Carl Sandberg once said that if he had to do it all over again he'd eat more ice cream and watch more sunrises and sunsets. I watch a lot of sunrises and sunsets (without the ice cream). Here's a sunrise photo, among the many, taken from my desk one morning. In order to be closer to Erika, I'm not going to move out to my study house this summer. Hence, I can watch each summer sunrise from my front porch windows where I have my "winter" desk. The mountain views are better here in our front porch, but Erika won't less me mess up the house like I mess up my outdoor studio. I work better in a mess.

The days are long now with daylight commencing about 4:00 a.m. and lasting until after 9:00 p.m. This summer we're getting a lot of light and rain. It's very green and lush all about, although I see bright colors from the 100 annuals that I planted in Erika's gardens. It's a bit early yet for the wild flowers in our outer field. The weeds also like the long days and rains. I suspect you can recall how the lyrics rightly claim:  "But the days grow short when you reach September." Now you know why I prefer autumn and winter to spring and summer.

I'm going to Dallas tomorrow to teach a one-day workshop on how to account for derivatives and hedging activities. The hopelessly complex FAS 133 and IAS 39 accounting rules have been very good to me ---

Release of the June 5 edition of Tidbits is a bit premature. But I think there's enough here to let it go early. It's the first time I've left Erika alone since her surgeries. But I will only be gone for two nights, and I think she will be all right now that she has her lift. It will be very busy around here anyway. The roofing company will start placing new shingles over our entire roof this week. Recall that shingles blew off and trees were downed in our huge April Nor'easter ---


Tidbits on June 5, 2007
Bob Jensen

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Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops  ---

Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
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I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

Women In Art (Outstanding video) ---

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Word for Word (news) --- 

Free music downloads ---

New Technology Recaptures Pianists of the Past ---

Elgar, Misunderstood Man of 'Hope and Glory' (controversial classical composer) ---

Shortly before he died, Jazz Saxophonist Michael Brecker summoned the strength to record one more album with musicians who were long-time musical partners, as well as friends ---

Afghan Rapper Blends Traditional Tunes, Poetry ---

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (The Beatles Original Classic) ---

Photographs and Art

From the University of Oregon
CultureWork ---

Pennsylvania Covered Bridges ---

Possibly Human: Robot Photogallery ---

Timeline of Art History (from the Metropolitan Museum of Art) --- 

A guide to great museums around the world Global Museum --- 

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 ---

From the University of Pennsylvania
PENNsound [audio poetry, literature, and reviews) ---

Renascence Editions from the University of Oregon ---

Turning the Page (from the British Library) ---

"Dana Gioia on the Close Connection Between Business and Poetry," Knowledge@Wharton , May 30, 2007 --- Click Here
Since 2002, he's been Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts

Google Book Search --- 

Generation of online libraries is born --- 

The only tyrant I accept in this world is the "still small voice" within me.
Mohandas Karamchad Gandhi --- Click Here

Divert 10 percent of your income to savings; ignore raises and put them into savings, too; learn to cook; and skip the lattes . . . But, dear graduates, the crux of the advice is still compelling. While there may be a debate among economists about how much 50- and 60-year-olds should be saving for retirement, there is little dispute about how much the young should save: more. Saving while young is critical. It isn’t just because of the power of compounding. By that I mean that if you start saving now it will build to a larger nest egg by the time you are 65 than if you wait to start at 45. Or to put it another way, you can save a smaller amount now rather than a larger amount later.
What should become the "small voice" in newly minted graduates according to "More Advice Graduates Don’t Want to Hear," by Damon Darlin, The New York Times, June 2, 2007 ---

Mexicans admire the United States and loathe it in the very next breath. Well-heeled Mexicans struggle to get their little ones into American schools. Down-and-out Mexicans risk their lives to cross the border. Yet all still refer to those from El Norte as “gringos,” a term that dates back to the days when American troops were on Mexican soil . . . So Mexicans miss no chance to stick it to the States. The last time they hosted the Miss Universe pageant, in 1993, the same thing occurred. Miss Mexico did not make the semifinals. Mexicans took out their anger by booing Kenya Moore, that pageant’s Miss U.S.A (an African American woman from Detroit who is now an actress).
Marc Lacey, "Why They Booed Her (Miss USA) in Mexico," The New York Times, June 3, 2007 --- 
Jensen Comment
Miss Sweden, Isabel Lestapier Winqvist, pulled out of the event because of complaints in Sweden that it degrades women. Sweden has won the Miss Universe crown three times in the past.
The winner this year was Miss Japan in this very troubled and unruly contest where contestants parade around on stage in cocktail dresses and bikini swim suits. Miss USA ended up in fourth place. Over 70 nations sent contestants. Winners by year and category are summarized at
You can read more about the 2007 pageant at
Surely you won't want to pass up this wonderful opportunity.

In San Francisco, there's a man picking his nose (it could be worse in San Francisco)  on a street corner, another fellow taking out the trash and another guy scaling the outside of an apartment building, perhaps just for fun or maybe for some more sinister purpose. Further down the highway at Stanford University, there's the titillation of a couple coeds sunbathing in their bikinis. In San Jose, there's the rather sad sight of a bearded man apparently sleeping - or did he just pass out? - in the shadow of a garbage can, with what appears to be an empty cup perched in front of him. In Miami, there's a group of protesters carrying signs outside an abortion clinic. In other cities, you can see men entering adult book stores or leaving strip joints.Google is hoping to elicit "oohs and ahhs" with Street View, which was introduced on its maps for the San Francisco Bay area, New York, Las Vegas, Denver and Miami earlier this week. The Mountain View-based company already is planning to expand the service to other U.S. cities and other countries.
Michael Liedtke, "Google Hits the Streets, Raises Concern," PhysOrg, June 2, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
If this service survives the courts and ACLU, it will probably still take 100 years to spy on me in Sugar Hill. It's too remote up here to attract Google's attention anytime soon.

In my day we didn't have self-esteem, we had self-respect, and no more of it than we had earned.
Jane Haddam as quoted by Mark Shapiro at

I couldn't help wondering if these might possibly be the same "experts" who insisted students' delicate creative souls would be permanently damaged by being forced to follow too many rigid rules about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Just thinking about the "free writing" samples I've seen is enough to make me cringe. Maybe this new theory represents a step forward. At least, the pendulum has swung toward making it acceptable to correct young writers again. So long as it's done with the appropriate color (red is not considered too damaging to students' self esteem).
Susanne Shaphren, "Purple Prose," The Irascible Professor, June 1, 2007 ---

The future belongs to people who see possibilities before they become obvious.
Theodore (Ted) Levitt (1925 - 2006) --- Click Here

Unethical spending belongs to Congress members who see possibilities before they become obvious.
After promising unprecedented openness regarding Congress' pork barrel practices, House Democrats are moving in the opposite direction as they draw up spending bills for the upcoming budget year. Democrats are sidestepping rules approved their first day in power in January to clearly identify "earmarks" - lawmakers' requests for specific projects and contracts for their states. Rather than including specific pet projects, grants and contracts in legislation as it is being written, Democrats are following an order by the House Appropriations Committee chairman to keep the bills free of such earmarks until it is too late for critics to effectively challenge
Andrew Taylor, "Democrats Hide Pet Projects From Voters," New York Post, June 3, 2007 --- Click Here

Climate: A world that can't shut out Al Gore, environmental alarmists and hot-air celebrities can't avoid the hysterical warnings that Earth is warming. But who knew that Neptune appears to be getting hotter, too? In a study recently published in Geophysical Research Letters, H.B. Hammel of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., and G.W. Lockwood of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., found that Neptune's brightness appears to correlate with temperature changes on Earth. They also noted that Neptune's temperature warmed from 1980 to 2004.
"Warming Without SUVs on Neptune," Investors Business Daily, May 31, 2007 --- Click Here

Ambani makes U.S. CEOs look like proletariats
This 60-storey house is for just one family. India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is planning a palace in the heart of Mumbai with helipad, health club, hanging gardens and six floors of car parking. This 60-storey house is for just one family His wife, mother and three children will live there with him, looked after by 600 live-in staff.
Daily Mail, June 3, 2007 --- Click Here

If you've heard the celebratory noises coming out of European capitals of late, you could be forgiven for thinking that, as with Mark Twain's prematurely recorded demise, reports of Europe's death may have been greatly exaggerated. For a continent in the supposed grip of demographic implosion, economic stagnation, political paralysis and existential anomie, the news has been oddly cheerful recently. In the past year, the rate of economic growth in the eurozone has actually overtaken that of the U.S.
Gerard Baker, "Continental Drift Europe shows signs of life, but Walter Laqueur argues that it's still dying," The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2007 ---

Pro-Troop Group Plans to Buy Cindy Sheehan's 'Camp Casey'
Move America Forward, which bills itself as the nation's largest grassroots pro-troop organization, says it plans to buy the land near President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Tex., where Cindy Sheehan has waged her anti-war protests. The group said it plans to build a monument to America's war heroes on the five-acre site. A sketch of the planned monument shows a pillar topped by a cross.

Susan Jones, CNS News, June 1, 2007 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
Until the MAF group showed an interest, Cindy offered the land for $80,000 on eBay. Cindy paid $52,000 for the land. Her sister claims Cindy would not accept $5 million from the MAF group, but time will tell regarding the land sale.

Sleep well my darling
And leave This vale of tears behind
Land of nod is a better place
Don't feel fear in the darkness
. . .
The night is calling

Lyrics to a song called Veil of Tears --- Click Here
A letter signed by the Mahdi Army linked to Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Iraqi Shiite cleric who the United States considers the greatest threat to security in Iraq, warned Christian women in Baghdad to wear the veil as do Muslim women. It is the latest in a long string of abuses against Iraqi Christians, including rape, murder, kidnapping, extortion and forced conversions, AsiaNews reported Wednesday . . . To bring international attention to the plight of Iraqi Christians, in danger of extinction - based in Sweden - launched a protest march to be held this afternoon in Stockholm, in which exiled Iraq Christians took part as well as other religious minorities who have fled Iraq
"Christian Women Warned to Wear Veil (of tears?) --- Click Here

An Islamic group threatened to behead female TV broadcasters if they don't wear strict Islamic dress, frightening reporters and signaling a further shift toward extremism in the Gaza Strip. The threat to "cut throats from vein to vein" was delivered by the Swords of Truth, a fanatical group that has previously claimed responsibility for bombing Internet cafes and music shops.
Diaa Hadid, Salon, June 3, 2006 --- Click Here

The book Kabul Beauty School has given millions of readers a window on the lives of women in Afghanistan. But it has also exposed the women to risks. And they are upset with author Deborah Rodriguez, who has since left the country. . . . But back in Afghanistan, the subjects of her book say Rodriguez and her newfound fame have put their lives in danger. They say they've seen none of the money or help to get them out of Afghanistan that Rodriguez promised them in exchange for having their stories appear in the book.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, "Subjects of 'Kabul Beauty School' Face New Risks." NPR, June 1, 2007 --- Click Here 

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that "the countdown for the destruction of Israel" has begun, Iranian news agency Mehr reported on Sunday. "The countdown to the disappearance of this regime was started by Hizbullah fighters and with the help of all the Lebanese and Palestinian fighters we will witness the disappearance of this regime in the near future," he said.
Ynet, June 3, 2007 ---,7340,L-3407959,00.html
Jensen Comment
Ahmadinjad played cat and mouse on June 3 with Mike Wallace on CBS 60 Minutes ---
Ahmadinejad did not take over the interview quite like he did with an earlier 60 Minutes interview with Mike. Mike seemed more prepared for the artful dodger this time.

A Northern California woman has sued the online dating service eHarmony, alleging it discriminates against gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Linda Carlson said she tried to use the Internet site in February to meet a woman but could not, based on her sexual orientation. When Carlson wrote to eHarmony to complain, the company refused to change its policy, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday on her behalf in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Associated Press, "Dating service sued over lack of gays," The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 2, 2007 --- Click Here

Kerry's relationship with Edwards would sour after the (2004) election. . . . When Elizabeth [Edwards] discovered she had breast cancer, John and Teresa [Heinz Kerry] reached out to help the Edwardses find the best doctors they could. . . . Kerry told me that the Edwardses simply stopped returning calls or talking to him and Teresa. Within months, Edwards started preparing for a bid in 2008. Kerry said that he wished he'd never picked Edwards (as a presidential running mate), that he should have gone with his gut.
Robert Shrum, "Kerry's Regrets About John Edwards," Time Magazine, May 30, 2007 ---,8816,1626498,00.html

Watching the horrible video of Alan Johnston of the BBC broadcasting Palestinian propaganda under orders from his kidnappers, I found myself asking what it would have been like had he been kidnapped by Israelis, and made to do the same thing the other way round.
Charles Moore, "What if Israelis had abducted BBC man?" London Telegraph, June 2, 2007 --- Click Here
Militants Release Video ---
The transcript is available from The Guardian at,,2093218,00.html
The liberal press reports that "The Palestinian Side Must Be Told" ---
It's now being told by Alan Johnston with a noose around his neck for eleven weeks and counting.

Yesterday we (Opinion Journal, June 1, 2007) noted  that a group styling itself the Economist Intelligence Unit had rated Norway the most peaceful nation on earth. Alas, with the award safely in hand, Oslo quickly threw some egg on the faces of the EIU-niks, as the Associated Press reports:

*** QUOTE *** ---
Norway resumed direct aid to the Palestinian administration with a $10 million transfer, after it became the first Western country to recognize the new Hamas-led coalition, the foreign minister said Thursday. . . .

The United States, the European Union and other countries cut off direct aid to the Palestinian Authority last year after a government led by the Islamic militant Hamas party, which is committed to the destruction of Israel, took office.


American Psychological Society: Teaching Resources ---

Maynard Institute for Journalism Education ---

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(Literally ask them live) ---


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    From the University of Illinois
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    June 1, 2007 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


    The April/May 2007 issue of INNOVATE explores and explains the learning styles and preferences of Net Generation learners. "Net Generation learners are information seekers, comfortable using technology to seek out information, frequently multitasking and using multiple forms of media simultaneously. As a result, they desire independence and autonomy in their learning processes."

    Articles include:

    "Identifying the Generation Gap in Higher Education: Where Do theDifferences Really Lie?"
    by Paula Garcia and Jingjing Qin, Northern Arizona University

    "MyLiteracies: Understanding the Net Generation through LiveJournals and Literacy Practices"
    by Dana J. Wilber, Montclair State University

    "Is Education 1.0 Ready for Web 2.0 Students?"
    by John Thompson,Buffalo State College

    The issue is available at

    Registration is required to access articles; registration is free.

    Innovate: Journal of Online Education [ISSN 1552-3233], an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal, is published bimonthly by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University.

    The journal focuses on the creative use of information technology (IT) to enhance educational processes in academic, commercial, and governmental settings. For more information, contact James L. Morrison, Editor-in-Chief; email: ;

    The journal also sponsors Innovate-Live webcasts and discussion forums that add an interactive component to the journal articles. To register for these free events, go to

    See also:

    "Motivating Today's College Students"
    By Ian Crone
    PEER REVIEW, vol. 9, no. 1, Winter 2007

    Peer Review, published quarterly by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), provides briefings on "emerging trends and key debates in undergraduate liberal education. Each issue is focused on a specific topic, provides comprehensive analysis, and highlights changing practice on diverse campuses." For more information, contact: AACU, 1818 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 USA;

    tel: 202-387-3760; fax: 202-265-9532;

    For a perspective on educating learners on the other end of the generational continuum see:

    "Boomer Reality"
    By Holly Dolezalek
    TRAINING, vol. 44, no. 5, May 2007

    Training [ISSN 0095-5892] is published monthly by Nielsen Business Media, Inc., 770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003-9595 USA;
    tel: 646-654-4500; email: ;

    Also see
    Looking at Learning….Again, Part 2

    Bob Jensen's threads on learning can be found at the following Web sites:

    Do we need revolutionary changes in Economics 101?

    What we know is that the course as it’s traditionally taught doesn’t achieve much impact. Students are given tests six months after they’ve taken the course to see whether they understand basic economic concepts, and students who’ve taken the course don’t score any better on those tests than students who didn’t take the course at all. That seems like a pretty scandalous level of performance, to my eye. I think in other sectors of the economy we’d see malpractice lawsuits filed; in the university, maybe we get a pass on that sort of thing.
    Robert Frank, "Economics Education 101," Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2007 ---

    Market demand curves. Marginal utility. Dead weight loss. Those terms and others might awaken a dim flicker of recognition for anyone who’s ever taken Economics 101. But chances are, according to new research, that even a basic understanding of fundamental economic concepts is lost on a majority of people who have ever taken an introductory course.

    Robert Frank, the Henrietta Louis Johnson Professor of Management and professor of economics at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, and the co-author of a standard introductory text, Principles of Economics (McGraw-Hill), thinks he’s stumbled onto a better way of introducing students to concepts like supply and demand and opportunity cost, foundational ideas of economics that apply to the real world. In his new book The Economic Naturalist: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas (Basic Books), Frank uses simple concepts to explain facts of life that, on second thought, are a little counterintuitive — such as why the keypads on drive-through ATMs have Braille dots. Most of the questions he addresses came from students in his class. (Listen to the podcast for a sampling of enigmas and Frank’s explanations demystifying them.)

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    My hunch is that Accounting 101 students have better recall of course content than Economics 101 students on average. This is strictly conjecture, but I think the recall is better for content that fits into the structural framework like the bookkeeping framework of Pacioli’s fundamental accounting  equations A=L+E after closing the books or A+E=L+R+E. before closing. Most Accounting 101 courses have quite a lot of drill in spite claims of many faculty that they cut out much of the drill. If they are still assigning textbook homework following each chapter, they are still assigning drill.

    I’ve listened to some Intermediate Accounting instructors complain about lowered mastery/recall of the basics when their Accounting 101/102 curriculum dropped much of the drill (as with the USC experiments years ago under an AECC grant). Perhaps students don’t recall as well when introductory courses get more conceptual.

    To me the drill in Accounting 101 is almost exactly like the agonizing drill of learning to block and tackle long before the scrimmage ever takes place in football practice. The kid that can’t block and tackle had better be a darned good quarterback or make plans to gather splinters on the bench. And the aspiring pianist early on had to practice scales and chords over and over in different keys before taking on the sheet music.

    I’m all for conceptual learning. But there has to be foundation upon which to build the advanced concepts and theory. Math students are supposed to get this foundation in before college in K-12 studies. Accounting students, with only a small percentage of exceptions, generally know zero about accounting and bookkeeping when they enter Accounting 101

    The biggest problem with drill in Accounting 101 is that students tend to bifurcate. Some students really love drill and memorization and low uncertainties. Others are bored by the drill. But then a whole lot of aspiring football players and musicians are bored by the drills when they first start out. Some aspiring athletes drop football. Some aspiring musicians give up on practicing. I'm not sure we should worry so much about taking the drill out of Accounting 101 if that drill provides an important foundation for things to come.

    In modern times I encounter some students and some accounting faculty who really can’t block and tackle well at all.

    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

    June 1, 2007 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]


    I'm pretty much convinced that the experience of Econ 101 is repeated for Accounting 101, Marketing 101, Management 101, etc. It all is pretty much knowledge transfer stuff. Knowing how many of my instructions are remembered by my sons, I'm not surprised by the lack of recall among college students.

    Research by psychology profs verifies the phenomenon of "easy to memorize, easy to forget".

    David Albrecht

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

    "Marines Battle Bureaucrats and Plead for High-Tech Gear," by David Axe, Wired News, May 31, 2007 ---

    For years the U.S. Army had used hundreds of such drones to monitor expanses of Iraq where the ground troops were thinnest. The Marines had their own drone -- the $100,000 Scan Eagle co-produced by Boeing and Insitu -- but in much smaller numbers. Since 2006, Marine commanders in Iraq had filed three formal requests asking for between 60 and 240 additional Scan Eagles. But the complex of Quantico, Virginia, offices responsible for filling such requests -- the Combat Development Command, the Marine Corp Systems Command and the Warfighting Laboratory -- had ignored or rejected all the pleas.

    As a result, none of the 10-foot-wingspan Scan Eagles were available to patrol around Rumbaugh's hospital. When 12 of Rumbaugh's medical staff were seriously injured in a spate of attacks in 2006, the major had had enough. In January 2007, through a family member, he appealed to his representatives back home, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland).

    Van Hollen passed the request (.pdf) on to the Army; Mikulski went a step further, contacting Secretary of Defense Robert Gates directly. "I ask that you look into this situation," the senator wrote (.pdf), "and take whatever steps you deem appropriate to ensure the safety of these forces."

    The Scan Eagle episode is just the latest in a long history of conflict between the Marine Corps' fighting troops and the bureaucrats in Quantico, where critics say an entrenched resistance to more efficient technology purchasing is endangering fighters' lives. While an adaptive enemy takes advantage of commercial equipment to build lethal roadside bombs and survivable communications networks, Quantico eschews cheap off-the-shelf products in favor of Cold War-era processes for designing expensive new weapons over the course of years.

    Continued in article


    "Next Chapter on Textbooks," by Elia Powers, Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2007 ---

    In March, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced a textbook affordability bill that would require publishers to include the price of textbooks and supplemental material when providing information to faculty. It also calls on the companies to list a history of revisions and to offer textbooks and supplemental material in unbundled forms. (Many of the proposals mirror those listed in state bills.)

    Last summer, Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), one of two lawmakers to call for the report, which is out today, and for a prior Government Accountability Office study of textbook costs, also took the legislative route. When the 109th Congress considered legislation to renew the Higher Education Act, Wu proposed an amendment that listed steps that all parties could take to provide more price transparency and options for students.

    He pointed to the GAO report, which showed that college textbook prices nearly tripled between 1986 and 2004, rising 186 percent, or an average of 6 percent a year, during that time. By comparison, tuition and fees rose 7 percent a year and prices for all good rose an average of 3 percent a year in that span.

    Both Durbin’s and Wu’s camps said they would like to push for textbook affordability language in pending Higher Education Act reauthorization bills — though spokeswomen in each case said it is too early to offer specific details.

    But there are plenty of people who prefer lists of best practices and voluntary recommendations to binding resolutions. Rep. Howard P. (Buck) McKeon, the California Republican and then-chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor, along with Wu called last spring for a series of hearings and a final report that would yield cost-saving solutions for students.

    “Turn the Page: Making College Textbooks More Affordable,” is the result of a yearlong study by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, a nonpartisan federal panel that advises Congress on issues of access.

    The advisory group adopts a common framing of the issue. The textbook market, it says, is driven by supply rather than demand. Publishers set the price. Bookstores order the products. Students have little, if any, direct influence over the final cost, format and quality of the textbook. The common retort from publishers: Pay more attention to the faculty role. They are free to choose cheaper editions or unbundled material but resoundingly say educational value trumps price in their purchasing decisions.

    Officials at both the Association of American Publishers and the Student Public Interest Research Groups, the latter having lobbied hard for changes in the textbook market, said they are pleased with the report’s explanation of the issues and lack of finger pointing.

    “Blaming or punishing any stakeholder for market failure is not the answer,” the report says.

    . . .

    Among the report’s other recommendations for decreasing student costs:
    • Expanding both textbook rental programs and buying consortiums that would strengthen the used book market.
    • Increasing no-cost content options and the use of “no-frills” textbooks and custom course packets.
    • Creating more textbook lending libraries.
    • Urging faculty to keep books longer, retain older editions and send information earlier to students and bookstores about what texts are being used.
    • Creating need-based grants or emergency vouchers that needy students could use to purchase material.

    Continued in article

    June 1, 2007 reply from Patricia Doherty [pdoherty@BU.EDU]

    I think there is a limit on the number of things we actually need to have "legislated," and this goes over that limit in my opinion. Yes, the books are very - in many cases too - expensive. But pass a LAW setting limits on prices? Come on, has the consumer become so weak that we need someone there like "mom" to hold our hand and make sure we look both ways before we cross that street?


    June 1, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]


    I too am an as-free-marketer-as-one-can-get. However, on this one, I beg to differ.

    If the existing anti-trust laws are enforced, there should be no need to pass new laws. But the existing laws are not enforced as vigorously as one would wish, and we are in this mess. Publishers are today's Robber Barons, and cousins of the pharmaceutical companies..

    1. Over the past 20 years, the merger movement in the publishing industry has been phenomenally successful. So successful, in fact, that there are no more than a handful of college textbook publishers. What happened to Harper, Harcourt Brace, Allyn & Bacon, MacMillan, PWS Kent, Southwestern,...? Now we have Thompson, Pearson, Kluwer, McGraw Hill and Reed Elseview. Often some divisions within these try their best to hide their corporate parentage. For example, how many know that Addison-Wesley is really Pearson, or that CCH is really Kluwer?

    An important consequence of these mergers have been to stifle some good books to protect others that have a more popular reception. Just as neutron bombs are unleashed after corporate mergers, they are unleased by publishers to kill many books. Sometimes, good books are hung out to dry. For example, the best book I have ever used for unix shell scripting is nearly 20 years old, and the publishers have not repreinted it in more than 15 years to protect higher priced lower quality stuff. I am forced to use those books because the weaker students in the classes don't feel comfortable without textbooks; in fact for most courses I teach now, textbooks are unnecessary because of the free availability of materials on the internet. Nowadays I use books mainly because of my laziness or busi-ness -- I do not have time to create my own end-of-chapter materials, and like to respect copyrights.

    Had the antitrust laws been enforced, I am not sure we would have found ourselves in the present situation where market power is skewed in favour of the publishers because of the oligopoly.

    The university libraries have been decimated because of the high cost of subscriptions. As the costs of publishing have gone down, the prices have gone up.


    Bob Jensen's threads on textbook pricing issues and oligopoly publishers are at

    On the heels of its new universal health care insurance coverage, can Massachusetts pull of free college education?
    No other state in the U.S. has free tuition. Years ago California came close, but since then most states, including California, have steadily increased tuition in state universities and community colleges. Currently, Massachusetts is on the high side for tuition.

    Governor Deval Patrick plans to unveil a proposal today to make Massachusetts' community colleges, among the priciest in the nation, free to all high school graduates in the state by the year 2015, according to documents obtained by the Globe. The proposal is the centerpiece of Patrick's vision for a "cradle to career" education system that would dramatically expand the concept of public education in Massachusetts.
    Maria Sacchetti, "Patrick seeks free two-year state colleges:  Goal is key in 'cradle to career' plan," Boston Globe, June 1, 2007 --- Click Here
    Also see
    Jensen Comment
    Both the Mass. health insurance and free college plans entail stringent cost controls on the service providers. The real question is whether stringent cost controls erode quality of services to a point that such services are really more hype than hope. Sometimes, not always, you really do get what you pay for. An analogy might be to offer everyone free bread, and if the state cannot raise the money to buy enough flour, the solution is make the "free" bread out of sawdust. Free medical care and education are problematic in that drastically overcrowding the system ruins the services for everyone in the system. States in the U.S. also have a somewhat unique problem of competition for industry. If a state taxes companies or their workers far in excess of surrounding states, industry, jobs, and even retired folks will move out of state. California realized this when it greatly curtailed taxation with Proposition 13 that badly hurt funding for schools and resulted in increased tuition for community colleges. Florida is now facing the same dilemma. States like Mass. and New York get a triple whammy of high taxes, high real estate costs, and cold weather that drives people and jobs to the southern half of the U.S. our out of the U.S. entirely.

    Why not make community colleges more affordable by granting associate degrees after just one year? This is what is happening in Europe and elsewhere under the new Bologna Agreement that, in 46 nations, grants full undergraduate degrees after three years instead of four years.

    "Graduate Education, Post-Bologna," by Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed., June 4, 2007 ---

  • “The Bologna Process is driving forward the most important reforms in higher education that are taking place within the modern era,” said David Crosier, program director for the European University Association. “What it all amounts to is, in effect, this is not just a higher education process. It’s actually a much wider process of societal transformation.”

    Under the Bologna Process, named for the Italian city where the agreement for “harmonizing” European higher education was signed in 1999, the 46 participating countries are expected to create three consistent and coherent “cycles” of education – the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels – with the degrees sufficiently similar so they can be recognized across borders. Though the American border is proving hard to permeate: Resistance to recognizing three-year degrees at American graduate schools is rampant, although Denecke, director of best practices for the Council of Graduate Schools, reported some trends toward acceptance of the new European model Thursday.

    In surveys of the Council’s members, 29 percent said they did not accept three-year undergraduate year degrees in 2005; that number dropped to 18 percent in 2006. In 2005, 9 percent said they’d offer provisional acceptance to applicants with three-year degrees, a number that fell to 4 percent in 2006. The percentage of universities that indicated they’d evaluate the degree for its equivalence rose from 40 to 49 percent in the year, while the percentage of institutions that consider a student’s competency on an individual basis increased from 22 to 29 percent. “What we’re seeing,” Denecke said, “is a trend line toward greater acceptance of three-year degrees and greater nuance as to how universities are able to establish the suitability of that student to succeed in a university.”

    Across the Atlantic, academics are likewise debating the preparatory value of the three-year degree in itself. Although things are changing quickly, there’s still a sense among many, “that everyone in a university who gets a bachelor’s should go on and get a master’s as well,” Crosier said at the NAFSA conference. “This is maybe a problematic issue, given that the master’s was developed to be a specific cycle with its own goals, and that those goals should be built around the labor market so that people will have sufficient skills to move out of higher education if they want to.”

    “Also,” Crosier added, “there is a debate about whether the master’s which are very professionally oriented can be considered in the same way as academically oriented master’s programs.”

    Although no legal requirements bind European universities to move forward with the plan to form a European Higher Education Area by 2010, competition between countries to “be seen as moving ahead at least as fast as their neighbors” has fostered some rapid changes, Crosier said. In a survey of European institutions four years ago, 53 percent indicated they had three clear cycles in place. Today, the answer is 82 percent.

    “Things have been changing very quickly,” Crosier said, “without people paying very much attention to it.”

  • lso see
    "Making Sense of ‘Bologna Degrees’," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, November 6, 2006 ---

    "Bill to Reduce Tuition for Illegal Immigrants Passes in Connecticut," by Jennifer Medina, The New York Times, June 2, 2007 --- 
    Jensen Comment
    Interestingly, another bill passed in Connecticut to hide community and state debt for pensions and post-retirement benefits. One solution for states is to provide more now with debt that legally remains hidden from view and becomes a "surprise" to future generations.

    How is Connecticut like Texas (which has a bill pending to hide pension and health care liabilities for retired government workers and their families)?
    Connecticut has picked a fight with the independent board  (FASB/GASB) that tells state and local governments how to report their financial affairs.
    Mary Williams Walsh, "Connecticut Takes Up Fight Over Accounting Rules," The New York Times, June 2, 2007 ---
    Click Here
    Jensen Comment
    Funny thing is Andy Fastow said the same thing about accounting standards and auditors. If you're going to sell your bonds in the public capital markets, it seems that hiding debt from bond purchasers is not an especially good idea unless investors are totally ignorant.

    At issue is the immense amount of undisclosed debt even when discounted back to a present value amount. It's the enormous magnitude that is the cause of the new laws designed to keep this debt a big secret.
    Bob Jensen's threads on this controversial topic are at

    Are real estate agents knowingly or unknowingly enticing people into expensive so-called subprime loans who could've qualified for cheaper conventional mortgages?

    "Wow, I could've had a prime mortgage:  Why many borrowers who qualified for prime-rate loans wound up with subprimes instead." by Les Christie, CNN Money, May 30, 2007 --- Click Here

    Freddie Mac, a government-sponsored mortgage-loan buyer, estimated that borrowers of 15 to 35 percent of all subprime loans it bought in 2005 could have qualified for prime-rate loans.

    Fannie Mae, another government-sponsored loan buyer, estimated up to 50 percent of the borrowers, whose subprimes it bought that year, had credit profiles that could have qualified them for prime rates.

    No one to blame but yourself

    Perhaps the biggest culprit is simply that many consumers don't know enough about mortgages to question the deals they're offered.

    Doug Duncan, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, said a 1999 MBA survey revealed that 31 percent of all home buyers never spoke to anyone except their real estate agent when they bought a home.

    The survey needs to be updated, he said, but it still suggests that many consumers enter some of the biggest financial deals of their lives with their eyes wide shut.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's mortgage advice and links to mortgage frauds are at

    From the University of Chicago
    BiblioVault: An Alternative for Long-term Storage of Digital Book Files

    BiblioVault helps scholarly publishers preserve and extend the value of their books. We provide long-term storage of digital book files for our member presses, as well as a wide range of scanning, printing, transfer, and conversion services. Launched in late 2001 by the University of Chicago Press, BiblioVault operates under the umbrella of Chicago Distribution Services, which also oversees a digital printing center, the Chicago Digital Distribution Center (CDDC). The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supported the development of BiblioVault and the CDDC with three grants totaling $3.2 million.

    Digital Production Strategies for Scholarly Publishers, by Denise Nitterhouse, BiblioVault from the University of Chicago, 2005 ---



    Offset versus Digital Printing

    Specifications, Processes, and Quality

    Cost and Quantity Trade-offs


    Additional Considerations

    Production Decisions

    Scholarly Book Sales Patterns

    Scholarly Press Overprinting and Storage Costs

    Production Decision Making and

    Management Processes


    Paperback Reprints

    Hardcover Digital Reprints

    Hardcover Digital Frontlist Printing


    Integrating and Automating Production and Fulfillment

    Short-Run Digital Printing (SRDP)

    An Oldie but Goodie

    An Oversize Classic

    Saved by SRDP

    Impact of CDDC SRDP

    Harvard University Press: Ultra-Short Inventory-Replenishment Program (USIRP)

    MIT Press Classics Series: Bringing Books Back into Print

    Print-on-Demand (POD)

    Electronic Distribution (E-books)


    Effects of Digital printing

    Outstanding Issues

    Bob Jensen's threads on tricks and tools of the trade ---

    Microsoft adds copyrighted books to online library
    By making deals with authors and publishing houses to include their works in the Live Search Books index Microsoft sidesteps a controversy triggered by Google's plan to offer the world's written works online.
    "Microsoft adds copyrighted books to online library,"
    By making deals with authors and publishing houses to include their works in the Live Search Books index Microsoft sidesteps a controversy triggered by Google's plan to offer the world's written works online.
    PhysOrg, June 2, 2007 ---

    How do scholars search for academic references?

    Scholarpedia ---

    PLoS One ---

    Google Scholar ---
    Not to be confused with Google Advanced Search which does not cover many scholarly articles ---

    Microsoft's Windows "Live Search" or  "Academic Search" ---

    Amazon's A9 --- 

    Beginning October 23, 2003, offers a text search of entire contents of millions of pages of books, including new books --- 

    How It Works --- 
    A significant extension of our groundbreaking Look Inside the Book feature, Search Inside the Book allows you to search millions of pages to find exactly the book you want to buy. Now instead of just displaying books whose title, author, or publisher-provided keywords that match your search terms, your search results will surface titles based on every word inside the book. Using Search Inside the Book is as simple as running an search. 

    Soon to be the largest scholarly library in the world:
    Google Book Search --- ---

    Wikipedia (heavily used by scholars in spite of authenticity risks)---

    Other Scholarly Search Engines (CrossRef and Scirus.) ---
    Also see

    Scholarly search tools

    • CiteBase
      Citebase is a trial service that allows researchers to search across free, full-text research literature ePrint archives, with results ranked according to criteria such as citation impact.


    • Gateway to ePrints
      A listing of ePrint servers and open access repository search tools.


    • Google Scholar
      A search tool for scholarly citations and abstracts, many of which link to full text articles, book chapters, working papers and other forms of scholarly publishing. It includes content from many open access journals and repositories.


    • OAIster
      A search tool for cross-archive searching of more than 540 separate digital collections and archives, including arXiv, CiteBase, ANU ePrints, ePrintsUQ, and others.


    • Scirus
      A search tool for online journals and Web sites in the sciences.

    Librarian's Index to the Internet ---'sIndex

    Google Book Search --- 

    Searching the Deep Web ---

    UCLA Library Scholarly Search Helpers ---

    University of Kansas Scholarly Search Helpers ---

    Social scientists and business scholars often use SSRN (not free) ---

    If you have access to a college library, most colleges generally have paid subscriptions to enormous scholarly literature databases that are not available freely online. Serious scholars obtain access to these vast literature databases.

    Open Access Shared Scholarship ---

    University Channel (video and audio) ---

    Bob Jensen's links to electronic literature, including free online textbooks and other learning materials ---

    Bob Jensen's search helpers are at

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

    "A New Dimension for Your Photos Web service Fotowoosh wants to be the Flickr of 3-D," by Wade Roush, MIT's Technology Review, April 27, 2007 --- 

    Bob Jensen's threads on tricks and tools of the trade ---

    Getting Naked on the Internet Is Risky, but Rewarding
    Ray interviewed more than 80 women, a wide selection of bloggers, chatters, daters, models, geeks and non-geeks. What she found is perhaps not all that surprising but you won't hear it on the evening news: Women have wide-ranging sexual interests and are savvy enough to figure out how to harness technology to pursue our erotic desires -- and occasionally make some money doing it. Naked on the Internet (Seal Press) is a serious look at how women are incorporating the internet into sex, and while the occasional wry comment and the deft use of individual stories leavens the academic tone, they don't undermine the gravity of the work.
    Regina Lynn, "Getting Naked on the Internet Is Risky, but Rewarding," Wired News, June 2, 2007 ---

    Audacia Ray, whose book Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads and Cashing In on Internet Sexploration hit stores June 1 --- Click Here
    A day after the book was published there were already over 20 used copies available form Amazon. Some early readers must've been disappointed in the book.

    "For Pornographers, Internet’s Virtues Turn to Vices," by Matt Richtell, The New York Times, June 2, 2007 ---

    The Internet was supposed to be a tremendous boon for the pornography industry, creating a global market of images and videos accessible from the privacy of a home computer. For a time it worked, with wider distribution and social acceptance driving a steady increase in sales.

    But now the established pornography business is in decline — and the Internet is being held responsible.

    The online availability of free or low-cost photos and videos has begun to take a fierce toll on sales of X-rated DVDs. Inexpensive digital technology has paved the way for aspiring amateur pornographers, who are flooding the market, while everyone in the industry is giving away more material to lure paying customers.

    And unlike consumers looking for music and other media, viewers of pornography do not seem to mind giving up brand-name producers and performers for anonymous ones, or a well-lighted movie set for a ratty couch at an amateur videographer’s house.

    After years of essentially steady increases, sales and rentals of pornographic videos were $3.62 billion in 2006, down from $4.28 billion in 2005, according to estimates by AVN, an industry trade publication. If the situation does not change, the overall $13 billion sex-related entertainment market may shrink this year, said Paul Fishbein, president of AVN Media Network, the magazine’s publisher. The industry’s online revenue is substantial but is not growing quickly enough to make up for the drop in video income.

    Older companies in the industry are responding with better production values and more sophisticated Web offerings. But to their chagrin, making and distributing pornography have become a lot easier.

    “People are making movies in their houses and dragging and dropping them” onto free Web sites, said Harvey Kaplan, a former maker of pornographic movies and now chief executive of, which processes payments for pornographic Web sites. “It’s killing the marketplace.”

    It is an unusual twist on the Internet-transforms-industry story. The Internet quickly presented a challenge to some businesses, like recorded music and newspapers. But initially, the digital age led to a kind of mainstreaming of pornography by providing easy and anonymous access online.

    The spread of high-speed Internet access promised even further growth. Instead, faster connections have simply allowed people to download free movies more quickly, and allowed amateur moviemakers to upload their creations easily.

    Perhaps counterintuitively, the market continues to be flooded with new video releases, both online and on disc. Mr. Fishbein said that this year he expected to see more than 1,000 X-rated DVDs a month produced for retail sale, a figure driven in part by the new spate of low-budget filmmakers.

    “The barrier to get into the industry is so low: you need a video camera and a couple of people who will have sex,” Mr. Fishbein said.

    Some companies say they have had success with selling subscriptions to their Web sites, and in offering movies for download or watching online. But Internet revenue, while growing modestly, is not compensating for the drop in video sales and rentals. In 2006, revenue from online subscriptions and sales was $2.8 billion, up from $2.5 billion in 2005, according to estimates from AVN — an increase but nothing near the e-commerce growth enjoyed by many industries.

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    And you're expecting me to comment on this one. Fat chance!

    June 1, 2007 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


    "Even if research shows that a particular technology supports a certain kind of learning, this research may not reveal the implications of implementing it. Without appropriate infrastructure or adequate provisions of services (policy); without the facility or ability of teachers to integrate it into their teaching practice (academics); without sufficient support from technologists and/or educational technologists (support staff), the likelihood of the particular technology or software being educationally effective is questionable."

    The current issue (vol. 19, no. 1, 2007) of the JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY & SOCIETY presents a selection of papers from the Conference Technology and Change in Educational Practice which was held at the London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, London in October 2005.

    The papers cover three areas: "methodological frameworks, proposing new ways of structuring effective research; empirical studies, illustrating the ways in which technology impacts the working roles and practices in Higher Education; and new ways of conceptualising technologies for education."

    Papers include:

    "A Framework for Conceptualising the Impact of Technology on Teaching and Learning"
    by Sara Price and Martin Oliver, London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education

    "New and Changing Teacher Roles in Higher Education in a Digital Age"
    by Jo Dugstad Wake, Olga Dysthe, and Stig Mjelstad, University of Bergen

    "Academic Use of Digital Resources: Disciplinary Differences and the Issue of Progression Revisited"
    by Bob Kemp, Lancaster University, and Chris Jones, Open University

    "The Role of Blogs In Studying the Discourse and Social Practices of Mathematics Teachers"
    by Katerina Makri and Chronis Kynigos, University of Athens

    The issue is available at

    The Journal of Educational Technology and Society [ISSN 1436-4522]is a peer-reviewed, quarterly publication that "seeks academic articles on the issues affecting the developers of educational systems and educators who implement and manage such systems." Current and back issues are available at The journal is published by the International Forum of Educational Technology & Society. For more information, see


    "Recommended Reading" lists items that have been recommended to me or that Infobits readers have found particularly interesting and/or useful, including books, articles, and websites published by Infobits subscribers. Send your recommendations to for possible inclusion in this column.

    An excerpt from:

    by Michael A. Peters
    (Book is part of a series: Educational Futures: Rethinking Theory and Practice)
    Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2007
    288 pgs.
    ISBN 978-90-8790-070-0 hardback
    ISBN 978-90-8790-069-4 paperback


    UBIQUITY magazine has received permission to publish an excerpt (Introduction and Chapter 11) from this new book by Michael A. Peters, professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Glasgow. The excerpt is available at

    Ubiquity associate editor A. Triptahi writes of it: "Prophetically, almost thirty years ago Jean-Francois Lyotard forecast the end of the modern research university based on Enlightenment principles. He envisaged the emergence of technical institutes in the service of the information-rich global multinationals. This book reflects on the post-war Western university and its discourses charting the crisis of the concept of the modern university. First, it examines the university within a global networked economy; second, it adopts poststructuralist perspectives in epistemology, politics and ethics to appraise the role of the contemporary university; third, it introduces the notion of 'development' in a critical fashion as a way of explaining its potentially new regional and international learning roles; fourth, it analyzes the rise of global science and the disciplines in the context of the global economy; and, finally, it raises Lyotard's 'logic of performativity' and the assessment of research quality within a neoliberal economy, linking it firmly to the question of freedom and the republic of science."

    Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on blogs and listservs are at

    June 1, 2007 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


    Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology is used to transform scanned book pages into searchable text. However, the accuracy of this method is dependent on the clarity of the characters being scanned.

    Fuzzy or indistinct printed texts are not always rendered correctly.

    Human proofreading of scanned texts can correct OCR errors, but it is labor-intensive and expensive. "Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered a way to enlist people across the globe to help digitize books every time they solve the simple distorted word puzzles commonly used to register at Web sites or buy things online.

    The word puzzles are known as CAPTCHAs, short for 'completely automated public Turing tests to tell computers and humans apart.' Computers cannot decipher the twisted letters and numbers, ensuring that real people and not automated programs are using the Web sites." (Associated Press, May 24, 2007)

    According to the project website, "Each new word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct." The results are then used to correct the word in the scanned texts.

    For more information about the project and to participate, go to

    A Backdating Settlement
    Brocade Communications Systems Inc. agreed to pay a $7 million penalty to settle allegations it improperly issued stock-option grants, making it the first company to pay a fine in connection with the backdating scandal, according to people familiar with the matter. The technology company's settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission paves the way for similar cases to be resolved. Two other companies -- Analog Devices Inc. and Mercury Interactive Corp. -- previously announced preliminary settlements with the SEC that are to include penalties.
    "Backdating Fine May Set Model Brocade Is the First to Pay Penalty in Options Probe; SEC Debated Punishment," by Kara Scannell, The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2007; Page A3 --- Click Here

    Bob Jensen's threads on stock option accounting are at

    GMAT: Paying for Points
    Test-prep services can be a big help as applicants prepare for the B-school admissions exam. Here, a rundown of some well-known players
    by Francesca Di Meglio
    Business Week, May 22, 2007

    If you're thinking of applying to B-school, then you're likely also wondering how to conquer the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)—and whether a commercial test-preparation service, which can cost upwards of $1,000, is right for you.

    Although admissions committees, even at the best-ranked B-schools, will tell you that your GMAT score is only one of many criteria for getting accepted, you still should plan on earning between 600 and a perfect 800, especially if you're gunning for the A-list. (To find the average and median GMAT scores of accepted students in individual programs, scan the B-school profiles.)

    . . .

    One popular option is consulting a test-prep company that provides everything from group instruction to online courses. Here's an overview of the most popular GMAT test-preparation services in alphabetical order. For more opinions on the various test-prep services from test takers themselves, visit the B-School forums, where this subject comes up a lot. And you can also check out's newly updated GMAT Prep page ---

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    The above article then goes on to identify the main commercial players in GMAT coaching for a fee, including those with coaching books, coaching CDs, coaching Websites, coaching courses, and one-on-one coaching tutorials with a supposed expert near where you live. The Business Week capsule summaries are rather nice summaries about options, costs, pros and cons of each coaching option.

    Kaplan ---

    Manhattan GMAT ---

    Princeton Review ---

    Veritas ---

    Business Week fails to mention one of the better sites (Test Magic) , in my viewpoint, for GMAT, SAT, GRE, and other test coaching:

    Advice to students planning to take standardized tests such as the SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, TOEFL, etc.
    See Test Magic at
    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.

    Bob Jensen's threads about higher education controversies are at

    "U.S. Securities Law: Does 'High Intensity' Enforcement Pay Off?" Knowledge@Wharton, May 30, 2007 ---
    Click Here

    Strong enforcement is critical to obtaining good governance and adding value to corporations, and investors stand to gain from it.

    . . .

    In the U.K., the FSA budget for enforcement is between 12.5% and 13% of its total budget, which Coffee said is consistent with many other countries. The SEC spends around 40% of its overall budget on enforcement, and Australia spends even more -- nearly 47% in 2005. Coffee also noted that the SEC has 1,200 attorneys working full time for the agency. The FSA, he said, maintains a "skeletal" legal staff and outsources cases when necessary. In Britain and many other countries, regulators place more emphasis on negotiating settlements to avoid formal enforcement actions. "They don't like to keep a legal enforcement staff because they see enforcement as a last-ditch effort."

    . . .

    In the wake of corporate scandals in the U.S., criminal enforcement is the "ultimate deterrence," Coffee said. Citing research from cases between 1978 and 2004, he noted that some 755 individuals and 40 firms were indicted for "financial misrepresentation," which he said is just a small subset of securities violations. In all, 1,230.7 years of incarceration and 397.5 years of probation were imposed, with an average sentence of 4.2 years.

    Continued in article

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

    The Accounting Firm Ernst & Young Dodges a Bullet (well sort of anyway, for now)
    Four current and former partners of the accounting firm Ernst & Young have been charged with tax fraud conspiracy over their work on questionable tax shelters. The firm itself was not charged. But the indictment against the four, which was announced yesterday, did not mean that Ernst & Young, which has been under investigation since 2004, was entirely off the hook in a widening criminal investigation of the web of banks, accounting firms, law firms and investment boutiques that promoted questionable shelters.
    Lynnley Browning, "Four Men, but Not Ernst & Young, Are Charged in Tax Shelter Case," The New York Times, May 31, 2007 ---

    "E&Y partners indicted for tax fraud" AccountingWeb, May 31, 2007 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on Ernst & Young scandals are at

    The firm of KPMG to date has taken a much, much heavier hit for selling questionable tax shelters ---

    How to improve home and office wireless performance

    From Mossberg's Mailbox, May 17, 2007 ---

    Q: The wireless connection to my wife's Windows XP computer keeps going down. The computer is about 75 feet (but through three walls) from my Dell Truemobile 2300 router. Should I assume I need a better, more powerful router? And, finally, will it also connect to my MacBook Pro laptop?

    A: A more powerful router might help, but wireless reception varies greatly depending on home construction and layout. You might look for a new router that features a technology called MIMO, which I have found in my tests can improve both speed and range. Even with a new router, you might also have to move its location. There are also various boosters and repeaters that can be used, though some of these require more technical expertise to install than most folks have.

    One good method for extending the range of a wireless connection is to buy a set of so-called powerline adapters. These carry your network signal over plain old electrical lines, and some models allow you to create a wireless network by plugging a wireless router into such an adapter in a distant room. I described these adapters in more detail in a column you can find at:

    In my own home, I have used both MIMO routers, and powerline adapters, successfully with mixtures of Windows and Apple Macintosh computers, including the MacBook Pro, and various Dell, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard laptops.


    Q: Can I remove the junk programs that came with my new computer -- the ones you call "craplets" -- by using the "Add or Remove Programs" control panel in Windows?

    A: Yes, but that is a tedious manual process and may not get them all. Also, in Windows Vista, that control panel has been renamed and is now called "Programs and Features."

    Instead, I would suggest first downloading and running a free program specifically designed to eliminate craplets, the crippled trial programs and advertising come-ons that are now packed into so many new Windows PCs. This program is called "The PC Decrapifier" and can be found at If this program misses a few of the junk items you want gone, you can then use the manual method.

    Why are you in greater risk of having your license plates stolen?

    Forwarded by Dick Haar

    This is true according to Snopes:

     A woman said her son found his license plate missing so he called the police to file a report.  They told him people were stealing the plates to get free gas.  Given the rise in gas prices, people have begun stealing license plates, putting them on their car, pumping gas and driving off without paying.  The gas station will have "your" license plate # and you could be in trouble for "pump and run."

     Check your car periodically to be sure you still have a plate.  If you should find it missing, file a report immediately!!!  Keep an eye on your license plate!  Make sure you always know it's there!  When the license plate is reported as the "drive off vehicle", it's YOU they contact!  Be aware of your license plates, most of us never look to see if they're there.


    "When I Was Your Age, We Didn't Have Sites For Writing Our Bios," by Sarmad Ali, The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2007; Page B1 ---

    They may not ever be best-sellers but they have a built-in loyal readership of friends and relatives, at least. A number of new Web sites are helping people to write accounts of their life stories or family histories to preserve for posterity.

    Many of these services promise to keep the authors' autobiographies and biographies online forever. It is up to the writers whether they want to limit readership with the use of passwords or to make their stories available to the world.

    I tested two of the sites: and biowriters.NET. Both proved helpful in organizing key parts of my life and prompted me to remember important moments, people and situations -- some of which I would prefer to forget.

    But when it came to a finished product, the results were a little disappointing, especially when I opted for the least expensive choices. Those left you with little more than a list of disconnected sentences about yourself and your recollections.

    People who have no writing skills but who want to create stories with a gripping narrative are going to have to pay up. Biowriters sells a 14-chapter biography compiled by a professional writer for $3,450.

    To get started with either of these services, you first need to sign up online to get a member ID and password. You'll need to use the password whenever you want to access your online biography.

    LifeBio's online interface is intuitive. Its template is divided into four main headings containing many areas of interest, including historical events and favorites as a child. Each heading is subdivided into groups of questions. You click on an entry and select the questions you want to answer, save your answers, then go on to other questions.

    The service offers three types of membership. The entry-level InstantBio membership for $9.95 lets you answer 102 basic questions about hobbies, pets, high school and other obvious milestones in life. The basic membership for $39.95 has subscribers answering 250 questions divided into categories. The select membership is similar to the basic one except it also includes a memory journal, a hardcover book with 250 questions and space to answer them all. It's designed for people who prefer to handwrite their biographies and not to broadcast them on the Internet. A select membership costs $49.95.

    Many of the questions included in the basic membership are very general ("If you have experienced divorce or remarriage, you are welcome to share your memories and feelings."); some are obvious ("Where would you go on dates?"); and some are thought-provoking and meant to allow you to give your life's philosophy ("What advice would you give to future generations about love?").

    But unless you decide to try to weave all those answers into something resembling a real biography, you'll end up with just your list of answers. The company's InstantBio membership allows users to hide the questions but it still makes for a choppy narrative. LifeBio is testing a new approach that includes having a writer interview the members by phone. The end package would include an audio recording of the interview on a CD and a printout -- all for about $199.

    Signing up for biowriters online also is simple. You just click on the My BioWriters icon on the main page and create a password. You are then routed to your own home page with three headings: My Bio, where you can answer questions about your life that are divided into chapters; My Media, where users can upload pictures and PDF files; and My Purchases, where you can buy the company's products.

    This service offers a variety of payment options. Users can pay a $10.95 monthly subscription fee for the duration of the writing process, for which you answer 370 questions, upload pictures and other documents, and access the company's writers, who will correspond by email or phone. Or you can pay $34.95 and have a lifetime of access.

    Continued in article

    Alternative Farming Systems Information Center ---

    From the Scout Report on June 1, 2007

    Snarfer 0.8.3 --- 

    With the explosion of RSS feeds, it can be a trying proposition to keep up with even a small set of interesting feeds. This version of Snarfer can help users do just that as they can perform keyword searches across their selected feeds, look for items throughout both eBay and Craigslist postings, and also use a number of specialized menus. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows XP or Vista.

    Pathway 1.0.3 --- 

    Sometimes wandering through the wilds of Wikipedia can result in confusion. For Dennis Lorson, his wandering led him to create this handy application. With Pathway 1.0.3 visitors can retrace their own steps through Wikipedia by creating a graphical network representation of article pages. It’s worth a try, and it will work with all computers running Mac OS X 10.4.

    Critics, authors and editors concerned over recent moves to eliminate book review sections in nation’s newspapers Newspapers juggle book review sections in a time of change ---

    Battle of the book reviews,0,4948424.story

    The blog of the national book critics circle board of directors ---

    How many people are estimated to use Google?

    Over 500 million users!

    "Google Keeps Tweaking Its Search Engine," by Saul Hansell, The New York Times, June 3, 2007 --- Click Here

  • Yet however easy it is to wax poetic about the modern-day miracle of Google, the site is also among the world’s biggest teases. Millions of times a day, users click away from Google, disappointed that they couldn’t find the hotel, the recipe or the background of that hot guy. Google often finds what users want, but it doesn’t always.

    That’s why Amit Singhal and hundreds of other Google engineers are constantly tweaking the company’s search engine in an elusive quest to close the gap between often and always.

    Mr. Singhal is the master of what Google calls its “ranking algorithm” — the formulas that decide which Web pages best answer each user’s question. It is a crucial part of Google’s inner sanctum, a department called “search quality” that the company treats like a state secret. Google rarely allows outsiders to visit the unit, and it has been cautious about allowing Mr. Singhal to speak with the news media about the magical, mathematical brew inside the millions of black boxes that power its search engine.

    Google values Mr. Singhal and his team so highly for the most basic of competitive reasons. It believes that its ability to decrease the number of times it leaves searchers disappointed is crucial to fending off ever fiercer attacks from the likes of Yahoo and Microsoft and preserving the tidy advertising gold mine that search represents.

    “The fundamental value created by Google is the ranking,” says John Battelle, the chief executive of Federated Media, a blog ad network, and author of “The Search,” a book about Google.

    Online stores, he notes, find that a quarter to a half of their visitors, and most of their new customers, come from search engines. And media sites are discovering that many people are ignoring their home pages — where ad rates are typically highest — and using Google to jump to the specific pages they want.

    “Google has become the lifeblood of the Internet,” Mr. Battelle says. “You have to be in it.”

    Users, of course, don’t see the science and the artistry that makes Google’s black boxes hum, but the search-quality team makes about a half-dozen major and minor changes a week to the vast nest of mathematical formulas that power the search engine.

    These formulas have grown better at reading the minds of users to interpret a very short query. Are the users looking for a job, a purchase or a fact? The formulas can tell that people who type “apples” are likely to be thinking about fruit, while those who type “Apple” are mulling computers or iPods. They can even compensate for vaguely worded queries or outright mistakes.

    “Search over the last few years has moved from ‘Give me what I typed’ to ‘Give me what I want,’ ” says Mr. Singhal, a 39-year-old native of India who joined Google in 2000 and is now a Google Fellow, the designation the company reserves for its elite engineers.

    Google recently allowed a reporter from The New York Times to spend a day with Mr. Singhal and others in the search-quality team, observing some internal meetings and talking to several top engineers. There were many questions that Google wouldn’t answer. But the engineers still explained more than they ever have before in the news media about how their search system works.

    As Google constantly fine-tunes its search engine, one challenge it faces is sheer scale. It is now the most popular Web site in the world, offering its services in 112 languages, indexing tens of billons of Web pages and handling hundreds of millions of queries a day.

    Even more daunting, many of those pages are shams created by hucksters trying to lure Web surfers to their sites filled with ads, pornography or financial scams. At the same time, users have come to expect that Google can sift through all that data and find what they are seeking, with just a few words as clues.

    . . .

    Google’s approach to search reflects its unconventional management practices. It has hundreds of engineers, including leading experts in search lured from academia, loosely organized and working on projects that interest them. But when it comes to the search engine — which has many thousands of interlocking equations — it has to double-check the engineers’ independent work with objective, quantitative rigor to ensure that new formulas don’t do more harm than good.

    As always, tweaking and quality control involve a balancing act. “You make a change, and it affects some queries positively and others negatively,” Mr. Manber says. “You can’t only launch things that are 100 percent positive.”

    Continued in article

  • Bob Jensen's search helpers, including summaries of the many services of Google are at

    From The Washington Post on June 1, 2007

    What is the name of a new tool in Google's map program?

    A. Street View
    B. EveryScape
    C. Virtual Earth
    D. Fly Over

    Updates from WebMD ---

    "Shark Cartilage, Not a Cancer Therapy," by Andrew Pollack, The New York Times, June 3, 2007 --- Click Here

    From Time Magazine on June 11, 2007 ---

    The Science Of Appetite
    There's a lot more to feeling hungry than you think. New research into what drives us to eat may teach us how to control the urge
    Read the Cover Story

    The cover package also includes:

    How the World Eats
    In the face of Westernization, families across the globe are abandoning traditional diets and dining habits

    A New Diet Equation
    Where you gain weight on your body may play a significant role in how you can lose it

    Fat Chance
    The Biggest Loser helps contestants quickly drop a lot of weight, but what happens when the show is over?

    Notes on a Food-Free Diet
    An intrepid reporter's firsthand account of how he survived for 48 hours on nothing but a liquid mixture of lemons, cayenne pepper and

    Forwarded by Bob Overn

    Understanding our Tax System (humor, well sort of that is)
    David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
    Professor of Economics
    of Georgia


    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

    The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
    The fifth would pay $1.
    The sixth would pay $3.
    The seventh would pay $7.
    The eighth would pay $12.
    The ninth would pay $18.
    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

    So, that's what they decided to do.

    The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. "Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.  But what about the other six men, the paying customers?  How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'  They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be
    fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

    And so:

    The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
    The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

    Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

    "I only got a dollar out of the $20, declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!"

    "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"

    "That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

    "Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

    The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

    And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

    Tidbits Archives ---

    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

    Three Finance Blogs

    Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog ---
    FinancialRounds Blog ---
    Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) ---

    Some Accounting Blogs

    Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) ---
    International Association of Accountants News --- and Double Entries ---
    Gerald Trite's eBusiness and XBRL Blogs ---
    AccountingWeb ---   
    SmartPros ---

    Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs ---
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks ---
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits ---
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates ---

    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 ---

    Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities ---

    Free Textbooks and Cases ---

    Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials ---

    Free Science and Medicine Tutorials ---

    Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials ---

    Free Education Discipline Tutorials ---

    Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

    Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature ---

    Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness ---

    Teacher Source: Math ---

    Teacher Source:  Science ---

    Teacher Source:  PreK2 ---

    Teacher Source:  Library Media ---

    Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University ---

    VYOM eBooks Directory ---

    From Princeton Online
    The Incredible Art Department ---

    Online Mathematics Textbooks --- 

    National Library of Virtual Manipulatives ---

    Moodle  --- 

    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
    AECM (Educators) 
    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 ---

    CPAS-L (Practitioners) 
    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)
    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.
    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 
    This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM



    Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
    190 Sunset Hill Road
    Sugar Hill, NH 03586
    Phone:  603-823-8482