love the most when they're acting most unlovable.
Erma Bombeck

Lawyer (n): Larval stage of Politician.
Author unknown

Laughter is a smile with the volume turned up.
Author unknown

Learn from the past
Live for today
Look for tomorrow
Take a nap this afternoon

Officials mistakenly released a prisoner from a Kentucky facility after receiving a phony fax that ordered him freed, and it took them nearly two weeks to realize it. The fax contained grammatical errors, was not typed on letterhead and was sent from a local grocery store. The fax falsely claimed that the Kentucky Supreme Court "demanded" Timothy Rouse be released. Rouse, 19, is charged with beating an elderly man and was at the Kentucky Correctional & Psychiatric Center in La Grange for a mental evaluation. He was released April 6 after officials received the fake court order. Lexington police arrested Rouse at his mother's home Thursday evening.
CBC.CA, April 22, 2007
Jensen Comment
It does not sound like the parties on both ends of this fax communication were bright light bulbs.

Virginia Tech Shockwaves

A very personal message from Bob Blystone, Professor of Biology at Trinity University ---
"August 1, 1966" as written in April 2007 ---

Virginia Tech:  Pictures of victims and a memorial video of the April 17 massacre.--- 

Gender Pay Gap Exists as Early as One Year out of College
New Research by The Association of University Women Says Women earn less even when working in the same career field, likely due to sex discrimination

New research released today by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation shows that just one year out of college, women working full time already earn less than their male colleagues, even when they work in the same field. Ten years after graduation, the pay gap widens.

In the report, Behind the Pay Gap, the AAUW Educational Foundation found that just one year after college graduation, women earn only 80 percent of what their male counterparts earn. Ten years after graduation, women fall further behind, earning only 69 percent of what men earn. Even after controlling for hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors known to affect earnings, the research indicates that one-quarter of the pay gap remains unexplained and is likely due to sex discrimination. Over time, the unexplained portion of the pay gap grows.

The research also shows that ten years after graduation, college-educated men working full time have more authority in the workplace than do their female counterparts. Men are more likely to be involved in hiring and firing, supervising others, and setting pay.

"By looking at earnings just one year out of college, you have as level a playing field as possible," said AAUW Director of Research Catherine Hill. "These employees don’t have a lot of experience and, for the most part, don’t have care-giving obligations, so you’d expect there to be very little difference in the wages of men and women. But surprisingly, and unfortunately, we find that women already earn less — even when they have the same major and occupation as their male counterparts."

The AAUW research also shows that this pay gap exists despite the fact that women outperform men in school – earning slightly higher GPAs than men in every college major, including science and mathematics.

"The persistence of the pay gap among young, college-educated, full-time workers suggests that educational achievement alone will not close the pay gap," Hill said. "We need to make workplaces more family-friendly, reduce sex segregation in education and in the workplace, and combat discrimination that continues to hold women back in the workplace."

"AAUW has worked successfully to create educational opportunities for women and girls," said Lisa Maatz, AAUW director of public policy and government relations. "It’s clear that barriers beyond schooling have prevented true pay equity, and AAUW continues to be a strong advocate for legislative efforts to address this discrimination."

The report also includes other findings:

"AAUW is dedicated to improving gender equity in the workplace as well as in education," said AAUW Educational Foundation President Barbara O’Connor. "The findings from Behind the Pay Gap are telling and disturbing. They show that equity remains an issue for women today."

Jensen Comment
It's interesting to compare the gender pay gap outcomes state-by-state, but it would've been better to factor out living cost differences state-by-state --- 
Women do best in Washington DC and surrounding states, but all of this is relative since housing costs are also astronomical in the  Washington DC metroplex.Women do worst in the Southeast, upper New England (except in Vermont), and Northwest.(except in Washington State). The 50th ranked state, however, is South Dakata. I suspect these rankings correlate heavily with male salary rankings as well.

One weakness of the above study is the issue of starting salary trends by career discipline. Women are unevenly spread among career disciplines with a low proportion in computer science, engineering, and finance, particularly in high paying securities sales brokerages. In many disciplines, women and minorities are given as much or more in starting salaries and other incentives.

Another weakness in the above study is a comparison by career fields in terms of initiatives and genuine progress being made to close the gender gap, especially in such fields as accountancy.

Not all disciplines have adapted equally and progressively to making careers more attractive for workers with child-rearing obligations. Technology has made it possible in many instances to work more and more out of the home. Accountancy is one of those careers where great strides have been made to adopting newer technologies and working environments friendly to parents.

The discipline of accountancy has also made great strides in the proportion of females in accounting careers and the proportion who become partners in public accounting firms, although the latter is not yet reached the 50-50 stage. We still have a long way to go.

Women Partners in the Big 4 Accounting Firms
For the tenth consecutive year, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP tops the Big Four accounting firms in percentage of women partners, principals and directors, according to Public Accounting Report's 2006 Survey of Women in Public Accounting. The survey revealed that Deloitte's percentage of women partners, principals and directors is currently 19.3 percent, surpassing that of KPMG (16.8 percent), Pricewaterhouse Coopers (15.8 percent) and Ernst & Young (13.5 percent). Deloitte has held this lead every year since the inception of the survey in 1997, according to Jonathan Hamilton, editor, Public Accounting Report.
SmartPros, December 26, 2006 ---

Women now make up more than 60 percent of all accountants and auditors in the United States, according to the Clarion-Ledger. That is an estimated 843,000 women in the accounting and auditing work force.
AccountingWeb, "Number of Female Accountants Increasing," June 2, 2006 ---

Jensen Comment
About thirteen years ago, Deloitte embarked on a "Women's Initiative" to help female employees break the glass ceiling ---,1042,sid=2261,00.htm
Concerted efforts are being made to close both the gender and minorities gap in accountancy.

Less Progress with African Americans
Millionaire RAP singers are making it very difficult to make education and professional career advances among African American males and females. This was emphasized in a very depressing Stop Snitchin' module on CBS Sixty Minutes on April 22, 2007. Although much of the module is devoted to RAP music's beating down on police, there is a definite undertone of the entire changed culture in the black urban communities, especially brainwashing and hate for anything related to business enterprise (except for the recording industry of course).
The CBS Sixty Minute home page is at

Hottest 25 Urban Legends (Updated) ---

If you want a cocktail, which one is "extra healthy?"

Strawberry daiquiris – the extra-healthy cocktail?
Strawberries are good for you, but serving them in daiquiri form may make them even healthier, scientists show. While exploring ways to help keep strawberries fresh during storage, researchers from Thailand and the US discovered that treating the berries with alcohol led to an increase in antioxidant capacity and free radical scavenging activity within the fruit. While such a boost helped the berries resist decay, the same compounds would also be expected to make the strawberries healthier to eat.
PhysOrg, April 19, 2007 ---

Jensen Comment
Of course you must factor in the sugar and calories of this cocktail and any cocktail. But people that constantly count calories are boring! Sugar is something to talk to your physician about.

What, apart from felony arrest or detected plagiarism, can get you cancelled as an invited speaker on a college campus?

"University of Southern Indiana Turnaround,"  Campus Report, by Glen Kissel, April 16, 2007 ---

Convicted criminal and violence promoting animal rights extremist, Gary Yourofsky, was invited to give a talk on “Ethical Veganism” to an “Introduction to Ethics” class here at USI on Monday April 2. A university press release invited the public as well.

I examined Yourofsky’s website, and found he supports murder and violence as part of his animal rights activism. For example, he states, “The time has come to forcibly free our family members [animals] from their captors, even if that means injuring or killing someone in the process.” Our university handbook states that outside speakers must “not advocate violation of any federal or state law.”

In addition, I discovered that a violent outburst by Yourofsky in 2003, led to the cancellation of his talk at East Tennessee State University

. I pointed out these and numerous other facts to the administration (Provost Linda Bennett). The ethics professor who had invited him was forced to back down and cancel the talk four hours before it was to begin. Yourofsky has given nearly 1200 talks across the country in the past 10 years, so he doesn’t get cancelled very often.

Glen J. Kissel, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering at the University of Southern Indiana.


If a stalker is after you, chances are he/she is reading your email and are prepared for character assassination

"Stalkers Go High Tech to Intimidate Victims," by Chris L. Jenkins, The Washington Post, April 14, 2007; Page A01 ---

The case had the makings of an eerie cyber-mystery: A young Alexandria woman told local police she suspected that her ex-boyfriend was tapping into her e-mail inbox from thousands of miles away, reading messages before she could and harassing the senders.

She was right to be suspicious. Her ex had hacked into her e-mail account, either guessing her password or using spyware -- software that can secretly read e-mails and survey cyber-traffic, law enforcement officials said. For months, apparently, he had followed her every online move, part of a pattern of abuse city police are still investigating.

Law enforcement officials and safety groups have focused on the Internet as an arena for such types of harassment as false impersonation and character assassination as more people voluntarily place their private lives on public display through Web sites such as and

But a little-discussed and more threatening phenomenon is also happening to the unwitting online and in the high-tech world: cyber-stalking, the illegal monitoring of private information and communication of ex-lovers and spouses as a form of domestic violence. The spurned often use global positioning systems, invasive computer programs, cellphone monitoring chips and tiny cameras to follow the whereabouts, goings-on and personal communications of unsuspecting victims.

Cases from across the country have shown that stalkers with little more than cursory computer knowledge have been able to track the e-mail and Web activity of current or recently divorced spouses. In other cases, some cellphones, outfitted with GPS chips, are secretly attached to cars, and the signals are then followed online.

A Fairfax County woman named Carol, who requested that her last name be withheld because her case is ongoing, said her ex-husband accessed her e-mail and confronted her with personal information she had shared only with a close family member.

The cyber-stalking came after weeks of harassing e-mails and traditional stalking behavior, such as peeking in her window. She's convinced that he presented the computer information to prove that he could violate her sense of security whenever and wherever he wanted, even after he moved out of the region. At one point he sent an e-mail saying "I know what you're doing" and recounted personal actions she had told a family member only via e-mail.

"When the stalking comes from someplace, anyplace, it makes you wonder what he's really capable of . . . what he was going to do next," Carol said. "He could have been anywhere at anytime looking into my life and getting to me. He could have seen anything, like legal documents I was forwarding; or where I was going to be. That's what I never knew."

Just as technology has opened a new realm of abuse to those who seek to stalk someone from afar, cyber-stalking, in turn, has opened a new avenue of violation. Victims feel powerless to stop others from reading legal documents and intimate correspondence as well as tracking their every online move.

"What's so disturbing for many victims is that they can be harassed or followed from anywhere," said Susan Folwell, manager of the Domestic Violence Grant Program at the Women's Center, a counseling and resource center in Vienna. She said she has worked with victims who have had GPS devices placed in children's backpacks and listening devices put in tote bags.

"Victims begin thinking, 'I'm totally powerless' and start wondering what they have to give up to stay safe," she added.

The scope of the activity is somewhat unclear, police officials and victims' rights advocates said. In many cases, those who are being stalked through the airwaves aren't aware that they are being monitored. And evidence is difficult to gather, so police officials often don't feel they have enough to clinch prosecution.

Continued in article

State Department Got Mail -- and Hackers
A break-in targeting State Department computers worldwide last summer occurred after a department employee in Asia opened a mysterious e-mail that quietly allowed hackers inside the U.S. government's network.
PhysOrg, April 19, 2007 ---

Want to know about a super secret site?
There's a huge danger from disgruntled and/or opportunist employees

HF's contention is that antivirus companies benefit from keeping their customers just one step ahead of the next big malware attack. In other words, why bother to invest the time and money creating a revolutionary anti-malware engine when companies are willing to pay to upgrade regularly?
"Getting to the Root of Rootkits," by Larry Greenemeier, InformationWeek Newsletter, January 19, 2006

The futility of today's model for antivirus protection is fairly obvious. Plug one hole in the dike and another will sprout. Pretty soon, you're running out of fingers and toes to hold back the flood. It gets worse. Attackers without the skill to create their own malicious hacks can outsource their dirty business to others who will write the code for them and then offer services that keep these rootkits from being detected.

One of the most prominent rootkit suppliers is the Hacker Defender site, which I learned about during an interview with Herbert Thompson, Ph.D., chief security strategist for Security Innovation Inc., a provider of application security services. Worse than simply selling rootkits to the masses, Hacker Defender also offers anti-detection services that will help ensure that its rootkits aren't detected by antivirus and other malware-prevention software.

These third-party rootkits could be used by an employee who's about to leave an organization or someone who thinks he or she will be fired and would love to keep control within a network, Thompson told me. It's incredibly difficult for law enforcement to gather evidence against someone selling hacks or botnets, unless they slip up somehow. "If they are doing it from their house, they are traceable; but what about if they're doing business from kiosks or libraries?" Thompson asks.

When I asked Thompson how a site trying so hard to protect its identity (the person running the site refers to himself only as Holy Father) could collect for its services, he told me that the answer is E-gold. Excuse me? He told me about one West Indies company, E-gold Ltd., that doesn't possess any national currency of any nation and has no bank accounts. "They don't trade in any sovereign currency, so they avoid the scrutiny of the Secret Service," Thompson says.

Like most tech pros who make a living selling security to defend against attacks, Thompson couldn't give me a good explanation of why someone would trade in malicious code, other than to make money. Of course, if you're that skilled a programmer, there are lots of ways to make money. I decided to bless myself and E-mail Holy_Father.

To my surprise, he actually got back to me within a few hours. HF claims that it's because of his work--he launched the site in 2002--that so many people even know what a rootkit is. Of course, he had a lot of help from Sony.

HF's contention is that antivirus companies benefit from keeping their customers just one step ahead of the next big malware attack. In other words, why bother to invest the time and money creating a revolutionary anti-malware engine when companies are willing to pay to upgrade regularly? Sounds to me like he's accusing the software market of complacency. I suppose he wouldn't be the first. What's your take? Are the software companies being complacent? Is there anything the white hats can do to win the chess match?

The Hacker Defender site is at

More on security threats and hoaxes ---

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and network security are at

Bob Jensen's threads about hacking are at

Drexel University allegedly commits egregious offense and refuses to apologize
Since April 2005, Drexel has received $124,000 from Education Finance Partners, based in San Francisco, and is owed an additional $126,000 in exchange for designating it as Drexel’s “sole preferred private loan provider,” according to a letter Mr. Cuomo’s office sent to Drexel yesterday. “I call this opening another front,” Mr. Cuomo said in an interview. “Drexel participated in revenue-sharing, which I consider to be the most egregious activity that we’ve found at any institution, and they did it to one of the greatest extents in the country, meaning they received more money back. “Also, they refused to settle,” he said.
Sam Dillon, "New York Plans to Sue Drexel U. in Loans Inquiry," The New York Times, April 20, 2007 ---

Nelnet, a major student loan company, yesterday offered a broad accounting of many often unpublicized relationships it has established with universities and their senior officials, including managing telephone call centers, paying college officials for speaking engagements and giving plane tickets to financial aid officers.
Sam Dillon, "Student Lender Discloses Ties to Colleges That Included Gifts to Officials," The New York Times, April 21, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on financial and academic lack of integrity in higher education are at

What manufacturer ships the most PCs in the world?
Hint: It was recently indicted for paying kickbacks for government business

"Gartner Says HP No. 1 in Worldwide PC Shipments," by May Wong, PhysOrg, April 19, 2007 ---

Do you remember when Accenture was called Andersen Consulting and was founded by the Arthur Andersen accounting firm?

"Government Sues Accenture, Sun & HP for Kickbacks and Fraud," Wired News, April 20, 2007 ---

The Justice Department has joined three whistleblower lawsuits targeting Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and consulting giant Accenture, all of which prosecutors say defrauded the government of millions of dollars through kickbacks and rebates on massive government IT projects, according to an announcement Thursday.

The suits center on Accenture, which the government hired to help it evaluate new technology and make sure the government got the right equipment at a fair price. But the government charges that instead Accenture made $4 million cash in kickbacks from companies who landed contracts with the government through Accenture's recommendations.

The government also charges that Accenture made $26 million by negotiating wholesale hardware deals with vendors such as Sun and Hewlett Packard, then selling them at higher prices to the government -- despite being paid by the government to be its agent. Accenture signed marketing and rebate agreements with a stunning array of large American technology companies, according to the complaint, including Acxiom, Cisco, Compaq, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, J.D. Edwards, Microsoft, NCR, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP, Siebel, Sun, Unisys, BEA, Broadvision, SAS, Seisent, and Vignette.

According to the Accenture complaint:

The United States alleges that since October 1998 and continuing up to the present, Defendants have exploited the trust the Government has reposed in them to act with honesty and candor; to provide accurate, complete and current cost and/or pricing data; to act without conflicts of interest; and to serve as independent third party objective advisors.

The government is seeking three times the amount of its losses, along with fines for lying to and defrauding the government.  Norman Rille and Neal Roberts, the whistleblowing duo who originally filed the suits in September 2004, would share in any recovered damages under federal whistleblower laws.

Specifically the government alleges that Accenture:

  • Illegally kept $16,865,314 from one Defense Logistics Agency contract through agreements with SAP, Oracle, HP, and Northrup Grumman, among others
  • Kept $2.5 million in rebates from a Department of Education contract
  • Kept more than $2 million from Sun in rebate fees between 2003 and 2005
  • Booked a $450,000 kickback from IBM for "favorable treatment and influence" on a contract to run the Air Force AAFES – an online store for soldiers
  • Bilked the Department of Homeland Security out of $676,964 for the US-VISIT program that is intended to track visitors to the country

The government did not join similar suits filed by the whistleblowers against Lockheed Martin, Oracle, Cisco and SAIC. The suits were filed in the Eastern Arkansas Federal District Court.

PDFs of the complaints: Accenture, Sun, Hewlett-Packard

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

Impossibility of reducing the size and scope of government.
Award-winning journalist Jonathan Rauch on the need for--and impossibility of--reducing the size and scope of government.
Nick Gillespie, "The Radical Incrementalist," Reason Magazine, April 20, 2007 ---

Few political journalists command as much respect, admiration, and recognition among their peers as Jonathan Rauch, a senior writer and columnist for National Journal magazine in Washington, a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, and a regular presence at Reason Online. Born in Phoenix in 1960, he is the author of a string of highly praised and provocative books including Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America (2004), Demosclerosis: The Silent Killer of American Government (1994), and Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought (1993).

In 2005, Rauch took home a National Magazine Award, the industry's highest honor, for his National Journal column, "Social Studies." His writings, reads the prize commendation, are "reasoned, heartfelt and persuasive even at their most contrarian, they bring Washington's policy debates to life."

Such compliments grossly understate not only the value of Rauch's analysis but the punch of his prose. In a world in which political discourse tends to veer from insane overstatement (think Ann Coulter) to plodding conventionalism (David Broder) to barely disguised partisanship (Paul Krugman), Rauch's independence of thought is incredibly rare. Whatever the topic, he consistently engages (and typically dismantles) the conventional wisdom. In a recent National Journal piece on global warming, for instance, he argues, "climate change is real and deserves action, but...the problem is nowhere near as overwhelming as the rhetoric commonly suggests, and the solutions nowhere near as difficult. As problems go, in fact, climate change appears to be one of the most convenient that humankind has ever faced."

Equally prized--and equally rare--is his dedication to digging out the facts, presenting them fairly, and then walking his readers through his analysis. Journalism, he argues, should be "fact-driven." If there's a contemporary trend he despises, it's "the idea that the journalist and the journalist's attitude should be front and center....[New York Times' columnist] Maureen Dowd is very good at what she does. But the problem is that lots of people who aren't any good at it think this is journalism."

Rauch, whose work is archived here, has written about a dizzying array of topics, ranging from introversion to bodybuilding to Japanese economic policy. He writes regularly--and always forcefully--about how government grows and grows and grows--and about the benefits of a society that defends free expression and unfettered inquiry, no matter how upsetting that process may be. The United States, says Rauch, "has always been an open society relative to the rest of the world. Compared to the rest of the world, we've always been a market leader in harnessing the power of the open society and decentralized solutions and individual and family initiatives to solve problems."

No doctrinaire libertarian, Rauch's thought nonetheless is deeply rooted in the classical liberal tradition. The particular appeal of America, he says, "has a lot to do with this being a society that's creedal rather than ethnic fundamentally and that the creed is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

In February, Reason Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie talked with Rauch about the 2008 presidential race, the Iraq War, the state of contemporary journalism, and more.

reason: You participated in our February cover package about the "long-awaited, much-anticipated return of gridlock" in the federal government, writing, "Divided government is back, and with it the check on ideological excess and political machine building that has been lacking for four wretched years. Both parties do better when each is watched and checked by the other." Do you feel confident that both parties will do better now?

Jonathan Rauch: Confident would be putting it too strongly (laughs). If I've learned anything in 25 years in Washington, it's that you should never be confident about predictions because you know only that you'll be proven wrong. But that said, yeah, it's already better.

Congress passed the pay-as-you-go rule, so that's a substantive improvement right there. That's going to really bite into spending, though [officials] haven't quite figured that out yet. By 2008-2009, that's really going to put Congress's back to the wall. Second, on Iraq, with the Democrats now sending signals that they're out of patience, that's already having a salutary effect on the government of Iraq. The bad cop has entered the room. It's now clear to [Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki that he's really only got one more chance. There are now actually stakes for failure over there. That doesn't mean that the venture will succeed but I think that Democrats have already played a very positive role and, in fact, almost perversely helped give Bush a last shot at least some possibility of success when otherwise it would've had zero.

reason: What do you think will be the three top issues in the 2008 presidential race?

Rauch: No. 1, Iraq. No. 2, Iraq. No. 3, probably either Iraq or Iraq. It may be Iraq.

It's looks like a pretty foreign policy-dominated period, but you never know. We might get some kind of interesting reform through. It might be immigration. It might be taxes. The dark horse is that a reformist farm bill might happen and that would be really interesting and worth doing.

reason: You're rare among journalists that you admit it when your analyses don't pan out. In December 2005, you wrote that the pullout from Iraq had already begun. "So, by spring [2006], if not earlier, Bush will announce that progress in Iraq allows U.S. forces to start coming home," you argued. "He will say that an American drawdown is the best way to help the Iraqis stand on their own. He will argue, much as he did with his tax cuts, that whatever pace he sets is precisely the right pace, and that withdrawing any faster or slower would be the height of irresponsibility. He may also say that withdrawing is 'not a formula for getting out of [the region], but one that provided the only sound basis for America's staying in and continuing to play a responsible role.'" Your conclusion was a great kicker: "Those were the words of Richard Nixon, who, somewhere, is wanly smiling."

Two questions for you: What went wrong with that prediction? It seemed absolutely accurate and prescient to me at the time--of course Bush would realize the need to get out, especially well before the midterm elections. So what happened that changed in Bush's calculus? And perhaps more important for our purposes here: As a journalist, how do you deal with predictions or stories that go wrong? How do you address that in your work?

Rauch: I can tell you more about the second question first. Yeah, that was a brilliant column. Too bad it was completely wrong. Other than that, it was a brilliant column and by blogosphere standards, that's I suppose the end of the story. I honestly thought that Bush would look at the prospect of losing one or both houses of Congress and decide that he just didn't want that and that it would be better to get on the right side of the voters on this issue by getting some form of withdrawal. My guess-it's only a guess, it's not based on any inside information-my guess is that Karl Rove saw this coming and did not want this to happen. What I misunderstood is that not long after I wrote that column, the White House had already crossed the bridge into saying, We're going to take our lumps on the election, we're staying, and that's that. We will not hear any arguments to the contrary. I clearly underestimated Bush's determination to stay on the course.

Everybody makes [mistakes]; it's par for the course. What I have learned is not to be too sure I'm right. The world is much more surprising than we give it credit for. That's part of my political philosophy, my philosophy of life. That's really fundamental to it: Trial and error is really the only thing in life that works ultimately over the long term. Journalism is like that, too, so we need to be honest about our mistakes. We often aren't enough. Everybody makes mistakes. And we need to be a little bit cautious about making predictions.

reason: What do you think about the state of political reporting these days?

Continued in article

Helpers for Starting and Finishing the Writing of Your First Book

Walter Mosley, author of 25 books, gives tips, tricks and practical advice for stalled writers in his new book, This Year You Write Your Novel.
"Stop Reading and Start Writing," NPR, April 17, 2007 ---

Excerpt: 'This Year You Write Your Novel'

3. Where to Begin

First words

Probably the highest hurdle for the novice novelist (and many seasoned veterans) is writing the first few words. That beginning is a very emotional moment for most of us.

There are all kinds of ways for people to cajole themselves into starting their book. Some get a special pen or a particular desk set at a window looking out on something beautiful. Others play a favorite piece of music, light a candle, burn incense, or set up some other ritual that makes them feel empowered and optimistic. If this is what you find you must do to write — well… okay. Rituals frighten me. I worry that if I need a special pen or desk or scent to start me out, what will happen when I lose that pen or I'm on vacation or a business trip and my window looks out on the city dump?

My only ritual for writing is that I do it every morning. I wake up and get to work. If I'm in a motel in Mobile — so be it. If I am up all night, and morning is two o'clock in the afternoon, well, that's okay too.

The only thing that matters is that you write, write, write. It doesn't have to be good writing. As a matter of fact, almost all first drafts are pretty bad. What matters is that you get down the words on the page or the screen — or into the tape recorder, if you work like that.

Your first sentence will start you out, but don't let it trip you up.

If you are the intuitive type, just sit down and start writing the novel:

Lamont had only enough cash to buy half a pint of whiskey at Bob's Liquor Emporium, but he knew it wouldn't be enough. Ragman was dead, and that was at least a quart's worth of mourning.

What does it mean? How should I know? Those were the first words that came out. I'm not going to worry about it; I'm just going to keep on writing until either something clicks or I lose momentum. If it doesn't seem to be working, I'll start with a new first sentence. I'll keep on like that until something strikes my fancy and I have enough of a handle on the story to continue.

The next morning I read what I wrote the day before, making only the most superficial changes, and then continue on my way. This is all you have to do. Sit down once a day to the novel and start working without internal criticism, without debilitating expectations, without the need to look at your words as if they were already printed and bound.

The beginning is only a draft. Drafts are imperfect by definition.

If you are the structured kind of writer, you might start by getting the outline of your novel down on paper. You know the story already, but now you have to get it down scene after scene, chapter after chapter.

Every day, you sit down, just like the intuitive writer, writing what it is you think your story is about. You discover new characters, add little thumbnail sketches of them; you make notes about the feeling you want to get here and there. You create the whole book out of bulleted phrases and sentences, paragraphs and maybe even flowcharts.

Finally the day will arrive when you come to the end of the outline. The story is set, at least theoretically, and now you must follow the road that the intuitive writer takes. You sit down with your outline somewhere in the room and start writing the prose. You begin with a sentence and keep on going. Maybe you will follow the plan assiduously; maybe you will be diverted onto another path that will lead you far from your original ideas.

Whatever the case, the work is the same. Some days will be rough, unbearable; some will be sublime. Pay no attention to these feelings. All you have to do is write your novel this year. Happy or sad, the story has to come out.

Stick to your schedule. Try to write a certain amount every day — let's say somewhere between 600 and 1,200 words. Do not labor over what's been written. Go over yesterday's work cursorily to reorient yourself, then move on. If you find at some point that you have lost the thread of your story, take a few days to reread all you have written, not with the intention of rewriting (though a little editing is unavoidable) but with the intention of refamiliarizing yourself with the entire work.

Using this method, you should have a first draft of the novel in about three months. It won't be publishable. It won't be pretty. It probably won't make logical sense. But none of that matters. What you will have in front of you is the heart of the book that you wish to write.

There is no greater moment in the true writer's life.

Your first draft is like a rich uncultivated field for the farmer: it is waiting for you to bring it into full bloom.

The midlands of the novel

The beginning of the novel is hard, but it's only a few sentences and you're off on your tale. The end is also difficult because it has to make sense out of all that's gone before. In the rewriting phase of your process, you may spend weeks worrying over a satisfying end point.

But despite all this, it is the middle of your novel, that great expanse of storytelling, that is the most difficult part. How, you ask yourself, do I keep the story going for all those hundreds of pages?

What you have to remember is that a novel is the one and the many. There is an overarching story, and then there are all the smaller narratives that come together to make up that larger tale.

So in the case of Bob, Ramona, and Lyle, we have many bases to cover before we can come to a satisfying conclusion. Ramona must come into sync (through conflict) with Bob and Lyle: the same is true for Lyle and his father. We also have the police, the criminals, the judicial system, and Bob's in-laws to understand. Each character and element involved in the circumstances of this tragedy must be plumbed for us to understand and feel the evolution of that character — especially Bob's.

Keeping these notions in mind, you will find that the novel in some important way writes itself. You know the characters; you know the circumstances — now you must make sure that the reader is aware of every factor that makes up the tale.

You will find yourself in the cell with more than one murderer. You will find yourself in Bob's and Lyle's memories of their lost family members. You will experience the police officer's exasperation with Bob's apparent cowardice. You will come to understand Bob's loveless life, and then you will see how, in a very different way, Ramona has always sought after love.

And with each one of these substories, more of the larger tale will be revealed. Is it a story of forgiveness or retribution, a slow death or a rebirth?

The midlands of your novel can be treacherous, but the map is in the beginning of your story, where the characters are introduced and the conflict occurs. How this conflict is resolved is the content of your tale. There are many strands that must come together into a whole cloth — this is your novel.


There will be moments when you will want to dally over details. Do Georgia geese fly south in April or June? Is it physically possible for Bob Millar to hear the cult leader yelling from a mile away — even in a desert? Would the police arrest Trip if the women were allowed into the bar and were served by the owner?

All of these questions are valid. Before the book gets into print, you should have the answers. But many writers allow questions like these to help them procrastinate. They tell themselves that they can't go on until these questions are answered.

Nonsense. Put a red question mark next to the place where you have questions and get back to it later.

I almost always do the research for my books toward the end of the last draft. By that time I know the book is written and that my creative energies will not be sapped by needless fretting.

I have to admit that I'm not the best source when it comes to research. It's not one of my strong suits. I write books about places I've been and people I like to think I understand.

I've known writers who have spent years in libraries and foreign lands researching the topics of their novels. There's nothing I can say about that. If you need to go to South Africa for a month (or five years) to get the feeling for your book, then do it. When you come back and you're ready to write, my little how-to book will be waiting for you. Then you can take the necessary to write the novel.

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

Bob Jensen's links to free electronic literature are at

Is the job outlook for new college graduates better or worse?

A number of surveys suggest that employers are hiring more grads and offering higher starting salaries.
Jack Speer, "Job Market Welcoming to New Grads," NPR, April 20, 2007 ---

Salary is only a part of the compensation. If the starting salary is $50,000 per year, what are the added fringe benefits?

Some of the starting benefits compensation add-ons run as high as 30% of the starting salary --- 

Jensen Comment
Nothing is said in the above program about accounting salaries, but chemical engineering undergraduates can now expect around $60,000 per year whereas marketing undergraduates can expect $41,000. Of course salaries vary greatly with geographic location, size of the employing company, specialty skills, willingness to travel, and willingness to accept risk such as sales commission revenue that is especially common in securities brokering business firms.

Most accounting graduates move on to some type of masters of accounting advanced degree because of the 150-credit requirement to sit for the CPA examination in most states of the U.S.

Graduate school is generally not a bad idea, but the cost and benefits vary greatly with the reputation of the college and the specialization in graduate school.

"Was Earning That Harvard M.B.A. Worth It?" by Abby Ellin, The New York Times, June 11, 2006 --- Click Here

THE popularity of the (MBA) degrees has surged. In 1970, for example, business schools handed out 26,490 M.B.A.'s, according to the Department of Education. By 2004, after a period marked by an economic boom and heightened competition for top-flight business careers, that figure had jumped to 139,347. But opinion and data appear divided on the tangible benefits of an M.B.A.

. . .

In 2003, Professor Mintzberg tracked the performance of 19 students who graduated from the Harvard Business School in 1990 and were at the top of their class academically. Ten of the 19 were "utter failures," he said. "Another four were very questionable, at least," he added. "So five out of 19 did well."

Research varies on the value of an M.B.A. A 2006 study by the Lubin School of Business at Pace University, looking at 482 companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange, found that only 162 of them had chief executives with graduate degrees in business. The companies with chief executives who went to more prestigious schools did no better than those who went to less prestigious schools, according to the study. Why this was so is unclear.

"One possibility is that if you don't have a graduate degree from a top school then you have to work that much harder to succeed," said Aron A. Gottesman, an associate professor at Pace and a co-author of the study.

On the other hand, Professor Gottesman and a colleague found in a separate study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Empirical Finance, that mutual fund managers with M.B.A.'s from BusinessWeek's 30 top-ranked business schools — including Harvard — generally outperformed other mutual fund managers. Professor Gottesman is not sure why this was so, either. "One possibility is that at higher-quality schools they simply teach better technical skills," he speculated. "Or students at top-tier schools have a higher I.Q."

Continued in article


How to Find Full-Length TV Shows on the Internet

"Surfing TV on the Internet:  Video-search company Blinkx is offering a new, easy tool for finding full-length TV shows online," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, April 18, 2007 --- 

"AOL, hoping to win more ad dollars, beats TV networks in race to show off upcoming programs," MIT's Technology Review, April 18, 2007 ---

The Math Worksheet Site --- 

Bob Jensen's links to math helpers and tutorials are at

Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art ---

Bob Jensen's links to art helpers and tutorials are at ---

Microscope Imaging Station ---

The Marine Advanced Technology Education Center ---

Bob Jensen's threads on science and medicine helpers and tutorials are at 

Are you paying by the hour for your electrician, plumber, and the like to talk on the cell phone with other customers? What can you do about it without a confrontation?

When I recently had an electrician do a job for me, I noticed that he hung on the cell phone about half the time talking with other customers. Before cell phones, a billed hour of work was pretty much for an hour of work. Now it might be for a half hour of work and another half hour on a cell phone. Then I remembered that when lining up my electrician for this job (wiring for our new lift), I spent about a half hour with him while he was on somebody else's time while talking with me on a cell phone.

It may be best to get a job estimate rather than pay by the hour. That way you don't have to pay extra when he/she gets cell phone calls while on your job. Cell phones have dramatically changed both our personal and working lives. Erika and I still refuse give our cell phone number to anybody, in part, because we never turn it on except to make a call out. Does that mean we would rather talk than listen? (Sigh!)

Most big-name computer manufacturers offer their own recycling programs,
some of which come right to your door.

"Where Computers Go When They Die:  As More People Upgrade, Recycling Becomes a Concern; Shredding Your Hard Drive," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2007; Page D1 ---

Which company does what?

Dell Inc. offers home pickup of any old Dell equipment anytime, free. It will also pick up any brand of computer or printer free with the purchase of a new Dell PC or printer. Details can be found at

Hewlett-Packard Co.'s recycling procedures are a bit more complicated. At anytime, the company offers to pick up and recycle your old equipment, regardless of brand, but charges $13 to $34 per product for shipping and handling. You will be compensated for each product with a $30 to $50 coupon to be used at, where you can buy products from H-P. Recycling details for H-P can be found at

Lenovo's ThinkPlus Recycling Service offers prepaid shipping labels for $30 each to be used for sending any manufacturer's old system, monitor, printer and peripherals to Lenovo for recycling or refurbishment. Lenovo doesn't offer a home pick-up service. Once received, Lenovo uses a designated center to recycle your materials and sends reusable equipment to Gifts In Kind International, a charity specializing in product philanthropy.

Apple is different still. Like Lenovo, it doesn't offer home pick-up but will receive all brands so long as you buy a $30 shipping label from the company's Web site. With the purchase of any new Mac through Apple's Web site or at one of its retail stores, you'll receive an email with instructions and shipping codes for up to two prepaid boxes. These can be used for shipping any old equipment, regardless of manufacturer, to Apple for recycling. Details can be found at:

Apple's retail stores will accept all manufacturers' rechargeable batteries as part of a program run by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp., a nonprofit organization. These stores also accept unwanted iPods for recycling and take 10% off the purchase of a new iPod in exchange for your old one.

What about my data?

When recycling, almost all companies vow to mechanically shred your hard drive. But they also suggest that you take responsibility for your data and delete them to be safe.

Various software programs let you clear out your hard disk on your own. Symantec's Wipe Info in Norton Utilities and System Works ( will help on Windows PCs and Macs. Webroot Software Inc.'s Window Washer ( is another option for Windows, and Jiiva Inc.'s SuperScrubber ( is an alternative for Macs. I haven't tested these programs, and there are many others that do the same thing.

What happens to my computer?

Generally speaking, after your computer is sent to a recycling plant, it is disassembled and its materials are separated, melted down and reused. H-P, which has been recycling computers since 1987, says it will have collected and recycled one billion pounds of used products by the end of this year. The company uses some materials over again in its own products, such as plastics that are melted down, combined with plastics from recycled water bottles and used to make one of H-P's scanners.

Recycling alternatives

Plenty of other groups, such as the National Cristina Foundation ( and Share the Technology ( specialize in distributing reusable computers to people or organizations in need of computers.

For the most part, the best systems for reuse are those that are less than five years old. A good rule of thumb is to donate your computer as soon as possible, so you don't forget about it before it becomes outdated.

Microsoft specializes in PC refurbishment by partnering with TechSoup, a tech nonprofit, and by labeling groups as Microsoft Authorized Refurbishers. These groups, which are located around the world, receive low-cost software licenses so they can install Windows and Office programs on refurbished computers for distribution to low-income families, nonprofit and educational institutions. In the U.S. alone, over 100,000 licenses have been supplied to 400 such groups. A list of them can be found here:

With Earth Day coming on April 22nd and "going green" becoming a fashionable proclamation, you're sure to find more and more options for recycling your computer or sending it away to someone who can refurbish it. One way or another, your old computer can be used for much more than gathering dust in a basement corner.

"Google Makes $1 Billion 1st-Quarter Profit," by Sam Diaz, The Washington Post, April 20, 2007 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
This is up 69% from the same quarter last year.

A BBC video about this profit performance will be available for a short time at

or try my snipped version at 

"Google targets PowerPoint (as well as MS Word and Excel)," by Asher Moses, Sydney Morning Herald, April 18, 2007 ---

The days of Microsoft being able to charge up to $1150 for its Office software suite may be numbered.

Free office tools, such as Google's Docs & Spreadsheets and OpenOffice, are increasingly offering many of the core features of Microsoft's cash-cow, and have established themselves as attractive alternatives for mainstream consumers.

Today, Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco that, by later this year, Docs & Spreadsheets would allow users to create presentations - much like Microsoft's PowerPoint.

It can already be used to create spreadsheets and word documents, while companion services Gmail and Calendar are increasingly being used as an alternative to Microsoft Outlook.

The presentations feature will use technology from Melbourne- and San Francisco-based Tonic Systems, which Google has just acquired for an undisclosed sum. Tonic's Melbourne office did not return calls seeking comment.

But while Google's office tools are free, Microsoft charges $1150 for Office 2007 Ultimate and $249 for the Home and Student edition.

Microsoft justifies these prices by saying the free offerings such as Google's are "basic" and that Office provides a slew of extra features.

However, according to Microsoft's own research, which was released last year during a prelaunch briefing on Office 2007 and Vista, most Office users infrequently use the more advanced features anyway.

There are already signs that Microsoft is being pressured by free office suites to reduce its prices; for Australian university students, it is offering an almost 95 per cent discount on Office 2007 through the website It's Not Cheating.

The massive discount shows how high Microsoft's margins are for Office. The suite accounts for roughly 30 per cent of Microsoft's income and there are more than 450 million users worldwide.

In addition to being free, the online nature of suites such as Docs & Spreadsheets make it far easier for home users and small business to collaborate on single documents in realtime.

"Now students, writers, teachers, organizers, and, well, just about everyone who uses a computer can look forward to having real-time, web-based collaboration across even more common business document formats," Google engineering director Sam Schillace wrote in an official Google blog post announcing the upcoming presentations feature.

But despite the obvious threat the free suites pose to Microsoft Office, Google's chief executive maintains that Office and Doc's & Spreadsheets are not competing.

When the question was asked during his keynote address at the Web 2.0 Expo, Mr Schmidt said: "We don't think so. It [Docs & Spreadsheets] doesn't have all the functionality, nor is it intended to have the functionality of products like Microsoft Office."

Analysts, however, are not convinced by Google's spin.

In a recent report, Gartner analyst Matthew Cain said: "Google represents the most significant threat ever to Microsoft hegemony in the e-mail and personal productivity application space, which we believe is causing the Redmond giant to alter its ... pricing models."

More Online Readers Than Print Readers
The newsroom at, the website of The Washington Post, is not so different from that of a print newspaper, with one notable exception: At a time when newsrooms across the country have empty desks from recent buyouts and layoffs, staff numbers here are expanding to fill every available nook and cranny. is a success story in an industry where the divide between vibrant online ventures and shrinking print products is increasingly sharp. But even the Post has no idea how long that success will last, how much money it can make from the venture, or who exactly its competition is.
"Web vs. Print: Online Successes at One Newspaper Raise More Questions Than They Answer," Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, Knowledge@Wharton, April 4, 2007 --- Click Here 

"A New Biofuel: PropanePropane chemically derived from corn could be used in heating and transportation," by Katherine Bourzac, MIT's Technology Review, April 19, 2007 ---

Late Tax Scam Discovered, Says IRS, SmartPros, April 16, 2007 ---

The Internal Revenue Service learned late Friday of a new tax scam on the Internet that lures taxpayers into filing tax information on a site masquerading as a member of the Free File Alliance.

The latest twist on tax scams involves tax preparation Web sites that inaccurately say they are part of the Free File Alliance, a partnership between 19 tax software companies and the IRS, for taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $52,000 or less.

The IRS said it is working with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to look into allegations that the Web sites -- which were not identified -- accepted tax information from taxpayers, changed the taxpayers’ bank account numbers to their own and then filed the return through a legitimate Free File partner.

The IRS reminded taxpayers the only place to access the Free File program is through the official Web site.

Seventy percent of the nation's taxpayers are eligible to use the free electronic filing system, although the IRS says few taxpayers take advantage of the program.

Bob Jensen's threads on tax scams are at

What is the SEC's new NMS?

In the best possible marketplace, all buyers see the prices asked by all sellers and all sellers see the prices offered by all buyers -- and little guys are treated the same as big ones. The result: competition that insures the most efficient interplay of supply and demand. In theory, it sounds great. And indeed, this is the idea behind the Security and Exchange Commission's push for an integrated stock market called the National Market System, or NMS. But could the best intentions backfire? Wharton finance professor Marshall E. Blume answers that question in a new research paper titled, "Competition and Fragmentation in the Equity Markets: The Effect of Regulation NMS."
"Will the SEC's National Market System Stifle the Innovation It Hopes to Promote?" Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, Knowledge@Wharton, April 4, 2007 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen’s "Rotten to the Core" threads are at 

"Is Gold a Hedge Or a Safe Haven? An Analysis of Stocks, Bonds and Gold," by Dirk Baur and Brian M. Lucey, SSRN, December 2006 ---
As linked in Jim Mahar's blog on April 16, 2007 ---

This paper addresses two questions. First, we investigate whether gold is a hedge against stocks and/or bonds and second, we investigate whether gold is a safe haven for investors if either stocks or bonds fall. A safe haven is defined as a security that loses none of its value in case of a market crash. This is couterpoised against a hedge, defined as a security that does not co-move with stocks or bonds on average. We study constant and time-varying relationships between stocks, bonds and gold in order to investigate the existence of a hedge and a safe haven. The empirical analysis examines US, UK and German stock and bond prices and returns and their relationship with the Gold price. We find that (i) Gold is a hedge against stocks, (ii) Gold is a safe haven in extreme stock market conditions and (iii) Gold is a safe haven for stocks only for 15 trading days after an extreme shock occurred.

Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at

Interest Rate Swaps: Accounting Vs. Economics

April 18, 2007 message from Ira Kawaller []

Hi Bob,

Whether swapping from fixed cash flows to floating, or vise versa, interest rate swap contracts can be tailored to satisfy these objectives perfectly. And yet despite performing precisely as advertised, these hedges may still fail to satisfy hedge effectiveness tests that serve as prerequisites for applying hedge accounting. This article details when and why this seemingly perverse situation arises, and it offers suggestions as to how to accommodate to this difficulty.


Kawaller & Co.
162 State Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
  Phone: 718-694-6270
Fax: 413-460-1819

Web site:

Jensen Comment
You can download Ira's paper from

Bob Jensen's tutorials on FAS 133 and IAS 39 are at

Bob Jensen's seminar materials that I take on the road can be found at

In particular, for hedge effectiveness tests, go to the 06effectiveness.ppt file at

  • Question
    In terms of earnings expectations, should a black student graduate from a historically black college or another college? How have the earnings expectations changed over time?

    In the 1970s, when many of the most prestigious American colleges were just beginning to actively recruit black students, an economic-driven calculus would have sent a student to a black college. Now, according to the authors, the opposite is true, and graduates of black colleges have seen a significant decline in relative wages over the course of the two decades studied. In addition, in a separate comparison, the scholars looked at elite black colleges and found significant declines in the proportion of students — compared to black students at predominantly white institutions — who would pick the same college again, who felt prepared for working alongside other racial groups, and who felt their leadership skills had been developed. (Black college students, however, in the latter comparison were more likely to be engaged in social or political activities.) The question, of course, is: What does all of this mean? The study was released Wednesday by the National Bureau of Economic Research and an abstract is available here. The authors of the study — Roland G. Fryer, an assistant
    Scott Jaschik, "Changing Times for Black Colleges," Inside Higher Ed, April 19, 2007 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

    "Tips for Getting Past Some of the Hassles Of Buying a New PC," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2007, Page B1 ---

    Whew! The new Windows Vista operating system, five years in the making, is finally out and preloaded on new PCs from every major Windows computer maker. After months of uncertainty and delay, you can go forth with confidence and buy a new computer, right? Well, it's not that simple.

    So, here's my annual spring buyer's guide to desktop PCs. Most of what I say below also applies to laptops, although with laptops there are additional factors, such as size, weight, screen size and battery life. As always, these tips apply to mainstream users doing typical tasks, not hard-core gamers or techies.

    Last fall, I advised average consumers with aging PCs to hang on until new Vista PCs emerged, rather than trying to upgrade existing models. I still believe that was the right course, because Windows upgrades are so tricky. But it turns out that even new Vista PCs have two big downsides.

    First, Vista isn't all that exciting a replacement for Windows XP. It's much prettier and has much better searching, and Microsoft claims it has much stronger security, although you still need add-on security software.

    Second, to an extent that amazes me, makers of Windows software and hardware have failed to update their products to work smoothly, or to work at all, with Vista. In my house, for example, the only built-in Vista printer driver I can find for my printer doesn't allow the two-sided printing I can do with Windows XP and Apple Macintosh computers.

    So, if you desperately need a new Windows PC, be prepared to be underwhelmed and to be frustrated by incompatible software and hardware. And if you're not desperate, you might wait another six months or so for the software and hardware to catch up -- and for Microsoft to issue some bug fixes.

    Or you could buy a Mac instead. I still believe the best desktop computer on the market for mainstream, nontechnical consumers is the Apple iMac. It has gorgeous hardware and superior built-in software. Its operating system, Mac OS X, includes most of the key new features of Vista. And the iMac can even run Vista, along with its own operating system, if you need the occasional Windows program.

    Apple has delayed until October the release of its new operating-system version, Leopard. But it's almost certain that any Mac you buy now will upgrade to it smoothly. (See my Mossberg's Mailbox for more details.) And the Mac is still largely free of the security problems that add such hassles to using a Windows PC.

    But if you're going for a Windows PC, here are my buying tips.

    Vista Versions: The cheapest PCs will have only a stripped-down edition of Vista called Home Basic, which lacks Vista's flashy new user interface. To get the full Vista experience, you'll need more expensive machines that come with Home Premium, which also has more media features and is probably best for most average consumers.

    If your company recommends it, you may need a different version of Vista called Vista Business, which lacks some of the media features, but can connect to some types of company networks that the Home versions can't. Or you can buy a machine with the costliest version of Vista, called Ultimate, that includes all the features of the other versions. If you want to shun Vista altogether, you may still be able to find new PCs with Windows XP, though these machines may not be as secure as Vista models.

    Memory: No matter what Microsoft or the PC makers say, I strongly suggest one gigabyte of memory, or RAM, for Home Basic, and two gigabytes for all other Vista versions.

    Video: Vista Home Premium, Business and Ultimate will work best on machines with a separate, or "discrete," graphics card with dedicated video memory. Some integrated graphics systems -- built into the computer's main circuitry -- will also work, though they will drain some of your main memory through a scheme called shared memory.

    Processor: For Home Basic, any current Intel or AMD processor in a new brand-name PC will work. For other versions, I suggest a "dual core" processor, like Intel's Core 2 Duo, or AMD's Athlon 64 X2, which pack the equivalent of two chips into one. Even if your processor can handle so-called 64-bit software, average users won't find that capability useful today.

    Hard drive: If you're not much interested in video, music or photos, 80 or 100 gigabytes should be sufficient. If you are, 250 gigabytes or more is best.

    Disks: Don't buy one of the competing new high-definition disk drives, Blu-ray or HD-DVD, until the war between these competing formats is settled. Stick with plain old DVD.

    Junky software: Nearly all Windows PCs are packed with "craplets" -- the useless, annoying trial versions of programs. In a retail store, they may remove these for you for a small fee.

    Price: You can get a bargain, brand-name desktop with Home Basic and a slow processor for under $400. But for a versatile desktop with two gigabytes of memory, discrete video, a large hard disk and a dual-core processor, you can easily spend $800 or more, without a monitor.

    Just don't buy more, or less, machine than you need.

    One of the Heroes at Virginia Tech
    April 17, 2007 message from Naomi Ragen []


    One can only imagine what went through the mind of Professor Liviu Librescu, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, as his lecture was interrupted by gunfire in the class next door. As someone who has survived a terror attack myself, I would like to say that the decision to stay put and save others when your own life is in danger goes against every human instinct; it is heroism and self-sacrifice on a scale that is unimaginable and that cannot even be fully appreciated by most human beings. For a survivor to give up his life after two decades of peace and quiet in the most pastoral of settings is a tragedy for his family, and for all of us.

    We mourn his loss, and are proud of his legacy. Our deepest condolences to his wife Marlena and sons Aryeh and Joe, who live in Israel. May God comfort them among the mourners of Zion and Israel.


    "Professor’s Violent Death Came Where He Sought Peace," by Colin Moynihan, The New York Times, April 19, 2007 ---

    Prof. Liviu Librescu faced many trials in his 76 years, growing up and living in Romania. There were the Nazis, who imprisoned his family when he was a child. Then there was the totalitarian regime of Nicolae Ceausescu, which forbade him from working when he refused to join the Communist Party.

    But it was a trial in a most unlikely place that proved to be deadly. On Monday, Professor Librescu faced danger when a student armed with pistols and the determination to kill approached the room where the professor was teaching a class in solid mechanics.

    Professor Librescu never moved from the door of Room 204 in Norris Hall at Virginia Tech, witnesses said, even as the gunman, Cho Seung-Hui, was shooting. Directing his students to escape through windows, Professor Librescu was fatally shot.

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    the daughter of a Virginia Tech accounting professor, Bryan Cloyd, was killed. She was a first-year student in a French class when she was shot.

    April 12, 2007 message from Roger Collins

    Interesting. The attitudes of N.D (North Dakota? Surely not) are actually MORE extreme than  those of Margaret Thatcher....Here is the Thatcher quote - in context...


    And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and   there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must   look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation."


    There are hundreds if not thousands of references to this particular quote scattered across the  Web.  I'm no Thatcher fan (and she was certainly no fan of the polytechnic (now a university) in England where I worked; her only visit - as Minister of Education - precipitated a riot where the unwashed mob ate the VIP's sandwiches)but I think she should be given the benefit of the doubt on this particular quote. According to a piece on the University of Lancaster Web site  - it is derived from Hayek.

     Incidentally, Wikipedia contains a raft of quotes made by and about Thatcher. I particularly lik the   definition of Thatcher contrasted with her Cabinet - A tiger among hamsters"


    Roger Collins
    TRU School of Business

     PS While I'm at it - Bob's quotation of Douglas Adams isn't that far removed from the ideas of Jean-Paul Sartre.

    Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied.
    Douglas Adams ---

    April 16, 2007 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]


    It isn't Nancy Drew or Notre Dame, either. In context it is just as extreme as N.D. We get from Thatcher a perfect rendition of what Jacob Hacker describes as the "politics of personal responsibility." If you are poor, or sick, or the victim of bad luck, it's YOUR responsibility (aks, fault).

    The consequences in the U.S. of this politics of personal responsibility has been a massive shifting of risk from firms to individuals (i.e., from investment income to wage income). The rungs on the economic ladder have gotten much farther apart and the grip each person has on the rung they have achieved is much more tenuous (unless, of course, you have gotten a license from the government to restrict others from competing against you). Income volatility has increased dramatically over the last generation. The job loss rate in the US over the last few years approaches what it was in 1933, the depth of the Depression and the average decline in gross pay when re-employed is around 20% (the largest private employer in my state, as it is in about 30 others is WalMart, noted for its kindness toward its neighbors).

    And unprecedented in modern history we saw an increase of 18% in worker productivity over the period of the Bush administration yet inflation adjusted weekly wages rose only 1%. In no previous productivity boom in history has the share going to employees been smaller. Where did those productivity gains go? Perhaps the $44 billion of bonuses distributed by Big Finance firms for 2006 is a clue. [For the family values crowd this must create significant anguish because statistically it's average people who raise most of a nation's children; if you want healthy families then most of the resources for raising them should go to those "ordinary" folks (odd how the personal responsibility crowd seem to always regard themselves as extraordinary; Thatcher certainly did) who actually raise them].

    The hypocracy (so what else is new) of this personal responsibility rhetoric is all around to see (tort reform, bankruptcy "reform"). Give her the benefit of the doubt? What doubt? When proponents of this politics of personal responsibility are prepared to abolish the corporate form of business, then one might take them seriously. (Ambrose Bierce, I think, said something to the effect that the corporation is an ingenious device for creating individual wealth without any individual responsibility).

    "Persons" created by the state (that the irony of government being absolutely essential to the creation of these persons being lost on most folks seems essential to the rhetoric being effective) who have no capacity to be "personally responsible nor have any sense of responsibility to take care of their neighbor (they don't have neighbors because they don't live in any particular neighborhood) are certainly now the most prominent citizens in our society.

    After watching what Thatcher did to dismantle the NUM, I would hardly want to rely on her sense of personal responsibility if misfortune ever befell me and I needed someone's help. She conned the miners into buying their homes, then closed the pits leaving them with mortgages and no income. What a good neighbor. In the words of a famous American, "Watch what we do rather than listen to what we say." It wasn't the hamster John Major that led the Tories into the political wilderness, but the realization of the consequences of a politics of personal responsibility.


    April 19, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

    Paul Williams wrote:

    If you are poor, or sick, or the victim of bad luck, it's YOUR responsibility (aks, fault).  The consequences in the U.S. of this politics of personal responsibility has been a massive shifting of risk from firms to individuals (i.e., from investment income to wage income).  

    Hi Paul,

    I prefer not to discuss politics on the AECM. It’s difficult to compare items in the federal budget because such a large portion is for entitlements like military retirement and health care costs of retired military and their families. At some point military spending becomes more of a human-resource expenditure for ex-soldiers who sometimes retire on full pension and medical family care before they’re 40 years of age. I have a friend Col. X who retired at age 42 on full pension and medical coverage (including virtually free prescription drugs) for his second family of four children born after he retired from the military. He and his wife will get retirement funding and free medical/drug coverage until they’re possibly over 100 years of age. You’re a good accounting educator. Compute the present value on the date he retired of those future benefits if he and his wife live to be over 90 years of age (which they are today). To these benefits he and his wife drew large salaries in subsequent careers and now collect other pensions earned after military retirement.

    The point is that Col. X became entitled to full lifetime, after age 42, medical and drug benefits for life before anybody could possibly have predicted what he would eventually receive for services rendered. In his case, he’s getting a whole lot more than he ever bargained for when he spent 20 years in the military. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that, in spite of the current war and a relatively low unemployment economy, more men and women than ever before are enlisting for the volunteer army --- 
    At the moment it’s a heck of an economic deal just for the lifetime entitlements and a current low probability of death or injury.

    It’s also difficult to compare corporate health care support because medical costs have increased many times faster than general inflation making it more difficult to fund medical insurance benefits. What used to cost the corporation or other organization less than five percent of a wage for medical fringe benefits will soon cost more than the wage itself. Indeed some people now choose lower paying jobs with medical fringe benefits over higher paying jobs with lower benefits.

    If you look at soaring federal and state support for Medicaid, Medicare (including the huge new prescription drug plan that saves my wife hundreds of dollars each month), exploding Medicare disability living cost and medical payments (to persons of any age, including my wife long before she became 62 years of age), the enormous increase in local school taxes needed to fund extremely handicapped children, and the forthcoming state and federal health care plans, it’s totally different support than the what generations before us received.

    My farming grandparents never received a penny of these kinds of government entitlements. If they had a child who could not learn to walk or talk or read, nobody claimed it was their “fault.” Everybody, however, claimed the child was “their responsibility.” When our grandparents got sick or disabled it was the family’s responsibility to provide needed care. If the family could not do it, the local County Home provided really minimal care.

    I’m not arguing here that it’s wrong that government has taken over more of the support of our poor, disabled, and elderly. But it’s unfair, Paul, to claim that these people today are more responsible for their own well being than my grandparents. This absolutely is not the case under entitlement programs that came into place in the latter part of the 20th Century without enough current funding and too much current borrowing on future generations to pay today’s support payments ---  

    I am arguing that it’s wrong to borrow so heavily and make future generations pay the way for our generation’s current entitlements even though the timings entitlements have been perfect for persons the age of my wife and me, including nearly $2 million in Medicare and supplemental medical benefits over the years that cost my wife a pittance in comparison. My wife received Social Security disability pay benefits and wonderful Medicare coverage many years before she was 62 years of age. My grandmother would’ve done without ten complicated spine surgeries because my grandparents could’ve never afforded such costs even at hospital, drug, and physician prices those days.

    For my wife and me it’s now the government’s responsibility to give us the best medical care possible. It’s really nice to never have to even make a co-payment when we visit a doctor, have lab tests, receive expensive MRI and CAT scans, or be admitted to a hospital or rehab center. Medicare and our Medicare Supplement are even paying for my wife’s at-home therapy and nursing sessions. It’s not costing us a dime in co-payments.

    Medicare disability/retirement and Medicaid entitlements will soon make Social Security obligations look like peanut shells in comparison. Who’s really the victim of “bad luck” with such under-funded entitlements and soaring medical service costs? It certainly has not been me or my wife.

    Bob Jensen

    April 19, 2007 reply from Richard C. Sansing [Richard.C.Sansing@DARTMOUTH.EDU]

    No, Col. X is getting precisely what he bargained for ex ante. It may well be the case that ex post, Col. X is getting more than he expected; but Private Y, who entererd the Army at age 22 and lost both legs at age 23, got substantially less.

    Richard C. Sansing
    Professor of Accounting
    Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
    100 Tuck Hall Hanover, NH 03755

    April 19, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

    Hi Richard,

    Those are points well taken.

    But if he were a Bayesian, Col. X would've put priors of terrific lifetime benefits above 99% and Private Y's priors for combat death or injury at less than one percent.

    The odds of dying in a non-combat incident (e.g., civilian car accident) are much higher such that the added risk of serious combat happenstances do not add much to the adverse non-combat incident prior probabilities.

    Of course the media would have us believe otherwise since the media dwells disproportionately on combat incidents.

    Bob Jensen

    April 19, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]

    Richard, Paul, Bob,

    I, like Bob, do not like to discuss politics on this forum, but had to put in my two cents worth, hearing about fat retirement benefits (compare them with hundreds of millions that are showered on those in the non-existent perfect markets for management "talent") of people who put their lives in the harm's way for OUR benefit (Bob), or accepting what is perceived to be a fair arms-length contract, the fairness implied in its acceptance (Richard).

    That those loudest in extolling virtues of patriotism today were the same who were ensconced in their fancy lairs when those seeking the meagre pensions had death staring them in the face should make one agree with GBS, who once said, politics (?) is the last refuge of scoundrels.

    One only needs to visit a VA Hospital (something that has brought me to tears) or visit one of the areas red-lined by insurance companies (which also has brought me to tears, specially in a richly endowed country such as ours) to realise the "fairness" of such contracts.

    Sen's work on positive and negative freedoms is an eye opener in this respect.

    You can not speak of fairness independent of power. As it appears in the Melian Dialogues of Thucydides' 'History of the Pelopponesian War", " We both know that into the discussion of human affairs the question of justice only enters where there is equal power to enforce it, and that the powerful take what they can, and the weak grant what they must". And equal power there is not. NUM was no match for the "abominable no-man", who, as Trevor Fishlock observed, "ate a television journalist for breakfast and, feeling peckish, bit off some reporters' heads at a press conference."

    If we believe in unfettered Hobbesian "free" world, we also should pay heed to what President Kennedy said a long time ago: If the society can not help the many who are poor, it can not save the few who are rich. Look at what happened in the last days of Tsarist Russia 90 years ago (lopsided distribution of riches), and what happened there less than 20 years ago (lopsided distribution of power).

    Much mainstream research in accounting is devoid of discussion of power (and fairness) and its consequences in what we are supposed to account. That is not PC in a positivist world, but should result in discomfort to those who want clear consciences. That is also BS (Bad Science).


    April 19, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

    Hi Jagdish,

    Two quick comments:

    The military hospitals (especially Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio) that serve millions of military retirees are really top hospitals that are preferred by many retirees even though retirees now have the option of choosing any hospital they want. Times have changed for military retiree choices, although many soldiers retire in San Antonio because of the great military health care services.

    Also I am much happier with my Medicare health and drug plan than with any insurance plan I had across 40 years of teaching at four universities. The government is taking very good care of me and my wife with better choices and virtually no added cost beyond our reasonable monthly premiums. For example, while at Trinity University there was a list of doctors and hospitals that were on the Trinity Plan. It cost me much more if I wanted a doctor or hospital that did not agree to lower fees paid by the Trinity plan.

    Doctors and hospitals must also agree to Medicare rates, but I've not encountered any providers who turned us down, including one of the finest and busiest spine surgeons in the U.S. who recently performed a huge surgery on my wife. And I've not been billed a penny for Erika's month=long stay in one of the top ranked (15th) hospitals in the nation.

    VA hospitals are problematic, but they are often taking on long-term care elderly and disabled that are often ill served in any nation, including those with supposed very good national health care plans.

    Entitlements are great as long as unborn children will eventually have to pay our bills. It's like slapping a newborn baby on the butt with your hand and serving up a mortgage at the same time ---  

    Bob Jensen

    The average Canadian family spends more money on taxes than on necessities of life such as food, clothing, and housing, according to a study from The Fraser Institute, an independent research organization with offices across Canada. The Canadian Consumer Tax Index, 2007, shows that even though the income of the average Canadian family has increased significantly since 1961, their total tax bill has increased at a much higher rate.
    The Fraser Institute, April 16, 2007 ---

    "How much fuel do you save with a hybrid SUV?" PhysOrg, April 19, 2007 ---

    Hybrids are getting heavier, but they seem to bear their weight better than conventional vehicles when it comes to fuel efficiency, according to a recent study. In the study, the scientists found that the trend toward higher-performing hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) in the North American market is eroding the fuel consumption benefit of hybrid technology.

    However, the gain in vehicle weight and power is not necessarily surprising or discouraging, as researchers Conor Reynolds and Milind Kandlikar explain. HEVs are new in the market and, as such, are diversifying from the compact cars that first appeared in 1999, such as the relatively light, low-power Honda Insight.

    “In our analysis, we found that changes in weight and power affect HEVs differently than ICEVs [conventional internal combustion engine vehicles],” Reynolds explained to “For example, we found that added weight doesn’t matter as much for hybrids as for conventional vehicles, a comparison that reinforces the fuel benefits of hybrid technology.”

    The study by the University of British Columbia scientists is the first to account for all nine light-duty HEV models on the North American market in 2007 (a number expected to double in the next two to three years). While HEVs made up about 1.6% of the total vehicle sales in the U.S. in 2006, nearly 30% of these HEVs were SUVs. Further, HEV cars in the second generation hybrid wave (2004 and later model years) exhibit higher performance levels across the board: an overall 30% weight increase and 60% power increase.

    To understand how fuel consumption changes for HEVs compared with ICEVs, the scientists compared HEVs and ICEVs using three different models: a one-on-one vehicle-to-vehicle comparison; a comparison of each HEV to all ICEVs; and group comparison of cars to cars and SUVs to SUVs.

    Depending on the comparison model, HEVs showed a fuel consumption benefit that ranged from 2.7 to 3.25 liters/100 km. Compared with the average U.S. fuel consumption of around 20 mpg (11.3 liters/100Km), this benefit means that the mileage would improve to around 27-29 mpg.

    “Consider an average driver who drives 20,000 km (12,400 miles) a year, who changes from an ICEV to an equivalent hybrid,” Reynolds explained. “Using a conversion factor of approximately 3 liters/100 km saved, and 2.5 kg of CO2 emitted per liter of fuel burnt, the fuel saved is 600 liters (160 gallons), and the CO2 saved is 1.5 tons (or about 0.4 tons of carbon).”

    The scientists’ results showed that HEV fuel consumption is significantly affected by both weight and power: a 100 kg weight increase results in a 0.4 liter/100 km fuel increase, and a 10 kW power increase results in a 0.14 liter/100 km fuel increase. ICEVs, however, are greatly affected by weight, where a 100 kg weight increase results in a 0.72 liter/100 km fuel increase, but the power impact is insignificant.

    “This difference means that a weight increase is much less important in an HEV than if the same weight is added to an ICEV, which is good news for fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions if the trend towards heavier HEVs continues,” said Reynolds.

    The cause of these differences is the different engine systems and the way they use fuel to move a vehicle.

    “Initially, we were somewhat surprised to find that increased weight in hybrids is not as bad for fuel consumption as it is for ICEVs,” Reynolds said. “When we looked into this, however, we found that it can be quite easily explained by the regenerative braking (and other features) that HEVs have. Hybrids are able to recapture inertial energy that would otherwise be ‘wasted’ in a conventional vehicle. It's an important finding because the general trend has been toward heavier vehicles for all technology types, and HEVs do better than ICEVs.”

    Even though weight has less of an impact on the fuel consumption of HEVs than ICEVs, the scientists’ second model of comparison reveals that, on average, 2007 HEVs are 136 kg heavier than equivalent ICEVs—resulting in a fuel penalty of 0.75 liters/100 km for HEVs. And 2007 HEVs also have an average of 10 kW more power than equivalent ICEVs, resulting in another fuel penalty of 0.1 liters/100 km. Overall, these weight and power penalties reduce the potential fuel benefits of HEVs by at least 27%.

    Compared with some of the larger HEVs, conventional vehicles could still have the upper hand in fuel savings. For instance, a small or regular-sized conventional car (e.g. Toyota Yaris) would give you much better mileage than a hybrid SUV (e.g. Toyota Highlander hybrid) or luxury car (e.g. Honda Accord hybrid).

    Comparisons like this one will hopefully help policy makers design better initiatives aimed at reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions worldwide. While currently all hybrids receive a tax break, the study shows that hybrids have a wide range of environmental and fuel benefits—and the variety will likely only increase.

    “This is an important issue for policy makers and consumers because it clarifies and quantifies what we can expect from this relatively new technology,” Reynolds said. “As an example of how policy makers might take our findings into account, it might be decided that tax breaks should be given to any vehicle that has demonstrated environmental benefits, and not necessarily to hybrid SUVs or hybrid luxury cars.

    Continued in article


    The World Bank: An Online Atlas of the Millennium Development Goals---

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Periodicals ---

    From the Scout Report on April 20, 2007

    WeatherPop 2.6 --- 

    The homepage for this weather application asks: “Are you bleary eyed from staring into bright white phosphor all day?” If you answered in the affirmative, you may wish to click on through to WeatherPop 2.6. With this application, users can watch real-time Doppler forecasts, peruse three to five day forecasts, and peek into local visibility conditions. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3 and newer.

    1Loki 2.0  --- 

    Do you know where you are right now? Would you like to? Loki 2.0 can tell you where you are by using existing WiFi access points, and then it can point users in the direction of local businesses, including restaurants, coffee houses and candy factories. In this latest version of Loki, the user interface has been substantially redesigned, and users will appreciate its new look. It’s a fun way to look for interesting stuff in one’s immediate locale, and it is compatible with computers running Windows XP and Mozilla Firefox 1.5.

    Fundamental question pondered since the theories of Pythagora:  Especially Note the Six-Dimensional Graphics

    "Mathematician suggests extra dimensions are time-like," by Lisa Zyga, PhysOrg, April 17, 2007 ---

    In a recent study, mathematician George Sparling of the University of Pittsburgh examines a fundamental question pondered since the time of Pythagoras, and still vexing scientists today: what is the nature of space and time? After analyzing different perspectives, Sparling offers an alternative idea: space-time may have six dimensions, with the extra two being time-like. Sparling’s paper, which was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, lays the groundwork for his theory. He explains how spatial dimensions contain positive signs (e.g., Pythagoras’ 3D space is expressed as the sum of the squares of the intervals in three directions, x, y, and z). Minkowski’s time-like dimension, on the other hand, combines these three dimensions with the square of time displacement, which contains an overall negative sign.

    “In three dimensions, the formula reads s2 = x2 + y2 + z2,” Sparling explained to “Our standard spacetime has four dimensions, but the formula has a critical minus sign: s2 = x2 + y2 + z2 - t2. The Lithuanian Hermann Minkowski invented this idea, which was published just six weeks before he died. Indeed, [Sir Roger] Penrose, for one, says that special relativity was not a finished theory until Minkowski's famous Raum und Zeit [‘Space and Time’] paper.”

    Up until now, Sparling explains, most theories concerning extra dimensions have dealt with space-like rather than time-like dimensions, which results in a “hyperbolic” rather than an “ultra-hyperbolic” geometry. However, Sparling notes that there are no a priori arguments for a hyperbolic geometry, and he looks into the possibility of a “spinorial” theory of physics, where six dimensions of space-time arise naturally.

    “In general dimensions, we say that the space-time is hyperbolic if there is only one minus sign in the formula for s2,” he said. “So, for example, in the ten dimensions of superstring theory, there are nine spatial dimensions with plus signs and one minus sign. Only in that situation is there a clear-cut distinction between the future and the past.”

    Cartan’s triality symbol links two twistor space and space-time. Image credit: Erin Sparling “In my case, I am led to the conclusion that the ordinary four dimensional space-time extends naturally into six dimensions: the four dimensional space is hyperbolic as usual, but in the surrounding space there are equal numbers (3 each) of space and time dimensions, so the formula for s2 reads something like s2 = x2 + y2 + z2 - t2 - u2 - v2, where u and v represent the new time variables. I call this structure a (3, 3)-structure (mathematicians call it ultra-hyperbolic).”

    Space-Time is Spinorial

    Sparling’s spinorial theory is based on Einstein’s general relativity and Elie Cartan’s triality concept, which can link space-time with two twistor spaces. Twistor spaces are mathematical spaces used to understand geometrical objects in space-time landscapes. Sparling explains spinors in the following way:

    “In physics, the idea of a spinor stems from the finding that spectral lines of atoms seem to behave as if the angular momentum of the particles radiating photons was in half-integral units of the quantized spin (whose size is determined by Planck's constant). This was fully explained by Dirac's famous theory of the electron, which led him to successfully predict the existence of the positron.”

    Some spinorial particles include the electron, muon, tau, proton, neutron, quarks, neutrinos, and all their anti-particles, which are called fermions and have half-integer spins. There are also non-spinorial particles, called bosons, such as the photon, graviton, pion, mesons, the W and Z bosons, the Higgs, (if it exists) and so on, which have an integer spin, Sparling explains.

    “The key difference between spinors and non-spinors is their behavior under rotations: typically, non-spinorial (integer-spin) particles return to their initial value under a 360-degree (or 2π-radian) rotation; however, the spinorial (half-integer-spin) fermions actually change sign under a 360-degree rotation, requiring a full 720-degree rotation to get back to their initial values. This is completely foreign to our naive idea of how rotations work, and yet it is a basic part of reality.

    “Consider this analogy: if you take a plate and hold it in one hand horizontally whilst twisting it under your arm backwards through 360 degrees, your arm ends up in the air after one rotation, and it needs another 360 degree rotation to get it back to the beginning,” he said.

    Twistors, then, are a special kind of spinor first introduced by Penrose (Sparling was a PhD student of Penrose). In Sparling’s theory, the two twistor spaces are each six-dimensional, forcing space-time to also have six dimensions, in accordance with Cartan’s unifying triality. Because the twistor spaces’ geometry is ultra-hyperbolic, the extra dimensions are time-like.

    “My work has three six-dimensional spaces which at one level are on an equal footing and which are bound together by a new transform, which I call the Xi-transform,” Sparling said. “Two of these spaces can be understood at the space-time level as twisters. Then the third space can be given a space-time interpretation, but only if we have two extra dimensions: so it is the requirement of symmetry between the spinor spaces and the space-time that dictates that the extra dimensions be there.”

    A Harmonious Concinnity

    While the concepts of twistor theory and spinors have been previously investigated as an alternative to space-time, Sparling explains how his new proposal is slightly different because it’s not a complete replacement of space-time. Rather, the guiding principle of his idea is that of a harmonious combination of three entities, or a “trinity.” Each part of the theory reinforces the other parts.

    “If one accepts that there are these three spaces [space-time and two twistor spaces] that are central to my theory, one looks for a theory which unifies them; this would be the ‘concinnity’,” he explained. “An indicator that there might be such a theory comes from the theory of Jordan algebras, which naturally unifies the three spaces into a twenty-seven dimensional whole, called an exceptional Jordan algebra.” Sparling’s student Philip Tillman and ex-students Dana Mihai, Devendra Kapadia and Suresh Maran also played a significant role related to this work.

    “A second indicator is that there are two radically different descriptions of massless particles, such as the photon: the standard one uses Fourier analysis in space-time and another uses twistor theory and sheaf cohomology,” he added. “The mathematical formalisms used in these two different descriptions are so different that it is simply amazing that they are describing the same basic physics. The concinnity would provide an explanation for this. This would then unify twistor theory, space-time theory and string theory—this is very tentative, however.

    “A very interesting aspect is that Newton fought strongly against the idea of the trinity (in a religious context),” Sparling noted. “It is ironic that I am invoking that very same idea in the context of gravity: perhaps Newton saw that the concept could be used in physics, but because he could not think of such a use he rebelled strongly against it (of course, I have no evidence for this!).”

    Although the theory is not definitive, Sparling explains that several major ideas in current physics would likely play a role (such as condensed matter physics, category theory, non-commutative geometry, string theory, and the structure of superfluids). Such connections might also point the direction to a unified theory, though currently speculative.

    “My work can be seen as a strong antidote to the present air of pessimism surrounding modern fundamental physics,” Sparling said. “As is well-known, string theory has been roundly criticized for its lack of predictive power. String theorists have been reduced to an absurd reliance on the anthropic principle, for example. Here I have a clear-cut prediction, which goes against the common wisdom, which gives experimenters a target to go for: first find the extra dimensions, then decide their signature (a very tough homework assignment!). Of course I could be proved wrong, but the effort to decide is surely worthwhile.

    Continued in article

    April 21, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]

    I think the best way to get an understanding of these things is to start with the concept of spacetime from 

    Much of the work in the area was triggered by a Lithuanian mathematician Hermann Minkowski, a teacher of Einstein. His famous quote is "The mathematical education of the young physicist [Albert Einstein] was not very solid, which I am in a good position to evaluate since he obtained it from me in Zurich some time ago." I do not think one could graduate in mathematics from anywhere anywhere without hearing about Minkowski, which is statement one can not make about Einstein.

    And then to read basic stuff on Lobachevsky (or hyperbolic) Geometry, from 

    Unfortunately I have not found any basic stuff on ultrahyperbolic geometry referred to in the article.

    Hyperbolic geometry has had quite an impact on data visualisation. You can see come examples at 

    Hope this helps.


    From The Washington Post on April 17, 2007

    In a study of the amount of time spent on Web sites at home between 5 and 8 p.m., which Web site had the highest rate?

    A. Cartoon Network
    D. WB
    Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

    Updates from WebMD ---

  • NPR's Health and Science ---

    London learns how to love at new sex academy
    The hottest new attraction in the throbbing heart of London opened its doors this week: Amora -- The Academy of Sex and Relationships, dedicated to looking at love in a new light. London learns how to love at new sex academy The hottest new attraction in the throbbing heart of London opened its doors this week: Amora -- The Academy of Sex and Relationships, dedicated to looking at love in a new light. "We consciously differentiate ourselves from a museum: we are about sex today and tomorrow, not in the past," Amora's founder and chairman Johan Rizki told AFP. "The Amsterdam sex museum is sleazy; New York's is rather boring," added the Frenchman, New Yorker and Harvard Business School graduate.
    "PhysOrg, April 21, 2007 ---

    The Curse is Lifted
    New pill would eliminate menstruation
    A new birth control pill that stops menstruation completely is expected to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration next month.
    PhysOrg, April 20, 2007 ---

    "Pill That Eliminates the Period Gets Mixed Reviews ," by Stephanie Saul, The New York Times, April 20, 2007 ---

    Good advice for dealing with cancer and cancer patients
    NPR, April 19, 2007 ---

    Blame brain, not heart, for high blood pressure
    The controversial idea that one cause of high blood pressure lies within the brain, and not the heart or blood vessels, has been put forward by scientists at the University of Bristol, UK, and is published this week in the journal Hypertension.
    PhysOrg, April 15, 2007 ---

    Is sleep more important to memorizing or learning?

    Memorizing a series of facts is one thing, understanding the big picture is quite another. Now a new study demonstrates that relational memory -- the ability to make logical "big picture" inferences from disparate pieces of information – is dependent on taking a break from studies and learning, and even more important, getting a good night's sleep.
    PhysOrg, April 20, 2007

    Jensen Comment
    Of course this hardly justifies taking more naps in class.

    Researchers unlock key to memory storage in brain
    Scientists know little about how the brain assigns cells to participate in encoding and storing memories. Now a UCLA/University of Toronto team has discovered that a protein called CREB controls the odds of a neuron playing a role in memory formation. The April 20 edition of Science reports the findings, which suggest a new approach for preserving memory in people suffering from Alzheimer's or other brain injury.
    PhysOrg, April 19, 2007 ---

  • "Making a memory is not a conscious act," explained Alcino Silva, principal investigator and a professor of neurobiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Learning triggers a cascade of chemicals in the brain that influence which memories are kept and which are lost.

    "Earlier studies have linked the CREB protein to keeping memories stable," added Silva, a member of the UCLA Brain Research Institute. "We suspected it also played a key role in channeling memories to brain cells that are ready to store them."

    Silva and his colleagues used a mouse model to evaluate their hypothesis. They implanted CREB into a virus, which they introduced into some of the cells in the animal's amygdala, a brain region critical to emotional memory.

    Next they tested the mouse's ability to recall a specific cage it had visited before. The cage was outfitted with patterned walls and a unique smell.

    Continued in article

  • "Returning the Springiness to Arthritic Joints:  A biolubricant found in our joints could yield new ways to treat, and even prevent, arthritis," by Brittany Sauser , MIT's Technology Review, April 17, 2007 ---

    "Some Stem Cells from Females Work Better:  The question of which sex gets it right when it comes to muscle stem cells used to regenerate muscle tissue has been settled," by David Ewing Duncan,  MIT's Technology Review, April 13, 2007 ---

    "Past Tense:  Favorite fictional tales rooted in history," by Anne Perry, The Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2007 --- 

    1. "I, Claudius" by Robert Graves (Smith & Haas, 1934).

    One of the most extraordinary accomplishments in fiction based on history is Robert Graves's "I, Claudius." Graves wrote the "diaries" of the physically awkward and bookish Roman emperor Claudius in such a way that reading them is like spending the last hour of the evening listening to one's eccentric uncle talking candidly about how his day has been. Claudius speaks of the great figures of the Roman world 2,000 years ago as if we know them as well as he does. They are reduced from legend to humanity: immediate, vulnerable and very real. Claudius's forays into military tactics on the frontiers, political reform at home, and architecture and philosophy in general are the interests of an uncle we would never interrupt, for fear of hurting his feelings. Ultimately we become fascinated as well.

    2. "Full Dark House" by Christopher Fowler (Bantam, 2004).

    On the surface this is a detective story set during the World War II bombing of London. The destruction--not only of the city but of what previously had been the certainties of life--is painted in a hundred intimate touches. We taste the constant dirt, hear the sirens, bombs and the whine of aircraft. There are shortages of almost everything, and there is a tireless inventiveness to "make do and mend." Against this backdrop in 1940, two young detectives in the Peculiar Crimes Unit investigate the Palace Phantom, a killer who is stalking the cast of a London stage production. But "Full Dark House" is really a novel about the lifelong friendship of two very different men and the qualities that survive time and disaster: tolerance, kindness, good humor and courage.

    3. "The Scarlet Pimpernel" by Baroness Emmuska Orczy (Putnam, 1905).

    The language is a trifle dated, but the strength of the plot has never been surpassed. The time is the French Revolution, the setting both England and France. A Frenchwoman named Marguerite St. Just is married to Sir Percy Blakeny, a wealthy British nobleman whom she has come to see as a shallow fop. Like everyone else, she admires passionately the mysterious "Scarlet Pimpernel," who with his small band of friends risks his life rescuing French aristocrats from the steps of the guillotine and bringing them back to England, always pursued by his nemesis, Citizen Chauvelin. Chauvelin captures Marguerite's brother, and the price of his life is that Marguerite should find and betray the Scarlet Pimpernel. She has a heart-rending dilemma, and only after she has betrayed the Pimpernel--and then discovered that he is in fact Sir Percy--does she set out to save him, willing to pay with her own life. It is courage, choice, daring, invention, conflict and love--all perfectly woven together toward a tremendous climax. Wouldn't we all wish to be so loved, so brave, and to have a second chance in which to redeem our misjudgments?

    4. "To Say Nothing of the Dog" by Connie Willis (Bantam, 1998).

    How can a modern American capture so perfectly the lyrical beauty, the tumult of thought, the arrogance, prejudice and charm, the sheer Englishness of Oxford in 1888? This is a tale of time travel from a rather bleak future to a past where matrons are irascible and beautiful girls fall in love at the drop of a hat--a straw boater, naturally, worn by young men drifting downriver past old churches and flower-deep meadows. The Oxford dons are brilliant and hilariously eccentric, absorbed in arguments about history, Darwin, God and the universe. Our hero, time-traveler Ned Henry, who specializes in 20th-century history, needs recuperation from too much shuttling from era to era. He has jumped from 1940s England to Victorian Oxford in search of the mysterious "bishop's bird stump," an urn needed for a perfect re-creation of Coventry Cathedral after its bombing in World War II. His Oxford respite would be idyllic were it not that a fellow time traveler has brought a cat along, causing a change in the future and disturbing the time continuum for centuries. It is all a journey of wit, humor, love and the sheer joy of life.

    5. The Ballad of the White Horse by G.K. Chesterton (John Lane, 1911).

    This is the story of the English King Alfred's desperate stand against invading Danes in 878. England is conquered, and Alfred is a fugitive when he sees a vision of the Virgin Mary that bids him call together the remnants of his people for a final battle. "The Ballad of the White Horse" is an epic poem of courage, passion and unsurpassable beauty. When Alfred asks the Saxons to join the battle, the dismaying reply is:

    Friend I will watch the certain things,
    Swine and slow moons like silver rings,
    And the ripening of the plums.
    Left to fend for themselves, Alfred and his followers are strengthened by a faith in God and a love of England that are as deep as the bone. It is the meeting of history and myth, a song of undying hope and faith in mankind:
    Being what heart you are,
    Up the inhuman steeps of space,
    As on a staircase go in grace,
    Carrying the firelight in your face,
    Beyond the loneliest star.
    Ms. Perry's "We Shall Not Sleep" (Ballantine), the fifth and final novel in her World War I series, has just been published.



    Forwarded by Niki


     I grew up with practical parents who had been frightened by the Great Depression in the 1930's. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a Name for it... A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.

    Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things: a curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

    It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that repairing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

     But then my father died, and on that clear fall night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more.

    Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So... While we have it... it's best we love it... And care for it.... And fix it when it's broken..... And heal it when it's sick.

     This is true... For marriage.... And old cars.... And children with bad report cards..... And dogs and cats with bad hips.... And aging parents.... And grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.

    There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special.... And so, we keep them close! I received this from someone who thinks I am a "keeper," so I've sent it to the people I think of in the same way...

    Now it's your turn to send this to those people who are "keepers" in your life. Send it back to the person who sent it to you if they, too, are a keeper.  Good friends are like stars.... You don't always see them, but you know  they are always there.

    Keep them close!

    Forwarded by Paula

    Follow these directions:

    --Go to

    --Click on Maps.

    --Click on get Directions.

    -- Start from New York, New York

    --End in Paris, France.

    --And read line # 23.

    (Or if you started in Paris, France, read line #21!)

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    Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
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    Phone:  603-823-8482