I never tire
of the ever changing views of our mountains. The tiny specks of white at the
base of Cannon Mountain
are what we can see of a small alpine village called Mittersill close the the
mountain lakes and the the ski tram ---
Turn up your speakers and click on the Enter button for alpine music,
photographs of Mittersill, and local weather. Please wait out the rather long
and loud introduction
before the Enter button appears. It's worth the wait! After entering the site, click the right column for
more photographs, including a slide shows of history and photographs.
If you click
on the top "History" button you will find a slide show of the relatively
recent history of Mittersill. It was the brainchild of Austrian Baron Hubert von
Pantz and two friends. The village roots go back to the 1936 Mittersill Club in
Mittersill Castle (Schloss) is one the most noted sites in the Austrian
Alps. In 1939 the Baron escaped Hitler's Austria. In the United States (Lake
Placid) the Baron learned of a new cable car for skiing that was installed on
Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire. He fell in love with the Cannon Mountain area
because it was so much like his former home among mountain lakes and peaks in
the Alps. He started the development of Mittersill Village that opened for
business in 1946 with a hotel and a few chalets. New chalets that were added
over the next twenty years were all required to fit in with the beautiful alpine
ambiance. The history slide show will take you back in time when the Baron
eventually returned to
Schloss Mittersill in the Alps.
now a delightfully scenic mountain village that should be visited if you are in
Notch. I recommend a sandwich and a drink in the village's alpine hotel.
It's very quite up there except in the height of the skiing season. The village
is about ten miles from our cottage and has no shopping except for inside the
hotel. Fortunately growth of the village is now blocked by water and sewage
limits that stifle thoughts of further development. All the existing chalets look like they were moved in from Austria. From Mittersill you
can look westward for great views of our Sunset Hill Road backed by the
Mountains of Vermont.
Tidbits on May 15, 2007
For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
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
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Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures
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(Also scroll down to the table at
Set up free conference calls at
Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
It's Hard to Come Home ---
Incredible Tornado in Ellis County, Oklahoma on May 4, 2007
Scumbag College Versus Footlights College Oxbridge ---
Brown Bear Kills Moose in Yard ---
Tribute to Communism ---
God's Vengeance: Because of President Bush, 33 students
were killed at Virginia Tech by God. The Westboro Baptist Church nuts wish every
student on campus had been killed ---
Free music downloads ---
Lang Lang's Journey to Beethoven (Chinese
Bach Choir of Bethlehem in concert at the First
Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem, Pa.---
Mozart's 'Cosi fan tutte' From the Salzburg
The Music of Portugal ---
Mother-Son Duo Makes Perfect Harmony ---
Martin Sexton (Blues) Concert ---
Björk and Konono No. 1 in (Rock) Concert ---
"Que Sera Sera" was never this dark. Hear Pink
Martini's quirky take on the Doris Day classic ---
Modest Mouse (Rock) Concert ---
NPR's Song of the Day ---
Photographs and Art
Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various
types electronic literature available free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
The Adventure Of Charles Augustus Milverton
by Arthur Conan Doyle ---
How The Leopard Got His Spots by
Rudyard Kipling ---
To Build A Fire by Jack London
Verses On The Death by Jonathan
Grandma's Wash Day ---
A Free Novel for Just a Short Period of Time
"Headline to Publish Debut Novel Online for Free,"
University of Illinois Blog Issues in Scholarly Communications, May 5,
interesting to take a look at what's happening in the general
book publishing arena. The publisher Headline plans to publish
Simon Spurrier's debut novel, Contract, online in six weekly
installments, with free access.
Piers Blofeld, editor of Headline's new generation fiction list,
says Headline is the first mainstream commercial publisher to
make such a move and from 24th May in six weekly installments
Contract will be available on the dedicated site:
"'Contract' was one of those very rare submissions that had me
literally jumping out of my chair with excitement," said Blofeld.
"The publishing industry has been tiptoeing around publishing
books online. While there are obvious issues for publishers, the
main point for me is that what writers need above all else is
readers. With his comics background and established online
presence, the fact that Simon has the perfect profile for this
kind of venture, is a bonus; as is the fact the book will
resonate with a particularly large market demographic of
writer for 2000AD comics since he was 17, Spurrier already has
his own cult following and was voted top new writer in the 2004
UK Comic Industry Awards. Spurrier's central character has
beaten his novel online, however – hitman Michael Point already
has a blog on Myspace.
Contract is available at
www.itsallaboutthemoney.co.uk from 24th May 07 . I
t is out in hardback on June 4th 2007, £19.99, 9780755335886.
May 6, 2007 message from kenny nicoll
I run a website which aims to
deliver quality literary crit. on Hamlet and Shakespeare free of charge. I
would be very grateful if you would include a link to
on your website. My preference would be under "links
to quotations" or "links to reviews" as they would seem most fitting.
Note from Jensen
I added Kenny's link to
Thoughts on grading by Bob Blystone, Professor of Biology at Trinity
A block of stone, a
thing of permanence.
Cool to the touch.
Hard, unyielding, a block of stone.
A pitching tool with
three-pound hammer can crack chunks from the virgin stone.
A point chisel and two-pounder create outlines on the changing surface.
Followed by the tooth chisel, rondel, riffler and rasp, the stone
hesitatingly accepts the carver’s will.
The finished block set into place; facing the weather; facing life; the
etched block resolutely reflects a time long passed.
Long passed when the stone sat in sandbag on the banker’s table, awaiting
the craftsman’s blow. Now set in its wall, the etched stone joins others in
creating an edifice that defines a time and a place.
A final exam, a thing
of permanent performance.
Cool to the touch.
Bendable, foldable with a metal staple in the upper left-hand corner.
The grader chisels at
the exam with red pen: reading, scoring, and sometimes scorning.
The final exam stands as a marker of a four-month path followed
hesitatingly, relentlessly, to a conclusion.
On page one finally and with finality the grader engraves letter or
The grade being a lasting comment of a journey taken.
A grade, a simple
Full of emotion.
Joy, despair, a right of passage.
Something etched into a
field of cellulose.
Cascading through a spreadsheet,
Byteing a path through a computer,
Eventually dispelling its entropy into a registrar’s base of data.
The grade is placed into
a wall of performance for some to see.
The grade stands next to comrades from other bankers’ tables.
As a herd of elephants, as a pride of tigers, a transcript of grades.
As the years pass, the
A monument to efforts made and lessons learned.
Something that defined a time and place.
A grade is as an etching in a stone.
The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying
away small stones.
Might we insert a "mountain of ignorance?"
People need trouble— a little frustration to sharpen
the spirit on, toughen it. Artists do; I don't mean you need to live in a rat
hole or gutter, but you have to learn fortitude, endurance. Only vegetables are
Note that Falkner did not say only vegetables and students are happy. We might
add that it is often less costly to make mistakes in a college course than in
Therein lies the real trouble. Learning is labor.
We're selling the fantasy that technology can change that. It can’t. No
technology ever has. Gutenberg’s press only made it easier to print books, not
easier to read and understand them.
Peter Berger, "The Land of iPods and
Honey," The Irascible Professor, February 26, 2007 --- at
The only useful answers are those that pose new
Vittorio Foa ---
There has not been a new oil refinery built in the
United States since 1976.
Bill O'Reilly ---
Bill places much of the blame on oil company greed as opposed to
A sperm donor who helped a lesbian couple conceive
two children is liable for child support under a state appellate court ruling
that a legal expert believes might be the first of its kind in the U.S. A
Superior Court panel last week ordered a Dauphin County judge to establish how
much Carl L. Frampton Jr. would have to pay to the birth mother of the
8-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl.
Associated Press, May 12, 2007 ---
This begs the question of whether all sperm/egg donors to sperm/egg banks will
also be liable no matter where the sperm or egg is used for conception. Since
many young men and women, especially women, put themselves through college using
payments from such donations, this court ruling could have widespread and costly
implications society. I know one coed who mostly financed her education at
Trinity University with egg donations. If this ruling stands, perhaps most
donations in the future will have to be imported from outside the U.S. from
donors outside U.S. Court jurisdiction. Will Congress then enact tariffs on such
The Realignment of America: The native-born are leaving "hip" cities
for the heartland.
Start with the Coastal Megalopolises: New York, Los
Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago (on the coast of Lake Michigan),
Miami, Washington and Boston. Here is a pattern you don't find in other big
cities: Americans moving out and immigrants moving in, in very large numbers,
with low overall population growth. Los Angeles, defined by the Census Bureau as
Los Angeles and Orange Counties, had a domestic outflow of 6% of 2000 population
in six years--balanced by an immigrant inflow of 6%. The numbers are the same
for these eight metro areas as a whole. . . . This is something few would
have predicted 20 years ago. Americans are now moving out of, not into, coastal
California and South Florida, and in very large numbers they're moving out of
our largest metro areas. They're fleeing hip Boston and San Francisco, and after
eight decades of moving to Washington they're moving out. The domestic outflow
from these metro areas is 3.9 million people, 650,000 a year. High housing
costs, high taxes, a distaste in some cases for the burgeoning immigrant
populations--these are driving many Americans elsewhere.
Michael Barone, Opinion Journal,
May 8, 2007 ---
A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a
way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece.
Ludwig Erhard ---
Are we just getting smarter?
Maybe they're outside in the garden. They could be
playing softball. Or perhaps they're just plain bored. In TV's worst spring in
recent memory, a startling number of Americans drifted away from television the
past two months: More than 2.5 million fewer people were watching ABC, CBS, NBC
and Fox than at the same time last year, statistics show.
David Bauder, Breitbart, May
8, 2007 ---
Bad at Simple Arithmetic
This bill (Iraq pull out deadline) "will
deprive us of the opportunity to destroy the American forces which we have
caught in a historic trap," al Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri is quoted as
saying on ABC's Web site. . . . "We ask Allah that they only get out of it after
losing 200,000 to 300,000 killed, in order that we give the spillers of blood in
Washington and Europe an unforgettable lesson," Zawahri says. Of course this is
bluster. According to this chart
the total number of coalition combat deaths in the Iraq war stands at 2,968, or
718 a year on average. At that rate, the count would reach 200,000 in the year
2282 and 300,000 in 2421. Obviously Zawahiri's taunt is a sarcastic one. He
means to call America cowardly, as Osama bin Laden
did in a February 2002 interview with Al-Jazeera . . .
Opinion Journal, May 7, 2007
Good at Cowardly Terror
If America is irresolute, al Qaeda is cowardly in its
own way--which is to say, dastardly. While Zawahiri boasts about his ambition to
attack U.S. soldiers, his followers appear to be targeting little girls . . .
American soldiers discovered a girls school being built north of Baghdad had
become an explosives-rigged "death trap," the U.S. military said Thursday. The
plot at the Huda Girls' school in Tarmiya was a "sophisticated and premeditated
attempt to inflict massive casualties on our most innocent victims," military
spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said. The military suspects the plot was
the work of al Qaeda, because of its nature and sophistication, Caldwell said in
an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Opinion Journal, May 7, 2007
Biased Journalism Constructed Atop Bad Legal Research
Alito has voted with Chief Justice John Roberts and
Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in every case in which the court has
been ideologically divided.
Associated Press, MSNBC, May 4, 2007 ---
Really? We found 15 cases in which Alito did not vote the same way as
Roberts, Scalia and Thomas, including five in which Alito was on one side and
all of the other three were on the other.
Opinion Journal, May 7, 2007 (The cases are listed in this edition of
Biased Journalism and Politics Constructed Atop Biased (Cherry-Picked)
Carbon Dioxide History
The most accurate way to determine the atmosphere's
average CO2 content is to simply conduct a direct chemical analysis at many
different places and times. Fortunately, there are more than 90,000 direct
measurements by chemical methods between 1857 and 1957. However, in what appears
to be a case of 'cherry-picking' data to fit a pre-determined conclusion, only
the lower level CO2 data were included when the pre-industrial average was
calculated (see below graph where data used in the averaging is highlighted).
This is the average that was used to supposedly 'validate' the long term ice
core records on which Al Gore and others depend . . . In a new scientific paper
in the journal Energy and Environment, German researcher Ernst-Georg Beck, shows
that the pre-industrial level is some 50 ppm higher than the level used by
computer models that produce all future climate predictions. Completely at odds
with the smoothly increasing levels found in the ice core records, Beck
concludes, "Since 1812, the CO2 concentration in northern hemispheric air has
fluctuated, exhibiting three high level maxima around 1825, 1857 and 1942, the
latter showing more than 400 ppm."
Tim Ball and Tom Harris, "New findings indicate today's
greenhouse gas levels not unusual," Canada Free Press, May 14, 2007 ---
"Promise-Them-Everything" Politics Feeds Upon Economic Ignorance
Edwards is quick to acknowledge his spending on health
care, energy and poverty reduction comes at a cost, with more plans to come. All
told, his proposals would equal more than $1 trillion if he could get them
enacted into law and operational during two White House terms.
Nedra Pickler, "John Edwards' big
ideas costly," Associated Press, May 11, 2007 ---
That's not the half of it! Edwards knows that U.S. taxpayers, unlike Canadians,
will not tolerate crippling taxes to pay for socialized medicine. Instead,
he proposes that Universal Health Care for all men, women, and children be
funded by employers even if it puts nearly all small businesses out of business
and creates massive unemployment. His proposed socialized medicine plan is far
more deadly to the U.S. economy than the modest state plans that are struggling
to get off the ground. Actually I don't get too fired up about Edward's
political agenda since the U.S. is already doomed by entitlements enacted under
the eight-year disastrous, free-spending reign of George W. Bush ---
Here's the Cost of Universal Health Care Entitlements
The average Canadian family spends more money on taxes than on necessities of
life such as food, clothing, and housing, according to a study from The Fraser
Institute, an independent research organization with offices across Canada. The
Canadian Consumer Tax Index, 2007, shows that even though the income of the
average Canadian family has increased significantly since 1961, their total tax
bill has increased at a much higher rate.
The Fraser Institute, April 16, 2007 ---
Are women really missing more nuts and bolts as suggested by a Dartmouth
Most Americans — regardless of gender — lack the basics they need to accumulate
the money that will be essential for retirement, but more women than men are
missing some of the nuts and bolts, according to research by Dartmouth College
Annamaria Lusardi.. . .
Flowers are nice and chocolates are sweet, but if you
really want to do something loving for your mother or wife this Mother’s Day,
teach her how to invest . . . .
Gail Marks Jarvis, "Good gift for a mom: financial literacy Most women in
need of investment skills," Chicago Tribune via Buffalo News,
March 13, 2007 ---
And only half of people over 50 understood two
critical facts — that inflation undermines the buying power of a person’s
savings, and that the compounding effect of your investment return (or
interest rate) makes a tremendous difference in the money you will
accumulate over many years.
“Females are approximately 10 percentage points
less likely than males to answer correctly,” Lusardi said.
Many women think they’re doing a good job of
preparing for their future by putting money into a savings account.
But they don’t realize that with taxes and a 2
percent interest rate in a savings account, they weren’t going to be able to
accumulate anywhere near what they would need for retirement.
Continued in article
Taxpayer Dollars Used to Promote Jihad
We've been watching the debate over Al-Hurra, the
U.S.-funded Middle East TV channel that has lately developed a reputation as a
friendly forum for terrorists and Islamic radicals. A bipartisan group of
Congressmen has called for Al-Hurra's news director, former CNN producer Larry
Register, to resign -- and it's time he and his supervisors gave taxpayers some
answers. With an annual budget over $70 million, Al-Hurra is part of the long
arm of America's public diplomacy in the Middle East. The network was
established to provide a credible source of information in the region, in a
market dominated by Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya. The goal was to help start a
discussion about freedom and democracy. Instead, the network seems to have
aligned itself with everyone else in pandering to the so-called Arab street . .
. Mr. Register's defense has been, in essence, that if Al-Hurra doesn't run
anti-American content, no one will watch. He seems to have misunderstood his
assignment: Al-Hurra is not meant to compete with Al-Jazeera but to offer an
alternative view of the Middle East from those of either its dictators or
"Boos for Al-Hurra," The Wall Street Journal, May 11,
2007; Page A10 ---
Two rulings in the past week set new standards for
challenges to patents, in the face of some calls to curb litigation from
so-called "patent trolls" or firms whose sole existence is based on extracting
royalty payments . . . By ruling the patent as "obvious" the justices held
that a company cannot hold a valid patent for a device that anyone could have
invented, such as a wheel or door. "Granting patent protection to advances that
would occur in the ordinary course without real innovation retards progress and
may ... deprive prior inventions of their value," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy.
"US high court shakes up patents, affecting tech, pharmaceuticals," PhysOrg,
May 6, 2007 ---
A recent study by economists Tracy Foertsch and
Ralph Rector for the Heritage Foundation found that letting Bush's tax cuts
lapse in 2010, as they are scheduled to do, would cost the U.S. $75 billion in
GDP each year, kill 709,000 jobs and slice $200 billion from real personal
income. It'd be a crime to let that happen. George W. Bush's economic miracle is
both real and sustainable. Too bad he won't get credit for it until the current
generation of biased journalists and academics has retired.
Investors Business Daily, May 4,
Be that as it may, Bush has been an economic disaster by failing to veto
spending bills of a spendthrift Congress. Bush pushed for the Prescription Drug
Plan that will one day be an enormous economic disaster ---
Warren Buffett said on Sunday most investors are
better off putting their money in low-cost index funds, though he believes he
can still outperform major market indexes. 'A very low-cost index is going to
beat a majority of the amateur-managed money or professionally-managed money,'
Buffett said at a press conference, a day after the annual shareholder meeting
for his Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Jonathan Stempel, Reuters,
May 6, 2007 ---
Between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq’s
declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could
have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling, according to a draft
American government report. Using an average of $50 a barrel, the report said
the discrepancy was valued at $5 million to $15 million daily.
James Glanz, "Billions in Oil
Missing in Iraq, U.S. Study Says," The New York Times, May 12, 2007 ---
Those who really believe in God will defeat
Republican Mitt Romney for the White House.
Al Sharpton, CNN, May 9, 2007
"'Vote for Romney is vote for Satan" ---
"Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength
and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a
figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for
the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the
catastrophes we need to endure."
Starbucks, As written on Starbucks
coffee cups (in spite of boycott threats by Christians) ---
The Dow has now risen in 23 of the last 26 sessions,
marking its longest bull run since the summer of 1927, when the indicator ended
higher in 24 of 27 sessions, according to Dow Jones.
Alexandra Twin and Steve Hargreaves,
CNN Money, May 4, 2007 ---
The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as the Crash of ’29, was one of the
most devastating stock-market crashes in American history. It consists of Black
Thursday, the initial crash and Black Tuesday, the crash that caused general
panic five days later ---
Why are legislators allowed to speed and be drunk behind the wheel?
“Almost nobody cites a self-identified rep or senator,” one state trooper faxed
me. “They’ll get the ticket fixed anyway and the court clerk-magistrate will
hate you for putting him in a position where he has to fix it.” The key to
getting no tickets is simple. The legislator just gets himself one of those
infamous legislative plates, with “House” or “Senate” prominently displayed,
along with a very low number . . . The upside is . . . no tickets.
Howie Carr, Boston Herald,
May 13, 2007 ---
Duke University has settled a lawsuit brought by a
former lacrosse player who sued the institution, charging that a professor gave
him a failing grade because of the allegations about conduct by members of the
lacrosse team. Details of the settlement are private, The News & Observer of
Raleigh reported, but both sides issued a statement that indicated that the
grade in question had been changed to a passing one.
Inside Higher Ed, May 14, 2007 ---
Sunday morning (on May 6)
at three minutes and four seconds after 2 a.m., it will be exactly 02:03:04
05/06/07. And if you find that so astounding that you won't be able to sleep
until you've experienced this once-in-a-century sequence, you are, in case you
didn't know … a nerd . . . "I love 11:11, too," the spokesman for the American
Mathematical Society, Mike Breen, said. "You can turn your clock upside down."
And you can do it again at nine minutes after six (and six after nine).
Lenore Skenazy, "Sequences for
Numbers Nerds," New York Sun, May 6, 2007 ---
It's when we forget ourselves that we do things
which deserve to be remembered.
The petition claims Paris
Hilton provides "beauty and excitement to our otherwise
Paris Hilton has used her MySpace
site to post a blog urging visitors to sign an
online petition that asks
authorities for leniency regarding her drink driving
PC World via The Washington Post, May 9, 2007
I recommend that she instead of two weeks (her expected
actual time to be served) in jail that she does two years of
community service bringing beauty and excitement to
Darfur where life is even more mundane than in Beverly
Why must all accounting doctoral programs be social science (particularly
econometrics) doctoral programs?
What's wrong with humanities research methodologies?
What's wrong about studying accounting in accounting doctoral programs?
Why are we graduating so many new assistant professors of accounting who do not
know any accounting?
"Ten Emerging Technologies in 2007 (and 2006) ," MIT's
Technology Review Special Report, May 2007 ---
Peering into Video's Future
The Internet is about to drown in digital video. Hui Zhang thinks
peer-to-peer networks could come to the rescue.
Arthur Nozik believes quantum-dot solar power could boost output in cheap
Karl Deisseroth's genetically engineered "light switch," which lets
scientists turn selected parts of the brain on and off, may help improve
treatments for depression and other disorders.
Tiny fibers will save lives by stopping bleeding and aiding recovery from
brain injury, says Rutledge Ellis-Behnke.
Markus Kähäri wants to superimpose digital information on the real world.
Artificially structured metamaterials could transform telecommunications,
data storage, and even solar energy, says David R. Smith.
Digital Imaging, Reimagined
Richard Baraniuk and Kevin Kelly believe compressive sensing could help
devices such as cameras and medical scanners capture images more
Personalized Medical Monitors
John Guttag says using computers to automate some diagnostics could make
medicine more personal.
A New Focus for Light
Kenneth Crozier and Federico Capasso have created light-focusing optical
antennas that could lead to DVDs that hold hundreds of movies.
Norman Dovichi believes that detecting minute differences between individual
cells could improve medical tests and treatments.
View the list of the 10 Emerging Technologies from 2006 ---
By creating maps of the body’s complex molecular interactions, Trey
Ideker is providing new ways to find drugs.
James Baker designs nanoparticles to guide drugs directly into cancer
cells, which could lead to far safer treatments.
Alexander Olek has developed tests to detect cancer early by measuring
its subtle DNA changes.
To avoid future wireless traffic jams, Heather “Haitao” Zheng is finding
ways to exploit unused radio spectrum.
Hoping to resolve the embryonic-stem-cell debate, Markus Grompe
envisions a more ethical way to derive the cells.
Diffusion Tensor Imaging
Kelvin Lim is using a new brain-imaging method to understand
Leading the development of a privacy-protecting online ID system, Scott
Cantor is hoping for a safer Internet.
Can't all our wireless gadgets just get along? It's a question that
Dipankar Raychaudhuri is trying to answer.
Measuring the tiny forces acting on cells, Subra Suresh believes, could
produce fresh understanding of diseases.
By teaching silicon new tricks, John Rogers is reinventing the way we
Somewhat sadly is the absence of emerging computing and information systems
technologies in the above lists.
Will audiences prefer the best sounding orchestra or the best sounding human orchestra?
Classical musicians have bitterly opposed replacing human
players with computers in the orchestra pit. Now, a small group is breaking
ranks -- and arguing that it's the best hope for revitalizing the art. Cue the
"Fugue for Man & Machine," by Jacob Hale Russell and John
Jurgensen, The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2007; Page P1 ---
Classical musicians have bitterly
opposed replacing human players with computers in the orchestra pit. Now, a
small group is breaking ranks -- and arguing that it's the best hope for
revitalizing the art. Cue the laptop.
Paul Henry Smith, a conductor who
studied as a teen under Leonard Bernstein, hopes to pull off an ambitious
performance next year: conducting three Beethoven symphonies back-to-back in
a live concert. "Doing Beethoven's symphonies is how you prove your mettle,"
But Mr. Smith's proof comes with the help of a
computerized baton. He will use it to lead an "orchestra" with no musicians
-- the product of a computer program designed by a former Vienna
Philharmonic cellist and comprised of over a million recorded notes played
by top musicians.
Amid all the troubles facing the classical music
world in recent years -- from declining attendance to budget cuts -- none
has mobilized musicians more than the emergence of computers that can stand
in for performers. Musicians have battled with mixed success to keep them
out of orchestra pits in theaters, ballets and opera houses. Now, a new
alliance of conductors, musicians and engineers is taking a counterintuitive
stance: that embracing the science is actually the best hope for keeping the
art form vital and relevant. They say recent technological advances mean the
music now sounds good enough to be played outside the touring musicals and
Cirque du Soleil shows it is typically associated with.
Among their arguments: Aspiring composers who
couldn't otherwise afford to have their creations performed by an orchestra
can now commission a high-quality computer-generated recording for a
fraction of the price. For communities facing the loss of their orchestra,
it could be a way to keep performances in town -- even if it means a
computer stands in for half the players.
Critical to the push are new strides in
computerized music. The latest software lets users pick from a massive
library of digitally stored sounds, assemble them into a complete symphony
and layer on texture and nuance. Picture a chef with an infinite variety of
ingredients to choose from when creating a four-course meal.
Even some experts now find it hard to tell the
difference. At the request of a Wall Street Journal reporter, David Liptak,
chair of the composition department at the Eastman School of Music, listened
to a 30-second passage of a Beethoven symphony created on a computer, as
well as three versions recorded by live orchestras. On his first try at
identifying the computerized version, Mr. Liptak guessed wrong. He says the
difference became clear when he heard a longer clip (listen to the four
In 2003, computerized music sparked a big battle in
New York's Broadway theaters. Musicians went on strike for four days, partly
because producers had raised the idea of replacing some players with
"virtual orchestra" computer programs. Musicians' unions have largely kept
virtual orchestras out of Broadway orchestra pits, but on London's West End,
they have been used in productions such as "The Sound of Music" and Cameron
Mackintosh's revival of "Les Misérables." They have also been used in some
U.S. touring musicals.
But there's a big difference between theatrical
productions where the performers are mostly hidden from view in an orchestra
pit, and symphony concerts, where concertgoers expect to see the musicians
front and center. So far, the technology hasn't been used in traditional
orchestra settings, although some advocates say it could be used to bring
classical music to small towns without resident symphonies.
Computers are also being used in some more
experimental classical performances. In Toronto this fall, an audience
filled a concert hall to hear Bach's "Goldberg Variations," performed by
Glenn Gould -- who died more than two decades ago. A company called Zenph
Studios mounted the performance with a computer-controlled Yamaha grand
piano that replicated the finger styling of the piano great.
Continued in article
May 9, 2007 reply from David Umlauf ---
In regard to "Classical Music: Fugue for Man &
Machine" by Jacob Hale Russell and John Jurgensen (Pursuits, May 5): This is
a nicely researched article that posits "virtual" music as a possible remedy
for very real problems experienced by orchestras and performing groups. But
I read the story with a feeling of dismay because of what it signifies about
the diminished world of classical music.
To be sure, we have all heard about the declining
attendance at musical events, and many fine orchestras cite this and the
ever-increasing costs associated with running an orchestra as being a
critical issue. As technology has advanced, as demonstrated in the article,
the ability to capture perfectly the tones played by top musicians and then
reuse and remix them to create a virtual program has given sound engineers
the ability to create virtual orchestras. Indeed, imagine if your entire
cello section were made up of Yo-Yo Ma, Slava, Feuermann, Fournier, Casals
and Maisky. What a superstar program you could have, with the ability to
capture the various tones of these musicians and even the differences in the
timbres of their respective cellos.
The biggest problem would be to ensure that the
royalty checks got out in a timely fashion.
I think that as a curiosity and as backup for dance
and Broadway programming the virtual orchestra has some interesting
applications. But I believe that we'll find that the "virtual orchestra"
will only lead to a faster decline in concert attendance. Patrons are
interested in seeing and hearing a performance by live musicians, not a
dance recital by a putative conductor prancing about the stage by himself
with a baton and a rack of electronic equipment, regardless how good the
musicians were who may have recorded the tones. The accomplishments in
engineering cannot, sadly, stem the general decline in listenership of
As such, the only thing that will be accomplished
is to make synthesized "uberorchestras" of digitally recorded tones of the
superstars of yesteryear and those who are alive today. In a decade, the
only performing musicians could be some moderately talented teenage girls
strutting about a la Britney Spears holding million-dollar instruments while
"air bowing" the Brahms violin concerto to a digitized 1955 recording from
Reiner, the Chicago Symphony and Heifetz. We could even one day have the
classical music equivalent of lip-synching.
What is needed is a revitalization of the culture
of concertgoing and musical appreciation. This is a more difficult task,
beyond the capabilities of sound engineers and finance directors of
orchestras. Rather, it is something that starts in the homes and schools,
with parents who think beyond what will bring a higher SAT score and school
administrators who think beyond the next funding crisis or swimming pool
project or computer lab to get on with the business of teaching children how
to grow up to become truly educated men and women.
The cultural benefit for the concertgoer is an
enjoyable performance by talented people who, after rehearsing, come
together and make magic for an hour or so to the delight of their patrons.
This musical curiosity, I predict, will have a niche, just as the player
piano and its modern brethren still do.
Inside U.S. companies' audacious drive to extract more
profits from the nation's working poor
"The Poverty Business," by Brian Grow and Keith Epstein,
Business Week Cover Story, May 21, 2007 ---
In recent years, a range of businesses have made
financing more readily available to even the riskiest of borrowers. Greater
access to credit has put cars, computers, credit cards, and even homes
within reach for many more of the working poor. But this remaking of the
marketplace for low-income consumers has a dark side: Innovative and zealous
firms have lured unsophisticated shoppers by the hundreds of thousands into
a thicket of debt from which many never emerge.
Federal Reserve data show that in relative terms, that debt is getting more
expensive. In 1989 households earning $30,000 or less a year paid an average
annual interest rate on auto loans that was 16.8% higher than what
households earning more than $90,000 a year paid. By 2004 the discrepancy
had soared to 56.1%. Roughly the same thing happened with mortgage loans: a
leap from a 6.4% gap to one of 25.5%. "It's not only that the poor are
paying more; the poor are paying a lot more," says Sheila C. Bair, chairman
of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Once, substantial businesses had little interest in chasing customers of the
sort who frequent the storefronts surrounding the Byrider dealership in
Albuquerque. Why bother grabbing for the few dollars in a broke man's
pocket? Now there's a reason.
Armed with the latest technology for assessing credit risks—some of it so
fine-tuned it picks up spending on cigarettes—ambitious corporations like
Byrider see profits in those thin wallets. The liquidity lapping over all
parts of the financial world also has enabled the dramatic expansion of
lending to the working poor. Byrider, with financing from Bank of America
) and others, boasts 130 dealerships in 30 states. At company headquarters
in Carmel, Ind., a profusion of colored pins decorates wall maps, marking
the 372 additional franchises it aims to open from California to Florida.
CompuCredit Corp., based in Atlanta, aggressively promotes credit cards to
low-wage earners with a history of not paying their bills on time. And
BlueHippo Funding, a self-described "direct response merchandise lender,"
has retooled the rent-to-own model to sell PCs and plasma TVs.
The recent furor over subprime mortgage loans fits into this broader story
about the proliferation of subprime credit. In some instances, marketers
essentially use products as the bait to hook less-well-off shoppers on
expensive loans. "It's the finance business," explains Russ Darrow Jr., a
Byrider franchisee in Milwaukee. "Cars happen to be the commodity that we
sell." In another variation, tax-preparation services offer instant refunds,
skimming off hefty fees. Attorneys general in several states say these
techniques at times have violated consumer-protection laws.
Some economists applaud how the spread of credit to the tougher parts of
town has raised home- and auto-ownership rates. But others warn that in the
long run the development could slow upward mobility. Wages for the working
poor have been stagnant for three decades. Meanwhile, their spending has
consistently and significantly exceeded their income since the mid-1980s.
They are making up the difference by borrowing more. From 1989 through 2004,
the total amount owed by households earning $30,000 or less a year has grown
247%, to $691 billion, according to the most recent Federal Reserve data
"Having access to credit should be helping low-income individuals," says
Nouriel Roubini, an economics professor at New York University's Stern
School of Business. "But instead of becoming an opportunity for upward
social and economic mobility, it becomes a debt trap for many trying to move
HAPPY AS SHE WAS with the Saturn (GM
) she bought in December, 2005, Roxanne Tsosie soon ran into trouble paying
off the loan on it. The car had 103,000 miles on the odometer. She agreed to
a purchase price of $7,922, borrowing the full amount at a sky-high 24.9%.
Based on her conversation with the Byrider salesman, she thought she had
signed up for $150 monthly installments. The paperwork indicated she owed
that amount every other week. She soon realized she couldn't manage the
payments. Dejected, she agreed to give the car back, having already paid
$900. "It kind of knocked me down," Tsosie says. "I felt I'd never get
The abortive purchase meant Byrider could dust off and resell the Saturn.
Nearly half of Byrider sales in Albuquerque do not result in a final payoff,
and many vehicles are repossessed, says David Brotherton, managing partner
of the dealership. A former factory worker, he says he sympathizes with
customers who barely get by. "Many of these people are locked in a perpetual
cycle" of debt, he says. "It's all motivated by self-interest, of course,
but we do want to help credit-challenged people get to the finish line."
Byrider dealers say they can generally figure out which customers will pay
back their loans. Salesmen, many of whom come from positions at banks and
other lending companies, use proprietary software called Automated Risk
Evaluator (ARE) to assess customers' financial vital signs, ranging from
credit scores from major credit agencies to amounts spent on alimony and
Unlike traditional dealers, Byrider doesn't post prices—which average
$10,200 at company-owned showrooms—directly on its cars. Salesmen, after
consulting ARE, calculate the maximum that a person can afford to pay, and
only then set the total price, down payment, and interest rate. Byrider
calls this process fair and accurate; critics call it "opportunity pricing."
So how did Byrider figure that Tsosie had $300 a month left over from her
small salary for car payments? Barely a step up from destitution, she now
lives in her own cramped apartment in a dingy two-story adobe-style
building. Decorated with an old bow and arrow and sepia-tinted photographs
of Navajo chiefs, the apartment is also home to her new husband, Joey A.
Garcia, a grocery-store stocker earning $25,000 a year, his two children
from a previous marriage, and two of Tsosie's kids. She and Garcia are
paying off several other high-interest loans, including one for his used car
and another for the $880 wedding ring he bought her this year.
Asked by BusinessWeek to review Tsosie's file, Byrider's Brotherton
raises his eyebrows, taps his keyboard, and studies the screen for a few
minutes. "We probably should have spent more time explaining the terms to
her," he says. Pausing, he adds that given Tsosie's finances, she should
never have received a 24.9% loan for nearly $8,000.
That still leaves her $900 in Byrider's till. "No excuses; I apologize,"
Brotherton says. He promises to return the money (and later does). In most
transactions, of course, there's no reporter on the scene asking questions.
A QUARTER-CENTURY ago, Byrider's founder, the late James F.
Devoe, saw before most people the untapped profits in selling expensive,
highly financed products to marginal customers. "The light went on that
there was a huge market of people with subprime and unconventional credit
being turned down," says Devoe's 38-year-old son, James Jr., who is now
The formula produces profits. Last year, net income on used cars sold by
outlets Byrider owns averaged $828 apiece. That compared with only $223 for
used cars sold as a sideline by new-car dealers, and a $31 loss for the
typical new car, according to the National Automobile Dealers Assn.
Nationwide, Byrider dealerships reported sales last year of $700 million, up
7% from 2005.
"Good Cars for People Who Need Credit," the company declares in its sunny
advertising, but some law enforcers say Byrider's inventive sales techniques
are unfair. Joel Cruz-Esparza, director of consumer protection in the New
Mexico Attorney General's Office from 2002 to 2006, says he received
numerous complaints from buyers about Byrider. His office contacted the
dealer, but he never went to court. "They're taking advantage of people, but
it's not illegal," he says.
Officials elsewhere disagree. Attorneys general in Kentucky and Ohio have
alleged in recent civil suits that opportunity pricing misleads customers.
Without admitting liability, Byrider and several franchises settled the
suits in 2005 and 2006, agreeing to inform buyers of "maximum retail
prices." Dealers now post prices somewhere on their premises, though still
not on cars. Doing so would put them "at a competitive disadvantage," says
CEO Devoe. Sales reps flip through charts telling customers they have the
right to know prices. Even so, Devoe says, buyers "talk to us about the
price of the car less than 10% of the time."
Tsosie recently purchased a 2001 Pontiac from another dealer. She's
straining to make the $277 monthly payment on a 14.9% loan.
Nobody, poor or rich, is compelled to pay a high price for a used car, a
credit card, or anything else. Some see the debate ending there. "The only
feasible way to run a capitalist society is to allow companies to maximize
their profits," says Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University in
Fairfax, Va. "That will sometimes include allowing them to sell things to
people that will sometimes make them worse off."
Others worry, however, that the widening income gap between the wealthy and
the less fortunate is being exacerbated by the spread of high-interest,
high-fee financing. "People are being encouraged to live beyond their means
by companies that are preying on low-income consumers," says Jacob S.
Hacker, a political scientist at Yale.
Higher rates aren't deterring low-income borrowers. Payday lenders, which
provide expensive cash advances due on the customer's next payday, have
multiplied from 300 in the early 1990s to more than 25,000. Savvy financiers
are rolling up payday businesses and pawn shops to form large chains. The
stocks of five of these companies now trade publicly on the New York Stock
) and NASDAQ (NDAQ
). The investment bank Stephens Inc. estimates that the volume of
"alternative financial services" provided by these sorts of businesses
totals more than $250 billion a year.
Mainstream financial institutions are helping to fuel this explosion in
subprime lending to the working poor. Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC
) and U.S. Bancorp (USB
) now offer their own versions of payday loans, charging $2 for every $20
borrowed. Based on a 30-day repayment period, that's an annual interest rate
of 120%. (Wells Fargo says the loans are designed for emergencies, not
long-term financial needs.) Bank of America's revolving credit line to
Byrider provides up to $110 million. Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER
) works with CompuCredit to package credit-card receivables as securities,
which are bought by hedge funds and other big investors.
Once, major banks and companies avoided the poor side of town. "The
mentality was: Low income means low revenue, so let's not locate there,"
says Matt Fellowes, a researcher at the Brookings Institution in Washington,
D.C. Now, he says, a growing number of sizable corporations are realizing
that viewed in the aggregate, the working poor are a choice target. Income
for the 40 million U.S. households earning $30,000 or less totaled $650
billion in 2004, according to Federal Reserve data.
John T. Hewitt, a pioneer in the tax-software industry, recognized the
opportunity. The founder of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. (JTX
) says that as his company grew in the 1980s, "we focused on the low-hanging
fruit: the less affluent people who wanted their money quick."
In the 1990s, Jackson Hewitt franchises blanketed lower-income neighborhoods
around the country. They soaked up fees not just by preparing returns but
also by loaning money to taxpayers too impatient or too desperate to wait
for the government to send them their checks. During this period, Congress
expanded the Earned-Income Tax Credit, a program that guarantees refunds to
the working poor. Jackson Hewitt and rival tax-prep firms inserted
themselves into this wealth-transfer system and became "the new welfare
office," observes Kathryn Edin, a visiting professor at Harvard University's
John F. Kennedy School of Government. Today, recipients of the tax credit
are Jackson Hewitt's prime customers.
"Money Now," as Jackson Hewitt markets its refund-anticipation loans, comes
at a steep price. Lakissisha M. Thomas learned that the hard way. For years,
Thomas, 29, has bounced between government assistance and low-paying jobs
catering to the wealthy of Hilton Head Island, S.C. She worked most recently
as a cashier at a jewelry store, earning $8.50 an hour, until she was laid
off in April. The single mother lives with her five children in a dimly lit
four-bedroom apartment in a public project a few hundred yards from the
manicured entrance of Indigo Run, a resort where homes sell for more than $1
Thomas finances much of what she buys, but admits she usually doesn't
understand the terms. "What do you call it—interest?" she asks, sounding
confused. Two years ago she borrowed $400 for rent and food from Advance
America Cash Advance Centers Inc. (AEA
), a payday chain. She renewed the loan every two weeks until last November,
paying more than $2,500 in fees.
This January, eager for a $4,351 earned-income credit, she took out a
refund-anticipation loan from Jackson Hewitt. She used the money to pay
overdue rent and utility bills, she says. "I thought it would help me get
back on my feet."
A public housing administrator who reviews tenants' tax returns pointed out
to Thomas that Jackson Hewitt had pared $453, or 10.4%, in tax-prep fees and
interest from Thomas' anticipated refund. Only then did she discover that
various services for low-income consumers prepare taxes for free and promise
returns in as little as a week. "Why should I pay somebody else, some big
company, when I could go to the free service?" she asks.
The lack of sophistication of borrowers like Thomas helps ensure that the
Money Now loan and similar offerings remain big sellers. "I don't know
whether I was more bothered by the ignorance of the customers or by the
company taking advantage of the ignorance of the customers," says Kehinde
Powell, who worked during 2005 as a preparer at a Jackson Hewitt office in
Columbus, Ohio. She changed jobs voluntarily.
State and federal law enforcers lately have objected to some of Jackson
Hewitt's practices. In a settlement in January of a suit brought by the
California Attorney General's Office, the company, which is based in
Parsippany, N.J., agreed to pay $5 million, including $4 million in consumer
restitution. The state alleged Jackson Hewitt had pressured customers to
take out expensive loans rather than encourage them to wait a week or two to
get refunds for free. The company denied liability. In a separate series of
suits filed in April, the U.S. Justice Dept. alleged that more than 125
Jackson Hewitt outlets in Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, and the Raleigh-Durham
(N.C.) area had defrauded the Treasury by seeking undeserved refunds.
Jackson Hewitt stressed that the federal suits targeted a single franchisee.
The company announced an internal investigation and stopped selling one type
of refund-anticipation loan, known as a preseason loan. The bulk of refund
loans are unaffected. More broadly, the company said in a written statement
prepared for BusinessWeek that customers are "made aware of all
options available," including direct electronic filing with the IRS. Refund
loan applicants, the company said, receive "a variety of both verbal and
written disclosures" that include cost comparisons. Jackson Hewitt added
that it provides a valuable service for people who "have a need for quick
access to funds to meet a timely expense." The two franchises that served
Thomas declined to comment or didn't return calls.
VINCENT HUMPHRIES, 61, has watched the evolution of low-end
lending with a rueful eye. Raised in Detroit and now living in Atlanta, he
never got past high school. He started work in the early 1960s at Ford Motor
Co.'s hulking Rouge plant outside Detroit for a little over $2 an hour.
Later he did construction, rarely earning more than $25,000 a year while
supporting five children from two marriages. A masonry business he financed
on credit cards collapsed. None of his children have attended college, and
all hold what he calls "dead-end jobs."
Over the years he has "paid through the nose" for used cars, furniture, and
appliances, he says. He has borrowed from short-term, high-interest lenders
and once worked as a deliveryman for a rent-to-own store in Atlanta that
allowed buyers to pay for televisions over time but ended up charging much
more than a conventional retailer. "You would have paid for it three times,"
he says. As for himself, he adds: "I've had plenty of accounts that have
gone into collection. I hope I can pay them before I die." His biggest debts
now are medical bills related to a heart condition. He lives on $875 a month
from Social Security.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the
Core" threads are at
Bob Jensen's consumer fraud
threads are at
What are the Top 10 companies in terms of MBA job seekers?
What industry is expected to offer the lowest salaries to MBA graduates?
"MBAs Expect Lowest Pay in Accounting," SmartPros, May 9,
MBA students expect the
lowest pay from the auditing, accounting and tax sector, according
to a Fortune Magazine survey of 5,000 current MBA students.
Students said they'd
expect to be paid a base salary of $63,695 one year after graduation
in "auditing/accounting/taxation," which was lumped together as one
sector for this survey. After five years, they would expect to earn
Of the 47 sectors
evaluated, the accounting sector received the lowest expectations.
The next lowest expectation was academic research, at $77,859 one
year after graduation and $132,282 after five years. The highest
pay expected one year after graduation is in venture capital, at
$107,919. After five years of graduation, the highest pay expected
is in metals at $346,566.
The annual survey,
conducted for Fortune by Philadelphia-based firm Universum, also
found MBA students' favorite companies to work for. Google takes the
top spot, knocking McKinsey from its 2006 top spot into the second
position. Interestingly, 21 percent of the students ranked Google in
their top five.
The top 10 are:
02. McKinsey & Company
03. Goldman Sachs
04. Bain & Company
05. Boston Consulting Group
08. General Electric
10. Bank of America
2007 survey also asked students to
identify the key sectors they'd most like to work in. Twenty-two
percent of all students said management consulting --which also
garnered the third-highest pay expectations -- followed by financial
services, consumer goods, investment banking and venture capital.
Consideration must also be given to the numbers of MBAs hired by region. Some of
the lowest paying employers may be offering career opportunities to graduates
who have few choices in their chosen or locked-in locales. For example, a
graduate may be locked into a particular town or city because his or her spouse
does not want to give up a particular employer. Also a lower salary say in San
Antonio is going to go a lot further than a much higher salary in San Francisco
or Washington DC due to huge differential real estate and other living expenses.
Thus some MBA graduates are grateful to get a job offer even if it is below the
average starting salary offers. There are also many other considerations such as
potential for career advancement. Some top graduates will work for low salaries
and even sales commissions on Wall Street just for the opportunity to eventually
break the bank.
Public accounting firms may pay less but offer better career
advancement opportunities, particularly opportunities to meet some great clients
that might eventually offer terrific jobs. Internal auditors may start at low
salaries in some corporations where opportunities for world travel and varied
assignments are more appealing.
Civil service and military employers may pay less but they offer
great fringe benefits and job security. The military in particular offers
lifetime medical and pension benefits for relatively young retirees having only
20 years of service.
Every graduate should compare opportunities for added training
and education provided by employers. A job is not necessarily a career unless
that job provides serious opportunities for growth and advancement. Public
accounting firms score very high in terms of training and on-the-job learning. I
always told my accounting graduates that the starting salary should be of lesser
importance in the early stages of a career.
Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at
"LAW OF THE LAND: Legislation requires hiring 'gays,' cross-dressers
'Perceived sexual orientation or gender identity' protected," by Bob Unruh,
WorldNetDaily, May 12, 2007 ---
Following on the heels of
an 'anti-discrimination' plan
Christians insist would virtually outlaw their religious beliefs
another proposal – introduced by
openly homosexual U.S. Rep. Barney Frank – that requires
businesses to give special privileges to "gay" and "transgendered"
Shari Rendall, director of
legislation and public policy for
Concerned Women for America, the
nation's largest women's public policy group, said H.R. 2015,
the "Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007," would be a
"This bill would unfairly extend
special privileges based upon an individual's changeable sexual
behaviors, rather than focusing on immutable, non-behavior
characteristics such as skin color or gender. Its passage would
both overtly discriminate against and muzzle people of faith.
Former Secretary of State Collin Powell put it well when he
said, 'Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic.
Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human
behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two is a
convenient but invalid argument,'" Rendall said.
Continued in article
"Buying a Laptop Means More Attention to Special Features,"
by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2007; Page B1 ---
Most of the major specs I recommended two weeks ago
in my annual spring guide to buying a computer hold true for laptops as well
as desktops. That guide can be found at walt.allthingsd.com/guide. But
buying a portable involves additional factors, so here are some tips for
making laptop purchases.
First, you may want to wait to get that new laptop
until later this year or early in 2008. There are a number of interesting
new hardware features coming. One is called a "solid-state drive," or SSD,
which replaces the traditional hard disk with a faster drive made of memory
chips like those used in digital cameras. Another is a "hybrid hard drive,"
or HHD, which combines memory chips with a standard hard disk, for faster
more and more laptops will be using light-emitting diodes, or LEDs,
to light up their screens -- a method that promises to be both
brighter and less power-hungry.
also may want to wait for laptops with a new type of Wi-Fi wireless
networking built-in. It's called "N," and promises to be faster and
to have longer range.
Windows Vista users, another new laptop feature coming soon is a
small screen on the lid called a SideShow, which can display
calendar appointments and new emails.
if you don't wait, there are some features to know about that aren't
available on most desktops. One is a built-in Web camera and
microphone, highly useful for making video calls and recording
videos to be posted online. Another is a feature that allows you to
play music, videos or DVDs without booting up Windows.
addition, if you travel a lot, you may want something called a
built-in WWAN, or Wireless Wide Area Network. This is essentially a
cellphone modem that makes Internet connections over a cellular
Another key feature is a new kind of slot on the side of most
laptops for add-on cards, like wireless modems. It's called an
ExpressCard slot and, confusingly, it comes in two sizes. Your
old-style cards, called PC Cards, won't fit in these new slots, so
unless you want to buy new cards, you might look for a laptop that
has both the old and new slots.
Battery life, weight and size remain crucial on laptops, unless you
are buying a huge "desktop replacement" laptop, which will rarely
leave the house or be unplugged. For everyone else, I recommend
finding a laptop that offers at least three hours of battery life on
a single charge, without requiring you to dim the screen so much you
can't see anything.
laptops cluster around the six-to-seven-pound range, which is fine
for occasional travel, or for carrying between classes, or between
home and office. But if you are a frequent air traveler and have the
budget, shoot for a laptop that weighs four pounds or less and is
small enough to use on a seat tray in coach even when the person in
front of you reclines.
most expensive laptops are at the extremes -- huge, multimedia
machines and ultra-portable models for hard-core road warriors. Most
well-configured Windows laptops, with typical 15.4-inch screens, are
between $900 and $1,500.
that laptops with 13.3-inch widescreen displays make a nice
compromise between mobility and power. At the moment, there are very
few brand-name models in that size, notably Apple's $1,099 MacBook,
which weighs 5.2 pounds; and Sony's Vaio SZ line, which weighs 4.1
pounds but costs roughly twice as much. More 13.3-inch models are
coming later this year from other manufacturers.
Finally, there's the perennial issue of Windows versus Mac. Apple's
two laptop lines, the MacBook and MacBook Pro, are very good. They
have better built-in software than any Windows laptop I've seen and
don't suffer from the security issues that plague Windows. And they
can even run Windows software, if you need that.
the Mac laptops lack some features that are common on Windows
portables, such as slots for camera memory cards and built-in
cellular modems. And the MacBook even lacks an ExpressCard or PC
Windows machines, I think Sony and Lenovo make especially
well-designed laptops, but almost any name brand would be fine.
Addendum: I'm happy to say there is a new, expanded and redesigned
online home for all my columns. It's at
walt.allthingsd.com and access is free. It
contains the current versions of the columns with the accompanying
videos, plus a searchable two-year column archive and a new blog
called Mossblog, which I will update occasionally.
This new column home page is part of a larger new Web site called
All Things Digital, at
allthingsd.com. In addition to my columns
and blog, it contains technology news, analysis and opinion from
journalists Kara Swisher, Katherine Boehret and John Paczkowski, and
guest blogs from prominent technology figures.
= Liquid Crystal Device computer/video
panel and projector displays
DLP = Digital Light Processor projection device developed by
DLP is based on a digital micromirror device (a chip with millions of
microscopic, hinged mirrors). Red, green and blue light is filtered through a
"LCD or DLP?" by Dave Nagel, T.H.E. Journal, May
I've been reviewing projectors for quite some time,
and I've seen them evolve from extraordinarily expensive, bulky,
poor-quality devices into what they are now: reasonably priced,
high-performance display systems that now enjoy widespread adoption. I've
also seen the gap between the two major projector technologies--LCD and DLP--diminish
over the years. Nevertheless, some minor perceptual differences remain (as
well as one major one) that should be considered when making purchase
decisions for setting up classroom and auditorium systems.
LCD Pros and Cons
In the olden days, the divide between LCD projectors and DLPs was defined by
color fidelity and contrast ratio. That's still true to a lesser extent
today. But it comes down more to individual products than the technologies
as a whole. Given a halfway decent budget, you could easily find a projector
using either technology (or LCoS, for that matter) that would suit your
However, schools are faced with budgetary
restrictions that generally lead them into purchasing lower-end projectors.
And DLPs seem to offer better specs in the sub-$1,000 category than LCDs.
LCDs on the low end still have some advantages:
- Color performance is better in low-end LCDs
than in low-end DLPs, at least in my experience. This helps produce an
image that seems brighter owing to color saturation.
- The images produced by LCDs are sharper, which
is good for data display.
- LCDs are still brighter than DLPs at any given
brightness rating (ANSI lumens).
There are only two real disadvantages to low-end
LCD projectors. First, they're more bulky than DLPs in general. This should
not impact installations or even applications that require moderate
portability. For those traveling constantly with a projector, size and
weight can become a factor. The other disadvantage is the screen door effect
produced by LCDs. This is less pronounced now than it used to be, but it's
still there, and it can be a distraction for those sitting close to a screen
or for those watching video programs.
DLP Pros and Cons
DLP projectors, on the other hand, offer more portability and can offer much
higher contrast ratios than LCD projectors. However, the reported contrast
ratios from some manufacturers are highly tainted with shady testing
Contrast ratio is a means of stating the range
between the brightest gray (white) the projector can produce and the darkest
gray (black). Theoretically, the greater the contrast ratio, the greater the
range between white and black, meaning that more details should be visible
in dark scenes and shadows.
In reality, tests of some DLP chips are conducted
in such a way as to create artificially large contrast ratios by testing
only white and only black and measuring those results separately. This is
called "On/Off," and it can produce a contrast ratio 125 percent the ratio
that would be measured using the ANSI method, in which blacks and whites are
displayed and measured simultaneously.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on classroom, building, and campus
design are at
Using the Monopoly board game and other games in edutainment,
learning, and research
Good starting references include the following:
"Simulations, Games, and Learning" By Diana Oblinger EDUCAUSE Learning
Initiative, May 2006
Bob Jensen's Edutainment and Learning Games
(including video games) at
Monopoly from Parker Bros. has been used across the years by
various accounting, finance, economics, and sociology instructors to interest
students in accounting, finance, and social studies. Years ago I lived next door
to an economics instructor who extended the game to "Corporate Monopoly."
Dissertations have even been written based up this board game, e.g., Models
of Risk and Strategies in Gameplay ---
David Albrecht at Bowling Green State University took it to a
new level for basic accounting. Terms and conditions for students (Real Money,
2003 Edition©, by W. David Albrecht, is a financial accounting and investment
simulation game for use in accounting classes) are given at
Albrecht's book is summarized at
May 4, 2007 message from David Albrecht
A few years ago, I had the good fortune to be
involved in refining how Monopoly could be used in financial accounting
classes so that students can learn by doing. In recent years, I've taught
sections of introductory managerial accounting and have searched for
something similar to Monopoly to use there.
I think I've found it. I started playing business
computer games over the winter break and discovered one that would be well
suited for use in managerial accounting. I created some instructions, had
students in a small honors class buy $20 copies of the game (I have no
ownership interest in either the game or its distribution), and throughout
the course students practiced managerial accounting topics for themselves. I
was able to have students identify cost drivers classify costs as variable,
fixed or whatever develop cost equations using multiple variables of
activity consider revenues and develop equations for computing profit
conduct multiple-product CVP analysis conduct capital budgeting analyses
identify relevant factors for making decisions create budgets for operations
and cash flow compare actual results to budget, and compute variances
analyze the variances for insight as to activities that need to be changed
evaluate strategies project if actual earnings will help realize future
goals In the fall, I hope o incorporate: have multiple students involved in
the same game work from a strategic cost management perspective product
pricing strategies have students go through the project a second time, but
doing it better and being summative-evaluated for a grade
In the coming fall term, I have two regular
sections of managerial accounting. In one section I intend to continue with
my learning centered and mastery teacher approach (which I would also
consider partnering with someone to study its effectiveness). In the other
section I intend to use the simulation game.
My goal is to eventually share everything in an
article sent to a well regarded journal.
I'm looking for someone intrigued enough with the
idea to consider using the game in a section of managerial accounting for
the coming fall. If you are interested please contact me via private e-mail
The project and instructions are rough enough at
this time that I'm not ready to share them publicly.
Bowling Green State University
Clever students in Professor Albrecht's class might study the top 1,000
strategies for winning the game.
From The Business of Inventing (Chapter 11) ---
Monopoly is a familiar game for Jay Walker, the company’s founder and
driving force.2As a student at Cornell University he took on the task of
mastering the Parker Brothers game of that name and, within a couple of
years, won the world champion-ship. To describe the situation using one of
Jay Walker’s favorite metaphors, he unraveled the DNA of Monopoly.
Naturally, he decided to profit from his research, and so, continuing the
metaphor, he published a book that contained the DNA sequencing for
Monopoly, titled 1,000 Ways to Win Monopoly Games.
One might have expected Parker Brothers to see such
a book as free promotion for the game—a good thing. But instead the company
reacted as if Walker really were publishing Monopoly’s DNA sequencing and,
before the book appeared, sued Walker to stop publication. Walker hired
attorneys and fought the suit, arguing that Parker Brothers was attempting
to exercise prior restraint against his right to publish freely. He won the
case and ended up using the proceeds from the book to pay for his legal
1000 Ways to Win Monopoly Games by Jay Walker and
Publisher: Dell Pub. Date: 1975
History of the Monopoly Game ---
Also see ---
Decades later, when they attempted to suppress publication of a game called
Anti-Monopoly, designed by Ralph Anspach, the trademark suit went all the
way to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1983, and the court found
in favor of Anspach because Darrow did not actually invent the game.
There is no accounting for the unrivaled devotion
that the MONOPOLY® game has garnered over the past sixty years. Some say it
is the chance to build a fortune, take a risk, make an acquisition. Others
insist it is the drama of competition. Edward P. Parker, former president of
Parker Brothers suggested that the magic of the game MONOPOLY® is
"clobbering your best friend without doing any damage."
FOR FUN OR PROFIT? AN EVALUATION OF AN ACCOUNTING SIMULATION GAME FOR
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS, by Ralph Kober and Ann Tarca, Department of Accounting and
Finance The University of Western Australia Nedlands, WA 6907 ---
Computerized versions of the board game ---
Linux versions ---
A version of Monopoly for your cell phone ---
Rich Uncle and other "Forgotten Games" ---
St. Louis Monopoly ---
“Children First: A Game of Irony”, Parker Bros. game based on the NY City school
Capitalizing on the national visibility
of New York City’s educational reforms, Parker Brothers, makers of Monopoly,
announced today that they will be producing a new game based on the city’s
education system. Entitled “Children First: A Game of Irony”, the game is slated
to come out in time for the 2007-2008 school year. According to a company
spokesperson, this will be a board game, the object of which will be to amass
the highest number of points, which in the game are referred to as “test
GBN News, March 10, 2007 ---
"What's Wrong with Monopoly (the game)?" by Bejamin Powell ---
McDonalds had a promotional version of the game that clever
"FBI Arrests 8 in McDonald's Game Fraud," by KAREN GULLO
Federal authorities working with McDonald's broke up a criminal ring they
say rigged the popular Monopoly and ''Who Wants to be a Millionaire'' games
played by millions of the fast-food chain's customers over the past six
Examples of some experiments using Monopoly in edutainment,
learning, and research are listed below:
TEACHING RESOURCE Using MONOPOLY and Teams-GamesTournaments
in accounting education: a cooperative learning teaching resource
by Margaret M. Tanner; Tim M. Lindquist
Using the Parker Brother's Game Monopoly to Teach Journal
Entries in an Introductory College Accounting Course
by Susann Cuperus (University of Mary)
Games Economists Play
Non-Computerized Classroom-Games in College Economics
Wealth Distribution and Imperfect Capital Markets: A
Classroom Experiment ---
Using Monopoly to Teach Social Stratification and Inequality
An Experimental Approach to the Development of a
Socio-Economic Model ---
Also see Richard Campbell's tutorial at
Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade are at
The section on Edutainment and Learning Games (including
video games) is at
One Person's Claim Can Dramatically Increase a Firm's Employee Health
Such are the challenges for smaller businesses in
Kansas and the many other states where laws permit insurers to raise health
premiums substantially for small employers when one worker incurs significant
medical bills. And it is why, as state legislatures, Congress and presidential
candidates of all stripes debate the growing problem of Americans without health
insurance, the struggles of small businesses — which employ about 40 percent of
the nation’s work force — are likely to become a central issue. Small-business
employees are one of the fastest-growing segments of the nation’s 44 million
uninsured; they now represent at least 20 percent of the total, according to
federal census data. And even modest-size employers like Varney’s that say they
remain committed to providing benefits find themselves wondering how long they
"Small Businesses’ Premiums Soar After Illness," The New York Times, May
6, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at
"PCAOB: Ernst & Young Signed Without Evidence,"
AccountingWeb, May 3, 2007 ---
A report issued by the Public Company Accounting
Oversight Board states that Ernst & Young LLP appears to have signed off on
some public-company audits without having sufficient evidence to support its
opinion. The Associated Press reported that Ernst & Young defended its work
while acknowledging that it agreed, in response to the findings, to perform
additional procedures for some clients.
"In no instance did these actions change our
original audit conclusions or affect our reports on the issuers' financial
statements," Ernst & Young said in an April 5 letter to the oversight board
that was included in the report.
The latest inspection findings found fault with
eight public-company audits by Ernst & Young, down from 10 deficient audits
identified in the recently issued 2005 inspection report. By law, the
largest audit firms must undergo annual inspection by the oversight body,
created by Congress in 2002 to inspect and discipline public company
Inspection findings provide limited insight into
audit quality since they don't identify audit clients by name. In response
to complaints that the oversight board has been slow to issue findings,
board chairman Mark Olson pledged last year to pick up the pace.
"Timeliness of inspection reports continues to be a
priority for me, and I am pleased by our progress," Olson said in a
According to the 2006 inspection report, Ernst &
Young didn't identify one client's departure from generally accepted
accounting principles with regard to lease abandonment liability. The report
also faulted the auditor's handling of the client's self-insurance reserve
and severance payments to former executives. Ernst said it supplemented its
work papers and performed additional procedures but that its additional work
didn't affect its original conclusions on the unidentified client's
Inspectors flagged a second audit where unrecorded
audit differences would have reduced net income by as much as 5 percent,
saying Ernst & Young failed to consider "quantitative or qualitative
factors" relevant to the aggregate uncorrected audit differences. Ernst &
Young attributed the difference to a prior-year error identified by its
audit team, which it said the client firm corrected in its current year
results. While Ernst & Young said it supplemented its 2005 audit record and
informed the client's audit committee of the audit differences, it said the
actions didn't change its original audit conclusions or affect its report on
the firm's financial statements.
The audit firm had the same response to findings on
a third audit, one where inspectors took issue with its handling of a
long-term licensing agreement paid for partly with cash and partly with
stock that would vest in the future. The audit firm disputed findings that
there was no evidence it had analyzed the terms of the licensing agreement
to ensure it complied with relevant accounting rules.
In a fourth audit, the oversight board's inspectors
questioned whether Ernst & Young should have allowed the audit client to
aggregate business lines when evaluating impairment of goodwill, saying
certain factors indicated that aggregation wasn't appropriate. It said there
was no evidence in the audit papers and "no persuasive other evidence" that
Ernst & Young considered those factors in reaching its conclusion. For its
part, Ernst & Young said it believes the issue was "properly evaluated" and
that it took no further action as a result.
Also see the SmartPros account of this at
Bob Jensen's threads on Ernst & Young's legal and
professionalism woes are at
Bob Jensen's threads on audit firm professionalism are at
In what department or college is academic cheating most likely to take place on campus?
May 6, 2007 message from Donald Ramsey
For those who missed it, here is the URL for a
report that ran yesterday on NPR, identifying MBA students among the most
common cheaters. Very disturbing.
Do you remember the old days of the CPA exam, with
partitions on the tables between candidates?
Donald D. Ramsey, CPA,
Department of Accounting, Finance, and Economics,
School of Business and Public Administration,
University of the District of Columbia,
Room 404A, Building 52 (Connecticut and Yuma St.), 4200 Connecticut Ave., N.
W., Washington, D. C. 20008.
Nearly half of the second-year students
at the dental school of Indiana University, in Indianapolis, have been punished
for their roles in a cheating incident,
The Indianapolis Star reported. The incident
involved breaking into password-protected files to gain an early look at exams.
Inside Higher Ed, May 9, 2007 ---
typically thought of as an undergraduate concern, has surfaced
several professional schools. Late
last month, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business
announced that dozens of first-year
students violated the honor code by collaborating on a take-home
test that was supposed to be completed alone. . . . On
Friday, the Faculty Council at Indiana’s dental school voted to
dismiss 9 of its students, suspend 16 for various lengths of
time and send a letter of reprimand to 21 others for violating
its professional code of conduct by knowing about and not
reporting the incident. The class has just under 100 students.
Elia Powers, "Cheating on a Different Level," Inside Higher
Ed, May 10, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on MBA cheating are at
College Researchers With Conflicts of
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)
released a report Wednesday that he said
showed that researchers at several universities who advised the U.S. Education
Department on its Reading First program had “significant financial ties to
education publishers while they held Reading First positions that required them
advise and provide technical assistance to States and school districts about
which reading programs to chose and how to implement them.”
Inside Higher Ed, May 10, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on appearance versus reality of research
The Top Laptop Makers Are Not HP, Dell, or Toshiba
On Wednesday, an analyst group released the market share held by laptop
manufacturers during 2006 – not OEMs like Dell, Hewlett-Packard, or Toshiba, but
the companies that actually make the laptops themselves.
PhysOrg, May 10, 2007 ---
Although a Dell or Hewlett-Packard
computer bears the company's logo, the manufacturing, assembly – and
increasingly, the design – are carried out by a smaller number Taiwan and
While HP's 2006 notebook market share of somewhat
less than 20 percent was the highest amongst its competitors, the top ODM,
Quanta, actually outsold HP by manufacturing roughly 33 percent of all
notebooks that were eventually sold, according to a report by Research and
In the ODM world, the top five manufacturers of
2006 were Quanta, Compal, Wistron, Inventec and Asus, whose total shipments
accounted for 86.6 percent of the total market.
In 2005, total laptop shipments increased 18.4
percent over 2004 to 58.2 million units. During 2006, sales grew 24.6
percent to 72.6 million units, evidence that notebooks are quickly outpacing
PCs, and what the firm attributed to strong dual-core notebook sales in
Europe. A further surge in notebook shipments is expected in the second half
of 2007, when Vista sales will kick in. For 2007, total sales are expected
to be about 89.03 million units, a 22.6 percent growth rate.
In 2006, Quanta sold 24 million units, compared to
15 million units sold by Compal, a 21 percent market share. Unit sales by
wistron, Inventec, and Asus totaled 11 million units, 7 million units, and 5
million units, respectively, placing their market shares at 15 percent, 10
percent, and 7 percent, respectively. Companies like MiTAC, FIC, Arima,
Uniwill, ECS and Clevo will have to struggle to compete, Research and
Continued in article
The "New" Apple
It's only not a computer company in name. Apple remains true to its roots.
Simson Garfinkel, MIT's Technology Review, May/June 2007 ---
"10 Things We Hate About Apple: It's high time we
unloaded on the high-and-mighty Mac maker," by Narasu Rebbapragada and Alan
Stafford, PC World via The Washington Post, May 8, 2007 ---
"10 Things We Love About Apple: Great design, a
polished OS, a way to run Windows, and a faker's blog are just a few of our
favorite things," by Narasu Rebbapragada and Alan Stafford, PC World via
The Washington Post, May 8, 2007 ---
More students studying abroad does not automatically equate
to a good thing!
"Quantity or Quality in Study Abroad? By Adam Weinberg,
Inside Higher Ed, May 8, 2007 ---
As this work
progresses, we would do well to remember that the desirable
outcomes associated with studying abroad are neither
automatic nor guaranteed under current conditions, nor can
we measure success only by the number of students sent
abroad. We need to be intentional and purposeful and might
start by examining the difference between “high road” and
“low road” models for international education.
Under low road
models, universities and programs send college students into
the world, with little preparation, for culturally thin
experiences. Students make minimal effort to learn local
languages or customs, travel in large groups, and are taught
in American-only classrooms. They live and go to bars with
other Americans, often drinking too much and getting into
trouble. They see local sights through the windows of
traveling buses. Far from experiencing another culture
deeply and on its own terms, these students (at best) simply
get the American college experience in a different time
zone. It is worth noting as well that many of the study
abroad destinations known as “fun” don’t even require
language study and offer relatively minimal challenges to
students’ sense of place and culture. These also happen to
be the places with the highest percentage of students.
road study abroad programs are developed to ensure deep
cultural and language immersion. Students are oriented to
understand and respect local customs and encouraged to take
responsibility for projecting a positive image of Americans.
High-road providers ensure that students become part of the
culture by staying with local families and giving back to
local communities. Examples include:
the School for
International Training, the
School For Field Studies and the
International Honors Program. Each
of these organizations is working to create programs where
students attend classes and participate in activities with
local students and are taught by local staff who are paid
fair wages and offer an inside view of the culture. Students
learn that they return to the U.S. with an obligation to
stay active, help others learn from their experiences, and
push for better policies with regards to the developing
world. These students become young intercultural emissaries,
global citizens able to adapt and contribute to a complex
programs tend to be built with four principles in mind:
Commitment to scale and access. Currently, less than 8
percent of American college students study abroad,
despite polling data that suggest most have an interest
in doing so. Just as important, of that small
percentage, less than 9 percent are black or Hispanic,
even though these students constitute 25 percent of all
college students. Stated differently, about 50 percent
of the students who study abroad come from just 100
universities and colleges. We need to do better.
Emphasis on exposing students to less-traveled,
less-understood destinations. Two-thirds of students who
study abroad go to Europe. Only 15 percent go to Latin
America, 7 percent to Asia, 3 percent to Africa,.5
percent to the Middle East. As geopolitical and economic
power shifts, study abroad needs to keep up by including
emerging regions of importance. Of course students
should still study in Europe, but they should go on
programs where they learn languages, are deeply immersed
in cultures, and challenged by important themes in
contemporary European society.
for student “reentry” and opportunities for lifelong
engagement. Students return from abroad filled with
energy and excitement, often transformed by their
experiences, but struggle to find opportunities and
outlets for channeling their newfound energies. We need
to harness and direct this energy towards lifelong
learning, growth, and engagement in communities back
home. There has been a tremendous amount of chatter
within the higher education around civic education and
engaging undergraduates. Harnessed correctly, study
abroad may be as close to a solution as we will find.
Commitment to reciprocity. In this context, reciprocity
might be defined as operating our programs in ways that
strengthen the partners (e.g., community groups,
individuals, and communities) we depend upon for the
vitality of our programs. International education can
either be perceived as one more thing the U.S. does at
the expense of the rest of the world, or something that
has economic and social benefits for host countries and
communities. High road providers work in partnership
with host communities. They bring needed revenues,
networks, and other resources to these communities,
while also maintaining a small and respectful footprint.
providers do this by paying attention to how they run their
operations. They purposefully use local companies, keep the
footprint small, and compensate local staff with good wages,
benefits and professional development opportunities. Other
providers are using community-based research and
service-learning projects to connect students to local
The International Partnership for Service-Learning and
Leadership is a good example.
reciprocity can and should mean much more. For example, at
the School for International Training, where I work, we
recently signed an agreement with the Royal University of
Bhutan (RUB). RUB is hosting students for a month on its
campus. In return, SIT is using our network with 250
colleges and university to serve as a portal for RUB into
American higher education. We arranged a tour for RUB
administrators to visit their counterparts at a range of
public and private universities. We are placing select RUB
graduates into PhD programs. To make this happen (and bring
things full circle) we are offering the universities who
take RUB students financial aid for their students to come
on our programs. Additionally, we are arranging for American
faculty to spend time in Bhutan. In this form, reciprocity
connects all the partners in loops that benefit American
universities, study abroad providers, and community partners
with clear intentionality and purpose.
All of this
raises interesting questions that have yet to be fully
it be OK if study abroad programs fall in short term
numbers, but go up in quality? What would happen if the
key indicator of success shifted from the number of
participants to the magnitude of student learning
might universities create market demand for high road
programs? Consistent with changes to accreditation, what
would happen if universities required study abroad
providers to document how programs meet particular
learning outcomes and provided measurement of successes
- How can
we ensure greater access? This is an extremely important
issue partly driven by price. We need to find creative
methods to keep programs affordable. Part of it is also
about moving study abroad beyond the liberal arts into
the professions. We need programs for students who are
studying nursing, hospitality, business, engineering and
a range of other professions that reach beyond the
liberal arts campuses.
education is under growing pressure from politicians,
parents and even our own accrediting agencies to better
demonstrate value added for students, communities and the
nation. Study abroad is a good example of how we can take
something we are already doing and magnify the impact by
being more purposeful and intentional with our desired
outcomes and strategies for achieving them. In doing so, we
can better position higher education to meet challenges
around global competitiveness and public diplomacy, while
also enhancing our humanitarian commitment to the world.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
Hypocrisy: Department of Education Demands Accountability for
Everyone Else But Itself
Whatever else it may bring about, the Cuomo
investigation has demonstrated the emptiness of the secretary’s (Spellings)
haughty pronouncements on accountability. What is already known of the
department’s (Department of Education) inaction — if not outright complicity —
in the scandal amply demonstrates that accountability was the last thing this
secretary demanded of the companies feeding at the federal trough on her watch.
The disingenuous nature of the Spellings gospel of accountability becomes all
the more apparent in light of her post facto reaction to the scandal. Her press
releases and disavowal of authority and responsibility are ample enough proof
that the thought that accountability applies to her as well has yet to cross the
Barmak Nassirian (Associate Executive Director of the American
Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, Inside Higher
Ed," May 14, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on the student loan scandals and
"Financial and Academic Lack of Accountability" are at
A Free Novel
--- If You Act in
a Short Period of Time
"Headline to Publish Debut Novel Online for Free," University of
Illinois Blog Issues in Scholarly Communications, May 5, 2007 ---
interesting to take a look at what's happening in the general
book publishing arena. The publisher Headline plans to publish
Simon Spurrier's debut novel, Contract, online in six weekly
installments, with free access.
editor of Headline's new generation fiction list, says Headline
is the first mainstream commercial publisher to make such a move
and from 24th May in six weekly installments Contract will be
available on the dedicated site:
one of those very rare submissions that had me literally jumping
out of my chair with excitement," said Blofeld. "The publishing
industry has been tiptoeing around publishing books online.
While there are obvious issues for publishers, the main point
for me is that what writers need above all else is readers. With
his comics background and established online presence, the fact
that Simon has the perfect profile for this kind of venture, is
a bonus; as is the fact the book will resonate with a
particularly large market demographic of internet users."
As a writer for
2000AD comics since he was 17, Spurrier already has his own cult
following and was voted top new writer in the 2004 UK Comic
Industry Awards. Spurrier's central character has beaten his
novel online, however – hitman Michael Point already has a blog
is available at
www.itsallaboutthemoney.co.uk from 24th May 07 . I
t is out in hardback on June 4th 2007, £19.99, 9780755335886.
Bob Jensen's threads on electronic literature is at
Just how do cell phones work?
Does extended use of a cell phone fry your brain?
May 4, 2007 answer from David Fordham, James Madison University
You can rest easy and use your cell phone without
A cell phone is simply a radio transceiver, and a
darn low power one at that.
The frequency it uses has nothing to do with the
number it is calling or who called it. The radio frequency used is dependent
upon the type of service for which the phone is designed (GSM, CDMA, etc.).
Most US phones use frequencies in the 800-900 MHz or 1700-1900 MHz bands.
(Contrast with FM radio 88-107 Mhz, police radios 450-460 MHz, UHF TV
Channels 600 MHz, satellite TV (1500-3000 MHz), Wi-Fi networks (2400 MHz),
garage door openers (2400 MHz), Aircraft Radar (1100 Mhz amd 3000 Mhz), and
even baby monitors (900 MHz).
It surprises most people to learn that cell phones
operate on the same frequency band as microwave ovens. Microwave ovens
operate on the 800 MHz band, and also the 2400 Mhz band.
Microwave ovens boil water. So does this mean you
are frying your brain when you make a call with the phone next to your ear?
First of all, microwave ovens use transmitters with
500, 1000, or even 1500 watts of power. Second, all that power is
concentrated in a steady stream, continuous wave, extremely narrow
frequency, reflected over and over inside a metal "mirror cage". All of
these factors are what enables it to generates heat. Think of the spotlight
used to light up the singer on a stage of a Broadway play, with mirrors
around him/her, multiplied several times. The singer in the spotlight is
going to get hot and begin to sweat.
Cell phones use thousands of a milliwatt. A
milliwatt is thousands of a watt. So cell phones use millionths of a watt.
If you had half a million cell phones all transmitting, you would still have
only one or two watts of power!
Compare the hot spotlight beam with the tiny
flashlight on a keychain that works off a watch battery. But even here, the
watch battery is thousands of times closer to the spotlight than a cell
phone is to a microwave oven!
You don't get hot standing in the beam of a tiny
flashlight. What's more, the cell phone energy is spread- spectrum, meaning
that the energy is distributed across a much wider band, diluting and
weakening its ability to "do work" (e.g. heat water, for example) even
There is positively no credible evidence at all
that using a cell phone causes any medical problems whatsoever, (unless you
count accidents while driving).
People have been using microwave radio transmitters
and receivers for decades, at power level thousands and even millions of
times higher than cell phones, on those same frequencies, with the
transmitters just as close to humans, for years and years on the same
humans, and there still is no evidence whatsoever that the energy in these
bands has any health effect at all. If it did, microwave transmitter
technicians, radar repair technicians, television broadcast engineers, and
others would be dropping like flies.
I don't know who your "someone knowledgeable about
such things" is, but I will go on the record saying he apparently isn't very
knowledgeable about such things, because he apparently doesn't know how cell
phones operate, and he is falling prey to the media sensationalists who are
creating a frenzy over lawyers' chasing a buck.
The only so-called "evidence" of medical effects of
cell phone use come from the rare, anecdotal person (about four or five over
the last two decades) who used cell phones and developed brain cancer...
they claim the cancer is right where the cell phone "beams" energy into
their head. Cell phones don't beam energy, they spread it omnidirectionally
(otherwise you would have to "aim" your phone at the base station!).
One such claimant in Florida claimed that the tumor
was in the exact shape of the cell phone antenna and thus HAD to be cause by
the cell phone.
These claims are the equivalent of a person driving
a Chevrolet, and later developing a mole in the shape of the Chevy chevron,
and filing a lawsuit saying the Chevrolet cause the mole.
As a comparison, every single day when you go
outside in the sunshine, you are bombarded by electromagnetic radiation
which is billions and billions of times (Carl Sagan millions!) stronger in
ANY frequency band than any radiation you get from the cell phone. It is
established that the ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes cancer, over
many years, because ultraviolet is "ionizing" radiation. The ionizing
radiation works by breaking chemical bonds. Experiments, studies, etc. have
been done on the other radiation from the sun, way down in the RF and
microwave spectrum. No ill effects have been found in decades of experience.
To the contrary: there are many health benefits of radiation in those other
The statement that "if a call is received on a cell
phone from a specific number" is nonsense. A receiver does not radiate
measurable energy, it is the transmitter which radiates.
The number from which a call originates is simply
data embedded in the signal. The properties of the radio signal (such as
frequency band) are the same regardless of what data is imbedded in that
signal. I'll say it again: The content of the broadcast does not affect the
frequency. Think of listening to a radio station: whether the station is
playing Bach or Beethoven does not change the channel (frequency) you are
Incidentally, your knowledgeable person, if they
were knowledgeable, should know that frequency and wavelength are
*inversely* proportional. The very high frequencies use very small
wavelengths. The very high wavelengths are very low frequencies. So again,
it is nonsense to talk about "very high frequency and wavelength".
Bottom line: No, this is not possible. Your friend
is displaying symptoms of the gullibility virus. In spite of millions of
hours of testing and experiments, there is no credible evidence whatsoever
that cell phones cause cancer. You can never "PROVE" they don't, any more
than you can prove the negative of anything else. But there is no evidence,
in spite of the best efforts to find any.
David Fordham James Madison
University School of Accounting
Semester in Antwerp program
May 5, 2007 message from Petr Novotný
Can you please add our website at your computer
http://www.file-extensions.org - File
extensions encyclopedia - Useful resource for file formats information and
Thanks a lot
I added this link to
From The Washington Post on May 11, 2007
Which two Yahoo services did
the company recently say it will close?
Updates from WebMD ---
Was I born to soon?
Study sees possible end to worries about eating fat
A U.S. mouse study suggests that, in the future, humans
might be able to eat any kind of fat they wish without raising their risk of
"Study sees possible end of fat-free diets," PhysOrg, May 9, 2007 ---
Should we call it dairy dementia?
CALCIUM and vitamin D in dairy products may be
contributing to brain damage and dementia in older men and women, new research
suggests. Scientists believe too much calcium can narrow blood vessels in the
brain, leading to neural damage. The effect may be compounded by vitamin D,
which regulates calcium retention and activity.
Rhiannon Edward, "Scientists point to link between dairy foods and dementia,"
Scotsman, May 14, 2007 ---
Scientists at a British pharmaceutical firm have developed a
vaccine to curb high blood pressure, an advance over pills that cause side
PhysOrg, May 13, 2007 ---
Ultra-high-field MRI allows for earlier diagnosis of multiple
Ultra-high-field (7T) MRI can detect multiple sclerosis
lesions better than MRI which can lead to possible earlier diagnosis and
treatment, according to a new study by researchers from Ohio State University in
Columbus, and Columbia University in New York.
PhysOrg, May 4, 2007 ---
Seniors suffer from stereotyping
Seniors are being stereotyped as grouchy, inflexible
types who live in nursing homes, when the opposite is true, a new University of
Alberta report reveals.
PhysOrg, May 8, 2007 ---
A frown or a smile? Children with autism can't discern
When we have a conversation with someone, we not only
hear what they say, we see what they say. Eyes can smolder or twinkle. Gazes can
be direct or shifty. “Reading” these facial expressions gives context and
meaning to the words we hear.
PhysOrg, May 5, 2007 ---
Stem Cells Repair Blood Vessels
A new method to boost growth of blood vessels with stem
cells could improve cell therapies for diabetes and heart disease.
Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, May 8, 2007 ---
Uncovering Your Dog's Genetic History
Is He a Chia Pit or a Terrier Mix? A new test that
reveals your mutt's precise mix of breeds is a hit with dog owners and could
boost adoption rates at animal shelters.
Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, May 11, 2007 ---
"Camel No. 9:: Is the smartly packaged cigarette for females
deft marketing, or a cynical ploy?" by Jocelyn Noveck, Chicago Sun-Times,
May 5, 2007 ---
With the slogan ''Light and Luscious,'' the R.J.
Reynolds Tobacco company launched its new cigarette in February, this one
squarely aimed at women, with pretty magazine ads on thick, shiny paper and
marketing evenings offering makeovers and free cigarettes. It's what
advertisers do all the time, right? Target the market segments they covet?
So why have some people been offended over the last few months by the pinks,
the florals, the hints of lace even, in the Camel ads?
The answer depends on whom you think they're
targeting. Is it, as R.J. Reynolds contends, the established adult female
smoker it seeks to lure from other brands? Or is it, as others argue, the
teen, the college student or the young woman in her 20s, who hasn't begun to
smoke but is vulnerable to this message of sophisticated chic?
A number of voices have been raised in protest, but
perhaps none so poignant as that of Lauren Terrazzano. A 39-year-old writer
for Newsday, she came upon a Camel No. 9 ad while sitting in a doctor's
office. She was being treated for lung cancer; she told readers recently
that doctors give her only a few months to live.
''The fact is, lung cancer is the No. 1 killer of
women,'' Terrazzano, who smoked on and off for about five years, wrote in a
column last month.
Continued in article
"From China to Panama, a Trail of Poisoned Medicine," by Walt
Bogdanich, The New York Times, May 6, 2007 ---
The syrupy poison, diethylene glycol, is an
indispensable part of the modern world, an industrial solvent and prime
ingredient in some antifreeze.
It is also a killer. And the deaths, if not
intentional, are often no accident.
Over the years, the poison has been loaded into all
varieties of medicine — cough syrup, fever medication, injectable drugs — a
result of counterfeiters who profit by substituting the sweet-tasting
solvent for a safe, more expensive syrup, usually glycerin, commonly used in
drugs, food, toothpaste and other products.
Toxic syrup has figured in at least eight mass
poisonings around the world in the past two decades. Researchers estimate
that thousands have died. In many cases, the precise origin of the poison
has never been determined. But records and interviews show that in three of
the last four cases it was made in China, a major source of counterfeit
Panama is the most recent victim. Last year,
government officials there unwittingly mixed diethylene glycol into 260,000
bottles of cold medicine — with devastating results. Families have reported
365 deaths from the poison, 100 of which have been confirmed so far. With
the onset of the rainy season, investigators are racing to exhume as many
potential victims as possible before bodies decompose even more.
Panama’s death toll leads directly to Chinese
companies that made and exported the poison as 99.5 percent pure glycerin.
Forty-six barrels of the toxic syrup arrived via a
poison pipeline stretching halfway around the world. Through shipping
records and interviews with government officials, The New York Times traced
this pipeline from the Panamanian port of Colón, back through trading
companies in Barcelona, Spain, and Beijing, to its beginning near the
Yangtze Delta in a place local people call “chemical country.”
The counterfeit glycerin passed through three
trading companies on three continents, yet not one of them tested the syrup
to confirm what was on the label. Along the way, a certificate falsely
attesting to the purity of the shipment was repeatedly altered, eliminating
the name of the manufacturer and previous owner. As a result, traders bought
the syrup without knowing where it came from, or who made it. With this
information, the traders might have discovered — as The Times did — that the
manufacturer was not certified to make pharmaceutical ingredients.
An examination of the two poisoning cases last year
— in Panama and earlier in China — shows how China’s safety regulations have
lagged behind its growing role as low-cost supplier to the world. It also
demonstrates how a poorly policed chain of traders in country after country
allows counterfeit medicine to contaminate the global market.
Last week, the United States Food and Drug
Administration warned drug makers and suppliers in the United States “to be
especially vigilant” in watching for diethylene glycol. The warning did not
specifically mention China, and it said there was “no reason to believe”
that glycerin in this country was tainted. Even so, the agency asked that
all glycerin shipments be tested for diethylene glycol, and said it was
“exploring how supplies of glycerin become contaminated.”
Continued in article
Egyptians, not Greeks were true fathers of medicine
Scientists examining documents dating back 3,500
years say they have found proof that the origins of modern medicine lie in
ancient Egypt and not with Hippocrates and the Greeks.
PhysOrg, May 9, 2007 ---
Oxymoron: Medical Ethics
Two drug companies are paying doctors millions to
prescribe anemia drugs, which regulators now say may be unsafe.
Alex Berenson and Andrew Pollack, "Doctors Reap Millions for Anemia Drugs,"
The New York Times, May 9, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
The inconvenient truth is that Social Security and health care could consume the
entire federal budget.
"Medicare Meltdown," by Thomas R. Saving, The Wall Street Journal, May
9, 2007; Page A17 ---
What's going to happen when the money runs out for
Medicare? A recently released report by the program's trustees found that
within seven years Medicare taxes will fall short of Medicare expenses by
more than 45%. What's more, Medicare and Social Security combined are on
track to eat up the entire federal budget.
While the bulk of Medicare dollars comes from
payroll taxes and beneficiary premiums, a large and growing share of
Medicare expenses is borne by general taxpayers. And although the same law
that created the new Medicare drug benefit also requires the president to
propose remedial legislation, Congress is not required to actually do
The trustees' wake-up call comes none too soon. But
what is needed are not minor adjustments. A major overhaul is in order.
The projected cash flow deficits in these two
programs are staggering. For Social Security, the trustees estimate the
75-year burden on general revenues at $6.7 trillion. For Medicare the
comparable burden on general revenues is $24.2 trillion, even after allowing
the current transfers to grow with the economy. Thus the total burden these
programs will impose on federal finances over the next 75 years is $31.9
trillion, more than six times the current outstanding federal debt. Looking
beyond 75 years into the indefinite future, the combined long-run funding
gap for Social Security and Medicare is $74.8 trillion in today's dollars.
Members of Congress will not have to wait long to
experience the practical effects of all of this. Until a few years ago,
Social Security and Medicare were taking in more than they spent, on the
whole. Thus they provided revenue for other federal programs. That situation
is now reversed, and last year the combined deficits in the two programs
claimed 5.3% of federal income tax revenues. In 15 years these two programs
will require more than a fourth of income tax revenues: In other words, in
just 15 years the federal government will have to stop spending one out of
every four non-entitlement dollars in order to balance the budget and keep
its promises to the elderly.
As more and more baby boomers reach retirement, the
financial picture will deteriorate rapidly. By 2030, about the midpoint of
the baby boomer retirement years, these two programs will require almost one
out of every two federal income tax dollars. By 2040, they will require
nearly two out of every three federal income tax dollars. Eventually, the
deficits in these two programs will absorb the entire federal budget.
Could we force the elderly to pay for future
deficits with higher Medicare premiums? Monthly premiums in constant dollars
would more than quadruple by 2020, and be almost 30 times their current
level by 2080. At that point, the required monthly premiums would consume
more than the entire Social Security benefit (from which they are
automatically deducted) for average-wage earners.
Using taxation to fund the projected Medicare
shortfalls is equally unpalatable. We would need a 10% increase in all
nonpayroll taxes by 2020 and a 50% increase by 2080, the close of the
trustees' 75-year projection period.
So what else can be done? In general, no reform
should be taken very seriously unless it is specifically designed to slow
the rate of growth of health-care spending. On the demand side, someone must
choose between health care and other uses of money. That is, someone must
decide that the next MRI scan or the next knee replacement, for example, is
not worth the cost. Such decisions could be made by seniors themselves, by
the government (as it is in other countries), or by private insurers
operating under government rationing rules. On the supply side, the way
health care is produced must fundamentally be changed, replacing
cost-increasing innovations with cost-reducing ones.
To examine consequences of beneficiaries making
their own rationing decisions, my colleague Andrew Rettenmaier and I
estimated the effects of creating reformed Medicare based on a
$5,000-deductible Health Savings Account (HSA), beginning with the baby
boomer retirees. The size of the deductible and the HSA would grow through
time (as health costs grow), and since deposits would be made with after-tax
dollars, withdrawals for any purpose would be tax free. In this way,
beneficiaries would be encouraged to make their own tradeoffs between health
care and every other good or service. We estimate the effects would result
in a reduction in Medicare's unfunded liability by between 25% and 40%.
We did not attempt to estimate the impact of this
reform on the supply side of Medicare. However, there is ample evidence that
when people spend their own money on health services, supply side responses
are considerable. This implies that a properly designed HSA could help us
get off of the current spending course in two ways. First, it could allow
the elderly to reallocate health-care dollars to goods and services they
value more. Secondly, it could spur providers to deliver care more
Even with these reforms, however, we must still
address the problem of pay-as-you-go financing. Today every dollar in
Medicare payroll taxes is immediately spent. Nothing is saved. Nothing is
invested. The payroll taxes contributed by today's workers pay the medical
benefits of today's retirees. However, when today's workers retire, their
benefits will be paid only if the next generation of workers agrees to pay
even higher taxes.
The alternative is to move to a funded system in
which each generation saves and invests in order to pay for its own
benefits. Yet to take advantage of this potential, we need to act quickly.
We must introduce reforms that capture the earning potential of the
baby-boom generation before they escape into retirement and leave the young
with a burden that will be increasingly burdensome. Unless we increase our
level of saving now, we will leave our children and grandchildren strapped
with escalating tax rates.
If nothing is done, Social Security and Medicare
deficits will engulf the entire federal budget. If our policy makers wait to
address the growing deficits until they are out of control, the solutions
will be drastic and painful. Let us hope that the current wake-up call is
Mr. Saving is a public trustee of the Social Security and Medicare
system, director of the Private Enterprise Research Center at Texas A&M
University, and a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.
Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements are at
Tough as nails
Hard as bricks
Algona (High School) Class of '56
Forwarded by Dick and Cec
What dating was like in 1956
It's the summer of 1956 and Harold goes to pick up his date, Peggy Sue.
Harold's a pretty hip guy with his own car and a duck tail hairdo. When he goes
to the front door, Peggy Sue's mother answers and invites him in.
"Peggy Sue's not ready yet, so why don't you have a seat?" Peggy Sue's mother
asks Harold what they're planning to do.
Harold replies politely that they will probably just go to the malt shop or
to a drive-in movie.
Peggy Sue's mother responds, "Why don't you kids go out and screw? I hear all
the kids are doing it."
Naturally this comes as quite a surprise to Harold and he says, "Whaaaat?"
Yeah," says Peggy Sue's mother, "We know Peggy Sue really likes to screw;
why, she'd screw all night if we let her!"
Harold's eyes light up and he smiles from ear to ear. Immediately, he has
revised the plans for the evening.
A few minutes later, Peggy Sue comes downstairs in her little poodle skirt
with her saddle shoes, and announces that she's ready to go.
Almost breathless with anticipation, Harold escorts his date out the front
door while Mom is saying, "Have a good evening kids," with a small wink for
About 20 minutes later, a thoroughly disheveled Peggy Sue rushes back into
the house, slams the door behind her and screams at her mother: Mom! It's the
Twist! It's called The Twist!!!
Tidbits Archives ---
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In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available
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I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
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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
of a ListServ ---
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
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.
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 BusValGroupfirstname.lastname@example.org
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM]
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586