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 --- http://www.mittersillusa.com/Mittersill_home.html 
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 Austria. 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.

Mittersill is now a delightfully scenic mountain village that should be visited if you are in Franconia 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 Green Mountains of Vermont.

 

Tidbits on May 15, 2007
Bob Jensen

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

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


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


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

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


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

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




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

It's Hard to Come Home --- http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=481083&fr=

Incredible Tornado in Ellis County, Oklahoma on May 4, 2007 --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNL7ASvl4k4

Scumbag College Versus Footlights College Oxbridge --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxkFwwRYnco&mode=related&search=

Brown Bear Kills Moose in Yard --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7M00aozz9A

Tribute to Communism --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyUu-8nbd58

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 --- http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0e0_1178304529


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

Lang Lang's Journey to Beethoven (Chinese Pianist) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10060309

Bach Choir of Bethlehem in concert at the First Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem, Pa.--- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10094368

Mozart's 'Cosi fan tutte' From the Salzburg Festival --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9975366

The Music of Portugal --- http://www.npr.org/programs/asc/archives/20070503/

Mother-Son Duo Makes Perfect Harmony --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10146646

Martin Sexton (Blues) Concert --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9947926

Björk and Konono No. 1 in (Rock) Concert --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9872952

"Que Sera Sera" was never this dark. Hear Pink Martini's quirky take on the Doris Day classic --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10144725

Modest Mouse (Rock) Concert --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9922966

NPR's Song of the Day --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4703895


Photographs and Art

Greensburg Tornado Damage --- http://www.kansas.com/static/slides/050507tornadoaerials/

Freaking News Picture of the Day  --- http://www.freakingnews.com/potd.asp

O.J. Simpson at the 2007 Kentucky Derby. It looks like he took a knife to the top of his escort's dress --- Click Here
Gratefully the Queen of England left the event with her hat on her head and her head on her neck.
Trivia Question:  What does O.J. stand for ?--- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OJ_Simpson

 


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

The Adventure Of Charles Augustus Milverton by Arthur Conan Doyle --- Click Here

How The Leopard Got His Spots by Rudyard Kipling --- Click Here

To Build A Fire by Jack London --- Click Here

Verses On The Death by Jonathan Swift --- Click Here

Grandma's Wash Day --- http://www.snopes.com/glurge/washday.asp

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, 2007 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

It's 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: www.itsallaboutthemoney.co.uk.

"'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 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 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 [skypirate_6@hotmail.com]

Hi Bob,

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 www.shakespearehomework.com  on your website. My preference would be under "links to quotations" or "links to reviews" as they would seem most fitting.

thank you

Kenny

Note from Jensen
I added Kenny's link to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

 




Thoughts on grading by Bob Blystone, Professor of Biology at Trinity University

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 numeral. 
The grade being a lasting comment of a journey taken.

A grade, a simple letter.
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 engraving stands.
A monument to efforts made and lessons learned. 
Something that defined a time and place.
A grade is as an etching in a stone.

Permanent, hard, unyielding.

The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
William Falkner
Jensen Comment
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 happy.
William Falkner  
Jensen Comment
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 life itself.

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
http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-02-26-07.htm

The only useful answers are those that pose new questions.
Vittorio Foa --- Click Here

There has not been a new oil refinery built in the United States since 1976.
Bill O'Reilly --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
Bill places much of the blame on oil company greed as opposed to environmentalist opposition.

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 --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,271116,00.html
Jensen Comment
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 imports?

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 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010045

A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece.
Ludwig Erhard --- Click Here

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 ---  http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8P0F6RG0&show_article=1

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 http://icasualties.org/oif/hnh.aspx , 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 http://archives.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/asiapcf/south/02/05/binladen.transcript/ 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 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18492078
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 Opinion Journal.)

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 --- http://www.canadafreepress.com/2007/global-warming051407.htm

"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 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070511/ap_on_el_pr/edwards_spending
Jensen Comment
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 ---  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Entitlements.htm

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 --- http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/April2007/16/c5234.html

Are women really missing more nuts and bolts as suggested by a Dartmouth economics professor?
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 professor
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 --- http://www.buffalonews.com/145/story/74693.html

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 jihadis.
"Boos for Al-Hurra," The Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2007; Page A10 --- Click Here

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 --- http://physorg.com/news97643171.html

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, 2007 --- http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=263171464758919

•Net wealth, the amount people would have after paying off their debts, has swelled $15.2 trillion, or 38%, to $55.6 trillion. That gain in just five years is more than the total wealth amassed in the first 210 years of America's existence — an unprecedented surge.

• About 69% of Americans now own their homes, an all-time high.

• The jobless rate, now at 4.4%, remains below its 40-year average. Since August 2003, 7.8 million new jobs have been created.

• Tax receipts have surged 43%, or $757.6 billion, again thanks to economic growth.

Jensen Comment
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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm

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 ---
http://www.reuters.com/article/fundsFundsNews/idUSN0628419820070507

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 --- Click Here

Those who really believe in God will defeat Republican Mitt Romney for the White House.
Al Sharpton, CNN, May 9, 2007 --- Click Here
"'Vote for Romney is vote for Satan" --- Click Here

"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) --- Click Here

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 --- http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/04/markets/markets_0530/index.htm?section=money_topstories
Jensen Comment
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 --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crash_of_1929

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 --- http://news.bostonherald.com/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1000973

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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/14/qt

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 ---
http://www.nysun.com/article/53836?access=448474

It's when we forget ourselves that we do things which deserve to be remembered.
Author unknown

The petition claims Paris Hilton provides "beauty and excitement to our otherwise mundane lives."
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 conviction.
Zoe Mutter, PC World via The Washington Post, May 9, 2007 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
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 Hills.

 




Question
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?

Answers --- Click Here
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/395wpTAR/03MainDocumentMar2007.htm

 


"Ten Emerging Technologies in 2007 (and 2006) ," MIT's Technology Review Special Report, May 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/special/emerging/index.aspx 

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.

Nanocharging Solar
Arthur Nozik believes quantum-dot solar power could boost output in cheap photovoltaics.

Neuron Control
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.

Nanohealing
Tiny fibers will save lives by stopping bleeding and aiding recovery from brain injury, says Rutledge Ellis-Behnke.

Augmented Reality
Markus Kähäri wants to superimpose digital information on the real world.

Invisible Revolution
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 efficiently.

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.

Single-Cell Analysis
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 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/special/2006emerging/

Comparative Interactomics
By creating maps of the body’s complex molecular interactions, Trey Ideker is providing new ways to find drugs.

Nanomedicine
James Baker designs nanoparticles to guide drugs directly into cancer cells, which could lead to far safer treatments.

Epigenetics
Alexander Olek has developed tests to detect cancer early by measuring its subtle DNA changes.

Cognitive Radio
To avoid future wireless traffic jams, Heather “Haitao” Zheng is finding ways to exploit unused radio spectrum.

Nuclear Reprogramming
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 schizophrenia.

Universal Authentication
Leading the development of a privacy-protecting online ID system, Scott Cantor is hoping for a safer Internet.

Pervasive Wireless
Can't all our wireless gadgets just get along? It's a question that Dipankar Raychaudhuri is trying to answer.

Nanobiomechanics
Measuring the tiny forces acting on cells, Subra Suresh believes, could produce fresh understanding of diseases.

Stretchable Silicon
By teaching silicon new tricks, John Rogers is reinventing the way we use electronics.

Jensen Comment
Somewhat sadly is the absence of emerging computing and information systems technologies in the above lists.
 


Question
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 laptop.

"Fugue for Man & Machine," by Jacob Hale Russell and John Jurgensen, The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2007; Page P1 --- Click Here 

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," he says.

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 sample passages).

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 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117867189823696667.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

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 classical music.

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 --- http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_21/b4035001.htm

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 Corp. (
BAC ) 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 available.

"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 up."

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 anywhere."

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 cigarettes.

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 chief executive.

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 Exchange (
NYX ) 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 million.

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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

Bob Jensen's consumer fraud threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm


Questions
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, 2007 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x57616.xml

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 $111,135.

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:

01. Google
02. McKinsey & Company
03. Goldman Sachs
04. Bain & Company
05. Boston Consulting Group
06. Apple
07. Microsoft
08. General Electric
09. Nike
10. Bank of America

The 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.

Jensen Comment
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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers


"LAW OF THE LAND: Legislation requires hiring 'gays,' cross-dressers 'Perceived sexual orientation or gender identity' protected," by Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily, May 12, 2007 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55654

Following on the heels of an 'anti-discrimination' plan Christians insist would virtually outlaw their religious beliefs comes another proposal – introduced by openly homosexual U.S. Rep. Barney Frank – that requires businesses to give special privileges to "gay" and "transgendered" individuals.

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 disaster.

"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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/personal_technology.html

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 start-ups.

Also, 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.

You 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.

For 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.

Even 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.

In 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 carrier.

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.

Most 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.

The 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.

I find 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.

But 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 Card slot.

Among 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.

 


LCD = Liquid Crystal Device computer/video panel and projector displays

DLP = Digital Light Processor projection device developed by Texas Instruments. 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 color wheel.

"LCD or DLP?" by Dave Nagel, T.H.E. Journal, May 2007 --- http://www.thejournal.com/articles/20627 

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 quality standards.

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.

Seem to.

LCDs on the low end still have some advantages:

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 practices.

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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Design


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 http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3004.pdf 

 Bob Jensen's Edutainment and Learning Games  (including video games) at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment

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 --- http://www.ics.mq.edu.au/~williamt/Thesis.pdf

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 http://www.profalbrecht.com/publish/realmoney2003/copyright/
Albrecht's book is summarized at http://www.profalbrecht.com/publish/realmoney2000/

May 4, 2007 message from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

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 at albrecht@profalbrecht.com .

The project and instructions are rough enough at this time that I'm not ready to share them publicly.

David Albrecht
Bowling Green State University

Jensen Comments
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) --- Click Here

Begin Quote
************
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 expenses.
************
End Quote

1000 Ways to Win Monopoly Games by Jay Walker and Jeff Lehman
Publisher: Dell Pub. Date: 1975
Click Here

History of the Monopoly Game --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_%28game%29
Also Click Here 
Also Click Here
Also see --- http://800ceoread.com/products/?ISBN=0306814897

Also see http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/monopoly.htm

Begin Quote
************
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."
************
End Quote


Credit Where It's Due
Anti-Monopoly, a game put out briefly in the 1970's before Parker Brothers (owner of the Monopoly monopoly) sued for copyright infringement. Instead of accumulating money, players vied for "social consciousness points." In all other respects the game was exactly like Monopoly. If we tied social status to "social consciousness points," it's quite obvious that they would soon play the role of money, subject to the same abuses.

"Credit Where It's Due," by  Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay --- http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/WestTech/CreditWhereDue.HTM
By the way, this is a nice history outline!!!!

There is a version of the Parker Brothers' Monopoly that uses a Visa debit card (also scores a nice product placement in the process) --- http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/#1527795
Also see http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060725/0233223.shtml
Also see http://irregularpayments.com/2006/07/
Also Click Here

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 --- http://www.af.ecel.uwa.edu.au/__data/page/9426/00-126.pdf

Computerized versions of the board game --- http://www.muurkrant.nl/monopoly/computer_programs.htm
Also see http://www.tutor2u.net/economics/economics_blog_july2006.html
Linux versions --- http://www.linuxsoft.cz/en/sw_list.php?id_kategory=25
Also see http://www.myfamilysoftware.com/ind.html

A version of Monopoly for your cell phone --- http://cosmicvariance.com/category/entertainment/

Rich Uncle and other "Forgotten Games" --- http://www.theswitchingyard.com/forgottengames.html

St. Louis Monopoly --- http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2004/11/15/editorial1.html

“Children First: A Game of Irony”, Parker Bros. game based on the NY City school system.--- http://www.uft.org/news/teacher/feature/children_first_game/

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 scores”.
GBN News, March 10, 2007 --- http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2007/03/new-game-in-town.html

"What's Wrong with Monopoly (the game)?" by Bejamin Powell --- http://www.mises.org/story/1451

McDonalds had a promotional version of the game that clever criminals exploited.
See http://www.jointventuresecrets.com/dbechtle/
MONOPOLY FRAUD!
"FBI Arrests 8 in McDonald's Game Fraud," by KAREN GULLO
http://www.rajuabju.com/elat/monopolyhistory.htm

Begin Quote
************
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 years.
************
End Quote
 

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
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a713757618~db=all

Using the Parker Brother's Game Monopoly to Teach Journal Entries in an Introductory College Accounting Course
by Susann Cuperus (University of Mary)
http://worldcat.org/wcpa/oclc/51537960

Games Economists Play
Non-Computerized Classroom-Games in College Economics

http://www.aug.edu/~sbajmb/paper-games.pdf

Wealth Distribution and Imperfect Capital Markets: A Classroom Experiment --- http://www.indiana.edu/~econed/pdffiles/fall01/stanley.pdf

Using Monopoly to Teach Social Stratification and Inequality ---
http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p106595_index.html?type=info

An Experimental Approach to the Development of a Socio-Economic Model --- Click Here

Also see Richard Campbell's tutorial at http://faculty.rio.edu/campbell/aaa2007.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

The section on Edutainment and Learning Games (including video games) is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment


One Person's Claim Can Dramatically Increase a Firm's Employee Health Insurance
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 can continue.
"Small Businesses’ Premiums Soar After Illness," The New York Times, May 6, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/05/business/05insure.html

Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm


"PCAOB: Ernst & Young Signed Without Evidence," AccountingWeb, May 3, 2007 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=103472

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 accountants.

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 statement Wednesday.

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 financial statement.

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 http://accounting.smartpros.com/x57553.xml

Bob Jensen's threads on Ernst & Young's legal and professionalism woes are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#Ernst

Bob Jensen's threads on audit firm professionalism are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#Professionalism


Question
In what department or college is academic cheating most likely to take place on campus?

May 6, 2007 message from Donald Ramsey [dramsey@UDC.EDU]

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.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10033373 

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.
(202) 274-7054.

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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/09/qt

Cheating, typically thought of as an undergraduate concern, has surfaced recently at 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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/10/cheating

Bob Jensen's threads on MBA cheating are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/plagiarism.htm#MBAs 


College Researchers With Conflicts of Interest
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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/10/qt

Bob Jensen's threads on appearance versus reality of research independence --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#ResearchIndependence


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 --- http://physorg.com/news98005202.html

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 Chinese ODMs.

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 Markets.

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 Markets said.

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 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/18656/

"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 --- Click Here

"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 --- Click Here


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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/05/08/weinberg

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.

High 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 world.

High road 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.
  • Plans 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.

Some 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 development efforts. The International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership is a good example.

But 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 explored:

  • Would 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 outcomes?
  • How 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 and failures?
  • 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.

Higher 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.

Adam Weinberg is the executive vice president of World Learning, where he also serves as the provost for the School for International Training.

Continued in article

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


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 secretary’s mind.
Barmak Nassirian (Associate Executive Director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, Inside Higher Ed," May 14, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/05/11/nassirian

Bob Jensen's threads on the student loan scandals and "Financial and Academic Lack of Accountability" are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Accountability


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 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

It's 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: www.itsallaboutthemoney.co.uk.

"'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 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 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.

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic literature is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm


Question
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 [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

You can rest easy and use your cell phone without worry.

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? Nope. Sorry.

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 further.

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 frequency bands.

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 listening to.

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

Assistant Director,
Semester in Antwerp program


May 5, 2007 message from Petr Novotný  [petr.novotny@digidy.com]

Bob,

Can you please add our website at your computer terms pages?

Site: http://www.file-extensions.org  - File extensions encyclopedia - Useful resource for file formats information and file associations.

Thanks a lot

Petr info@file-extensions.org

I added this link to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/245gloss.htm


From The Washington Post on May 11, 2007

Which two Yahoo services did the company recently say it will close?

A. Video, Messenger
B. Auctions, Photos
C. Greetings, Music
D. Travel, Search
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.


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

 

 

 

 

 

 


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 heart disease.
"Study sees possible end of fat-free diets," PhysOrg, May 9, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news97907680.html


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 --- http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=742692007


Scientists at a British pharmaceutical firm have developed a vaccine to curb high blood pressure, an advance over pills that cause side effects
PhysOrg, May 13, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news98192852.html


Ultra-high-field MRI allows for earlier diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS)
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 --- http://physorg.com/news97503458.html


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 --- http://physorg.com/news97857741.html


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 --- http://physorg.com/news97595649.html


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 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/18704/


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 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/17603/


"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 --- http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/health/372084,camel050507.article 

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 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/world/americas/06poison.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

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 drugs.

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 --- http://physorg.com/news97923029.html


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 --- Click Here

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




Medicare Meltdown
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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117867132495096646.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

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 anything.

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 efficiently.

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 not ignored.

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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Entitlements.htm

 




*****************
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 Harold.

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

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For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/.

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

Some Accounting Blogs

Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
International Association of Accountants News --- http://www.aia.org.uk/
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
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Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

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

 

 

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