The above picture was taken from our driveway. Mount Washington is the white-topped mountain 28 miles, in Bretton Woods, to our northeast.  North and South Twin mountains are to the right and on the far right is the pointed Mount Garfield. These mountains to the right only look higher than Mount Washington because they are in two mountain ranges closer to our cottage. The Mount Washington Hotel and Resort is one of my favorite places to visit --- usually for lunch and cocktails. There's a nice slide show of pictures at  http://www.mtwashington.com/

Bretton Woods and the big hotel are best known in history for the Bretton Woods agreements that were hammered out when  heads of states met to rebuild the advanced economies of the world.
Preparing to rebuild the international economic system as World War II was still raging, 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire for the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference. The delegates deliberated upon and signed the Bretton Woods Agreements during the first three weeks of July 1944
--- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bretton_Woods_system

In the summer a cog railroad will chug you to the top of the mountain, but you may be tossed around a bit and get soot on your clothes from the steam engine. The ride is not for the faint of heart or people with spine troubles.

Erika is still in pain. I'm taking her to Boston May 6-8 for a myelogram and other tests --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Erika2007.htm

 

Tidbits on May 1, 2007
Bob Jensen

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

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


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


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

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


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

Set up free conference calls at http://www.freeconference.com/  




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

Do You Remember Love? --- http://doyourememberlove.com/

The $5,000 YouTube first place winner --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXLgFgxF_PM

Amazing 11-Year Old Girl --- http://www.dailymotion.com/visited/video/x6sfz_amazing-11-year-old

Al Sharpton sings about Obama the Magic Negro --- http://youtube.com/watch?v=TJb-qUaSa38

This video is of Andreas Helgstrand and his 9 yr old mare, Matinee at the World Equestrian Games. It is the Musical Freestyle Dressage competition, and they pretty much wiped the floor with everyone. Turn up the sound and watch this mare dance...she is amazing...she KNOWS where the beat is! --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKQgTiqhPbw

How some people can not be excited about finance is beyond me. If you can't watch the whole thing, minimally watch between the 19-21 minute section or the 23 to 25 minute section and tell me how finance gets a bad name when it helps so many!
Jim Mahar, "Microfinance," April 25, 2007 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

And then a whole lot less seriously: The UnknownProfessor and the NY Times' Dealbook both point to the Columbia Business School's spoof (RAP) of Sir Mix A Lot's "Baby Got Back" (which interesting is still played almost every night on Open House Party--yeah sort of scary that I know that!)
Jim Mahar, "A Look Around" (Scroll Down to the Video), April 26, 2007 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
Also available at http://youtube.com/watch?v=JluzYxAexvg


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

Lawrence Brownlee: A Rising Star Arrives at the Met --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9722214

Amazing 11-Year Old Girl --- http://www.dailymotion.com/visited/video/x6sfz_amazing-11-year-old

Singer and songwriter Ruthie Foster has been compared to Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9799173

Saxophonist Sonny Rollins Still Swinging Strong --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9701347

With her no-nonsense voice, Mable John recorded singles for the Stax label throughout the '60s --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9799376


Photographs and Art

Niagara Falls lit up in crimson and gold in honor of Virginia Tech --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1822008/posts

Forwarded by Paula
GardenWeb is the largest gardening site on the Web, with garden forums, articles on gardening, directories of nurseries, gardens and gardening organizations, a botanical glossary, an events calendar, a plant database, contests, and much more.
http://www.gardenweb.com/

Earth and Animal Shots (music in background) --- http://www.earthshots.org/slideshow/

America, Why I Love Her --- http://sagebrushpatriot.com/america.htm

Create Your Own Flower Garden (just click you mouse around the screen) --- http://www.procreo.jp/labo/flower_garden.swf

A Stanford researcher has studied the eye diseases in two great impressionistic painters, Edgar Degas and Claude Monet, and recreated images of some of their masterpieces to show how the artists' may have seen their own work. The results may shed light on how the painters' work changed as their eyesight failed.
Tracie White, "Eye diseases changed great painters' vision of their work later in their lives Degas, Monet had significant loss of vision from retinal disease and cataracts, ophthalmologist and art enthusiast says," Stanford News, April 11, 2007 --- http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2007/april11/med-optart-041107.html
 


Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Love, War and History: Israel's Yehuda Amichai (audio poetry) ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9699843

Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott   (1832-1888) --- Click Here 
Major Inventions of the 19th Century 
Workshop of the World --- http://www.workshopoftheworld.co.uk/

National Academy of Sciences: Webcast Archive --- http://www.nap.edu/webcast/webcast_list.php

Exploring Magnetism on Earth --- http://ds9.ssl.berkeley.edu/themis/pdf/explore_mag_on_earth.pdf

Northwest Center for Sustainable Resources --- http://www.ncsr.org/

Penn State University Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization ---  http://www.cneu.psu.edu/




C-reactive Protein (CRP): If Drunken Students Only Knew What Will Happen Later in Life
Making CRAP out of CRP is not a good way for students to earn an A

Bob Jensen (See Below)

We are frightening our children to death, and I'll tell you what makes me angriest. I am not sure the makers of our culture fully notice what they are doing, what impact their work is having, because the makers of our culture are affluent. Affluence buys protection. You can afford to make your children safe. You can afford the constant vigilance needed to protect your children from the culture you produce, from the magazine and the TV and the CD and the radio. You can afford the doctors and tutors and nannies and mannies and therapists, the people who put off the TV and the Internet and offer conversation. If you have money in America, you can hire people who compose the human chrysalis that protect the butterflies of the upper classes as they grow. The lacking, the poor, the working and middle class--they have no protection. Their kids are on their own. And they're scared. Too bad no one cares in this big sensitive country of ours.
Peggy Noonan, "We're Scaring Our Children to Death Duck-and-cover drills were never this frightening," The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110009992

From what scientists know now, it is possible that Venus and Mars started out a lot like Earth. At some point in time, each planet followed a path that changed its climate. The transition was from Earth-like to either a cloudy inferno (Venus) or a frigid desert (Mars). Data from Venus Express and Mars express is now helping scientists determine if, when and why each planet passed the point of no-return. . . . The atmosphere of Venus is much thicker than Earth’s. Nevertheless, current climate models can reproduce its present temperature structure well. Now planetary scientists want to turn the clock back to understand why and how Venus changed from its former Earth-like conditions into the inferno of today. They believe that the planet experienced a runaway greenhouse effect as the Sun gradually heated up. Astronomers believe that the young Sun was dimmer than the present-day Sun by 30 percent. Over the last 4 thousand million years, it has gradually brightened. During this increase, Venus’s surface water evaporated and entered the atmosphere
"Climate catastrophes in the Solar System," PhysOrg, April 25, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news96797815.html

When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others. It is much more nearly certain that we are assembled here tonight than it is that this or that political party is in the right. Certainly there are degrees of certainty, and one should be very careful to emphasize that fact, because otherwise one is landed in an utter skepticism, and complete skepticism would, of course, be totally barren and completely useless.
Bertrand Russell. as quoted by Mark Shapiro on April 22, 2007 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-04-22-07.htm

A survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre has been describing how a (Muslim) colleague died to protect others. Although badly injured, graduate student Waleed Shalaan distracted gunman Cho Seung-Hui to save another person from his bullets. The surviving student, who wishes to remain anonymous, told of Waleed's heroics through an email to his supervisor.
"Student Gave His Life To Save Othersm" SKY News, April 20, 2007 ---
http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30200-1261696,00.html

America's Best Weapon is the Iranian People
Azar Nafisi, "Culture War," The New Republic, April 26, 2007 ---
http://www.tnr.com/user/nregi.mhtml?i=20070423&s=nafisi042307

Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is orchestrating militants' operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior commander of Afghan Islamist group Taliban said in remarks broadcast on Wednesday. Bin Laden has not made any video statements for many months raising speculation that he might have died. "He is drawing plans in Iraq and Afghanistan ... Praise God he is alive," Mullah Dadullah told Al Jazeera television.
Reuters, April 25, 2007 --- Click Here

The (al-Qaida) operations, which either were thwarted by authorities or were canceled for one reason or another, included efforts to assassinate Vice President Al Gore with anti-tank missiles during a trip to Saudi Arabia, release cyanide in the New York subway system and procure weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, from Pakistani nuclear scientists.
Robert Windrem and Alex Johnson while discussing revelations in former CIA Director George Tenet’s new book At the Center of the Storm, MSNBC, April 30, 2007 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18357494/
Jensen Comment
Tenet was the focus of a CBS Sixty Minute module on April 29, 2007 --- http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/main3415.shtml

The real enemy we face in Iraq is al-Qaida. According to the top American commander in Iraq, al-Qaida's No. 1 priority is defeating the United States in Iraq.
Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of Allied Forces in Iraq, April 28, 2007 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
And once al-Qaida wins, it seems inevitable that its emboldened guerillas will set their sights on the oil fields of Kuwait and everything gained in the first Gulf War will be lost as well, including reasonably-priced oil from Saudi Arabia.  While America should be building nuclear power plants to prepare for dire and absolutely certain oil shortages, we're twiddling our thumbs with wind and corny solutions that will never be efficient replacements of the massive amounts of power needed to sustain the U.S. economy. The question is whether America will limp home defeated in Iraq and later refuse to save the entire Middle East from al-Qaida's dreams of wealth and grandeur. Or put another way, America may not be able to save the Middle East from al-Qaida under the present political and morality restraints. It's becoming harder and harder to fight an enemy that attaches explosives to children, hides among innocent families, and fights with chlorine gas. Of course the wild card in the entire equation is face off of nuclear-armed enemies in the region.

We're going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war. Senator Schumer has shown me numbers that are compelling and astounding.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, April 12, 2007.

Gen. David Petraeus is in Washington this week, where on Monday he briefed President Bush on the progress of the new military strategy in Iraq. Today he will give similar briefings on Capitol Hill, but maybe he should save his breath. As fellow four-star Harry Reid recently informed America, the war Gen. Petraeus is fighting and trying to win is already "lost."
"Harry's War:  Democrats are taking ownership of a defeat in Iraq," The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009986

Police arrested 172 Islamic militants, some of whom had trained abroad as pilots so they could fly aircraft in attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil fields, the Interior Ministry said Friday. Police arrested 172 Islamic militants, some of whom had trained abroad as pilots so they could fly aircraft in attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil fields, the Interior Ministry said Friday.
Abdullah Shihri and Donna Abu-Nasr, The Washington Times, April 27, 2007 --- Click Here

In the first rocket attack it claimed responsibility for in five months, Hamas Tuesday fired 39 Qassam rockets and 79 mortars from the Gaza Strip aimed at nearby Jewish communities. The projectiles were meant to serve as a diversion as the group attempted to storm an Israeli military base on the Gaza border to kidnap Israeli soldiers. The attacks occurred as Israelis nationwide celebrated the country's Independence Day. Last night, Israel's major television newscasts quoted Israeli security officials stating the Hamas attack was carried out with the approval of Abbas, other Fatah members and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, the declared military wing of Fatah.
Aaron Klein, "Claim: Massive attack approved by Abbas:  Rockets slammed into Jewish towns while Palestinians attempted kidnapping," WorldNetDaily, April 27, 2007 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55423

Don’t fear the terrorists. They’re mothers and fathers.
Rosie O’Donnell --- http://www.mrc.org/Profiles/odonnell/welcome.asp

A close examination of the media's role during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon comes now from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, in an analysis of the war published in a paper whose subtitle should give pause to journalists covering international conflict: "The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006: The Media as a Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict ." Marvin Kalb, of Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, methodically traces the transformation of the media "from objective observer to fiery advocate." Kalb painstakingly details how Hezbollah exercised absolute control over how journalists portrayed its side of the conflict, while Israel became "victimized by its own openness." The lessons from the Harvard paper go well beyond historic analysis. Kalb's thoroughly and persuasively documented case points to the challenges to journalists in future "asymmetrical" conflicts in which a radical militia provides access only to journalists agreeing to the strictest of rules.
Naomi Ragen [nragen@netvision.net.il], email newsletter, April 26, 2007
(See below)

Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog, will be mated later this year with the world's second canine clone known as Bona, researchers said Monday.
"Send in the Clones," PhysOrg, April 23, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news96515890.html

That which makes men sociable is their inability to bear solitude.
Arthur Schopenhauer --- Click Here

He was a bully, a braggart and a rebel with a big chip on his shoulder. They would never have made it without him.
Bob Deans writing about Captain John Smith (1580-1631) remembered for his role in establishing the first permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown, Virginia. The quotation appears in "Captain John Smith," Time Magazine, April 26, 2007 --- Click Here

MacDonald (Professor of Psychology at California State University at Long Beach) combines his ethnic theories with his views on Jews in a subject on which he has written a great deal: Jewish views on immigration policy. MacDonald said that he believes that Jewish people view “a homogeneous white population of North America as a threat, and they would be better off in a multicultural policy.” So as a result, he said, Jewish organizations work with Latino groups to let in Latinos and others to undermine American culture . . . In December, the psychology department at California State University of Long Beach added three statements to its Web site — all under the new heading of “Statements on Controversial Issues.” One endorsed principles of academic freedom, another emphasized the department’s commitment to diversity and equity, and the third discussed the “misuse of psychologists’ work.”
Scott Jaschik, "Professor of Hate?" Inside Higher Ed, April 26, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/04/26/macdonald

What happens when honorary doctorates are awarded to the Devil?
Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe much criticized by human rights groups, isn’t worried about the
moves afoot to revoke his honorary degrees. A spokesman for Mugabe told The Herald, a pro-government paper, that he has earned seven degrees and “does not lose sleep” over the push to take away the honorary doctorates. The spokesman suggested that Western universities are the ones who should be concerned. “Honorary degrees are exactly that, an unsolicited honor from the giver,” he said. “The president did not accost anyone to confer the honor. If anything, those Western universities improved their international profile by associating themselves with the president.” Among the institutions where some want to see the honorary degrees revoked are Edinburgh University, in Scotland, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Michigan State University.
Inside Higher Ed
, April 26, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/04/26/qt

You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn't want to go to war, and the three most powerful men in America are named Bush, Dick, and Colon.
An old quote (when Colin Powel was in office) by Chris Rock --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Rock

Having no vices adds nothing to virtue.
Antonio Machado --- Click Here

The FBI raided two Republican Congressmen earlier this month, and we can't muster much sympathy. Their misbehavior is the residue of the GOP's lost, arrogant Congressional majority, which allowed its principles to atrophy. If the Republicans hope to retake Congress in 2008, they'd do well to eliminate the habits that created these scandals in the first place.
"Republican Residue," The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2007; Page A14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117747021336881547.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

The scene in southern Denmark dispels a couple of popular myths about Europe's labor market. The first is that the Continent can't change. Denmark did through innovative reforms, going from chronically high unemployment to a labor shortage. The other myth is that Western Europeans won't cross the EU's open borders to find work. From as far as Berlin, Leipzig and Frankfurt, Germans took to the road in search of employment in Denmark; hundreds were bused in by fair organizers.
Daniel Schwammenthal, "Lazy Europe?" The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2007; Page A14 --- Click Here

When you're defending the case and you've got the law on your side, argue the heck out of the law. And if you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. And if you have neither on your side, accuse the government of misconduct and yell entrapment.
U.S. Attorney Tim DiScenza as quoted by Trevor Aaronson in Sen. John Ford's public corruption trial, Memphis Commercial Appeal, April 25, 2007 --- http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/local/article/0,2845,MCA_25340_5503139,00.html

Starbucks Coffee Company employees have responded by donating thousands of pounds of coffee and other items over the past several years. “We kept getting cards and e-mails from troops deployed overseas saying how much they missed our coffee,” said Julie Shelton, a consumer relations partner at Starbucks Coffee Company in Seattle. “It was great we were able to get support from the military.
Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service, April 25, 2007 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
Incidentally, did you know that Starbucks spends more on employee health insurance than it does for all the coffee it sells worldwide.

Hope everyone is doing well. We are just now getting some more warm weather. Yesterday was a rough day for Isaiah. His 600 lb sow decided to go for a jaunt around the countryside and he had to locate her and walk her home. I bag of dog food, the contents of several trash cans, and a poor lady who almost passed out when she looked out her kitchen door to find a hog attempting to come inside, and we finally convinced the sow to walk home. She had made it a good two miles across a busy rode. She also ate Cheyenne's county fair chicken. Today at school the varsity football coach introduced Isaiah to the quarterback coach for the Cal Berkley football team. The coach was on campus to talk to another player and got to meet Isaiah too. Sutter's coach pointed out Isaiah as a person to watch and they talked for a bit. A positive day to balance a rather lousy one . . . (next day) Well, after a busy day of working at the school. Shuttling kids from different locations home, give dinner directions over the phone and finally getting Isaiah and David off to Isaiah's practice, I sat down to read the paper and recover. The phone rang. The pig went visiting again. I think that Allie was the wrong name, maybe Houdini instead. She escaped from her horse stall, through the horse paddock and out the sheep pasture in a different area than the areas we patched monday evening. She did not get as far because a nice couple noticed her walking down the busy street and lured her into a stall. It was only about a mile walk home but I had to do it alone. The little kids waited at the farm and one of Isaiah's buddies drove nearby. I wrapped about four feet of chain around every entrance/exit to Allie's pen. If she gets out again I think I have room for about 600 or so pounds of sausage in my freezer.
Cindy, Mother of Four of Our Grandchildren in California




  • Question
    Should you advise someone to purchase long term care insurance?
    Beware of bad deals!

    "A Conversation With Barry Goldwater: Are You Recommending Long-Term Care Insurance?" AccountingWeb, April 20, 2007 ---http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=103435

    Who is the largest payer of long-term care assistance? It’s the general public who fund long-term care from personal savings and through public assistance programs. But the numbers bear out that CPAs and advisors are doing a poor job of referring their clients to asset protection long-term care programs. Why is this?

    Because of the way the U.S. healthcare system is set up, a long-term care event could devastate family retirement savings. Last year the long-term care insurers paid out $3.3 billion in claims but that figure only equated to 6 percent of total claims paid – a percentage that pales in comparison to the real costs born by the general public. Twenty-seven percent, or $30 billion, of all long-term care expenses are paid out of savings accounts, a major contributing reason for people going into bankruptcy. Another $42 billion was paid by Medicaid, and Medicare paid $15 billion.

    In our litigious society, the reality of long-term care insurance (LTCI) being treated as a fiduciary item has arrived. Disgruntled beneficiaries whose inheritances have been depleted by the expense their parents bore funding their long-term care experiences are successfully arguing and receiving monetary judgments from advisors who are not bringing up the subject of future liability planning. It is becoming a question of fiduciary responsibility to recommend asset protection.

    For example: It is projected that a 50-year-old person today is going to spend more than $1 million a year upon needing long-term care assistance when they are 85. Do you really want to make a negative million dollar decision for your clients if they lose this amount to the lack of asset protection? Are CPAs making these kinds of client assessments or does the CPA really not care whether a client should self insure the risk of a future long-term care event or transfer that risk to an insurance company?

    Statistic: Forty percent of those needing long-term care (LTC) are under age 65.

    Do CPAs recommend long-term care insurance? Tax and audit professionals are focused on fee planning in their core competencies. They make few financial planning referrals because their firm does not have a team planning approach outside of their core business model. These CPAs usually do not recommend LTCI. The CPA who is a multi-disciplinary advisor is looking for programs of opportunity in a broader environment that incorporates financial services and wealth management. This group usually will have an in house expert or a very close strategic alliance with an advanced planning insurance broker and will try to incorporate long-term care planning into their practice. These CPAs do recommend LTCI and are proactive inserting this item in their financial plan for clients.

    Because women generally outlive men by an average of seven years, they face a 50 percent greater likelihood than men of entering a nursing home after age 65.

    However, just 18 percent of women who responded to a study on the financial literacy of women have talked with their spouse or partner about long-term care insurance. Most women do not want to be a burden on their children. Yet about three-quarters of respondents have not had serious discussions with their children about long-term care insurance.

    How does the CPA connect with the aging baby boomer client on matters of long-term care and asset protection planning when 71 percent of all caregivers are women who are related to the in need relative? Advisors are not connecting with women and long-term care at all! We believe there is reluctance among CPAs to discuss transferring risk to insurance companies because somehow it is an uncomfortable conversation to have. But the numbers are compelling and advisors need to sit up and take notice.

    To plan for a future liability in combination with a plan for retirement income is the kind of creative planning clients are expecting. CPA advisors should know and should be making their clients aware that it is not the decision of the client to buy LTC insurance, it is the decision of the carrier whether they will offer the client a contract. When we surveyed our clients with the question, “Would you think it to be a good idea that we do future liability planning alongside of future income planning so that if you need medical or assistance to live in your home in the future, that expense would not come out of your retirement savings account?” When you say it with inflection, it is not as long a sentence as it appears and it is a very responsible question for an advisor to ask. The overwhelming response from our clients was extremely favorable with the most common reasonable accompanying question being “How much does it cost?” In other words, how much of my $20k 401k contribution am I going to be spending in order to protect it? The direct response is; “Based on information analyzed as to costs associated with a long-term care event, you can spend $3k per year for 20 years based on your age and risk factor probabilities or you can spend between $50k-$250k annually, for an average of five years, on your care? Which program can you best afford to fund?” When you consider the potential spend down of assets, you begin to understand the fiduciary aspects associated with prudent advice when the client is told to self insures these kinds of risk.

    On the other hand, high net worth clients will not pay for something without recognizing its perceived value. If I can fund future liability events from cash flow, why should I spend money on insurance I do not need? Here is the question for our high net worth clients; “Do you have an asset protection plan in place that covers the downside risk of investment loss due to a future medical liability or long-term care event?” That question enables me to have the conversation about long-term care insurance with high net worth people. And these facts bear me out.

    If the client has a $5 million investment portfolio returning 9 percent per year, his/her income from investments is projected to be $450,000 before taxes. If a future liability occurred and the cost of an assistance related liability was $150,000, the cost to the client would be $150,000 plus the loss of investment income at 9 percent. The total loss of principal plus interest for one year is $163,500, for three years the cost is $490,500. This is not how high net worth people plan, they do not leave these kinds of gaps that can effectuate loss. To transfer the risk, the cost is $6,000 for this married couple in their mid-50’s. If we do the math correctly, they would have to pay premiums for 25 years to equal one year’s cost for care. Their premiums would never exceed the cost of two years worth of care. No matter what one does with his or her money, the cost for care is always going to be the same, $163,000 is always going to be greater then $6,000, high net worth or not.

    It is our clients call to make, but if we connect our recommendations to the larger picture of asset protection, our message for risk transference becomes more powerful. From the financial data presented, Americans are paying 94 percent of the costs associated with long-term care expenses either in the form of public assistance or from savings. The majority of caretakers are our mothers, wives and daughters. These are alarming figures moving forward and given medical inflation outpacing other inflationary indices, CPAs should be aware of their fiduciary responsibility to make relationships with long-term care insurance specialists so their clients can be better served in this area of asset protection and they will be protected from litigious beneficiaries.

    About Barry Goldwater
    Barry Goldwater is the Principal of the Financial Resource Group and a 20-year veteran of the insurance industry. He focuses not only on working with the business and affluent clients of CPAs and attorneys, but also in helping CPA's form and develop a business model to include financial services. He can be reached at 617-527-9736,or a
    t barry@frg-creative.com. His web sites are http://www.frg-creative.com or www.goldwaterfinancial.net

     

     

    Jensen Comment
    It is important to note that the above author is with the insurance industry. In my opinion, elder care insurance is not a good deal for many people. For one thing it is very expensive and adds another "middle man" to profit from elder care. Second, reasonably wealthy people who can afford long-term care expected costs (adjusted for probabilities and family health history) may find insuring for long term care to be a bad deal that cuts into cash flow they might enjoy in earlier years of their lives. Similarly people with limited means who are likely to qualify for Medicaid benefits may find it a bad deal. Also read the fine print of a contract. Insurance companies have a way of limiting their own risk exposures, especially risks of rising eldercare costs.

    Another risk is that your so-called financial advisor may be receiving some sort of kickback for helping to get clients to take out elder care insurance. This is an expensive cash flow item that requires high integrity financial advising.

    I think Goldwater's analysis is off base because the probability of needing nursing home care beyond a year or two is relatively low (I think). An awful lot of elderly people die in their homes or after a short stay in a hospital where Medicare pays the bill.

    Also there is moral hazard of the family putting an insured elderly person in a home before such care is really needed just so the old person's home or farm can be sold.

    Bob Jensen's threads on insurance scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#MutualFunds


    What has been the major change for college faculty in the past decade?
    Almost 20 years after the first edition came out, the editors of
    The Academic’s Handbook (Duke University Press) have released a new version — the third — with many chapters on faculty careers updated and some completely new topics added. Topics covered include teaching, research, tenure, academic freedom, mentoring, diversity, harassment and more. The editors of the collection (who also wrote some of the pieces) are two Duke University professors who also served as administrators there. They are A. Leigh Deneef, a professor of English and former associate dean of the Graduate School, and Craufurd D. Goodwin, a professor of economics who was previously vice provost and dean of the Graduate School.
    Inside Higher Ed, January 10, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/workplace/2007/01/10/handbook
    Hint as to what has been the major change for college faculty in the past decade:
    In April 2007, Stanford President John Hennessy has named Carla Shatz, , the head of Harvard's neurobiology department, to lead the next phase of Stanford's Bio-X program, the landmark bioscience research effort that promotes interdisciplinary collaborations among life scientists, medical scientists, engineers, physicists and computer scientists.


    From Carnegie-Mellon University: How to Turn Your Photographs into 3-D Photographs

    "A New Dimension for Your Photos Web service Fotowoosh wants to be the Flickr of 3-D," by Wade Roush, MIT's Technology Review, April 27, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/18596/ 

    Looking at the photo prints from your Washington, D.C., vacation can prompt memories of being at real, three-dimensional places like the Lincoln Memorial. But what if you could actually walk into your photograph and stand at Lincoln's feet all over again--or at least zoom inside a 3-D version of your image on a computer screen? A new Web service called Fotowoosh promises to deliver such an experience, courtesy of computer-vision researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh.

    Derek Hoiem, a doctoral candidate at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, has spent the past year and a half figuring out how to get software to convert flat images into 3-D virtual-reality models that can be manipulated on-screen. Working with faculty members Alexei Efros and Martial Hebert, Hoiem came up with a machine-learning system that identifies various surfaces and their orientations based on what it has learned from examining previous photos. In essence, Fotowoosh frees the person viewing a photograph from the photographer's point of view so that he or she can explore perspectives other than the one the camera actually captured.

    Continued in article

     

    Bob Jensen's threads on tricks and tools of education technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm


    Question
    Do you really understand the SEC's Rule 144a?
    What is it and why do accountants hate it?

    And here's the real beauty of it: Companies that issue stock under Rule 144a can access America's deep pools of capital without submitting to public-company accounting rules or to the tender mercies of Sarbanes-Oxley. In exchange, however, they must strictly limit the number of qualified U.S. investors in their company -- to 500 total for U.S.-based firms and 300 for foreign-based. They are also barred from offering comparable securities for sale in the public market. The 144a market is also for the most part nontransparent, often illiquid and thus in some ways riskier. But increasingly, this is a trade that institutional investors and companies seeking capital are willing to make.
    "A Capital Idea," The Wall Street Journal,  April 26, 2007; Page A18 --- Click Here
  •  

    That America's public capital markets have lost some of their allure is no longer much disputed. Eminences as unlikely as Chuck Schumer and Eliot Spitzer have taken to bemoaning the fact and calling for some sort of fix, albeit without doing much.

    Tort reform -- to reduce jackpot justice in securities class-action suits -- would certainly help. So would easing the compliance costs and regulatory burden placed on publicly traded companies by Sarbanes-Oxley, Regulation FD and the like. (See Robert Grady nearby.) The good news is that, as usual, private-sector innovation is finding a way around these government obstacles through the rapid growth of something known as the Rule 144a market.

    First, a little capital-markets background: Most Americans are familiar with the "public markets," which consist of the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and other stock markets. These are open to investors of every stripe and are where the stocks of most of the world's best-known companies are traded. Nearly anyone can invest, and these exchanges are comprehensively regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Less well understood is another, more restricted market known after SEC Rule 144a that governs participation in it. As on stock exchanges, this market allows for the buying and selling of the stock of companies that offer their shares for sale. But participation is strictly limited. To be what is called a "qualified buyer" in this market, you must be a financial institution with at least $100 million in investable assets. If you meet these criteria, you are free to buy stocks of both U.S. and foreign companies that have never offered their shares to the investing public.

    And here's the real beauty of it: Companies that issue stock under Rule 144a can access America's deep pools of capital without submitting to public-company accounting rules or to the tender mercies of Sarbanes-Oxley. In exchange, however, they must strictly limit the number of qualified U.S. investors in their company -- to 500 total for U.S.-based firms and 300 for foreign-based. They are also barred from offering comparable securities for sale in the public market. The 144a market is also for the most part nontransparent, often illiquid and thus in some ways riskier. But increasingly, this is a trade that institutional investors and companies seeking capital are willing to make.

    There are estimated to be about 1,000 companies whose stocks trade in the 144a market. And last year, for perhaps the first time, more capital was raised in the U.S. by issuing these so-called unregistered securities than through IPOs on all the major stock exchanges combined. Even more telling is that the large institutional investors eligible to buy these unregistered securities are more than happy to oblige. There is no selling without buying, and for the 144a market to overtake the giant stock exchanges, institutional investors who control trillions of dollars in capital must see better opportunities outside the regulations built by Congress and the SEC.

    In a sign of these times, none other than Nasdaq is now stepping in to bring some greater order, liquidity and transparency to the Rule 144a market. Any day now, the SEC is expected to propose giving the green light to a Nasdaq project called Portal. Portal aims to be a central clearing house for buyers and sellers of Section 144a securities. You will still need to be a "qualified institutional buyer" to purchase 144a securities. And the companies whose stocks change hands on Portal will still need to meet the limitations on numbers of investors to offer their stock there.

    So Portal will not bring unregistered securities to the masses -- at least not directly. It is forbidden to do so because the entire U.S. regulatory system is designed to protect individual investors from such things. What Portal will do, if it operates as intended, is make the trading of Rule 144a securities easier and less costly. And this could, in turn, further increase their attractiveness to issuers and investors alike. Average investors will at least be able to participate indirectly via mutual and pension funds, most of which meet the standards for "qualified institutional buyers."

    Given the limitations on eligibility for Rule 144a assets, they will never replace our public markets. But their growth is one more sign that investors, far from valuing current regulation, are seeking ways to avoid its costs and complications. Nasdaq's participation is especially notable given its stake as an established public exchange. Nasdaq seems to have concluded that there is a new market opportunity created by overregulation, so it is following the money.

    This leaves our politicians with two choices. They can move to meddle with and diminish this second securities market -- which will only drive more business away from U.S. shores. Or they can address the overregulation that is hurting public markets and prompting both investors and companies to seek alternatives.

  • Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm


    The University of Texas at Austin Lobbies to Scrap the Controversial Top 10% Admissions Law

    "Don’t Scrap Top 10% Plans," by Michael A. Olivas, Inside Higher Ed, April 26, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/04/26/olivas 

    All Texas parents keep a watchful eye on their progeny’s performance in high school, knowing that a “top 10 percent” class rank guarantees admission to the state college of their choice. There are variants in other states, but this is the best known. Acclaimed by many for opening doors to higher education for disadvantaged students at the state’s most prestigious university, the program is now the target of sharp criticism from the University of Texas at Austin.

    The state’s flagship university wants to bury the program. I come to praise it — and to argue that it may be a model deserving more attention as more states face referenda that may lead to the abolition of affirmative action and could hinder minority enrollments at top public universities.

    UT’s leaders claim that the Austin campus has become overenrolled if not overrun with “top 10 percent” students — but data from fall 2006 show a different story. And nationally, flagship university leaders fear that such programs take away too much control over whom they admit to their classes. At Austin, first-time freshmen indeed increased by 509 to 7,421, but the figure included new entrants as well as freshmen who entered in the summer and continued into the fall. Among incoming students from Texas high schools, about 71 percent were admitted under the 10 Percent Plan, compared with 69 percent in fall 2005.

    The quantity at Austin appears manageable, but what about the quality? All available data indicate that students admitted under the statewide 10 Percent Plan do better than their peers in grade point
    average and in college retention. That’s to be expected — since students who do well in high school have a proclivity to do well in college, especially when UT and other universities make concerted efforts to recruit them and to provide them with financial aid.

    Final proof of the 10 Percent Plan’s success is found in data on ethnicity. At UT-Austin, first-time freshman enrollment included 54.3 percent white, 0.5 percent American Indian, 5.2 percent African American, 17.9 percent Asian American, 18.7 percent Hispanic and 3.4 percent foreign. Amid the turbulence that attended major court cases (Hopwood from the Fifth Circuit and Grutter from the U.S. Supreme Court), the UT campus remains commendably populated by people from all economic classes and all corners of the state. But the possibility of a Texas anti-affirmative action referendum looms.

    Credit for these outcomes properly goes to the late Rep. Irma Rangel, who led the House Higher Education Committee that crafted the 10 Percent Plan. For nearly 18 months, I was privileged to work in her shadow as we sought race-neutral ways to assist colleges that genuinely wished to recruit students from every precinct in the state. After sifting through dozens of options, we opted for something we called the frog-pond effect. That is, we determined that students who were “big frogs” in high school were likely to do well in college — regardless of the size of the frog pond that spawned them. Indeed, rank-in-class is a proven marker of excellence, and many scholarships and other honors traditionally flow from this measure of excellence.

    The plan that emerged in committee improved upon the California model that requires many markers, especially standardized tests on which some groups on average perform better than do others, beyond a simple rank-in-class threshold. In part, it was based on research that showed a handful of largely suburban high schools generated many of the students admitted to the state’s flagship universities, and at UT-Austin in particular. All were excellent high schools, to be sure, but we identified many other good high schools that had never sent a graduate to a flagship college in Texas. The 10 Percent Plan effectively got these schools “into the game” of higher education — much like the
    Olympic Games permits every country to enter three athletes in any given event. The three-athlete limit might chafe Kenya in distance running and chap the United States in swimming, but there is global agreement that the system is fair.

    Texas legislators can lend a sympathetic ear to UT-Austin’s complaints, but the problem is that the 10 Percent Plan works only as it is, when its provisions are automatic and clear-cut. The benchmark could be set at a higher point for this one campus — say, the top 7 percent — but such an adjustment would only delay “filling up” the university at some point down the road. UT-Austin says its far-reaching campus plans call for improving student-teacher ratios by hiring more faculty and reducing the number of students. But these goals could be achieved by limiting transfer students or by hiring more professors, rather than by constraining the size of admitted classes.

    There may be other options that UT-Austin could pursue, but if the core problem is “too many excellent students,” only two plausible solutions exist: other Texas public institutions need to step up and aggressively recruit these students, and the state needs to create more attractive flagships. The results of that second option are readily visible in California, where virtually all UC campuses except the fledgling Merced campus are awash in applications from highly accomplished students. Just as not every qualified student in California can go to Berkeley, perhaps not every qualified student can plan on attending UT-Austin.

    Institutions such as the University of Virginia or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill struggle to recruit rural high school graduates and first generation students. Some public universities have followed the lead of guaranteeing full financial aid and not simply reimbursable loans, so as to diversify their entering classes. In most states, there are racial housing patterns that make recruiting from a wider swath of high schools efficacious. The deeply ingrained mythology of graduating first in one’s class is an extreme version of percentage plans, but virtually every college tracks and recruits such high-achieving frogs.

    Instead of waiting for Ward Connerly to stir the pot, and then to be left stunned when he wins a referendum, states might be well advised to consider a system like this, which is consistent with long-standing flagship traditions in many cases. Why don’t Connerly and the Center for Individual Rights and such others lead a similar charge against legacy programs in public colleges, a demonstrably and predominantly white policy?

    Continued in article

     Jensen Comment
    Too much of the criticism of the Top 10% Law centers on the flagship university loss of discretion on admissions. Not enough criticism focuses on the gaming that takes place in high school. Instead of taking math, science, and other tougher curriculum courses that help improve SAT or ACT testing scores, students are encouraged to take the easiest A courses that give them a better shot at being in the Top 10% of their class. Accordingly, students in the Top 10% are actually less prepared for math and science majors. The fact that they tend to do well in college may also be reflected in the majors they choose in college. What proportion of those Top 10% opt for the tougher math, science, and engineering courses at the university level vis-a-vis the high SAT students who were denied admission to the flagship universities because they were not in the Top 10% of their more competitive suburban high schools?

    Bob Jensen's threads on the controversial Top 10% Rule are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#AcademicStandards

     

     

    Grade Inflation from High School to Graduate School
    The Boston Globe reports seeing 30- 40 valedictorians per class

    Extra credit for AP courses, parental lobbying and genuine hard work by the most competitive students have combined to shatter any semblance of a Bell curve

     

    An increasing number of Canada's business schools are literally selling MBAs to generate revenue

     

    [some] professors who say their colleagues are so afraid of bad student evaluations that they are placating students with A's and B's.

     

    From Jim Mahar's blog on November 24, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

     

    Grade inflation from HS to Grad school

    Three related stories that are not strictly speaking finance but that should be of interest to most in academia.

    In the first article, which is from the
    Ottawa Citizen, accelerated and executive MBA programs come under attack for their supposed detrimantal impact on learning in favor of revenue.

    MBAs dumbed down for profit:
    "An increasing number of Canada's business schools are literally selling MBAs to generate revenue for their ravenous budgets, according to veteran Concordia University finance professor Alan Hochstein.

    That apparent trend to make master of business administration degrees easier to achieve at a premium cost is leading to 'sub-standard education for enormous fees,' the self-proclaimed whistleblower said yesterday"
    The second article is a widely reported AP article that that centers on High School grade inflation. This high school issue not only makes the admissions process more difficult but it also influences the behavior of the students ("complaining works") and their their grade expectations ("I have always gotten A's and therefore I deserve on here").

    A few look-ins from
    Boston Globe's version:
    "Extra credit for AP courses, parental lobbying and genuine hard work by the most competitive students have combined to shatter any semblance of a Bell curve, one in which 'A's are reserved only for the very best. For example, of the 47,317 applications the University of California, Los Angeles, received for this fall's freshman class, nearly 21,000 had GPAs of 4.0 or above."
    or consider this:
    ""We're seeing 30, 40 valedictorians at a high school because they don't want to create these distinctions between students...."
    and
    "The average high school GPA increased from 2.68 to 2.94 between 1990 and 2000, according to a federal study."
    This is not just a High School problem. In part because of an agency cost problem (professors have incentives to grade leniently even if it is to the detriment of students), the same issues are regular discussions topics at all colleges as well. For instance consider this story from the Denver Post.
    "A proposal to disclose class rank on student transcripts has ignited a debate among University of Colorado professors with starkly different views on whether grade inflation is a problem....

    [some] professors who say their colleagues are so afraid of bad student evaluations that they are placating students with A's and B's.

    The few professors who grade honestly end up with dismal scores on student evaluations, which affect their salaries, professor Paul Levitt said. There is also the "endless parade of malcontents" in their offices."

    I would love to wrap this up with my own solution, but obviously it is a tough problem to which there are no easy solutions. That said, maybe it is time that I personally look back at my past years' class grades to make sure I am not getting too soft. If we all did that, we'd at least make a dent in the problem.

     

    "Admissions boards face 'grade inflation'," by Justin Pope, Boston Globe, November 18, 2006 --- Click Here

    That means he will have to find other ways to stand out.

    "It's extremely difficult," he said. "I spent all summer writing my essay. We even hired a private tutor to make sure that essay was the best it can be. But even with that, it's like I'm just kind of leveling the playing field." Last year, he even considered transferring out of his highly competitive public school, to some place where his grades would look better.

    Some call the phenomenon that Zalasky's fighting "grade inflation" -- implying the boost is undeserved. Others say students are truly earning their better marks. Regardless, it's a trend that's been building for years and may only be accelerating: Many students are getting very good grades. So many, in fact, it is getting harder and harder for colleges to use grades as a measuring stick for applicants.

    Extra credit for AP courses, parental lobbying and genuine hard work by the most competitive students have combined to shatter any semblance of a Bell curve, one in which 'A's are reserved only for the very best. For example, of the 47,317 applications the University of California, Los Angeles, received for this fall's freshman class, nearly 21,000 had GPAs of 4.0 or above.

    That's also making it harder for the most selective colleges -- who often call grades the single most important factor in admissions -- to join in a growing movement to lessen the influence of standardized tests.

    "We're seeing 30, 40 valedictorians at a high school because they don't want to create these distinctions between students," said Jess Lord, dean of admission and financial aid at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. "If we don't have enough information, there's a chance we'll become more heavily reliant on test scores, and that's a real negative to me."

    Standardized tests have endured a heap of bad publicity lately, with the SAT raising anger about its expanded length and recent scoring problems. A number of schools have stopped requiring tests scores, to much fanfare.

    Continued in article

     
     

    Advanced brain-imaging techniques have begun to point to specific brain patterns common among sociopaths.

    "What Can Neuroscience Tell Us about Evil?" by Richard Brandt, MIT's Technology Review, April 24, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/18573/

  • "I had to do it. What other choice did you give me?"

    These words, spoken by Cho Seung-Hui on a video in between the two sets of killings at Virginia Tech last week, raise more questions than answers. What made him believe that such a tragic act was necessary? Was he a psychopath, a man who killed in cold blood or in anger set off by the slightest provocation? Did he embody what most religions would simply classify as "evil"?

    Psychiatrists and neuroscientists are making extraordinary advances in understanding the psychopathic or sociopathic mind, a mind that lacks empathy, compassion, fear, or remorse. In some of the most exciting research, advanced brain-imaging techniques are revealing that certain sections of psychopaths' brains seem to be misfiring.

    Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers in the United States, Germany, and elsewhere have started taking scans of the brains of psychopaths while the patients view horrific images, such as photographs of bloody stabbings, shootings, or evisceration. When normal people view these images, fMRI scans light up to indicate heavy brain activity in sections of the emotion-generating limbic system, primarily the amygdala, which is believed to generate feelings of empathy. But in psychopathic patients, these sections of the amygdala remain dark, showing greatly reduced activity or none at all. This phenomenon, known as limbic underactivation, may indicate that some of these people lack the ability to generate the basic emotions that keep primitive killer instincts in check.

    Other researchers see similar deficits from fMRI scans of the frontal cortex, part of the reasoning center of the brain, which helps regulate impulsive and irrational actions. These researchers say that frontal-deficit syndrome creates a psychopathic inability to rein in overly emotional, impulsive, and violent reactions to the slightest provocation.

    James Blair, head of the National Institute of Mental Health's Unit on Affective Cognitive Neuroscience, believes that a dysfunctional amygdala affects the frontal cortex. In just-completed studies of psychopathic brains, to be published late this year or early next, Blair's fMRI scans show that a lack of normal activity in the amygdala is mirrored in the frontal cortex. He believes that the amygdala forwards the wrong signals to the frontal cortex.

    Continued in article


    "Creating Your Own 'Wiki' Web Site:  Program Simplifies Steps for Entries; Nothing Is Private," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2007; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/the_mossberg_solution.html
     

  • Wikipedia.com, the encyclopedia Web site created and operated with contributions from online users around the world, is a resourceful tool. Though accuracy isn't guaranteed, it reflects a collection of knowledge contributed and edited by many users.

    A "wiki" is a Web site or similar online resource that allows anyone to add and edit content collectively. But while the idea behind Wikipedia.com and other collaborative sites is a good one, the process of contributing content can be intimidating for nontechies. Instead, many people opt to publish their writing and digital media on personal blogs or Web sites. Yet these don't do much to encourage online communities and interaction.

    This week, I tested a free program from Wetpaint.com Inc. that helps regular users create wikis, which encourage interaction because they're constantly changed by contributors. Wetpaint's wikis ease the process of adding Web links, digital images, digital videos and additional text to sites made with Wetpaint. Likewise, your site can easily be adjusted and enhanced by anyone who views it. Compared with blogs or normal Web sites, my Wetpaint wiki felt much more alive and exciting.

    Wetpaint has room for improvement. Nothing created on its site can be kept private from random viewers. Some of its functions -- like adding content at the same time as someone else -- can be a bit confusing. And it has advertisements because it's free, but these aren't overly intrusive. The Seattle-based company has plans for upgrades, including introducing more privacy options this summer. But most of its features are overwhelmingly simple to use, and built-in tutorial videos demonstrate steps.

    In less than five minutes, my own wiki -- a site devoted to discussing television programs, compiling digital photos and video clips from shows, all of which could be added to or deleted by anyone at any time -- was up and running. I noticed other Wetpaint wikis for organizing sports teams, assisting with dog rescues and discussing favorite books. Setup was divided into three steps playfully termed The Easy Part, The Fun Part and The Other Part.

    I named my wiki and its URL, and considered the options for who I wanted to contribute to it: everyone (even anonymously); anyone with a Wetpaint.com account; or only those whom I invited. I chose to allow everyone's contributions in order to get the full feel of a wiki. Twenty four style templates provide a starting point for the color and overall look.

    I invited others to see my site so that they, too, could contribute their ruminations. When inviting others, you must designate how much authority you'll give each invitee. Whoever creates the wiki is an administrator with the ability to change everything, including the template and permission settings. You can give others the same ranking, or you might opt to make them moderators, letting them move and delete pages but not change settings. The least amount of power is given to registered users; they can't move or delete pages, but they, like everyone else, can still delete, change or add content on each page, by default.

    Every change made to the site is tracked in detail, letting everyone see which page was altered and by whom, the time and date of the change and the scope of each adjustment. Special views can compare how a page looked before and after changes, so you know whether you liked the way you had it or the new version. These details are important in the world of wikis, where changes can be slight, frequent and barely noticeable.

    The home page of your wiki allows space for explaining what you'd like to do. I used mine to say how much I like chatting about recent TV show episodes, and encouraged others to contribute anything relevant to the discussion, including write-in opinions, photos of show characters and clips from favorite scenes.

    Each page has a section for navigation in the top left, showing which page is currently in view and how it relates to Home -- as a subcategory of Home, or a subcategory within a category and so on. A toolbox on the far right offers one-click help for editing, adding attachments, inviting others and emailing a page. At the top of each page, an Easy Edit tool can be expanded to help you add digital photos from your PC or from specific URLs, hyperlinks or short video clips from sites like YouTube.com.

    I never saw any confusing jargon while adding content to my wiki. I just followed suggested links, searched for the right content online or on my computer and pasted that information into the right spot.

    Within a few hours, the friends I invited to my wiki caught on and added content to my pages or created pages of their own to be listed under my wiki. In addition to my pages for "Grey's Anatomy," "The Amazing Race" and "Friday Night Lights," others added pages for "American Idol" and "Battlestar Galactica." I even got into a fun back-and-forth battle with a friend as he and I each posted pictures of our favorite doctors on "Grey's Anatomy." Each of us had the ability to delete the other's posting or to add our own.

    I ran into some trouble when I tried to save a post and was told that someone else was simultaneously changing content on the same page. I chose to manually merge my content with the other person's content, but couldn't figure out how to do so and lost my entire post. This problem isn't likely to crop up often, but it's worth noting.

    When I had questions about other sections, a help section walked me through the wiki-building steps. I also watched how-to videos that demonstrated the way certain aspects of Wetpaint worked.

    If you're tired of reading blogs that only let you post comments in an obscure section of the page, the interactive community aspect of Wetpaint's wikis will appeal to you. Just be sure you're aware that until later this summer, nothing on your wiki can be made private.

     


    "Wikis Made Simple -- Very Simple:  Wetpaint and other wiki startups are offering free and easy-to-use tools. But will most consumers really care?," by Wade Roush, MIT's Technology Review, June 21, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17009&ch=infotech 

    A Seattle startup called Wetpaint launched the newest Web-based "wiki" platform this week, offering people who register with the company the ability to create community websites that can be edited easily by any user, or by invited members only, depending on the creator's preference.

    Wikis have been a popular tool for Internet geeks for about a decade, and now they're beginning to be adopted inside many businesses. For the most part, though, they haven't crossed into the mainstream -- the way that other Web-based publishing technologies such as blogs have. Wetpaint's founders hope to make that transition -- in part, by making their free, advertising-supported service as easy to use as familiar software tools such e-mail and word-processor programs.

    Starting a Wetpaint site is as simple as picking a name and design, creating a few pages, writing something in them, and deciding who can edit them. The company's CEO, Ben Elowitz, says he hopes everyone from neighborhood watch groups to Cub Scout leaders will warm up to Wetpaint and start using it to collaborate on projects and manage group information.

    Elowitz believes that online collaboration is a largely unexplored market. "Message boards are good for dialogues, blogs are good as soapboxes, and social networks are good for meeting people, but none of those really let you manage relationships," he says. "For people who are online now, the technology is there to give them a chance to connect over their common interests."

    But the public still has a shaky idea of wikis. Surveys conducted by the Harris polling organization for Wetpaint show that only 5 percent of adults who go online can define the word "wiki," according to Elowitz. And it's not clear that Wetpaint or any other wiki-focused company has made the technology simple -- or useful -- enough to attract large numbers of users.

    The most famous wiki, of course, is Wikipedia -- it's the largest encyclopedia ever written, with 1.2 million articles contributed by more than 1.6 million registered users and policed by approximately 1,000 volunteer administrators. Indeed, Wikipedia has become the 16th-most-trafficked site on the Web; on any given day, about 4 percent of all Internet users stop there, according to Web traffic research firm Alexa.

    But while most of Wikipedia's readers are aware that they can edit encyclopedia entries, the average visitor does so very rarely. In fact, a core of around 500 people account for about half of Wikipedia's content -- an indication that the technical process of writing and editing wiki items remains forbidding for the average user.

    From the Scout Report on April 27, 2007

    Wikyblog 1.4.9 --- http://www.wikyblog.com/ 

    A number of people have been intimately involved in blending the worlds of the wiki and the blog together into one efficient and engaging application, and Wikyblog is one of the very fine results of those ruminations. Designed as a piece of open source software, Wikyblog allows users to create their own different data types, and to arrange various fields and variables as they see fit. Visitors can download this software, and also take advantage of the “how-to” section offered on the Wikyblog homepage. This version is compatible with all computers.

    Bob Jensen's threads on tricks and tools of the education technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm


    Remember why Gillette could almost give its blade razors away or why HP could almost give its printers away.
    Kodak is about to upset HP’s printer cart

    "Kodak's New Printer Is a Good Start, Plus It Cuts the Cost of Ink," By Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2007; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/personal_technology.html

    As part of its long, rocky journey from film to digital photography, Kodak just introduced a line of home inkjet printers. The company has decided to go after its rival Hewlett-Packard, which dominates consumer inkjet printing.

    Kodak's main weapon in this new war is cheaper ink. Traditionally, H-P and other makers have sold the printers for relatively little, then made most or all of their money on the ink cartridges.

    So, Kodak decided to reverse that business model. Its three new printers start at $149.99, not sub-$100 bargain prices. But its black ink cartridges cost just $9.99, and the color ones -- which combine five color inks -- just $14.99. And these are standard-capacity cartridges, not small or starter versions. Comparable H-P cartridges vary in price, but can easily cost double that, or more.

    Kodak hopes consumers will be willing to spend more upfront for the printer to save later on the ink.

    In a counter-move, H-P announced Tuesday that it will also be introducing new lower-price cartridges. But these new low-end cartridges will work only on future printers (and a few very recent models). And they will hold less ink than today's standard. Plus, they will still cost more than Kodak's cartridges: $14.99 for black and $17.99 for the combined color versions. H-P will also start selling larger-capacity "value" cartridges for the new printers that will cost about twice as much as the low-end ink, but print up to triple the number of pages.

    How good are Kodak's new printers? After all, cheaper ink isn't really a bargain if the printer is lousy. To find out, I've been testing Kodak's midrange model, the EasyShare 5300, which costs $199.99. It's an "all-in-one" machine that combines a printer with a flatbed copier and scanner.

    I compared this new Kodak with a roughly comparable all-in-one H-P model, the Photosmart C6180. This particular H-P model costs $100 more than the Kodak, because it includes some additional features. But H-P says that this printer has the same printing, scanning and copying quality and speeds, in the typical scenarios I tested, as H-P's C5180, the direct competitor of the Kodak 5300, which costs the same.

    My conclusion was that the Kodak EasyShare 5300 is a pretty good printer, with a good enough combination of quality, speed and functionality to satisfy people attracted by the lower ink costs. In my tests, it was better than the H-P at some things and worse at others.

    One caveat: I didn't try to verify Kodak's claim that, overall, its printouts cost a lot less than H-P's. Such claims depend on very specific sorts of test files produced and tested in labs. H-P disputes Kodak's testing methodology and claims that Kodak's printout costs are "about the same or only slightly lower than H-P's."

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    Consumer Reports offers the following guidelines for purchasing a printer (prior to the low-cost ink alternatives from Kodak) --- http://snipurl.com/CRPrinters

    I think Cannon makes the main inner parts for virtually all inkjet printers. PC World lists its choice of the Top 10 printers (prior to Kodak's new low-cost ink alternatives) ---
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,125549-page,1/article.html
    Also see http://snipurl.com/PCWprinters


    For Fon: Time Warner Cable lets customers set up cheap Wi-Fi hotspots

    "Bucking convention, Time Warner Cable lets customers set up cheap Wi-Fi hotspots," MIT's Technology Review, April 23, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Wire/18570/

  • In a big win for a little Wi-Fi startup called Fon, Time Warner Cable Inc. will let its home broadband customers turn their connections into public wireless hotspots, a practice shunned by most U.S. Internet service providers.

    For Fon, which has forged similar agreements with ISPs across Europe, the deal will boost its credibility with U.S. consumers. For Time Warner Cable, which has 6.6 million broadband subscribers, the move could help protect the company from an exodus as free or cheap municipal wireless becomes more readily available.

    Fon was founded in Spain in 1995 on the premise that people should not have to pay twice -- once at home, then again in a coffee shop -- for Internet access. At first, the company offered software that let members, called Foneros, turn Wi-Fi routers into shared access points, but it took hours to get up and running.

    In the fall of 2006, Fon, which counts Google Inc. and eBay Inc.'s Skype among its investors, started selling and sometimes giving away its own branded wireless router, called La Fonera. Since then, it has distributed about 370,000 of them worldwide.

    La Fonera splits a Wi-Fi connection in two: an encrypted channel for the Fonero and a public one for neighbors or passers-by. Foneros can decide how much of their bandwidth to share with the public and can log on to any Fon router without charge. ''Aliens,'' as Fon calls nonmembers, can register on a Web page and pay a modest $2 (euro1.47) or $3 (euro2.20) for 24 hours of access.

    In the U.S., where it costs $10 (euro7.35) for a day pass to use a T-Mobile HotSpot at a Starbucks, Fon's economics seem particularly appealing.

    Joanna Rees, chief executive of Fon USA, said such rates at coffee shops, airports and hotels might work for a business person with an expense account but are too high for people who just want to quickly check e-mail, make a call on a Wi-Fi phone or play on a wireless video game device.

    ''They're extorting people,'' Rees said.

    Starbucks Corp. and T-Mobile USA Inc. representatives responded that they provide a premium service, and that customers see value in paying for speed, security and reliability.

    Fon has about 60,000 Foneros in the U.S. In February, the company launched ''Fonbucks,'' a one-month router giveaway aimed at people who live above or next-door to a Starbucks. It was an amusing way to get more La Foneras into high-density areas, and it worked to the tune of 6,800 free routers.

    But until now, ISPs in the U.S. have resisted the Fon model. Most big companies' end-user license agreements prohibit subscribers from sharing their connection outside the home or business. Verizon Communications Inc., for example, can terminate contracts if it finds an ad-hoc hotspot.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's bookmarks about wireless systems are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm#200503WirelessTechnologies
     


  • Quiz about your powers of observation --- http://www.oldjoeblack.0nyx.com/thinktst.htm


    Karl Popper's Black Swan

    Question
    What is a "Black Swan" in portfolio theory?
    Hint: Our strategies for managing risk, for instance--including Modern Portfolio Theory and the Black-Scholes formula for pricing options--are likely to fail at the worst possible time.

    "Shattering the Bell Curve:  The power law rules," by David A. Shaywitz, The Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110009979 

    Excerpt
    The attractiveness of the bell curve resides in its democratic distribution and its mathematical accessibility. Collect enough data and the pattern reveals itself, allowing both robust predictions of future data points (such as the height of the next five people to enter the room) and accurate estimations of the size and frequency of extreme values (anticipating the occasional giant or dwarf.

    The power-law distribution, by contrast, would seem to have little to recommend it. Not only does it disproportionately reward the few, but it also turns out to be notoriously difficult to derive with precision. The most important events may occur so rarely that existing data points can never truly assure us that the future won't look very different from the present. We can be fairly certain that we will never meet anyone 14-feet tall, but it is entirely possible that, over time, we will hear of a man twice as rich as Bill Gates or witness a market crash twice as devastating as that of October 1987.

    The problem, insists Mr. Taleb, is that most of the time we are in the land of the power law and don't know it. Our strategies for managing risk, for instance--including Modern Portfolio Theory and the Black-Scholes formula for pricing options--are likely to fail at the worst possible time, Mr. Taleb argues, because they are generally (and mistakenly) based on bell-curve assumptions. He gleefully cites the example of Long Term Capital Management (LTCM), an early hedge fund that blew up after its Nobel laureate founders "allowed themselves to take a monstrous amount of risk" because "their models ruled out the possibility of large deviations."

    Mr. Taleb is fascinated by the rare but pivotal events that characterize life in the power-law world. He calls them Black Swans, after the philosopher Karl Popper's observation that only a single black swan is required to falsify the theory that "all swans are white" even when there are thousands of white swans in evidence. Provocatively, Mr. Taleb defines Black Swans as events (such as the rise of the Internet or the fall of LTCM) that are not only rare and consequential but also predictable only in retrospect. We never see them coming, but we have no trouble concocting post hoc explanations for why they should have been obvious. Surely, Mr. Taleb taunts, we won't get fooled again. But of course we will. Writing in a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne, Mr. Taleb divides the world into those who "get it" and everyone else, a world partitioned into heroes (Popper, Hayek, Yogi Berra), those on notice (Harold Bloom, necktie wearers, personal-finance advisers) and entities that are dead to him (the bell curve, newspapers, the Nobel Prize in Economics).

    A humanist at heart, Mr. Taleb ponders not only the effect of Black Swans but also the reason we have so much trouble acknowledging their existence. And this is where he hits his stride. We eagerly romp with him through the follies of confirmation bias (our tendency to reaffirm our beliefs rather than contradict them), narrative fallacy (our weakness for compelling stories), silent evidence (our failure to account for what we don't see), ludic fallacy (our willingness to oversimplify and take games or models too seriously), and epistemic arrogance (our habit of overestimating our knowledge and underestimating our ignorance).

    For anyone who has been compelled to give a long-term vision or read a marketing forecast for the next decade, Mr. Taleb's chapter excoriating "The Scandal of Prediction" will ring painfully true. "What is surprising is not the magnitude of our forecast errors," observes Mr. Taleb, "but our absence of awareness of it." We tend to fail--miserably--at predicting the future, but such failure is little noted nor long remembered. It seems to be of remarkably little professional consequence.

    I suspect that part of the explanation for this inconsistency may be found in a study of stock analysts that Mr. Taleb cites. Their predictions, while badly inaccurate, were not random but rather highly correlated with each other. The lesson, evidently, is that it's better to be wrong than alone.

    If we accept Mr. Taleb's premise about power-law ascendancy, we are left with a troubling question: How do you function in a world where accurate prediction is rarely possible, where history isn't a reliable guide to the future and where the most important events cannot be anticipated?

    Mr. Taleb presents a range of answers--be prepared for various outcomes, he says, and don't rush for buses--but it's clear that he remains slightly vexed by the world he describes so vividly. Then again, beatific serenity may not be the goal here. As Mr. Taleb warns, certitude is likely to be found only in a fool's (bell-curve) paradise, where we choose the comfort of the "precisely wrong" over the challenge of the "broadly correct." Beneath Mr. Taleb's blustery rhetoric lives a surprisingly humble soul who has chosen to follow a demanding and somewhat lonely path.

    I wonder how many of us will have the courage to join him. Very few, I predict--unless, of course, something unexpected happens.

    Dr. Shaywitz is a physician-scientist in New Jersey. You can buy "The Black Swan" from most online bookstores, including the OpinionJournal bookstore.

    April 24, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]

    Bob,

    There have been excellent discussions of many of these ideas by physicists (largely ignored by economists because of their inconvenience to their ideological moorings) for a long time. Some examples include:

    1. The book by the French mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot titled "The (Mis) Behavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin And Reward". He also has an excellent book online, based on his course at Yale, at http://classes.yale.edu/fractals/ 

    2. The so-called small world phenomena, which has very interesting applications in psychology and sociology. It evolved out of experiments by Stanley Milgrom. There are at least two books by David Strogatz. One interesting place to start is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_world_phenomenon 

    3. The work on "fat tail risk" as the explanation for possibility of failures of large accounting firms. There are a bunch of papers that deal with this issue in the legal literature. I can give cites to those who might be interested (I do not have them handy). There is also work on "long tails" by Mandelbrot.

    Jagdish

    April 24, 2007 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]

    Nassim Taleb's earlier book, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets is an interesting read. Taleb was a fund manager for many years, got a PhD in mathematics, and now apparently is working on a Trilogy debunking the pretentions of the "economic snake oil salesmen."

    The irony is that one of his heroes in this book is Daniel Kahneman. Consistent with Jagdish observation that economists aren't interested in anything that undermines the ideological moorings, he touts Kahneman's work as if it was new!

    The history of the so-called Nobel Prize, which Taleb apparently has little use for, is another illustration of the ideological and political pretensions of conventional economics. There is no Nobel Prize in economics. There is the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Science in Honor of Alfred Nobel, created in 1964.

    The money for the prize does not come from the Nobel trust, but from the banking industry. Little wonder that most of the winners have a Chicago connection. One of the beauties of conventional economics is that its scientific pretensions and form allow it to "naturalize" certain value judgments. A reversal of the Humean problem of is to should. Economics is the "science" of should to is.

    April 24, 2007 reply from Mac Wright [mac.wright@VU.EDU.AU]

    This book appears to be critical of social attitudes, rather than mathematics. After all, there will always be the risk of statistical bias, as well as that most dangerous of the social phenomena - confirmation bias.

    With statistics I watched as an interested observer as my daughter Katharine took the 100 th percentile of head size with her, and panicked the medical profession (exept her doctor grandmother - "Keep her away from those bloody pediatricians!"). After much searching the diagnosis was returned "macrocephalis" OK she has a big head, but where did the original stats come from. The best I can establish was a group of middle class American mid west children in the 1950s. Could such a geographically and socially restricted sample be valid for general predictions as to height, weight and head size at different ages around the world?

    As to confirmation bias, there are many examples of this in the aviation accident research literature. Shutting down the wrong engine appears to be very popular, driven by expectations, and once the expectations happen, the decision seems confirmed as correct - o cruel fate. For example; One engine surges as it goes into self destruct mode. The aircraft yaws towards the good engine. Dials are checked, the engine giving too much thrust is showing high numbers, the other a bit below normal. Shut is down. Almost immediately the other engine self destructs, now we have none, and a big glider! The glider becomes a not particularly seaworthy boat. Had we waited then we would have seen that the high reading dials were simply at a peak fluctuation.

    (PS the first person plural is not me!)

    Kind regards,
    Mac Wright

    Bob Jensen's threads on options valuation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory/sfas123/jensen01.htm


    Question
    What are the top ten U.S. cities in terms of car theft per capita?

    "Las Vegas leads nation in auto theft rate," by Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN, April 24, 2007 --- http://biz.yahoo.com/cnnm/070424/042307_auto_theft_hot_spots.html?.v=4&.pf=insurance

    Top ten metro areas by per capita auto theft rate

    Las Vegas/Paradise, Nev.

    Stockton, Calif

    Visalia/Porterville, Calif.

    Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, Ariz.

    Modesto, Calif.

    Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue, Wash.

    Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville, Calif.

    Fresno, Calif.

    Yakima, Wash.

    Tucson, Ariz.

    Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau (Link will open in a new window.)


  • Big Brother may soon be counting your sheets of toilet paper in the bathroom
    Her toilet paper manifesto would limit how many squares of toilet paper Americans use in a sitting.
    "Report: Sheryl Crow's Solutions to Global Warming," Fox News, April 23, 2007 --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,267783,00.html
    Jensen Comment
    Sheryl forgot to factor in the added energy cost of increased soap and hot water that will be used for more serious hand scrubbing as a result. The U.S. culture may become more like that of Arabs and Japanese with non-existent hand shaking as a gesture of greeting and friendship.
     


    The Jobs Undercount Each Year
    This year the great jobs undercount has continued. An analysis by economists at First Trust Advisors in Chicago has found that from April 2006 through February 2007 (the latest revised numbers available), the federal government originally reported almost one-half million fewer Americans working than actually were working. On average, the first monthly forecast for this period was 113,000 jobs; the second report from a month later counted 138,000 new jobs; and the final revision was 157,000 jobs. Whoops. So this year, one of every four new jobs flew below the government's statistical radar -- which counts as improvement, we guess.
    "The Jobs Miscount," The Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2007 --- Click Here


    "Practical Holographic Video:  Researchers have designed a cheap and small holography system that will work with PCs and gaming consoles," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, April 24, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/18572/

    The tyranny of two-dimensional computer and TV displays could soon be over. A team of MIT researchers has proposed a way to make a holographic video system that works with computer hardware for consumers, such as PCs with graphics cards and gaming consoles. The display, the researchers say, will be small enough to add to an entertainment center, provide resolution as good as a standard analog television, and cost only a couple hundred dollars.

    A holographic video display could provide another way to view medical images such as MRIs and CT scans, as well as sets of complex, multidimensional data and designs for furniture and cars, says V. Michael Bove Jr., director of the consumer electronics program, CELab, at MIT. And the system would be a natural fit for displaying video games and virtual worlds. Most games now have sophisticated three-dimensional models sitting deep within their software, "but you don't see them because [the images are] rendered as a two-dimensional picture," Bove says.

    Continued in article


    Networked MS Office Products

    Computer Science professors typically hate Microsoft products. Indeed Windows is fundamentally flawed.

    But the market share still goes to Microsoft, especially the MS Office software. There are some new networking solutions that can save money.

    Below is an April 24, 2007 message from a (retired) Computer Science professor.

  • Join the world of network computing and never have to buy office applications again.

    Go to: www.ajax13.com  or www.docs.google.com    or www.thinkfree.com  and get access to office -like applications that can be downloaded or uploaded too and from any machine with a browser (preferrably Firefox).

    Create a document anywhere and use or save it anywhere else. Is Microsoft scared? Could be. --
    Aaron Konstam
    <akonstam@sbcglobal.net

    April 25, 2007 reply from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

  • Bob:

    Check out www.zoho.com  for an online suite of Office-type products.

    Richard J. Campbell
    School of Business
    218 N. College Ave.
    University of Rio Grande
    Rio Grande, OH 45674
    Voice:740-245-7288

    http://faculty.rio.edu/campbell 

     


  • "How to Create List Reports in Excel," AccountingWeb, April 23, 2007 ---
    http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=103449

  • List-type reports such as customer addresses, lists of invoices and lists of products are vitally important in running the daily operations of a business. So it is vital that you be able to write your own when you need them. If your package has a full-strength Report Writer function, writing your own list reports may prove difficult. As an alternative approach, try writing them instead in Excel using the Sub-Total and Import External Data commands.

    Every package has its own individual report writer module, or it may incorporate a third-party report writer package that is far too complicated for most users. Now Playing: How to Create List Reports in Excel

    Please be patient while play button activates. No Player Above? Download Audio Here.

    If you are finding it difficult to write your own reports, investigate if the standard reports in your own package been written via the report writer? If they have, find one similar to the one you want, make a copy of it, then try tweaking the copy to see what happens. It's infinitely easier to take a report that someone else has written and amend it, rather than write your own from scratch.

    But when all else fails, you can resort to that one sure-fire friend and helper: Excel. How would we live without it? Excel can help enormously in reporting. There are two phases in report design: getting the data and formatting it. And Excel is brilliant at formatting. If only you can get the raw data out of the accounts package and into Excel, producing the rest of the report will be straightforward.

    Let’s discuss the tools that Excel offers to help you in writing list reports, because these tools don't seem to be very well known. They are the Data Subtotals command, and the Data Import External Data command (also called MS Query).

    Before you start you must get your data into Excel in the form of a list. That is, each row of the worksheet contains a record, while each column represents a data field. At the top of each column is the fieldname.

    A practical example will make it clear. Download a sample database and load it into Excel.

    Let’s say, for example, that each record represents a single line in a sales invoice. So the first two rows come from a two-line sales invoice to our sample company, American Limited, invoice number SIN1001. Let’s also say that the first item on this invoice is a Compaq H16 250mb server, and the second item is an HP Deskjet Printer.

    The list is sorted in invoice number order or the INVNO field.

    Suppose you wanted to see the total Quantity and Net amounts for each invoice. Simply click anywhere on the data, then from the main menu select: Data Subtotals. The Subtotal box appears. Enter the following:

    At each change in: InvNo

    Use function: Sum Add Subtotal to: tick the boxes next to Qty and Net. Untick any other boxes and click OK. After every invoice, Excel inserts a line and displays subtotals in the Qty and Net columns.

    The Limitations of Sub-Totals Sub-Total is a handy little command. However, Sub-Total is fairly limited. For example, let’s say you keep a daybook in Excel in which you list all sales invoices as they are sent out. Every so often you want to add them up and see the totals you’re billing. The only problem is that you want to see the totals by week or month. But Excel can only sub-total on what is actually there on the screen, so you have to insert two new columns to the left of each invoice WeekNo. and MonthNo. Whenever you enter an invoice, you must manually enter a week and month number as well. It helps if you always ensure that columns such as WeekNo and MonthNo specified in the At Each Change box are positioned at the far left.

    Continued in article (including other limitations)


  • "How to Archive E-mails with Adobe Acrobat," by Simon Hurst, AccountingWeb, April 16, 2007 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=103385
     


    "Loss for Whistle Blowers," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, April 23, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/04/23/vila

    In the end, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to significantly narrow the First Amendment protections of public employees, ruling that “when public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline.” The decision stated that it was not a statement about public college professors’ teaching and scholarship — although the dissent expressed fears that the ruling could affect public higher education.

    On Friday, a federal appeals court applied the ruling in precisely the way some free speech advocates feared — but the decision came not in a professor’s case, but in a suit by a lawyer who lost a job as a vice president at Miami Dade College. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that Adis M. Vila could not bring a suit against Eduardo J. Padrón, president at Miami Dade.

    Vila’s suit charged that Padrón’s treatment amounted to retaliation for her whistle blowing, and was a violation of her First Amendment rights. But in its ruling, citing last year’s Supreme Court ruling among other cases, the appeals court said that Vila’s statements to Padrón about various issues at Miami Dade were not covered by the First Amendment because she spoke only to college officials, as opposed to speaking out in public.

    Several experts on higher education law said that the ruling could create serious problems for college lawyers and other administrators who have to regularly risk offending their bosses by pointing out legal or ethical vulnerabilities at their institutions. “The determination in effect says ‘don’t be a pain and if you are, you can be fired,’ ” said Sheldon E. Steinbach, a lawyer in the higher education practice at the Washington firm Dow Lohnes.

    Vila served at Miami Dade as vice president for external affairs, a position in which she was in charge of college units dealing with legal issues, government relations, grants and various other areas. During 2002 and 2003, the period when she worked at the college and reported to Padrón, she had a series of conflicts with the president and others in which she believed she was performing a whistle-blowing function, saving the college from future legal problems.

    Among the areas where the appeals court said she pointed out problems: the awarding of a no-bid contract to an advertising company in apparent violation of state law and then a draft of a board agenda that might have incorrectly implied that a request for proposals had been used; the hiring of an outside lawyer at rates that were too high and in which the lawyer may have had a conflict of interest; the transfer of funds from one account to another to purchase a building with “private funds” when the money’s original source was a bond vote by taxpapers; and a plan to use college funds to finance the illustration of the poetry book of the daughter of a college trustee.

    The appeals court ruling did not comment specifically on these college decisions, but reviewed them only in the context of the factual history of Vila’s actions while she was employed at the college. E-mails and phone messages to various Miami Dade officials asking for comment both on the ruling (which favored the college) and the policies Vila objected to were not returned. Padrón has been praised by many for his role in promoting growth at the college, which added four-year programs and dropped “Community” from its name under his leadership. But Padrón has also clashed with faculty groups and was rebuked by the American Association of University Professors for abolishing the system of shared governance after the faculty voted to unionize.

    Michael Olivas, director of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance at the University of Houston Law Center, said that he was concerned about the ruling because it backed a president who “dismissed this lawyer for her doing a good job.”

    “College counsel are in a unique position to be whipsawed when their boards or superiors engage in dubious behavior, as news reports strongly indicate have happened here,” Olivas said. He said that Florida should bring in a neutral fact finder to go over the situation, as well as the concerns raised by Vila about decisions and contracts “which have the smell of week-old fish to them.”

    Steinbach — who in his current position and his previous work at the American Council on Education is in constant contact with college lawyers — said that the decision could undercut those at public institutions.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on whistle blowing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#WhistleBlowing

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


    Question
    Can you be arrested for making terrorist threats to yourself?

    A college professor has been arrested for making threats to herself on her voice mail at the college, according to the Limestone County Sheriff's Department. After making a statement to investigators admitting her involvement, Penelope Blankenship, 43, of Decatur was charged with making a terrorist threat, a felony. She was released on $5,000 bond, a statement from Sheriff Mike Blakely said.
    Budd McLaughlin, "Professor arrested for making threats," The Huntsville Times, April 22, 2007 --- http://blog.al.com/breaking/2007/04/professor_arrested_for_making.html


    From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on April 27, 2007

    "House Clears an Executive-Pay Measure,"  by Kara Scannell, The Wall Street Journal, April  21, 2007 Page: A3 ---

    TOPICS: Accounting, Disclosure, Disclosure Requirements, Regulation, Securities and Exchange Commission

    SUMMARY: This article reports on legislation passed by a 269-134 margin in the House to give "...shareholders a nonbinding vote on executive pay packages and a separate vote on any compensation negotiated as part of a purchase or sale of a company..." (a golden parachute). The legislation "would require the Securities and Exchange Commission to write rules under which investors could use company-issued ballot forms to vote on executive pay on an advisory basis, starting in 2009." This legislation builds on a law passed last year requiring greater disclosure about executive compensation, including a total compensation figure--an item difficult to determine from previous corporate financial statements. Business and the White House generally disagree with the legislation, in part because of fears that labor union negotiations would result in pay determinations based on inequality issues rather than performance ones. A related article identifies further specifics on the SEC's role in resolving these and other hot issues.

    QUESTIONS:
    1.) Summarize the legislation passed by the House. What will be the next step in attempts to pass this legislation? How would it be implemented?

    2.) Does this legislation show any impact from the political process on financial reporting practices? In your answer, consider also the general process undertaken by the SEC to resolve "hot" issues as well.

    3.) If the shareholders vote on the issues discussed in this article are not binding under the law if it is ultimately passed and implemented, then how would the law change current practices in executive compensation?

    4.) Despite President Bush's comments on executive compensation in this year's State of the Union address, administrators in the White House now say they do not support the proposed law but prefer to allow time for recently enacted reforms to take effect. What are these reforms? When were they implemented?

    5.) Focus in particular on the disclosure of executive pay packages in answer to question 4. How might these disclosure requirements work to change current practices in executive compensation?

    Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

    RELATED ARTICLES: The SEC's Mr. Consensus by Kara Scannell, The Wall Street Journal, Apr 20, 2007 Page: C1

    Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous executive compensation even for executive failure are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#OutrageousCompensation


    "Electronic Publishing in the Humanities: Task Force Report," University of Illinois Blog Issues in Scholarly Communication, April

    The Joint Task Force on Electronic Publishing of the American Philological Association (APA) and the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) has submitted its final report to the boards of the two societies. This document has been submitted to the Board of Directors of the APA and the Governing Board of the AIA for their consideration.

    The APA Board of Directors formulated the following guidance for the Task Force:

    The Task Force will have as its charge the analysis of particular issues associated with the burgeoning area of electronic publishing, including peer refereeing, freedom of information, intellectual property protection, storage and retrieval of data and whatever other concerns it may identify. Our precedent is the Association's Committee on Computer operations which, during its active life, made many valuable contributions, some of which have had lasting influence upon techniques utilized in our research.

    From the Executive Summary, the following are the main points of the Report:

    1. Invest in cyberinfrastructure for the humanities and social sciences, as a matter of strategic priority.
      Implementation: Determine the amount and efficacy of funding that now goes to support developing cyberinfrastructure for humanities and social sciences from all sources; through annual meetings and ongoing consultation, coordinate the goals this funding aims to achieve; and aim to increase both funding and coordination over the next five years, including commercial investments that are articulated with the educational community's agenda.
       
    2. Develop public and institutional policies that foster openness and access.
      Implementation: The leadership of the humanities and social sciences should develop, adopt, and advocate for public and institutional polices that foster openness and access.
       
    3. Promote cooperation between the public and private sectors.
      Implementation: A private foundation, a federal funding agency, an Internet business, and one or more university partners should cosponsor recurring annual summits to explore new models for commercial/nonprofit partnerships and to discuss opportunities for the focused creation of digital resources with high educational value and high public impact.
       
    4. Cultivate leadership in support of cyberinfrastructure from within the humanities and social sciences.
      Implementation: Increase federal and foundation funding to one or more scholarly organizations in the area of humanities and social science computing so that they can work with member organizations of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and others to establish priorities for cyberinfrastructure development, raise awareness of research and partnership opportunities among scholars, and coordinate the evolution of research products from basic to applied.
       
    5. Encourage digital scholarship.
      Implementation: Federal funding agencies and private foundations should establish programs that develop and support expertise in digital humanities and social sciences, from short-term workshops to postdoctoral and research fellowships to the cultivation of appropriately trained computer professionals. The ACLS should encourage discussion among its member societies in developing recommendations with respect to evaluating digital scholarship in tenure and promotion decisions.
       
    6. Establish national centers to support scholarship that contributes to and exploits cyberinfrastructure.
      Implementation: Universities and university consortia should develop new and support existing humanities and social science computing centers. These centers should provide for advanced training and research and curate collections of unique materials.
       
    7. Develop and maintain open standards and robust tools.
      Implementation: University consortia such as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation should license software such as SourceForge, an enterprise-grade solution for managing and optimizing distributed development, and make it available to open-source developers in academic institutions. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) should support the development, maintenance, and coordination of community-based standards such as the Text Encoding Initiative, Encoded Archival Description, Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard, and Visual Resources Data Standards. The National Science Foundation (NSF), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the IMLS, and other funding agencies should support the development of tools for the analysis of digital content.
       
    8. Create extensive and reusable digital collections.
      Implementation: Extensive and reusable digital collections are at the core of the humanities and social science cyberinfrastructure. Scholars must be engaged in the development of these collections. National centers with a focus on particular methods or disciplines can organize a certain amount of scholar-driven digitization. Library organizations and libraries should sponsor discipline-based focus groups to discuss priorities with respect to digitization. When priorities are established, these should be relayed to the organizers of annual meetings on commercial and nonprofit partnerships, and they should be considered in the distribution of grant funds by federal agencies and private foundations. Funding to support the maintenance and coordination of standards will improve the reusability of digital collections. The NEA, NEH, and IMLS should work together to promote collaboration and skills development—through conferences, workshops, and/or grant programs—for the creation, management, preservation, and presentation of reusable digital collections, objects, and products.

       

    9. Finally, in light of these requirements and in order to realize the promise of cyberinfrastructure for research and education, the Commission calls for specific investments—not just of money but also of leadership— from scholars and scholarly societies; librarians, archivists, and curators; university provosts and university presses; the commercial sector; government; and private foundations.

    Access the full report
    Access the executive summary

    Bob Jensen's threads on open access are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI


    Ex-Halliburton unit accused of war profiteering
    U.S. lawmakers on Thursday railed against senior Army officials and defense contractor KBR Inc. over persistent allegations of fraud and contract abuse on a multibillion-dollar deal to provide food and shelter to U.S. troops in Iraq. "Profiteering during wartime is inexcusable," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., testifying at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. "This is the most significant waste, fraud and abuse we have ever seen in this country." Lawmakers and the U.S. inspector general have accused KBR, formerly a division of Halliburton Co., which was once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, of abusing federal rules in record-keeping...
    Donna Borak, "Ex-Halliburton unit accused of war profiteering," Sun Herald, April 20, 2007 ---
    http://www.sunherald.com/102/story/35851.html

    Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm


    A THEORY OF THE FIRM'S COST OF CAPITAL
    |How Debt Affects the Firm's Risk, Value, Tax Rate and the Government's Tax Claim
    by Ramesh K S Rao (University of Texas at Austin, USA) & Eric C Stevens (USA)
    http://www.worldscibooks.com/economics/6204.html


    The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006: The Media as a Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict
    News --- http://ksgwww.harvard.edu/presspol/news_events/news_archive/2007/kalb.htm

    Research Paper --- http://ksgwww.harvard.edu/presspol/research_publications/papers/research_papers/R29.pdf

    April 26, 2007 message from Naomi Ragen [nragen@netvision.net.il] --- http://www.naomiragen.com/

    Frida Ghitis | Bio <http://worldpoliticswatch.com/author.aspx?id=36>  | 22 Apr 2007
    World Politics Watch Exclusive <http://www.worldpoliticswatch.com/

    While the war between Israel and Hezbollah raged in Lebanon and Israel last summer, it became clear that media coverage had itself started to play an important role in determining the ultimate outcome of that war. It seemed clear that news coverage would affect the course of the conflict. And it quickly transpired that Hezbollah would become the beneficiary of the media's manipulation.

    A close examination of the media's role during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon comes now from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, in an analysis of the war published in a paper whose subtitle should give pause to journalists covering international conflict: "The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006: The Media as a Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict ." Marvin Kalb, of Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, methodically traces the transformation of the media "from objective observer to fiery advocate." Kalb painstakingly details how Hezbollah exercised absolute control over how journalists portrayed its side of the conflict, while Israel became "victimized by its own openness."

    The lessons from the Harvard paper go well beyond historic analysis. Kalb's thoroughly and persuasively documented case points to the challenges to journalists in future "asymmetrical" conflicts in which a radical militia provides access only to journalists agreeing to the strictest of rules.

    Journalists did Hezbollah's work, offering little resistance to the Islamic militia's effort to portray itself as an idealistic and heroic army of the people, facing an aggressive and ruthless enemy. With Hezbollah's unchallenged control of journalists' access within its territory, it managed to almost completely eliminate from the narrative crucial facts, such as the fact that it deliberately fired its weapons from deep within civilian population centers, counting on Israeli forces to have no choice but defend themselves by targeting rocket launchers where they stood. Hezbollah's strong support from Syria and Iran -- including the provision of deadly weapons -- faded in the coverage, as the conflict increasingly became portrayed as pitting one powerful army against a band of heroic defenders of a civilian population.

    Gradually lost in the coverage was the fact that the war began when Hezbollah infiltrated Israel, kidnapping two of its soldiers (still held to this day) and killing eight Israelis. Despite the undisputed fact that Hezbollah triggered the war, Israel was painted as the aggressor, as images of the war overtook the context.

    Israelis by the hundreds of thousands became the target of rocket fire aimed at civilian centers. Women and children, Jews and Arabs, young and old, spent more than a month living in underground shelters while nearly 4000 Hezbollah rockets rained on Israel. The coverage from Israel, however, quickly moved away from the anxiety-filled civilian areas, which were not terribly telegenic, and onto the front lines where armed, uniformed soldiers could be seen by television cameramen and reporters.

    By contrast, armed Hezbollah fighters were all but invisible to the media. Also invisible were Hezbollah's thousands of rockets and rocket launchers strategically positioned near schools, hospitals and apartment buildings.

    Within Hezbollah territory, journalists were led through scenes of the destruction caused by Israel. Journalists rarely complained about Hezbollah's restrictions, but they frequently complained about Israel's efforts to limit coverage deemed useful to the enemy. Still, circumventing Israeli restrictions proved easy in a country like Israel, while in Hezbollah-controlled areas it proved all but impossible. Cameras enjoyed full access to civilian victims of Israel's actions, but never to the perpetrators of violence against Israel. And in Israel journalists could interview soldiers complaining about the weaknesses in Israeli tactics. On more than one occasion, Hezbollah choreographed theater for visiting journalists, with ambulances ordered to parade on command for journalists, who rarely challenged the inconsistencies in what they saw. Bloggers, for example, noticed a perfectly unharmed Lebanese man standing in a picture, not long after he had been seen being "rescued" from the crushing rubble of a building.

    Before long, Hezbollah had achieved a definitive propaganda victory. The media had not only acquiesced to tell Hezbollah's version of the war, they had started contributing to the creation of the narrative, with at least one Reuters photographer altering photographs to make Israeli attacks look more damaging. And many reporters simply failed to offer much context. The study quotes the New York Times' Stephen Erlanger commenting on a satellite picture published by his paper. The picture showed a southern suburb of Beirut, which was largely destroyed. Erlanger said it "bothered me a great deal," because the image with no context failed to show that this was a small part of a Beirut, and the rest of the city was largely undamaged by the war.

    According to the Harvard paper, Arab TV network Al Arabiya portrayed Arabs as the victims in 95 percent of its stories, while Al Jazeera did it in 70 percent of its reports. Arab journalists' bias against Israel is hardly surprising, but consider this: Al Jazeera's coverage portrayed Israel as the aggressor just as often as did the four main German television programs. And if you think American journalists held no bias against Israel, you may be surprised to know that "On the front pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post, Israel was portrayed as the aggressor nearly twice as often in the headlines and exactly three times as often in the photos."

    The Harvard paper shows the need for journalists to brace themselves and remain vigilant when they cover conflicts between open societies on one side, and media-controlling militias on the other. These conflicts, which we will undoubtedly continue to see, demand that journalists make a greater effort to provide context and to keep from become willing collaborators with one side. Islamic militant groups, such as al-Qaida and others, have openly described their strategy of manipulating the media and winning on the "information battlefield." Hezbollah, too, had a well crafted, and ultimately successful media plan.

    The challenge to keep from being used will be greatest for journalists in the field, but editors back in the newsroom also must look closely at what their organizations produce. They must be aware that their reporters on the ground are the target of media campaigns by those they cover, and that reporters can become emotionally allied with one side, as we saw last summer in Lebanon.

    Frida Ghitis writes on world affairs.


    San Francisco Declares a Safe Harbor for Illegal Immigrants (including wanted felons)

    "(Mayor) Newsom pledges to make SF a sanctuary for illegal immigrants," by Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle, April 22, 2007 --- http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/22/BAGADPDGNF18.DTL 

    Mayor Gavin Newsom vowed Sunday to maintain San Francisco as a sanctuary for immigrants and do everything he can to discourage federal authorities from conducting immigration raids.

    The mayor cannot stop federal authorities from making arrests, Newsom told about 300 mostly Latino members of St. Peter's Church and other religious groups supporting immigrants. But no San Francisco employee will help with immigration enforcement.

    "I will not allow any of my department heads or anyone associated with this city to cooperate in any way shape or form with these raids," Newsom declared. "We are a sanctuary city, make no mistake about it."

    The Board of Supervisors first declared San Francisco a "sanctuary city" in 1989. The designation, which many U.S. cities across the country took on during the 1980s, has no legal meaning.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have since May 2006 conducted raids across the country, including arrests in San Rafael, Oakland, Richmond, San Pablo, Santa Clara and other cities across the Bay area. Immigration officials have said they were executing arrest warrants for immigrants who had committed crimes or were in the country illegally and had ignored final deportation orders.

    Continued in article

  • Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter vetoed plans to commission the Makin Island, the Navy's newest and most powerful warship, in San Francisco in 2008 because of a perception that the city is anti-military . . . One of the factors that turned the Pentagon against San Francisco, he said, was widely quoted anti-military remarks made by various city politicians. Some of the remarks got considerable attention, especially ones made by Gerardo Sandoval, a member of the Board of Supervisors, who was quoted on national television as saying national defense should be left to "the cops and the Coast Guard.''
    Carl Nolte, "Navy scuttles plan to commission warship here, citing local politics," San Francisco Chronicle, December 2, 2006 --- Click Here

    The military considers them (AWOL) criminals, and many Americans call them traitors. But during an anti-war event Saturday in San Francisco, Anderson and others like him got a standing ovation.
    Cecilia M. Vega, "SAN FRANCISCO:  Troops opposed to Iraq war get show of support:  Rallies in S.F., nationwide hear those who went AWOL speak on refusal to return to combat," San Francisco Chronicle, December 10, 2006 --- http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/12/10/BAGJGMSTAS1.DTL
    Jensen Comment
    Anti-military San Francisco Supervisors are frustrated by the plunge in U.S. military desertion rates since 9/11. In 1971 during the Viet Nam war, the desertion rate hit a high of 3.4% of an Army that included many unhappy draftees. In 2005 the desertion rate plunged to 0.24% of the all-volunteer Army of 1.4 million men and women ---
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-03-07-deserters_x.htm 

    Opposition to the war prompts a small fraction of desertions, says Army spokeswoman Maj. Elizabeth Robbins. "[A few] people always desert, and most do it because they don't adapt well to the military," she says. The vast majority of desertions happen inside the USA, Robbins says. There is only one known case of desertion in Iraq.

    Most deserters return within months, without coercion. Commander Randy Lescault, spokesman for the Naval Personnel Command, says that between 2001 and 2005, 58% of Navy deserters walked back in. Of the rest, the most are apprehended during traffic stops. Penalties range from other-than-honorable discharges to death for desertion during wartime. Few are court-martialed.

    San Francisco is known for its lenient Judges and liberal Supervisors. The S.F. Chief of Police accuses the Judges and Supervisors of having no accountability and calls the San Francisco Chronicle a piece of crap ---http://mfile.akamai.com/12948/wmv/vod.ibsys.com/2006/0728/9591734.300k.asx
     


    From The Washington Post on April 27, 2007

  •  
    How many "critical" software updates did Microsoft ship in 2006?

    A. 32
    B. 57
    C. 95
    D. 104
     

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

     


    Killer Ethanol
    "Ethanol vehicles pose significant risk to health, new study finds," by Mark Shartz, Stanford News, April 18, 2007 --- http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2007/april18/ethanol-041807.html  

    Ethanol is widely touted as an eco-friendly, clean-burning fuel. But if every vehicle in the United States ran on fuel made primarily from ethanol instead of pure gasoline, the number of respiratory-related deaths and hospitalizations likely would increase, according to a new study by Stanford University atmospheric scientist Mark Z. Jacobson. His findings are published in the April 18 online edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T).

    "Ethanol is being promoted as a clean and renewable fuel that will reduce global warming and air pollution," said Jacobson, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. "But our results show that a high blend of ethanol poses an equal or greater risk to public health than gasoline, which already causes significant health damage."

    Gasoline vs. ethanol

    For the study, Jacobson used a sophisticated computer model to simulate air quality in the year 2020, when ethanol-fueled vehicles are expected to be widely available in the United States.

    "The chemicals that come out of a tailpipe are affected by a variety of factors, including chemical reactions, temperatures, sunlight, clouds, wind and precipitation," he explained. "In addition, overall health effects depend on exposure to these airborne chemicals, which varies from region to region. Ours is the first ethanol study that takes into account population distribution and the complex environmental interactions."

    In the experiment, Jacobson ran a series of computer tests simulating atmospheric conditions throughout the United States in 2020, with a special focus on Los Angeles. "Since Los Angeles has historically been the most polluted airshed in the U.S., the testbed for nearly all U.S. air pollution regulation and home to about 6 percent of the U.S. population, it is also ideal for a more detailed study," he wrote.

    Jacobson programmed the computer to run air quality simulations comparing two future scenarios:

  • A vehicle fleet (that is, all cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc., in the United States) fueled by gasoline, versus
  • A fleet powered by E85, a popular blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Deaths and hospitalizations

    The results of the computer simulations were striking.

    "We found that E85 vehicles reduce atmospheric levels of two carcinogens, benzene and butadiene, but increase two others—formaldehyde and acetaldehyde," Jacobson said. "As a result, cancer rates for E85 are likely to be similar to those for gasoline. However, in some parts of the country, E85 significantly increased ozone, a prime ingredient of smog."

    Inhaling ozone—even at low levels—can decrease lung capacity, inflame lung tissue, worsen asthma and impair the body's immune system, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The World Health Organization estimates that 800,000 people die each year from ozone and other chemicals in smog.

    "In our study, E85 increased ozone-related mortalities in the United States by about 200 deaths per year compared to gasoline, with about 120 of those deaths occurring in Los Angeles," Jacobson said. "These mortality rates represent an increase of about 4 percent in the U.S. and 9 percent in Los Angeles above the projected ozone-related death rates for gasoline-fueled vehicles in 2020."

    The study showed that ozone increases in Los Angeles and the northeastern United States will be partially offset by decreases in the southeast. "However, we found that nationwide, E85 is likely to increase the annual number of asthma-related emergency room visits by 770 and the number of respiratory-related hospitalizations by 990," Jacobson said. "Los Angeles can expect 650 more hospitalizations in 2020, along with 1,200 additional asthma-related emergency visits."

    The deleterious health effects of E85 will be the same, whether the ethanol is made from corn, switchgrass or other plant products, Jacobson noted. "Today, there is a lot of investment in ethanol," he said. "But we found that using E85 will cause at least as much health damage as gasoline, which already causes about 10,000 U.S. premature deaths annually from ozone and particulate matter. The question is, if we're not getting any health benefits, then why continue to promote ethanol and other biofuels?

    "There are alternatives, such as battery-electric, plug-in-hybrid and hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles, whose energy can be derived from wind or solar power," he added. "These vehicles produce virtually no toxic emissions or greenhouse gases and cause very little disruption to the land—unlike ethanol made from corn or switchgrass, which will require millions of acres of farmland to mass-produce. It would seem prudent, therefore, to address climate, health and energy with technologies that have known benefits."
     


  • Killer Salt 
    Cutting back on the white stuff may save your life, say Harvard Medical School researchers . . . the Times of London is carrying a picture of salt and a headline about how salt can kill--as if we need more evidence that sodium-laced processed foods are unhealthy for our hearts. But reading the paper over a typically salty English breakfast made me check my pulse.
    David Ewing Duncan, MIT's Technology Review, April 20, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/duncan/posts/


    Killer Fat (even in moderation)
    A steady, high-fat diet is bad, but the news gets worse So much for the adage, ‘All things in moderation.’ Researchers at the University of Calgary have found that people who consume a single, high-fat meal are more prone to suffer the physical consequences of stress than those who eat a low-fat meal.
    PhysOrg, April 23, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news96538896.html


    Deafening Earbud (Music) Headphones
    Experts are concerned that when turned up too loud, earbuds may cause lasting damage to young ears.
    Richard Knox
    , "Kids' Use of Earbuds Worries Hearing Experts," NPR, April 26, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9797364 


    Commonly used pain medications do not prevent Alzheimer's disease
    Over-the-counter pain medication naproxen and prescription pain reliever celecoxib do not prevent Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published April 25, 2007, in the online edition of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. These findings appear to contradict earlier observational studies, which found sustained use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may have a protective effect against Alzheimer's disease.
    PhysOrg, April 26, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news96781210.html


    Parkinson's Disease Medications May Lead to Compulsive Behavior
    Scientists are searching for clues into why some Parkinson's drugs trigger compulsive behavior.
    Emily Singer, "Gambling and Parkinson's Disease," MIT's Technology Review, April 27, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/18593/ 


    New blood test can diagnose and monitor treatment of Parkinson's disease
    While Florey researchers have also created a genetic test for PD (10% of PD cases are caused by genetic factors), this new test has a broader application by screening for many different types of PD and monitoring treatment, as well as measuring the effectiveness of drugs being developed to treat the disease.
    PhysOrg, April 26, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news96800101.html


    Lean for Life Infant Foods
    Infant formula and other baby foods that provide permanent protection from obesity and diabetes into adulthood could be on shop shelves soon, reports Lisa Melton in Chemistry & Industry.
    PhysOrg, April 23, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news96518381.html


    "Brain Electrodes Help Treat Depression:  Studies suggest that deep brain stimulation could effectively treat depression," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, April 26, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/18590/


    Foods (especially vitamins) imported from China that are not inspected pose health risks
    Lost amid the anxiety surrounding the tainted U.S. pet food supply is this sobering reality: It's not just pet owners who should be worried. The uncontrolled distribution of low-quality imported food ingredients, mainly from China, poses a grave threat to public health worldwide. Essential ingredients, such as vitamins used in many packaged foods, arrive at U.S. ports from China and, as recent news reports have underscored, are shipped without inspection to food and beverage distributors and manufacturers.
    Peter Kovacs, "Eat at your own risk -- U.S. safety rules weak Unregulated imported food ingredients pose threat to humans, pets," The Charlotte Observer, April 26, 2007 --- http://www.charlotte.com/127/story/97981.html


    C-reactive Protein (CRP): If Drunken Students Only Knew What Will Happen Later in Life
    Making CRAP out of CRP is not a good way for students to earn an A

    Students who drink too much alcohol may be at risk for heart disease later in life. New research from the American Heart Association (AHA) reveals that college students who drink excessively can double their levels of something known as C-reactive protein (CRP), a biological marker for inflammation that has been associated with a higher chance of cardiovascular problems. The study asked 25 college students to complete surveys assessing CRP risk factors such as smoking, medication use and alcohol use. In case you're curious (I was), heavy drinking was defined for the purpose of the study as three or more alcoholic drinks at least three days a week or at least five drinks two days of the week. Compared with those of moderate drinkers (two to five drinks at a time, one or two days a week), the CRP levels of heavy drinkers were more than double, placing them in the zone associated with a moderate risk of heart disease.
    "College Drinking and Heart Problems," by Sanjay Gupta, Time Magazine, April 26, 2007 --- Click Here


    Common Cause for Crippled Communication Network in the Brain at Birth
    Fragile X versus Down Syndromes versus Autism

    The two most prevalent forms of genetic mental retardation, Fragile X and Down syndromes, may share a common cause, according to School of Medicine researchers. The problem, a crippled communication network in the brain, may also be associated with autism.
    Krista Conger, "Fragile X, Down linked to flawed brain network," Stanford News, April 18, 2007 ---
    http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2007/april11/med-fragile-041107.html




    Humor
    Forwarded by Paula

    Type in your phone number and this GPS free service will zoom a whole lot further than you intended ---
    http://www.sat-gps-locate.com/english/index32.html
    (You must watch to the very "end.")


    Forwarded by Auntie Bev

    The Lost Dr. Seuss Poem: I Love My Job

    I love my job, I love the pay.
    I love it more and more each day.
    I love my boss; he/she is the best.
    I love his boss and all the rest.

    I love my office and its location.
    I hate to have to go on vacation.
    I love my furniture, drab and gray,
    And the paper that piles up every day.

    I love my chair in my padded cell.
    There's nothing else I love so well.
    I love to work among my peers.
    I love their leers and jeers and sneers.

    I love my computer and its software;
    I hug it often though it don't care.
    I love each program and every file,
    I try to understand once in a while.

    I'm happy to be here, I am, I am;
    I'm the happiest slave of my Uncle Sam.
    I love this work; I love these chores.
    I love the meetings with deadly bores.

    I love my job-I'll say it again.
    I even love these friendly men,
    These men who've come to visit today
    In lovely white coats to take me away.




    Tidbits Archives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

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

    Three Finance Blogs

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

    Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

    Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
    In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
    I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

    Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

    Free Textbooks and Cases --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks

    Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics

    Free Science and Medicine Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science

    Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social

    Free Education Discipline Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm

    Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

    Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/arts_lit.htm

    Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/health.htm

    Teacher Source: Math --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/math.htm

    Teacher Source:  Science --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/sci_tech.htm

    Teacher Source:  PreK2 --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/prek2.htm

    Teacher Source:  Library Media ---  http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/library.htm

    Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University --- http://athome.harvard.edu/archive/archive.asp

    VYOM eBooks Directory --- http://www.vyomebooks.com/

    From Princeton Online
    The Incredible Art Department --- http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/

    Online Mathematics Textbooks --- http://www.math.gatech.edu/~cain/textbooks/onlinebooks.html 

    National Library of Virtual Manipulatives --- http://enlvm.usu.edu/ma/nav/doc/intro.jsp

    Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

    Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

    Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

    For an elaboration on the reasons you should join a ListServ (usually for free) go to   http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
    AECM (Educators)  http://pacioli.loyola.edu/aecm/ 
    AECM is an email Listserv list which provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets, multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc

    Roles of a ListServ --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
     

    CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/ 
    CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments, ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed. Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or education. Others will be denied access.
    Yahoo (Practitioners)  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/xyztalk
    This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA. This can be anything  from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
    AccountantsWorld  http://accountantsworld.com/forums/default.asp?scope=1 
    This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and taxation.
    Business Valuation Group BusValGroup-subscribe@topica.com 
    This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM

     

     

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