This is a picture that I took down the road about a mile from our cottage. Erika still has a lot of pain, but now she has some ups as well as downs in her life. Her lift is installed and runs beautifully. She drove the car a bit yesterday when we went to the Gottwick's house for a German dinner.

Doctors are still puzzled about how to give Erika pain relief. She's suffering from a very difficult problem called spinal stenosis, especially where her lower back connects to the hips --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinal_stenosis
I will keep you posted as we learn more.

Updates about Erika's surgeries --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Erika2007.htm

I am invited to spend a year in a new think tank called the U.S. Studies Center at Sydney University. It's a great honor, and Erika is bugging me to accept. Bless her heart if not her brain on this one. She always gets starry eyed over adventures. But I know how difficult it would be for her to travel so far and be away from her medical team. I have a lot to think about before making a decision. It's been over 30 years since I last spent two years in the CASBS think tank at Stanford University. But I'm ever so grateful for the opportunity.

 

If I had everything I wanted
and nothing to be wishing for -
no hopes, no dreams, no plans, no schemes -
what would I be living for?

'Cuz everybody needs a rainbow,
a little something to believe in,
a little something to be working for
just over the horizon.

George Burns (Speakers On) --- http://jbreck.com/gbeverybodyneedsarainbow.html
 

Tidbits on May 23, 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/  

Advice to students planning to take standardized tests such as the SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, TOEFL, etc.
See Test Magic at http://www.testmagic.com/
 There is a forum here where students interested in doctoral programs in business (e.g., accounting and finance) and economics discuss the ins and outs of doctoral programs.




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

Medications in Our Lives (Great Music and Humor, Watch Closely) --- http://www.cafeoflifepikespeak.com/Videos/Licensed To Pill.swf

In a new approach, citations from news reports, images and video will be combined in results of a single query.--- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/17/technology/17google.html?ref=business

Praise Through the Storm --- http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=1980473853

Accounting Videos on youtube (some funny, some serious, some weird) --- http://www.virtualpublishing.net/acct_vids.pdf
Roger Collins like "Street Accountants" --- http://www.taxgirl.com/street-accountants/

Bill Moyer's Journal --- http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/index-flash.html

Hillary's New Promotional Youtube Video (not humor) --- http://www.thenation.com/blogs/campaignmatters?pid=195921


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

From the Royal Academy of Music and Other Organizations
Sound Junction ---  http://www.soundjunction.org/

African-American Band Music and Recordings --- http://memory.loc.gov/cocoon/ihas/html/stocks/stocks-home.html

Andrew Bird: Defying Categorization --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10191823

A Hopeful Prayer to a Higher Power --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10175206

Taking Flamenco and Cranking It Up --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10193478

A Duck-Walking Rock Legend Gets the 'Blues' (Chuck Berry) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10195244

We're constantly being bombarded by insulting and humiliating music, which people are making for you the way they make those Wonder Bread products. Just as food can be bad for your system, music can be bad for your spirtual and emotional feelings. It might taste good or clever, but in the long run, it's not going to do anything for you.
Bob Dylan, LA Times, September 5, 1984 as quoted in a recent email message from Aaron Konstam


Photographs and Art

Leonardo’s Study for the Adoration of the Magi --- http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/leonardo/

The Middle East in Early Prints and Photographs --- http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/explore/dgexplore.cfm?col_id=179

From the Getty Museum
Qudry's Painted Menagerie --- http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/oudry/index.html

Las Vegas Architectural Guides and Collections --- http://library.nevada.edu/arch/lasvegas/index.html

A Nepalese shepherd leads a team of international researchers to a cave with extraordinary paintings. The paintings appear to be multi-dimensional and include a 25-foot wide mural that has 55 panels. The paintings may date back to the 13th or 14th century.
"Researchers Find Nepalese Cave Paintings," NPR, May 18, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10258237

 


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

International Children’s Digital Library --- http://www.icdlbooks.org/

United States Military Academy Digital Library (History Themes) --- http://digital-library.usma.edu/collections/

Napoleonic Period Collection --- http://content.lib.washington.edu/napoleonweb/index.html

16th-20th Century Maps of Africa --- http://www.library.northwestern.edu/govinfo/collections/mapsofafrica/

Bill Moyer's Journal --- http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/index-flash.html

Crundle Castle by Lewis Carroll --- Click Here

The Adventure Of The Dancing Men by Arthur Conan Doyle --- Click Here




Anything capable of being imagined will one day be made reality.
Jules Verne --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
Therefore let's try to imagine a world without war and terror.

It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.
Robert E. Lee as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-05-14-07.htm

Madness is something rare in individuals - but in groups, parties, peoples, epochs it is the rule.
Friedrich Nietzsche --- Click Here

His People are Starving
Yet longtime Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is spending almost $4 million on a grandiose project -- a monument to himself. ...
Stephen Bevan and Michael Gwaridzo, The Washington Times, May 20, 2007 --- http://washingtontimes.com/world/20070519-114935-5489r.htm

Speaking of Madness: What an Energy Waster
A group of investors plan to build a 25-story mountain in Texas with year-round, outdoor skiing and snowboarding. The Bearfire Resort is the latest venture to make a giant bet on defying nature in wildly improbable places.
Jennifer S. Forsyth, "Texans Bet Big On Summer Skiing On Snowless Slopes:  Defying 100-Degree Days, Fort Worth Bearfire Resort Plans an Alpine Village," The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2007; Page A1--- Click Here 

We believe in the ability of the poor. With the use small loans (microcredit) people all around the world are bringing themselves out of poverty. We are focused on raising awareness about this fantastic method of poverty alleviation.
The Green Children Foundation --- http://www.thegreenchildren.org/tgcf/index.php
Also see a University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) study called "Middle Eastern Women Discuss Challenges They Face at Home and Abroad,"Knowledge@wharton, May 16, 2007 ---
http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm;jsessionid=9a30130849145a3b153e?articleid=1740

A key faculty panel has recommended that Ward Churchill, the controversial University of Colorado professor found guilty of misconduct (plagiarism), be suspended but not fired, The Denver Post reported, citing Churchill’s lawyer. The university’s president and board could still move to fire Churchill without the committee’s blessing, but administrators at the university have placed a high priority on having faculty members take the lead in investigating Churchill. Churchill’s lawyer did not reveal the rationale behind the faculty panel’s recommendation.
Inside Higher Ed, May 17, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/17/qt
Bob Jensen's threads on Ward Churchill are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HypocrisyChurchill.htm

But George Bush is not the only one swimming in the shallow end of the ratings pool. The latest Gallup poll shows that while the president has an approval rating of 33 percent, the Democratic-controlled Congress clocks in at 29 percent. That's just a little bit higher than the number of Americans who said in another poll that they believe aliens have actually visited the Earth.. . . However, Congress' 29 percent is still 4 percentage points higher than the GOP-controlled Congress was rated last year at the same time.
"Bush's Ratings Low, But Congress' Even Lower," NPR, May 17, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/blogs/news/2007/05/bushs_ratings_low_but_congress_1.html

The popularity of mutual funds may be relatively new but not their origin which dates back to 18th century. Holland saw the origination of mutual funds in 1774 as investment trusts before spreading to Anglo-Saxon countries in its current form by 1868.
What Are Mutual Funds? --- http://www.fundsavvy.com/mutual_funds_articles/mutual-funds.htm

If there is a silver lining here, it is that the public has been able to get a glimpse of how the World Bank works and what it actually accomplishes. Among other lowlights, we've recently been reminded that the bank annually pushes billions in loans to countries like China and Mexico that can easily get credit in private capital markets. We've seen that many of those loans go to projects in places like India or Kenya that are riddled by corruption; the bank may have lost as much as $8 billion to corruption in 25 years of lending to the Suharto regime in Indonesia. We've also learned that the bank funds literally hundreds of projects from Albania to Niger that were ill-conceived and proved to be failures.
"World Bank Justice:  Wolfowitz's resignation offers a window into a corrupt institution," The Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010095

Australian officials plan to kill more than 3,000 kangaroos on the outskirts of Canberra by July, because the population is growing too quickly and exhausting the grass supply. Future attempts to control the population may not rely on violent measures: Scientists are developing oral contraceptives to keep down the populations of nuisance animals like kangaroos. How do you get a wild animal on the pill?
Torrie Bosch, Slate, May 15, 2007 --- http://www.slate.com/id/2166216/ 

Madness and Cruelty:  Bareback Mountain Movie About Men Literally Loving Their Horses
Zoo, a movie about zoophiles—people who eroticize animals—opened today in Los Angeles, a week after its debut in New York. The Traditional Values Coalition denounces it as an attempt "to normalize bestiality as simply another sexual orientation." The American Family Association has threatened to boycott any company that promotes it . In other words, horses are bimbos. The ranch where the men gathered for equine sex, nestled under a mountain in the Pacific Northwest, was a place to get away from failed marriages and friendships. For some, the Happy Horseman recalls, going there meant, "I don't have to really deal with relationships." .
William Saletan, Slate, May 4, 2007 --- http://www.slate.com/id/2165578/

Who would've guessed? Fox News Praises Michael Moore's New Documentary
Filmmaker Michael Moore's brilliant and uplifting new documentary, "Sicko," deals with the failings of the U.S. healthcare system, both real and perceived. But this time around, the controversial documentarian seems to be letting the subject matter do the talking, and in the process shows a new maturity. Unlike many of his previous films ("Roger and Me," "Bowling for Columbine," "Fahrenheit 9-11"), "Sicko" works because in this one there are no confrontations. Moore smartly lets very articulate average Americans tell their personal horror stories at the hands of insurance companies. The film never talks down or baits the audience.
Roger Friedman, "Sicko' Shows Michael Moore's Maturity as a Filmmaker," Fox News, May 19, 2007 --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,273875,00.html

How Thatcher became the leading politician of her era on global warming is a fascinating story recounted in the documentary, "The Great Global Warming Swindle," produced by Channel 4 in Great Britain. According to Nigel Lawson, chancellor of the exchequer and energy minister in Thatcher's cabinets, it resulted from a bizarre, temporary alliance of convenience between the right-wing Thatcher and left-wing radicals.
Lorrie Goldstein, "How Maggie Thatcher teamed up with the left to promote global warming," Toronto Sun, May 20, 2007 --- http://www.torontosun.com/News/Columnists/Goldstein_Lorrie/2007/05/20/4194834-sun.html

Michael Jacobson of “Center for Science in the Public Interest” is suing Burger King because the food they serve contains the deadly trans fats.
"Burger King Hit With Trans Fat Lawsuit:  CSPI Says Burger King is Biggest Chain Without Firm Plans to Convert to Safer Alternatives to Partially Hydrogenated Oils,  Center for Science in the Public Interest --- http://www.cspinet.org/new/200705161.html
Also see "Whopper Abuse," May 18, 2007 --- http://greatmindsthinkright.com/more.php?id=674_0_1_0_M




A Cognitive Case for Reforming the Current Teaching Evaluation Process

"Bias, the Brain, and Student Evaluations of Teaching," by Debrorah Jones Merritt, Ohio State University College of Law, SSRN, January 2007 --- http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=963196

Student evaluations of teaching are a common fixture at American law schools, but they harbor surprising biases. Extensive psychology research demonstrates that these assessments respond overwhelmingly to a professor's appearance and nonverbal behavior; ratings based on just thirty seconds of silent videotape correlate strongly with end-of-semester evaluations. The nonverbal behaviors that influence teaching evaluations are rooted in physiology, culture, and habit, allowing characteristics like race and gender to affect evaluations. The current process of gathering evaluations, moreover, allows social stereotypes to filter students' perceptions, increasing risks of bias. These distortions are inevitable products of the intuitive, “system one” cognitive processes that the present process taps. The cure for these biases requires schools to design new student evaluation systems, such as ones based on facilitated group discussion, that enable more reflective, deliberative judgments. This article, which will appear in the Winter 2007 issue of the St. John's Law Review, draws upon research in cognitive decision making, both to present the compelling case for reforming the current system of evaluating classroom performance and to illuminate the cognitive processes that underlie many facets of the legal system.

Bob Jensen's threads on teaching evaluations are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#GradeInflation


From the University of Michigan
National Clearinghouse on Academic Worklife
--- http://www.academicworklife.org/

Today, college and university faculty members face many challenges, including an increasingly diverse workforce and new models for career flexibility. The National Clearinghouse on Academic Worklife (NCAW) provides resources to help faculty, graduate students, administrators and higher education researchers understand more about all aspects of modern academic work and related career issues, including tenure track and non tenure track appointments, benefits, climate and satisfaction, work/life balance, and policy development.

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at http://www.academicworklife.org/ 



Questions

Why must all accounting doctoral programs be social science (particularly econometrics) doctoral programs?

Are PhD programs in education schools failing for similar reasons?
Why are doctorates (EED and PhD) failing?
The education doctorate, attempting to serve dual purposes—to prepare researchers and to prepare practitioners—is not serving either purpose well. To address what they have termed this "crippling" problem, Carnegie and the Council of Academic Deans in Research Education Institutions (CADREI) have launched the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED), a three-year effort to reclaim the education doctorate and to transform it into the degree of choice for the next generation of school and college leaders. The project is coordinated by David Imig, professor of practice at the University of Maryland. "Today, the Ed.D. is perceived as 'Ph.D.-lite,'" said Carnegie President Lee S. Shulman. "More important than the public relations problem, however, is the real risk that schools of education are becoming impotent in carrying out their primary missions to prepare leading practitioners as well as leading scholars."
"Institutions Enlisted to Reclaim Education Doctorate," The Carnegie Foundation for Advancement in Teaching --- http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/news/sub.asp?key=51&subkey=2266
Jensen Comment
Practitioners in education school context are generally are K-12 teachers and school administrators. In the case of accounting doctoral programs, our dual mission is to prepare college teachers of accountancy as well as leading researchers. Our accounting doctoral programs are drying up (less than 100 per year now graduating in the United States, many of whom know virtually no accounting) primarily because our doctoral programs have become five years of social science and mathematics concentrations that do not appeal to accountants who might otherwise enter the pool of doctoral program admission candidates.

Note that the above Carnegie study also claims that education doctoral programs are also failing to "prepare researchers." I think the same criticism applies to current accountancy doctoral programs in the United States. We're failing in our own dual-mission accountancy doctoral programs and need a concerted effort to become a "degree of choice" among the accounting professionals who would like to move into academe in a role other than that of a low-status and low-paid adjunct professor

Advice to students planning to take standardized tests such as the SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, TOEFL, etc.
See Test Magic at http://www.testmagic.com/
There is a forum here where students interested in doctoral programs in business (e.g., accounting and finance) and economics discuss the ins and outs of doctoral programs.

 


Of Course Local, County, and State Governments Do Not Want to Disclose How Much They Owe
Now They're Going to Pass Laws to Keep Their Astounding Debt Levels a Big Secret

First They Do
"Bill Requires Reporting Unfunded Federal Liabilities," AccountingWeb, April 12, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102016

With state and local governments scrambling to meet the Government Accounting Standards Board’s (GASB) amended rules for reporting on postretirement benefits, and private and public companies getting ready for compliance with the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) proposed statement on recording pension liabilities, a congressman from Indiana has introduced legislation that would require the federal government to meet a similar standard. The Truth in Accounting Act, sponsored by Rep. Chris Chocola (R-Ind) and co-sponsored by Reps. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn) and Mark Kirk (R – Ill), would require the federal government to accurately report the nation’s unfunded long-term liabilities, including Social Security and Medicare, a debt that amounts to $43 trillion dollars, during the next 75 years, Chocola says, according to wndu.com.

The U.S. Treasury Department is not currently required to file an annual report of these debts to Congress, wndu.com says.

“When I was in business, the federal government required our company to account for long-term liabilities using generally accepted accounting principles,” Chocola told the South Bend Tribune. “This bill would require the federal government to follow the same laws they require every public business in America to follow. If any company accounted for its business the way the government accounts, the business would be bankrupt and the executives would be thrown into jail.”

The legislation doesn’t propose solutions for the burgeoning liabilities, but it takes a crucial first step, according to Chocola, “by requiring the Treasury Department to begin reporting and tracking those liabilities according to net present value calculations and accrual accounting principles,” the Tribune reports.

“In order to solve our problems and prevent an impending fiscal crisis,” Chocola said, “we have to first identify where and how large the problem is.”

Chocola clearly sees a looming fiscal crisis. “Congress is the Levee Commission and the flood is coming,” he told the Tribune. “This [bill] is intended to sound the warning bell.”

To support his position, according to the Tribune, Chocola referred to an article written by David Walker, a Clinton appointee who serves as Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Walker wrote that the government was on an “unsustainable path”.

Speaking to a British audience last month, Walker said that the U.S. is headed for a financial crisis unless it changes its course of racking up huge deficits, Reuters reported. Walker said some combination of reforming Social Security and Medicare spending, discretionary spending and possibly changes in tax policy would be required to get the deficits under control.

“I think it’s going to take 20-plus years before we are ultimately on a prudent and sustainable path,” Walker said, according to Reuters, partly because so many American consumers follow the government’s example. “Too many Americans are spending more than they take in and are running up debt at record rates.”

Now They Don't
"Auditing Rule Is Put at Risk by Texas Bill," by Mary Williams Walsh, The New York Times, May 18, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/18/business/18pension.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Texas lawmakers are on the verge of rejecting a requirement that state and local governments disclose the cost of the health care they have promised to retired employees.

Passing a bill would be an unprecedented rebuff to the independent board that writes accounting rules for the nation’s states and cities, and officials of the board are watching to see if Texas inspires copycat rebellions elsewhere.

The accounting rule that has run into a buzz saw of criticism in the state capital, Austin, is intended to encourage politicians to deal ahead of time with the huge obligations they have imposed on future taxpayers.

Until now, most governments have been using pay-as-you-go accounting, which does not show the benefits’ total cost. This method shows only how much a government spends each year to buy health care for its retirees — not the value of the benefits coming due in the future.

With large numbers of baby boomers expected to retire soon and start receiving benefits, those costs are likely to rise markedly, perhaps crowding out other public services.

“Politicians don’t want to deal with the problem,” said Michael H. Granof, an accounting professor at the University of Texas. He said state lawmakers were betting that by the time rising health care costs became unmanageable, they would no longer be in office and could not be held accountable.

Officials in Texas argue that having to disclose the state’s total obligation — roughly estimated around $50 billion — could bring pressure to cut benefits. They also contend that the figures are misleading and impossible to compute accurately, assertions a spokesman for the accounting board called “an attempt to hide the truth from the public.”

Some places, like New York City, have already disclosed their retiree health obligations and have started setting aside money to pay for them.

Other state and local governments appear to be delaying disclosure, waiting to see if the federal government will save the day. The cost of retiree health care is turning out to be so great in some places that officials say they think that Washington will have no choice but to step in and remake the nation’s health care system, taking states and local governments off the hook.

The spokesman for the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, Gerard Carney, said it was the first time in the board’s 23-year history that any legislature had tried to derail one of its standards.

“This is a disturbing reminder of what can happen when politicians interfere with an independent system that was designed to protect financial reporting from politics and other self-interests,” Mr. Carney said.

The bill to ignore the accounting standard, which has already passed the Texas House 142 to 0 and is awaiting a vote in the state Senate, flies in the face of prevailing trends in private industry, where the failures of Enron and other companies prompted efforts to bolster accounting and crack down on companies that skirt the rules.

If other governments follow the lead of Texas, it will be nearly impossible for taxpayers, bondholders or anyone else to know how much those governments will be spending on retiree health care in the coming years. Auditors and ratings agencies will then have to decide whether to sign off on their financial statements, or penalize the governments for failing to disclose significant obligations.

In its initial form, the bill prohibited government bodies in Texas from adopting the new accounting rule. But it has been softened somewhat, so that it would now permit authorities to adopt the new standard, but not require them to. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill on Monday. It would next go to Gov. Rick Perry, who is expected to sign it

Continued in Article

May 18, 2007 reply from Elliot Kamlet [ekamlet@STNY.RR.COM]

A former TA of mine is running for Congress in Las Vegas. He is a partner in a well regarded small CPA firm. A big issue for him is the real amount of the national debt. You can read some authoritative information on the real amount of the debt at

http://www.andrewmartinforcongress.com/fy06gaoauditorreport.pdf 

BTW he is a hell of a nice guy.

Elliot Kamlet
Binghamton University

Bob Jensen's threads on Pensions and Post-retirement Benefits: Schemes for Hiding Debt are
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#Pensions


Why should liberal arts education be encouraged more in undergraduate business schools?
Carnegie will begin a major three-year project in July, examining how to integrate the benefits of a liberal arts education into undergraduate business programs. The project will focus on developing models that schools can use to enrich their students' educations and transform their business programs. It builds on considerable prior Carnegie Foundation work, including studies of professional preparation in higher education, of ethical and social responsibility as educational goals, and of integrative learning in undergraduate education.
"How Can Liberal Education Give Business Majors A Boost? Study to Examine Integration of Professional Goals with Liberal Arts Education," The Carnegie Foundation for Advancement in Teaching --- http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/news/sub.asp?key=51&subkey=2317


Question
What is the new "Popfly" product from Microsoft?

Microsoft has announced the alpha version of Popfly, its new application creation, mashup enabling tool and social networking software for nonprogrammers. Popfly consists of two parts: Popfly Creator, which is a set of online visual tools for building Web pages and mashups; and Popfly Space, which is an online community of creators where you can host, share, rate, comment and even remix creations from other Popfly users. "There's an obvious desire or need for people to want to create online applications, but it's too difficult today. So our goal is to democratize development," said Dan Fernandez, Microsoft's lead project manager for Visual Studio Express, of the Popfly project.
PhysOrg, May 19, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news98807333.html


Why should athletes get preferential admissions?
"Why should the ability to hurl a football a little bit farther than the next guy play any role in allocating educational opportunities, let alone a decisive one?" asks Barbara H. Fried, William W. and Gertrude H. Saunders Professor of Law at Stanford University, in this month's Change. In her article, Fried argues that the current emphasis on preferential admissions of athletes—just as much a tradition at elite institutions as at big-time sports powerhouses—makes about as much sense as setting aside slots for really good cooks.
Barbara H. Fried, Change Magazine, May/June 2007 ---
http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/change/sub.asp?key=98&subkey=2352
Jensen Commentary
I've been a long-time critic of moral hazard when it comes to curricula and grading of college athletes. However, the topic of admissions is, in my opinion, more complex. In some ways it's analogous to tax cuts for the wealthy and/or corporations. We can raise taxes to the hilt only to discover that more low income people are harmed than wealthy people by economic downturns. We can raise the academic hurdles to levels that bar admission to prized athletes only to discover that virtually all students are harmed in some way by dried up funding from private sources. I remember when the President of Notre Dame insisted that alumni build a new library before donating millions to Notre Dame athletics. The problem lies in striking a balance such that admitted athletes must perform acceptably in academics even though they may take longer due to the training and travel rigors unique to athletes.

I'm reminded of my naive comment to the President of Trinity University years ago that we could save a great deal of money by dropping the football team that operates at a huge deficit every year. He reminded me that in so doing we would've never landed some our best scholars on campus. I met the parents (both business professors from Missouri) of one of our top chemistry graduates who later went on the Cal Tech for a PhD. They claimed that their daughter came to Trinity because of a conversation with our soccer coach.

Bob Jensen's threads on academic standards and athletics are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Athletics


Question
How taxing is New Hampshire?

May 19, 2007 message from a Trinity University professor

I need some clarification. I always thought that New Hampshire did not have income tax. This was denied by a friend who had been there recently. What is the truth about this matter?

May 19, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

No income taxes (with one exception noted below), sales taxes (except in hotels and restaurants), or seat belt requirements for adults (grrr). It's great to buy a new $10,000 LP backup generator and a $20,000 lift for Erika without having to pay a cent in sales tax. Apple Corporation has a huge outlet just across the border so Mass. customers can avoid sales taxes on new computers. Whenever I go to Wal-Mart up here in the north, there are more green (Vermont) plates in the parking lot than NH plates.

It's no accident that Wal-Mart is locating a new super store in Woodsville just across the river from Vermont. Tour buses from Canada aim for our Wal-Mart stores. Whenever a new Wal-Mart store is built, new hotels are bound to follow. I could write sad and/or humorous poems about this horrible phenomenon in our society. But being a hypocrite I will probably make the half hour drive to Woodsville at least once each week and fill up the back of my Jeep SUV.

Of course there's no sales tax on mail orders such as orders from Amazon.com where I now buy almost everything, including groceries. There's also no sales tax on mail orders sent by my wife to JC Penney (and QVC) even though JC Penney has stores in NH. Of course there's no tax inside the stores as well.

There's a huge problem with tax cheats who try to claim New Hampshire residency just to avoid sales taxes on new vehicles. The New Hampshire DOT has a new initiative to cut back on this type of cheating.

Many professors from the Boston area live just across the southern border in New Hampshire just to avoid state income taxes on their royalty and consulting fees. This is especially the case for MIT and Harvard professors. It's only about a half hour or less to get into Boston from some parts of NH. It's also cheaper and more convenient to fly out of Manchester than Logan Airport. People who live in places like Cambridge and Amherst prefer the Manchester airport.

But there's an income tax of sorts on portfolio income of wealthy people (it's called an intangibles tax) which might make Delaware or Alaska a bit more attractive than NH for wealthy people who mainly want to avoid state taxes. The intangibles tax can also be avoided up here by investing in bonds of NH municipalities and school districts.

NH also has some rather high hidden fees. It just cost me over $200 this year to get new tags for two relatively old (1989 and 1999)cars manufactured before the turn of the century. Home and auto insurance rates are significantly less up here relative to what I had to pay in San Antonio.

Property taxes in NH are not cheap, but I find them less per $1,000 of valuation than I was paying in San Antonio. They revalue property up here every ten years rather than every other day like they do in San Antonio's Bexar County Appraisal District.

Interestingly, NH ranks near the bottom in taxation by states whereas neighboring Vermont and Maine alternate year to year for highest ranking with enormous income taxes, sales taxes, and real estate taxes combined. Some people argue that schools are not as good in NH, but all the small rural schools up here are, in my viewpoint, much better than most large urban schools.

Interestingly, California is not deemed a high tax state among the 50 states. This is largely due to the infamous Proposition 13. It's a wonder Proposition 13 did not catch on in other states. Of course that would not help people (like me) who move to another state to retire. In fact, Proposition 13 clobbers people who've recently purchased homes in California.

Bob Jensen

PS
I compare states and discuss state taxation in greater detail at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2007/tidbits070416.htm


"Beyond the Standard-Issue:  Keyboard Replacement Options Improve User Comfort; Built-In Shortcuts," by Katherin Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2007; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/the_mossberg_solution.html

Many computer users assume that the keyboard and mouse they receive with a new computer or built into a laptop are optimal for typing and quick access to digital media. But plenty of alternative keyboards and mice provide ergonomic comfort and/or shortcuts built into special keys or buttons. Though these options cost extra, chances are good that they're worth the money.

This week, I tested three such replacement options: two keyboard sets that operate wirelessly using Bluetooth -- the replacement for wires running short distances -- and a stand-alone wired ergonomic keyboard made for touch typists who value comfort during long hours in front of a computer screen.

The two wireless sets I used are Microsoft Corp.'s Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000, which came out just a few months ago, and Logitech Inc.'s comparable but older Cordless Desktop MX 5000 Laser, which has been available for about a year and a half. Each costs $150. These keyboards have built-in shortcuts that make them handy to use on or off the desk when browsing through digital media like photos, videos and music.

I also tried Microsoft's wired $65 Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. It incorporates some shortcut buttons of its own, but stands out more because of its appearance: its keys are split into two groupings for right and left hands and each side slants upward in the center around an arch, forcing your hands to rest more naturally as if positioned to shake. The keyboard comes with a detachable wrist rest that raises your wrists a third of an inch above the rest of the keyboard.

Each product brought something slightly different to the table: The ergo offers comfort and functionality; the wireless Logitech has a multifunctional mouse and a keyboard with a built-in LCD; the wireless Microsoft shows off a sleek look and 17 touch-sensitive buttons. As a touch typist, I preferred Microsoft's Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 for its hand-relaxing setup and 13 shortcut buttons. I'm using it now to type this column, and my fingers have less distance to go before reaching a key than on a regular keyboard.

The basic functions of these keyboards/keyboard sets work out of the box on Mac and Windows operating systems, but their extra features work only after installing included or downloaded software, and neither the wireless Microsoft set nor the Logitech set will work on a Mac, period. Both companies claim that these products will work with Windows Vista, Microsoft's newest operating system, but the ergonomic keyboard's extra bells and whistles didn't work properly on my Vista laptop.

I easily got the wireless Logitech and Microsoft keyboard sets communicating with their corresponding Bluetooth receivers on PCs and laptops. I pressed a Connect button on the base of each set's mouse and keyboard before pressing the same button on the USB Bluetooth receiver and a few seconds later, I was in business.

The Microsoft and Logitech wireless desktops use USB plug-in Bluetooth receivers to connect the computer with the mouse and keyboard. Both mice operated on rechargeable batteries and must be docked occasionally for recharging, which is annoying -- especially if you're forgetful. But each will fully recharge in two hours, giving two and three weeks for the Logitech and Microsoft mice, respectively. Both mice get enough juice for a full day of usage after charging for 10 minutes.

Both keyboards use regular keys and a series of touch-sensitive buttons that work when you hover your finger over the intended button and touch it very slightly. Logitech's touch-sensitive media buttons are relegated to the far left of its keyboard, including zoom and volume buttons that adjust with a finger flick up or down. Microsoft's touch-sensitive keys line the entire top edge of its keypad.

Logitech's wireless keyboard is about two inches wider than Microsoft's, and for good reason: the Microsoft keyboard lacks a numeric keypad on its far right side, a feature that I missed. In place of the keypad are a set of directional buttons that mimic the basic functionality of a mouse. These let you push back from your desktop to browse digital photos while leaving your mouse on the desk yet still taking advantage of some of its functions.

The Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 5000 Laser keyboard uses a built-in LCD at the center top of its keyboard. This screen reflected the keyboard's synching with my computer: it displayed my name, the date and the time. When I played music, the artist and song title scrolled across the screen. This could come in handy if you planned to constantly use the keyboard away from the PC. But in most cases, the content on the LCD wasn't that helpful, and seemed repetitive of what was on the computer screen.

The Logitech mouse is sculpted to fit a hand and it offered more buttons for scrolling and navigation than the Microsoft set's mouse. To recharge, this mouse fits upright in a stand. Microsoft's wireless mouse recharges by lying flat on a recharging strip.

I used Microsoft's Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 with my desktop computers at work and in place of a small laptop's squished keyboard. Its arched center and split keys took a little getting used to, but I was soon hooked. A special feature in the center of the keyboard called the Zoom Slider lets you zooms in or out to adjust the view of a screen. This worked for me in Microsoft Word documents, but not in Outlook Express or within Firefox's browser.

Five large, numbered buttons at the center top of this ergo keyboard are called My Favorites, and I programmed them with ease by pressing one and entering the desired destination, including folders, browsers, or specific Web sites.

But typing on this keyboard really won me over. Its split setup won't work for everyone, but for touch typists, it's truly more comfortable. I typed away with ease using my right and left fingers, and keys felt closer together due to their inward-tilting shape. I noticed that I made fewer mistakes typing on this keyboard than on a regular keyboard.

Continued in article


Question
Is the market for credit default swaps rife with insider trading?

That depends on what you mean by insider trading.
See "Credit Default Swaps: The Land of Efficient Insider Trading?" DealBroker --- http://www.dealbreaker.com/2007/04/credit_default_swaps_the_land.php

Use the term in a loose sense—say defining “insider trading” as trades where one party has material nonpublic information unavailable to their trading counterparts—and the answer is clearly yes. There is a lot of that sort of insider trading in the credit default market, and there is likely to be even more as the market grows and more players gather around the table.

But since federal securities regulations against insider trading apply only to insider trading in securities, the question of whether this counts as "insider trading" in a strictly legal sense is murkier. Credit default swaps do not fit the traditional definition of securities. Prior to the enactment of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, there was a lot of debate over the legal answer to the question of whether they should be categorized with the most common types of securities-stocks and bonds. The CFMA split the difference by declaring that swaps were not securities but that insider trading and other federal anti-fraud measures still applied to swaps where the underlying credit was a security, such as those based on publicly traded bonds.

But this has been controversial from the start. Few of those trading in the credit default swap market were calling out for protection from insider trading. Many hedge funds and other debt-holders active in the credit default market lack the kind of internal controls and so-called “Chinese Walls” that investment banks and brokerages have had to build to prevent insider trading in securities. And most of the other market participants are aware that this is the situation. In short, there is plenty of asymmetrical information in the credit default swap market but that fact is widely--even symmetrically--known. Moreover, the legal status of more complex financial products not directly tied to individual securities remains murky.

Regardless, it seems the regulators are exactly crying out to enforce insider-trading laws against the traders in the credit default market either. Right now no US regulatory agency claims oversight jurisdiction for credit-default swaps. Not the SEC. Not the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Not the Treasury Department. Not the Federal Reserve.

Since no one enforces insider trading laws in the credit default swap market, and apparently no one has the jurisdiction to enforce insider trading laws, it seems the laws only apply to the market in some metaphysical, theoretical sense. There's something of a tree falling in an empty forest thing going on with the application of insider trading laws to credit default swaps. If a statute applies insider trading regs to credit default swaps but no one enforces it, does the tree make any sound?

Over on his new blog at Portfolio, Felix Salmon points us toward the remarks of Erik Sirri, the director of the SEC's division of market regulation.

Salmon writes:

Sirri came out and said what everybody in the markets knows but nobody wants to admit: "In a world of important pricing efficiency, you want insiders trading because the price will be more efficient. That is as it should be."

Sirri then went on to explain that insider-trading laws should still exist, for the purpose of investor protection. But he added that he thought it "very important" that credit default swaps be traded – something which won't happen if the tradable contracts fall under insider-trading regulations while the present bilateral contracts don't.

Sirri’s rationale here seems relatively simple. Insider trading laws have efficiency costs but the government has made the decision that in the case of markets for securities those costs are outweighed by the gains in investor protection and investor confidence. Part of the reason for deciding things in this way is because the government, corporate America and the large brokerages want ordinary investors to feel confident they are playing on something of a level playing field with those with potentially better access to information. But in trades involving more sophisticated players trading more sophisticated financial products, it’s far from clear that this rationale applies. Do we really need to protect hedge funds from other hedge funds and investment banks in credit default swap trading? The enforcement and compliance costs with insider trading rules may outweigh the benefits.

Nonetheless, it is entertaining watching the easily scandalized become so easily scandalized when a regulator mentions the benefits of insider trading. One question: why are so many of the easily scandalized also British?

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Credit Derivatives are under the C-Terms at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm#C-Terms

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


A New Website for Visitors to San Antonio

May 19, 2007 message from Matt [matt@informationsanantonio.com]

Mr. Jensen-

I have a website about San Antonio that I work on daily. My website, http://www.informationsanantonio.com/  might be a useful addition to your webpage http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/sanantonio.htm  and its visitors. It would undoubtedly be a useful addition for me as I work on building my inbound traffic while adding new content.

Thanks,

Matt Terry

May 20, 2007 message from Matt

Dr. Jensen,

Thank you for adding my link to your page-I saw it today. I also spent a good bit of time on your website in several different areas. I didn’t have enough time to go through all of it of course but will be reading more as time goes on. Your thoughts about ethics (or lack of) in the business world today I found to be very interesting and dead on. I am a small businessman in a family propane business here in San Antonio. My wife is a banker at Frost Bank and we just had our first child. We both work very hard to earn our money and support our family. We believe it is our job to raise our daughter to be a responsible and productive citizen and we hope that her future educators will be as concerned with honor, integrity, and the difference between right and wrong as you are. Thank you again for adding my link but even more so, thank you for being the kind of professor this country needs more of.

Matt Terry


"Helio's New Ocean Has a Clever Design For Phone and Email," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2007; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/personal_technology.html

One dilemma for designers of smart phones is how to optimize them both for making voice calls, a task best done by a smaller device with just a phone keypad, and for email and Web surfing, a task best done by a larger device with a full keyboard.

Some devices, like Treos and full-size BlackBerrys, opt for the larger size and the keyboard, while others assume you'll peck out email or Web addresses on a phone keypad.

I've been testing a new $295 smart phone from Helio, an upstart company based in Los Angeles, that provides an elegant solution to this design problem. It's called the Helio Ocean and it can look like either a standard voice phone or a keyboard-equipped email and Web device, depending on which way you open its unusual two-way sliding mechanism.

The Ocean also has some very nice software touches to complement this clever hardware design.

It isn't as slender as some of its competitors and it has a few downsides, but the Ocean is an innovative, thoughtfully designed smart phone that advances the state of the art. It goes on sale over the next week or so at helio.com and in some retail stores later this month.

Helio not only designed the Ocean, but the phone works on Helio's own cellphone service, which runs on Sprint's network at broadband speeds. It lacks Wi-Fi wireless networking.

Plans with unlimited data access range from $65 to $135 a month, depending on the number of voice minutes. For $145 a month, you can get unlimited data and minutes.

When closed, the Ocean is just a roomy screen with some buttons at the top and bottom of a black rectangular body with rounded corners. If you hold it vertically with the screen in portrait mode and slide the screen up, a standard phone keypad is revealed that you can hold to your ear when making calls, just as on a standard voice phone.

Continued in article


From the Mathematical Association of America: Innovative Teaching Exchange
The purpose of the Exchange is to allow people teaching mathematics at the college level to share new methods they have tried, invented, or discovered, which they feel help the students learn better and/or more easily. The intention is to encourage more experimentation with more methods than the traditional lecture/questions method. While the editor of the Exchange tries to see to it that articles are well-written and contain at least enough detail that readers can decide whether they're interested in trying the method, she doesn't necessarily endorse all suggested activities, nor does the MAA - that is, caveat emptor. All articles in the Exchange will include contact information for their authors. Since the articles are short, you might wish to contact the writer for further details or advice before trying the ideas in your class.
http://www.maa.org/t_and_l/exchange/exchange.html

From the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
We All Use Math Everyday ---
http://www.weallusematheveryday.com/tools/waumed/home.htm 

Bob Jensen's threads on free online mathematics tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics


Question
Why have investment banks been so profitable?

From Jim Mahar's Blog on May 18, 2007 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

Why have investment banks been so profitable? From the Economist

 
 
The Economist gives us another great article! This one is on investment banking. Not only does it provide a short history (going back pre-JP Morgan), but also brings us up to date with a look at the current (very profitable) state of investment banking.

The alchemists of finance | Economist.com:
A relatively long look-in:
 
"Brokerage used to be described as a haulage business, lugging money, as a member of the Rothschild dynasty once put it, “from point A, where it is, to point B, where it is needed”.... But any haulage firm would be flabbergasted by the trading profits and returns on equity seen in investment banking in recent years....earnings from capital-market-related activities at the top ten global investment banks have risen by almost two-thirds in two years....That sort of profit increase is comparable with Apple's rewards for inventing the iPod.... Yet in investment banking there is nothing nearly so tangible to which to ascribe the gains.

Bankers themselves are fuzzy about explaining their trading profits....But it is clear that three powerful forces are at work, all of them overlapping and mutually reinforcing....

The first is the alchemist's trick of turning debt (mostly leaden) into derivatives (mostly liquid); the second is the emergence of a new class of leveraged client (hedge funds and private equity); and the third is seeking out new capital markets, and clients, around the world. Moreover, in all these pursuits the firms are now using not just their clients' money but, to differing degrees, their own too."
Which predictably lead to a discussion of whether this leads to increased risks (probably), whether investment banks have taken enough precautions (maybe), and a warning that these profits have arisen in "an unusually benign economic climate" that will eventually come to an end.

Good stuff!
Check it out!

Bob Jensen's tutorials on derivatives are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/caseans/000index.htm


Question
What did we learn from the stock market crash of 1987?

From Jim Mahar's Blog on May 14, 2007 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

A look back to the 1987 Stock Market Crash

 
Almost 20 years ago the stock market lost over 20% in the course of a single day and about 30% over a two week period. Now the Fed's Mark Carlson looks back at the crash in a fascinating history piece.

A Brief History of the 1987 Stock Market Crash

A quick look in:
"The market crash of 1987 is a significant event not just because of the swiftness and severity of the market decline, but also because it showed the weaknesses of the trading systems themselves and how they could be strained and come close to breaking in extreme conditions. The problems in the trading systems interacted with the price declines to make the crisis worse. One notable problem was the difficulty gathering information in the rapidly changing and chaotic environment. The systems in place simply were not capable of processing so many transactions at once."
Not surprisingly given it is a Fed governor pays particular attention to the Fed's response which was (correctly) to add liquidity to the market.

A definite must read!

Thanks to
Research-Finance.com for the link!

"Middle Eastern Women Discuss Challenges They Face at Home and Abroad,"Knowledge@wharton, May 16, 2007 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm;jsessionid=9a30130849145a3b153e?articleid=1740

This spring, Wharton and the University of Pennsylvania law school hosted 37 professional women from the Middle East for a four-week legal and business fellowship program. Depending on their professional experience, the women attended classes at Wharton executive education or the law school, and then began five-month internships with large companies and top-tier law firms across the U.S.

The program, in partnership with America-Mideast Educational and Training Services (AMIDEAST) and the U.S. State Department, teaches management, business and legal skills, and encourages women to share information and network with each other as well as faculty.

Continued in article


More Articles from Wharton's Knowledge Network
 

 


From Purdue University: Teaching Engineering
In 1983 we developed and taught for the first time a graduate course, Educational Methods for Engineers, geared toward Ph.D. candidates who were interested in an academic career. Our sources came from a variety of disciplines, journals, and books because we immediately noticed that no textbook was available which focused solely on engineering. Classic texts such as Highet’s and McKeachie’s became starting points and we scoured the literature for what was available in engineering. With a grant from the National Science Foundation in 1990 we expanded the course to include all of engineering, conducted a summer workshop, and began this book much earlier than we otherwise could have. Although the writing of this book was supported by NSF, all of the views in this book are the authors’ and do not represent the views of either the National Science Foundation or Purdue University.
https://engineering.purdue.edu/ChE/News_and_Events/Publications/teaching_engineering/index.html

Materials Engineering --- http://www.gatewaycoalition.org/sub_category/sub_category.aspx?subcatid=1022&mcatid=105

Science and Engineering Encyclopedia http://www.diracdelta.co.uk/science/source/h/o/home/source.html

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


The Center for International Earth Science Information Network --- http://www.ciesin.columbia.edu/ 

40 + Years of Earth Science: The Landsat Program --- http://www.earth.nasa.gov/history/landsat/landsat.html

University of Wisconsin Energy Institute [Audio and Video) ---  http://www.energy.wisc.edu/

Bob Jensen's links to free online science tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science


Online Historical Population Reports --- http://www.histpop.org/ohpr/servlet/

Bob Jensen's links to social science helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social

Bob Jensen's history links are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#History


Question
Where can I be compensated for my scholarly videos?

May 17, 2007 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

There are a number of video sharing sites out there - Google and youtube are the most well known. However a number of video sites out there are interested in monetizing that content for the benefit of the author as well as the web sites. www.veoh.com  is one site in which revenue sharing is possible as well as the ability to add advertiising to either the beginning or the end of the movie, with the money going back to the author. I just uploaded a video on Quickbooks 2007, and am considering adding additional videos. Check the link below.

http://www.veoh.com/videos/v5029468QznF5Ag 

Richard J. Campbell mailto:campbell@rio.edu

 


Drexel Caves in on Student Loan Charges
Under the terms of the accord, Drexel agreed to redistribute to student borrowers about $250,000 that it had received from Education Finance Partners as part of revenue sharing agreements in which the lender paid the university a portion of the private loans its students took out. Drexel also agreed to abide by the code of conduct that Cuomo’s office has promulgated, and that two dozen colleges and a half-dozen lenders have endorsed.
Doug Lederman, "Drexel to Cuomo: Um, Never Mind “Fight on, Drexel!” “Stand Strong Drexel!” Inside Higher Ed, May 16, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/16/drexel

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


"Beyond Research Rankings," by Luis M. Proenza, Inside Higher Ed, May 17, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/05/17/proenza

Research competitiveness and productivity are complex subjects that should inform the development and oversight of R&D programs at the national, state and institutional levels. From a national policy perspective, studies of our national innovation ecosystem – of the factors that promote discovery and innovation – are important to America’s economic vitality.
 

Ironically, rather than advance our knowledge and discussion of these important topics, many university presidents seem more inclined to debate the shortcomings of available measures such as the rankings of U.S. News & World Report, sometimes even threatening to boycott the surveys. What is more, these same presidents defend the absence of adequate measurements of institutional performance by saying that the strength of American higher education lies in the diversity of its institutions. So why not develop a framework that characterizes institutional variety and demonstrates productivity understandably, effectively and broadly throughout the spectrum of our institutions?

Of course, it is not easy to characterize the wide range of America’s more than 3,500 colleges and universities. Even among the more limited number of research universities, institutional diversity is so broad that every approach to rank or even classify institutions has been rightly criticized. Most research rankings use only input measures, such as amount of federal funding or total expenditures for research, when funding agencies would be served better by information about outcomes — the research performance of universities.

The Center for Measuring University Performance, founded by John Lombardi, has compiled some of the most comprehensive data on research universities. Its annual studies examine the multi-dimensional aspects of research universities and rank them in groups defined by relative performance on various measurable characteristics — research funding, private giving, faculty awards, doctorate degrees, postdoctoral fellows and measures of undergraduate student quality.

The 2005 report of the Center and a recent column on this site by Lombardi note the upward or downward skewing of expenditure rankings by the mere presence or absence of either a medical or an engineering school, thereby acknowledging the problems of comparability among institutions. Lombardi hints at a much-needed analysis of research competitiveness/strengths and productivity, stating, “Real accountability comes when we develop specific measures to assess the performance of comparable institutions on the same measures.”

Indeed, a particularly thorny question always has been how to create meaningful comparisons between large and smaller research universities, or even between specific research programs within universities. This struggle seems to arise in part from the fundamental question that underlies the National Science Foundation rankings — namely, should winning or expending more research dollars be the only criterion for a higher ranking? I think not. Quite simply, in the absence of output measures, the more-is-better logic is flawed. If research productivity is equal, why should a university that spends more money for research be ranked higher than one that spends less? The sizes of research budgets alone do not create equally productive outcomes. Other contributing factors need to be considered. For example, some universities have much larger licensing revenues than those with comparable research budgets, and all surveys that measure licensing revenues compared to research income show no correlation, especially when scaled.

Because there are no established frameworks to get at the various factors that are likely involved, I think a good beginning would be to characterize research competitiveness and productivity separately.

Research competitiveness:

Because available R&D dollars vary widely by agency and field of research, and because universities do not have uniform research strengths, I suggest that portfolio analyses of research funding need to be performed. A given university’s research portfolio can be described, quantified and weighed against the percentage of funding available from each federal agency and, when possible, by the sub-areas of research supported by each agency. For example, the upward skewing of rankings is partially explained by the fact that 70 percent of all federal funding is directed at biomedical research. Likewise, the U.S. Department of Agriculture funds only 3 percent of federal research, but provides virtually all of such funds to land grant universities.

Analyses should focus on federal obligations for R&D, rather than total expenditures, because federal obligations are by-and-large competitively awarded and thus come closest to demonstrating competitiveness. Available data, however, present various challenges. For example, some federal funding that supports activities other than research will need to be excluded from analyses (e.g., large contracts that give universities management of support programs). Also, data are available only at the macro level of disciplines, such as engineering versus life sciences, which means that detailed distinctions between research areas will be difficult to achieve.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on college ranking controversies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#BusinessSchoolRankings
 


What's happening to eCollege for $477 million?
In a move that could have many reverberations in higher education, the publishing giant Pearson announced a deal Monday in which it will purchase eCollege, which offers course management and other services for distance education. Many analysts predict that the move will create a major competitor to Blackboard in course management and some say the sale could presage more consolidation among producers of software and content for higher education.
Scott Jaschik, "Shaking Up the Market,"
Inside Higher Ed, May 15, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/15/ecollege

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of course management systems are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm


Darn: Club Fed for White Collar Criminals Just Ain't as Much the Fun it Used to Be
I have a hard time shedding tears over this one!
(Link forwarded by Denny Beresford.)
"Enter a ‘Hellish Place’ by Luke Mullins, American.com,  May/June 2007 --- Click Here

Tougher rules and longer sentences mean that prison for white-collar inmates is no longer Club Fed. Prisoner No. 20532-050 tells his eyewitness story to Luke Mullins.

Bob Jensen's threads on why white collar crime pays even if you get caught are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#CrimePays


Frommer budget travel guide (Europe) --- http://www.frommers.com/destinations/europe/
Also see http://www.mercurynews.com/lifeandstyleheadlines/ci_5831791

Bob Jensen's travel links are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Travel


From the Scout Report on May 11, 2007

Lepidopterology 3.1 --- http://www.netempire.biz/products/widgets.htm 

It’s pretty safe to say that if Nabokov were alive today, he might be a fan of this latest tiny widget. The widget is called the Lepidopterology.com Widget, and for those with a love of butterflies, it will be considered an essential item. When properly installed, the widget will allow users to learn about the latest content from the site. This particular device is compatible with all computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer.  


myWIFIzone Internet Access Blocker 4 --- http://www.mywifizone.com/ 

It’s important to remain vigilant about potential wifi freeloaders, as some persons will do anything to access an open network. This application will help users do just that, as it will prevent unscrupulous persons from accessing your Internet connection. This particular version will function properly with computers running Windows 2000 and XP.

 


Question
Since the Virginia Tech massacre are college instructors more at risk?

"A Very Scary Story," by Elizabeth Reddin, Inside Higher Ed, May 17, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/17/writing

In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings and revelations about the killer’s violent writings, creative writing faculty everywhere faced a stark reminder of the occupational hazards they face in distinguishing fiction from potentially scary fact, in cultivating an atmosphere fostering free expression and creativity while maintaining standards not only of art, but also of safety. The challenges inherent in that process have proven to be anything but abstract at San Jose State University, where a lecturer opted to stop teaching his creative writing class in April after receiving a disturbing student assignment.
Mitch Berman, director of San Jose State’s Center for Literary Arts, spoke with the provost April 23 about a story turned in prior to the April 16 Virginia Tech shootings, Pat Harris, a university spokeswoman, said Wednesday. The university police department ultimately determined the student did not pose a threat, but several of the remaining class meetings for the undergraduate fiction course were canceled, with two substitute instructors from the English department teaching the balance of classes this semester.

The story — described by the student newspaper as “a 17-page fictional narrative about an English student who convinces a vampire lover to kill the student’s ‘unethical, wicked’ professor — features, of course a fictionalized professor whose quotes are so similar to Berman’s that, as he said, “the students and I recognized my portrayal in them.”

“The student’s story created a great deal of anxiety, and several other students wrote me during the aftermath of the shooting at Virginia Tech (the story was written before the shooting) to question their own safety in the classroom. I view my primary responsibility as that of maintaining a safe environment that is conducive to learning. It was clear that the student’s story had created an atmosphere of conflict in the classroom which would make learning very difficult,” Berman said via e-mail. To alleviate the “atmosphere of conflict,” Berman proposed either teaching the course online or hiring a substitute (the students, he said, ultimately favored the latter option).

“I’ve been teaching full-time for 10 years. I’ve received many gory stories and stories that were not to my taste,” he added in a telephone interview Wednesday night. But this particular piece, he said, “crossed every conceivable line including lines I didn’t know were there.”

“Nobody has ever created a character based on me that has come to any harm at all,” Berman said — adding that he thinks the university’s response serves as a key early test of academe’s ability to adjust to the realities of a post-Virginia Tech world.

“Of course episodes like the one concerning Professor Berman are quite rare,” Scott Rice, chair of San Jose State’s English & Comparative Literature Department, said in an e-mail Wednesday. “On the odd occasion that a writing instructor receives a disturbing paper, it usually involves a student who seems suicidal. Our practice is to refer such a student to Counseling Services, sometimes even taking the precaution of walking the student over to insure that he or she does receive help.”

Continued in article

Suggestions for dealing with mental health of students --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/17/bazelon


Microsoft Releases Office 2007 File Converter for Mac
Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU) made available today a download that will give Apple users the ability to work with Office 2007's new file formats.
PhysOrg, May 16, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news98538198.html


Television just got brighter
UCLA engineers developed next generation of LEDs. Two researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science want to make sure future generations of flat panel TV watchers will . . .
PhysOrg, May 17, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news98606680.html


Nudes Just Got Smaller
A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that Google did not infringe on the copyrights of an adult publishing company by displaying thumbnail images of its nude photographs, handing Internet search companies a victory by allowing the display of such miniature pictures in search results.
Alan Sipress, "Google Wins Appeal on Copyright of Nude Images," The Washington Post, May 17, 2007; Page D01--- Click Here

The New York Times story about this --- Click Here


From the Scout Report on May 18, 2007

Pidgin 2.0 --- http://pidgin.im/pidgin/home/ 

With a logo that resembles a purple version of a certain urban-dwelling bird, the Pidgin messaging client is a great find amidst all of the sometimes bland options in this area. Pidgin 2.0 allows visitors the ability to streamline different messaging services into one device, and it works with services offered by Yahoo!, MSN, and Google Talk (among others). As with most other programs, visitors can transfer files, check their spelling, and engage in tabbed conversations. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98, Me, NT, 2000, and XP.


PhpWebGallery --- http://www.phpwebgallery.net/ 

If you have taken hundreds (or thousands), of digital photos as of late, you will want to take a look at this latest version of PhpWebGallery. Visitors can place their photographs online with this application, and also filter their collection by tags, start a slideshow, and even let users subscribe to an RSS feed to get the latest images. The program comes with good documentation, and visitors should also check out their wiki and their various forums. This version is compatible with all computers.

 


From The Washington Post on May 16, 2007

Which Web site is not blocked on Defense Department computers?

A. Wikipedia
B. MySpace
C. Pandora
D. Live365
 


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

 


Forwarded by Aaron Konstam
It was bound to happen. These days, with all the emphasis on one's physical fitness, a new organization has sprung up called "Athletics Anonymous." When you get the urge to play golf, tennis, go powerwalking or bicycle riding (or anything else involving a type of physical activity), they send someone over to drink with you until the urge passes.


If you're looking for cheap gas, wind power, and cancer fighters combined in one package
Research says boiling broccoli ruins its anti-cancer properties

Researchers at the University of Warwick have found that the standard British cooking habit of boiling vegetables severely damages the anticancer properties of many Brassica vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and green cabbage.
PhysOrg, May 15, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news98445246.html


From the University of Pennsylvania: A Revolutionary Way to Overcome Baldness
Unlike salamanders, humans and other mammals are generally thought to be incapable of true regeneration - growing a new organ or limb when one has been lost entirely. But yesterday, University of Pennsylvania dermatologists announced they had indeed performed this feat of biological renewal, regrowing complex "mini-organs" that are of pressing interest to millions of older men: the follicles that produce hair. The researchers, who are publishing their findings today in the journal Nature, said that by carefully cutting out patches of skin in mice, they awakened a genetic pathway that normally remains dormant after embryonic development.
Tom Avril,  "At Penn, the research is hair-raising, positively," The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 17, 2007 --- http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20070517_At_Penn__the_research_is_hair-raising__positively.html


Study: Russian readers learn more quickly
Israeli scientists say knowing how to read and write Russian early in life can give children a linguistic advantage. The University of Haifa researchers, led by Mila Schwartz, discovered children whose mother tongue is Russian and who acquired literacy in their home language before entering first grade receive higher grades on reading skills tests than their peers who speak only Hebrew or those who speak Russian, but have not learned how to read it. Schwartz theorizes because of the linguistic complexity of the Russian language, knowing how to read and write Russian gives children an advantage when learning to read other languages.
PhysOrg, May 18, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news98469461.html


Reproductive Health --- http://www.reproductive-health-journal.com/ 




Forwarded by Paula

Unique and UsefulTips.  Some new some old!


 

Reheat Pizza

Heat up leftover pizza in a non-stick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.


 

Take baby powder to the beach

Keep a small bottle of baby powder in your beach bag. When your ready to leave the beach sprinkle yourself and kids with the powder and the sand will slide right off your skin.


 

Broken Glass

Use a dry cotton ball to pick up little broken glass pieces of glass- the fibers catch ones you can't see!


 

Easy Deviled Eggs

Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

Expanding Frosting...

When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar/calories per serving.


 

Reheating refrigerated bread

To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Newspaper stops Weeds.........

Start putting in your plants; work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.


 

No More Mosquitoes

Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.


 

Squirrel Away!

To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it..


 

Vacuum Help -

To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gif wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.


 

Reducing Static Cling

Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and - voila - static is gone.

Measuring Cup help-

Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill it with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry the cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.


 

Foggy Windshield?

Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!


 

Reopening envelope

If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Voila! It unseals easily.


 

Conditioner

Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's a lot cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair...


 

Goodbye Fruit Flies

To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass fill it 1/2" with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dishwashing liquid, mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!


 

Get Rid of Ants

Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it "home," & can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, esp. if it rains, but it works & you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!




Forwarded by Paula

Apple Announces...

Apple Computer announced today that it has developed a computer chip that can store and play high fidelity music in women's breast implants.

The iTit will cost $499 or $599 depending on speaker size.

This is considered to be a major breakthrough because women have always complained about men staring at their breasts and not listening to them.


Maxine's Living Will

I,  MAXINE , being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of pinhead politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it, or lawyers / doctors interested in simply running up the bills. If a reasonable  amount of time passes and I fail to ask for at least one of the following:


Glass of wine
chocolate
Margarita  
chocolate
Martini  
Cold Beer
chocolate
Chicken fried steak
cream gravy
chocolate
Mexican food
chocolate
French fries
chocolate
Pizza
chocolate
ice cream
cup of tea
chocolate
Chocolate
Sex
Chocolate

It should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my appointed person and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.

 




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

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

Three Finance Blogs

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

Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

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

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

 

 

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