The first flowers of spring are the crocuses emerging from leftover snow. Later on the lavender lilacs and lupin bloom in full glory. All summer long new perennials begin to bloom when others fade away. The peonies are now if full glory. These will be followed by lilies and irises planted all around the yard and pond.  Singing frogs are louder than usual this year and sometimes keep us awake. Where can we find good recipes for frog legs?

I spent yesterday planting grass seed around our newly-buried propane tank. What a mess was left by the excavating machine and dump trucks. But new grass should be in place in a few weeks.

The propane tank has a rather ugly "dome" about the size of a trash can that sticks out of the ground. Since this is New Hampshire, the excavating machine pulled six rocks weighing over 100 lbs each from the ground. I placed these around the ugly dome and then added more rocks to form a stone wall surrounding most of the dome. Then I placed flower boxes atop the wall. These look nice beside Erika's largest flower garden. I also placed a new wishing well in front of the wall's opening and hung hanging baskets on all sides of the structure under the roof. The site of the dome is now one of the more attractive parts of our lawn.  This is what you call turning lemons into lemonade. I will soon take some pictures and show you my handiwork.

This week I will take Erika to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for some medical tests. My first wish at the wishing well was for Erika to get better ---


Tidbits on June 25, 2007
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
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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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

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Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
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Set up free conference calls at  

If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops  ---

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 ---

Tony Blair bashes the biased, sensationalist, and unprofessional mainstream media --- Click Here
(be patient and endure the short commercial lead in)

The U.S. military has cleared 22 poems by Guantanamo Bay prisoners for release in an anthology that will be published in August, giving readers an unusual glimpse into the emotional lives of the prisoners there.
A Wall Street Journal video ---

George Carlin - Who Really Controls America --- Click Here
"More kids pass tests if we simplify the tests --- Why education will never be fixed."

At last there's a way to capture streaming video (even though it's not a video file)
Streaming Video To Go RealPlayer will let you record clips for offline viewing
Bob Jensen's threads on streaming media are at

2007 Video Game Reviews ---
Bob Jensen's threads on edutainment ---

Free music downloads ---

In Baghdad, a Rare Musical Performance ---

Giacomo Puccini's 'Tosca' From Houston Grand Opera ---

How True it Is (forwarded by Auntie Bev) ---

One of the greatest improvisers in jazz history, Art Tatum also set the standard for technical dexterity with his classic 1933 recording of "Tea for Two." Nearly blind, Tatum had artistic vision and ability that made him an icon of jazz piano, a musician whose impact will be felt for generations to come ---

One of the most widely imitated saxophonists of the past four decades, Michael Brecker won 13 Grammys and widespread praise for his awe-inspiring technique and smooth tone ---

At 68, Hunter continues to create hard-driving, memorable music, but he remains most famous for his guitar heroics and vocals in the '70s glam favorite Mott the Hoople. Hear Hunter perform a concert ---

World Cafe Live --- 

Are You Lonesome Tonight? (midi version) ---

Here are a few links to the real Elvis over the years ---

 Many more from Janie Breck ---

Photographs and Art

Spring Pictures --- Click Here

Dirt Road Photography --- Click Here

Photographs of Rural Tyrone --- Click Here

Digital Pictures of Britain (from BBC) --- Click Here

From Time Magazine:  Hard Times in Brooklyn --- Click Here

From Time Magazine:  White House Photo Blog --- Click Here


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 ---

One Million University of Illinois (Free) Books to be Digitized by Google ---
Google Digitized Books ---
For example, key in the word "accounting"
Then try "Advanced Managerial Accounting"
Then try "Joel Demski"
Then try "Accounting for Derivative Financial Instruments"
Then try "Robert E. Jensen" AND "Accounting"

How do scholars search for academic references? ---

When Google announced a major expansion of its Library Project this month, attracting widespread attention, Emory University announced a different approach to digitizing collections. Unlike the Google model, Emory was only digitizing works that are no longer under copyright, and was retaining control over sale of the works (through print on demand) . . . On Thursday, two companies working with Emory announced that they plan to take that model to many other colleges and universities — as well as other large library collections.
Scott Jaschik, "An Alternative to Google," Inside Higher Ed, June 22, 2007 ---

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announces the availability of a newly-digitized collection of Abraham Lincoln books accessible through the Open Content Alliance and displayed on the University Library's own web site, as the first step of a digitization project of Lincoln books from its collection. View the first set of books digitized at:

Dershowitz-Finkelstein affair ---

Poems by Rudyard Kipling --- Click Here

Across The Plains by Robert Louis Stevenson --- Click Here

Not free online, but worth noting
Meg Rosoff has won Britain's most prestigious prize in children's literature today with her novel written for teenagers about death, depression and sex. The American-born author, who now lives in London, was awarded the CILIP Carnegie Medal for her second book, Just In Case. She joins the ranks of distinguished writers including CS Lewis, Eleanor Farjeon and David Almond who have won the coveted award, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.
Elsa McLaren, London Times, June 21, 2007 --- Click Here

Be frank and explicit with your accountant ... It will then be her/his job to make everything confused.
Author unknown

There is only a thin veneer that separates civilization from man's innate barbarity. Some 2,500 years ago the historian Thucydides once warned us about the irony of revolutionaries and insurrectionists destroying this fragile patina of culture, as if they themselves might be exempt from ever wanting it back again.
Victor Davis Hanson, "Hypocrisy That Undermines Civilization, RealClearPolitics, June 19, 2007 --- 

If China can do it, why can't the U.S.?
As governments worldwide look at nuclear power as a possible answer to global warming, China has embarked on a nuclear-plant construction binge that eventually could exceed the one the United States undertook during the technology's heyday in the 1960s. Under plans already announced, China intends to spend $50 billion to build 32 nuclear plants by 2020. Some analysts say the country will build 300 more by the middle of the century. That's not much less than the generating power of all the nuclear plants in the world today.

Aariana Eunjung, Cha, Miami Herald, June 18, 2007 ---

K-State project aims to make sodium-cooled nuclear reactors safe, efficient Proposals to reduce America's heavy dependence on foreign oil are helping to renew interest in nuclear energy. And at Kansas State University, the goal is to help make that energy source as safe as possible.
PhysOrg, June 18, 2007 ---

Thanks to evidence refuting nuclear energy's reputation as a nonpolluter, the U.S. should reconsider approval for new plants. Pro or con?
In Favor of Nuclear Option:  Scott Peterson, Nuclear Energy Institute, Business Week, June 22, 2007 --- Click Here
Against Nuclear Option
: Jim Riccio, Greenpeace USA, Business Week, June 22, 2007 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
Greenpeace is against all options other than living cold/hot, hungry, impoverished, and primitive. Sadly Greenpeace never has to make hard choices. It's easy to be against everything except minimal economic solutions of wind and sun that will impoverish the world on the premise that the poor will survive longer huddled in communes. The odd thing is that Greenpeace will focus its resistance on a single new nuclear plant in the U.S. rather than 32 new plants in China that are expected to be online by 2020. Perhaps democracy was doomed from the start.

In the 1955 classic movie "We're No Angels," Humphrey Bogart plays an escaped convict who cons a shopper into buying a jacket way too small for him. When he fails to squeeze the man into the garment, Bogart's character pretends to have a bigger size in the storage room, only to return with the exact same jacket. This time he somehow manages to jam the unsuspecting customer into it, takes his money and rushes him out of the store . . . In a nutshell, Europeans leaders have a similar plan for their Constitution. They're selling their citizens the same bill of goods that French and Dutch voters firmly rejected in 2005. The sleight of hand here is to pretend that the two-year "reflection period" has produced something different, which the EU hopes voters will buy without even insisting on a serious discussion of its merits. Referendums won't be necessary to ratify this version, claim German Chancellor Angela Merkel & Co., who want to strike a deal at their summit later this week. No angels, indeed.
Daniel Schammenthal, "The Constitution Con," The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2007 --- Click Here 

Imagine a life where work is optional and the state guarantees a minimal standard of living regardless of employment or effort. Such a cradle-to-grave entitlement system has been the centerpiece of Swedish politics since 1932. Last September, a political earthquake shook the Riksdag (parliament) here in Stockholm when Swedish voters decided to cast off former Prime Minister Goran Persson's venerable Social Democratic government in favor of a more market-oriented political alliance led by Moderate Party leader, Fredrik Reinfeldt. "They [the Social Democrats] were stunned," says Riksdag official Yngve Borgstrom, of the 2006 election.
 Josiah R. Baker "Sweden's turn from socialism," The Washington Times, June 17, 2007 --- Click Here 

Where do the presidential candidates stand on immigration issues?
Republican Candidates (Pages 1-4) ---
Democratic Candidates (Pages 1-3) ---
The overwhelming number of candidates from both sides support doubling the U.S. population with immigration. Sigh!

Yet for all the sweet talk, most of Congress is still hoping voters will forget all this hubbub about pork amid more pressing issues like the Iraq war. The uproar over Democrats' decision to hide the details of 32,000 earmark requests suggests those hopes are as yet misplaced. Even with greater transparency, will the humiliation factor work? Amid all House Appropriations Chairman David Obey's unconvincing reasons for keeping the public in the dark, he did make the fair point that even when embarrassing earmarks have been disclosed, Congress rallies around its porksters and approves the money. It's hard to shame people who have no shame.
Kimberly Strassel, "Pork Project," The Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2007; Page A10 --- Click Here

They (Democrats) came into power pledging to curb wasteful pork projects that had hit a record $23 billion in 2006. Then they passed a budget resolution that would increase nondefense discretionary spending by $23 billion more than President Bush proposed. A coincidence? "Taxpayers -- and even lawmakers -- want to know how much of this new spending will go toward pork projects. But House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (of Wisconsin) has reversed earlier transparency pledges by vowing to keep all House pork projects secret until the appropriations bills have passed the House," complains budget watchdog Brian Riedl at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Donald Lambro, "Pork-barrel Democratz Feeling the Heat," Townhall, June 18, 2007 ---

The 88 Duke University faculty members who took out a hysterical ad, supporting those local loudmouths who were denouncing and threatening the Duke students, have apparently had nothing at all to say now. Not only did many Duke University professors join the lynch mob atmosphere, so did the Duke University administration, which got rid of the lacrosse coach and cancelled the team's season, without a speck of evidence that anybody was guilty of anything.
Thomas Sowell, "The Duke Case's Unfinished Business," RealClearPolitics, June 19, 2007 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
Duke University settled a law suit with the three falsely accused students for an undisclosed amount of money ---

Despite the new Democratic congressional leadership's promise of "openness and transparency" in the budget process, a CNN survey of the House found it nearly impossible to get information on lawmakers' pet projects. Staffers for only 31 of the 435 members of the House contacted by CNN between Wednesday and Friday of last week supplied a list of their earmark requests for Fiscal Year 2008, which begins on October 1, or pointed callers to Web sites where those earmark requests were posted. Of the remainder, 68 declined to provide CNN with a list, and 329 either didn't respond to requests or said they would get back to us, and didn't. (Find out how your representative responded)" As long as we are not required to release them, we're not going to," said Dan Turner, an aide to Rep. Jim McCrery, R-Louisiana.
"Despite promises, few in House make earmark requests public," CNN, June 19, 2007 --- 

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
Anaïs Nin --- Click Here

Some things you won't read about in the liberal progressive press
When President George W. Bush sits down with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet at the White House on Friday, it will be the first time that a Communist President of Vietnam has called on the President of the former enemy, the United States. The meeting may also mark a turning point in the history of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Nguyen Dan Que, Vietnamese Rights and Wrongs, The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2007 --- Click Here

Taliban fighters executed (by slashing throats) Afghan civilians, including women, who refused to join them during a recent fierce battle against NATO and Afghan government forces in the south, the Dutch military chief said Friday. Citing ''solid reports'' from Afghan police, Gen. Dick Berlijn said Dutch and Afghan forces, supported by Dutch and U.S. air strikes, fended off an attempt by about 500 Taliban fighters to overrun the southern town of Chora last weekend. During the attack, Taliban fighters tried to force local civilians to fight alongside them, ''and killed citizens who refused - they were hauled out of...
"Taliban executed civilians," Expactica, June 22, 2007 --- Click Here

Sandy Berger previously entered a deal with the Department of Justice after he was caught stealing and destroying highly sensitive classified material regarding the Clinton Administration's handling of terrorism issues. That deal allowed him to avoid jail time, pay a modest fine, and keep his law license. It also allowed him to avoid full explanation of what he had taken and why he had taken it. What information was worth risking his reputation, his career, and his freedom to keep hidden? And who was he risking that for? Recently, the Board of the DC Bar, which had granted Berger his license, began asking those questions. There was only one way to stop that investigation, to keep from answering questions about what he did and why he did it, to keep the Bar from questioning his colleagues in the Clinton Administration about what had been in the documents Berger destroyed. Berger took that step, surrendering his license, and stopping the investigation.
Ronald A. Cass, "Sandy Berger and the Clinton Cover-Up - Why It Matters,"  The Rule of Law in America
Ronald A. Cass is Chairman of the Center for the Rule of Law, Dean Emeritus of Boston University School of Law, and Author of The Rule of Law in America.

By a vote of 411-2, the House Wednesday approved a resolution "calling on the United Nations Security Council to charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the United Nations Charter because of his calls for the destruction of the State of Israel."
Carol Muller, Opinion Journal, June 23, 2007
Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich certainly stands out in a crowd ---

It surprised me that The New York Times Reported John Edward's Questionable Ethics
Mr. Edwards, who reported this year that he had assets of nearly $30 million, came up with a novel solution, creating a nonprofit organization with the stated mission of fighting poverty. The organization, the Center for Promise and Opportunity, raised $1.3 million in 2005, and — unlike a sister charity he created to raise scholarship money for poor students — the main beneficiary of the center’s fund-raising was Mr. Edwards himself, tax filings show.
Leslie Wayne, "In Aiding Poor, Edwards Built Bridge to 2008," The New York Times, June 22, 2007 --- Click Here

Some things you will read about in the liberal progressive press
One (Obama) spoke to the heart. One (Edwards) spoke to the head. But both presidential candidates had the same mission: to prevent Senator Hillary Clinton from claiming the soul of their party.
David Korn, "Obama for the Heart, Edwards for the Head?" The Nation, June 19, 2007 ---
This rather dramatic change of heart encapsulates one of the great ironies of Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency. Many of the very same feminists who were her most ardent supporters as First Lady are now fiercely opposed to her historic bid to become the first female President of the United States. The woman once described by Susan Faludi as a symbol of "the joy of female independence" now evokes ambivalence, disdain and, sometimes, outright vitriol. The right wing's favorite "femi-nazi" now has to contend with Jane Fonda comparing her to "a ventriloquist for the patriarchy with a skirt and a vagina."
Lakshmi Chaudhry, "What Women See When They See Hillary, The Nation, June 19, 2007 ---

Hillary Clinton's controversial "Tokio Rose" campaign site ---
In tone the site is very Tokyo Rose. Encouraging readers to send in "confidential tips," its primary target and obvious obsession is Barack Obama. "Senator Barack Obama (D-Rezko) is busy lately lying about President Bill Clinton" and "attacking entire communities." "We have written extensively on Obama, and his indicted slumlord friend Antoin 'Tony' Rezko. We have repeatedly warned David Axelrod, Michelle Obama and Barack Obama that this story is not going away." The Obama campaign is "still posing as innocents incapable of doing anything unsavory even as evidence mounts that unsavory is their favorite dish." "Dirty Obama Smear" and "Obama's Dirty Mud Politics" are two recent headlines.
Peggy Noonan, "What's Not to Like:  The soft side, and the underside, of Hillary Clinton's campaign," The Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2007 ---

An unprecedented coalition of large companies, pension funds, and trade unions will on Monday urge corporate America to scrap quarterly earnings guidance in an attempt to curtail the influence of hedge funds and other short-term investors. The move, backed by leading corporate figures such as Jeff Kindler, chief executive of Pfizer, and Anne Mulcahy, his counterpart at Xerox, will increase pressure on companies and fund managers to focus on long-term objectives rather than short-term fixes. The broad-based coalition, whose participants range from the Business Roundtable, which represents 160 leading US chief executives, to the AFL-CIO, the largest union federation, . . .
Francesco Guerrera, "Call for end to quarterly guidance," Financial Times, June 17, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
This is the antithesis of real time reporting and auditing advocated by most academics.

With much of its land below sea level, the Netherlands is charting a course around ominous climate-change trends.
David Talbot, "Part I: Saving Holland," MIT's Technology Review, June 18, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Perhaps this is why the Netherlands has the tallest people on earth.
The Dutch are nearly 10 centimetres taller on average than the British and Americans, and almost 15 centimetres taller than they were four decades ago.
Reuters, "Dutch, World’s Tallest People, Just Keep Growing," Toronto Star --- Click Here

Renowned British scientist Sir Isaac Newton, the father of modern physics and astronomy, predicted the world would end in 2060 in a 1704 letter that went on show in Jerusalem on Sunday . . .2060 is close to the Mayan calculation of or 12/20/2012 in GMT notation.
PhysOrg, June 17, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
I'd like to stick around to see if Sir Isaac was correct! But then he did make some mistakes about time, space, light, and relativity. I suspect that the end of the world is "relative." Al Gore, who really invented modern physics and astronomy as well as the Internet, thinks the world will reach a boiling point before 2060, possibly in 2008.

Those differences increased after the creation of Israel in 1948, when Gaza fell under the administration of Egypt and the West Bank was annexed by Jordan. Egypt treated Gaza as a Palestinian enclave and encouraged a strong sense of Palestinian identity. Many Gazans who studied in Egypt during those years were influenced, in turn, by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose goal is to establish Islamic theocracies across the Arab world. Back in Gaza, some of those men founded Hamas in 1987. Jordan, on the other hand, suppressed Palestinian nationalism in favor of Jordanian identity and Palestinians in the West Bank were more influenced by the secular societies of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, where many went to study. Others traveled even further abroad, bringing back a liberal view of the world.
Craig S. Smith and Greg Myre, "Hamas May Find It Needs Its Enemy," The New York Times, June 18, 2007 --- Click Here

The researchers say some policy initiatives have lost their way Most of the persistent low achievers in England's schools are poor and white, and far more are boys than girls, a Joseph Rowntree Foundation study says. Chinese and Indian pupils are most successful. Afro-Caribbean pupils do no worse than white British from similar economic backgrounds, results suggest.
"Low attainers 'poor white boys'," BBC News, June 22, 2007 --- 

Some in Congress and elsewhere believe the solution in Iraq is a three-way partition. They have not done their homework. Partition is the way to more war--multiple wars, in fact--not the way to peace, and it is the way to increased Iranian influence. It is of course still possible to argue that withdrawal is preferable to an open-ended involvement, on the grounds that the high costs to us of involvement exceed the high costs of withdrawal. But the opposite position--which happens to be mine--is also tenable: The consequences of withdrawal are worse than the costs of continuing involvement. That is where the debate should be joined, based on a careful assessment of the comparative advantages of each course and of middle courses, such as partial withdrawal. That would be a serious debate, rather than the vacuous one that Congress has so far engaged in. Is it too much to ask that Congress rise to the occasion, as it did during the Cold War, and get serious about assessing the interests of our country?
Donald L. Horowitz, Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University and author of "Ethnic Groups in Conflict" (California, 2000), "Unifying Iraq:  Partition is the path to more war--multiple wars, in fact," The Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2007 ---

The importance of prospective fame as a motivator for those whose grievances against the world so often include their own obscurity and loneliness can hardly be overstated. It has been investigated by Albert Borowitz in "Terrorism for Self-Glorification: The Herostratos Syndrome" (Kent State University Press, 2005), which I have had occasion to mention before in this space (see "Honor Enduring" in The New Criterion of January 2005). But the media's effort to understand such killers as the Virginia Tech shooter must always stop short of understanding this. Writing in the British satirical magazine Private Eye, someone identified only as "Remote Controller" thought that "the thrill of getting ahead of the other networks on the biggest story of the year will have been undercut by a very mild unease that a guy who wished to be on TV after killing thirty-two people immediately identified NBC as a sort of al-Jazeera for psychopaths." I wish I could believe this--that NBC suffered from even a mild sense of unease about its complicity in promoting a monster as a martyr. But I doubt it. The media's treatment of the Iraq war suggests that the myth of the journalist's independence from and lack of any responsibility for the events he reports on is now so firmly entrenched as to be quite immovable. For that we have to thank, at least partly, the romance of David Halberstam's--and the media's--Vietnam.
James Bowman writes about the media for The New Criterion, "Getting It Right:  David Halberstam and the media's ethos of irresponsibility," The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2007 ---


A Harvard primatologist thinks that the invention of barbecue occurred 1.9 million years ago, fueling the expansion of the early hominid brain.
David Ewing, "Did Primordial Chefs Feed Our Giant Brains?" MIT's Technology Review, June 19, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Evidently your back yard BBQ is more important to future generations than you realized. But this generation added the beer and margaritas that probably undo all the good.

Vacations, Like Money, Cannot Guarantee Happiness
This may be one reason why Americans tend to score better than Europeans on most happiness surveys. For example, according to the 2002 International Social Survey Programme across 35 countries, 56% of Americans are "completely happy" or "very happy" with their lives, versus 44% of Danes (often cited in surveys as the happiest Europeans), 35% of the French and 31% of Germans. Those sweet five-week vacations and 35-hour workweeks don't seem to be stimulating all that much félicité. A good old-fashioned 50-hour week might be a better option.
Arthur C. Brooks, Professor at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Public Affairs and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of Who Really Cares (Basic Books, 2006), "Happy for the Work," The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2007; Page A16 --- Click Here

Richest Zip Codes for Presidential Candidates, Forbes, June 18, 2007 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
This operates just like Google Maps and even has a satellite photo option.

The map shows a congested swath of fund-raising activity from the Mid-Atlantic to New England. And predictably, California (with $20.4 million) and New York ($19.6 million) have provided the most money to presidential campaigns. It also reveals large clumps of fund raising in Texas ($8.4 million), Florida ($6.9 million) and Illinois ($5.9 million). In fact, those five states account for nearly 40% of the money raised at this stage in the campaign.

The face I carry with me -- last
When I go out of Time
To take my Rank -- by -- in the West
That face -- will just be thine

Emily Dickenson ---

Contrary to popular opinion, men are more likely to look at a female's face before other areas when looking at pictures of naked women, according to a study by Emory University researchers. And women will gaze at pictures of heterosexual sex longer than men, the study found.
PhysOrg, June 20, 2007 ---

Contrary to spreading email rumors about the  Government's "Do Not Call Registry," you do not have to  register  your cell phone ---

What are the most common cognitive biases?

Answer ---

Many of these biases are studied for how they affect belief formation and business decisions and scientific research.
  • Bandwagon effect — the tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. Related to groupthink, herd behaviour, and manias.
  • Bias blind spot — the tendency not to compensate for one's own cognitive biases.
  • Choice-supportive bias — the tendency to remember one's choices as better than they actually were.
  • Confirmation bias — the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions.
  • Congruence bias — the tendency to test hypotheses exclusively through direct testing, in contrast to tests of possible alternative hypotheses.
  • Contrast effect — the enhancement or diminishment of a weight or other measurement when compared with recently observed contrasting object.
  • Déformation professionnelle — the tendency to look at things according to the conventions of one's own profession, forgetting any broader point of view.
  • Endowment effect — "the fact that people often demand much more to give up an object than they would be willing to pay to acquire it".[1]
  • Focusing effect — prediction bias occurring when people place too much importance on one aspect of an event; causes error in accurately predicting the utility of a future outcome.
  • Hyperbolic discounting — the tendency for people to have a stronger preference for more immediate payoffs relative to later payoffs, the closer to the present both payoffs are.
  • Illusion of control — the tendency for human beings to believe they can control or at least influence outcomes that they clearly cannot.
  • Impact bias — the tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of the impact of future feeling states.
  • Information bias — the tendency to seek information even when it cannot affect action.
  • Irrational escalation — the tendency to make irrational decisions based upon rational decisions in the past or to justify actions already taken.
  • Loss aversion — "the disutility of giving up an object is greater than the utility associated with acquiring it".[2] (see also sunk cost effects and Endowment effect).
  • Neglect of probability — the tendency to completely disregard probability when making a decision under uncertainty.
  • Mere exposure effect — the tendency for people to express undue liking for things merely because they are familiar with them.
  • Omission bias — The tendency to judge harmful actions as worse, or less moral, than equally harmful omissions (inactions).
  • Outcome bias — the tendency to judge a decision by its eventual outcome instead of based on the quality of the decision at the time it was made.
  • Planning fallacy — the tendency to underestimate task-completion times.
  • Post-purchase rationalization — the tendency to persuade oneself through rational argument that a purchase was a good value.
  • Pseudocertainty effect — the tendency to make risk-averse choices if the expected outcome is positive, but make risk-seeking choices to avoid negative outcomes.
  • Reactance - the urge to do the opposite of what someone wants you to do out of a need to reassert a perceived attempt to constrain your freedom of choice.
  • Selective perception — the tendency for expectations to affect perception.
  • Status quo bias — the tendency for people to like things to stay relatively the same (see also Loss aversion and Endowment effect).[3]
  • Von Restorff effect — the tendency for an item that "stands out like a sore thumb" to be more likely to be remembered than other items.
  • Zero-risk bias — preference for reducing a small risk to zero over a greater reduction in a larger risk.


Human-Aided Computing Microsoft researchers are trying to harness untapped brain power
Desney Tan, a researcher at Microsoft Research, and Pradeep Shenoy, a graduate student at the University of Washington, have devised a scheme that uses electro-encephalograph (EEG) caps to collect the brain activity of people looking at pictures of faces and nonfaces, such as horses, cars, and landscapes. The pair found that even when the subjects' objective wasn't to distinguish the faces from the nonfaces, their brain activity indicated that they subconsciously identified the difference. The researchers wrote software that churns through the EEG data and classifies faces and nonfaces based on the subjects' response. When a single person viewed an image once, the system was able to identify faces with up to 72.5 percent accuracy. Results were even better using data from eight people who had viewed a particular image twice: accuracy jumped to 98 percent.
Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, June 22, 2007 ---

What is so special about the new FactSpotter semantics-based search engine from Xerox?

Xerox Rolls Out Semantics-Based Search
Xerox Corp. says its new search engine based on semantics will analyze the meaning behind questions and documents to help researchers find information more quickly. Developing the search engine is similar to understanding how brains process information, said Frederique Segond, manager of parsing and semantics research at Xerox Research Center Europe in Grenoble, France. "Many words can be different things at the same time. The context makes the difference," she said. "The tricky things here are not the words together but how are they linked." For example, common searches using keywords "Lincoln" and "vice president" likely won't reveal President Abraham Lincoln's first vice president. A semantic search should yield the answer: Hannibal Hamlin. Segond, whose background is in math and linguistics, said Stamford-based Xerox has been working on the project for four years. FactSpotter was introduced in Grenoble on Wednesday and will launch next year, initially to help lawyers and corporate litigation departments plow through thousands of pages of legal documents. Xerox expects the technology to eventually be used in health care, manufacturing and financial services. Xerox's technology is part of a growing field in which researchers are trying to adapt to a computer the complex workings of the brain.
Stephen Singer, PhysOrg, June 21, 2007 ---

The Older AskOnce Search Engine from Xerox
Stuck in a search rut? Online search engines aren't your only option. AskOnce from Xerox ( aims to refine searching by allowing access to all the information available to you via a single query. The program's simple and advanced searches scour the Internet, your intranets, DocuShare (Xerox's Web-based storage space), tech magazines and specific databases. The simpie search resembles a typical search engine but accesses mare information. The advanced search is less intuitive but more robust-- offering tools such as scheduled searches. For finding documents buried in your network, AskOnce is handy, but its online capabilities fall short of a good Web meta-search engine. The price for 50-user licenses starts at $7,000 (street).

Liane Gouthro, "Search Me - AskOnce from Xerox - search service,"   LookSmart, Sept, 2001 --- 

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at

What do accounting schools and nursing schools have in common?

"The Nursing Education Dilemma," by Elia Powers, Inside Higher Ed, June 22, 2007 ---

The market for nursing graduates remains hot, and plenty of students are vying for those open positions. Enrollment in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs increased by nearly 8 percent in 2006 from the previous year, which marked the sixth straight year of gains. Community College programs are also seeing increases in applications and enrollments.
It’s all positive news for the health care industry, which has suffered from a well-documented nursing shortage since the 1990s, when many hospitals cut their staffs and some colleges cut back their programs.

But for colleges of nursing, the increasing demand to accommodate more students presents a dilemma: Who will teach them?

When it comes to clinical nursing courses, college programs are bound to strict faculty-to-student ratios, set by individual states. One instructor to every 10 or 12 students is a fairly common ratio. So even as administrators and state lawmakers seek more slots for students, there’s a ceiling on expansion unless more faculty are recruited or produced.

That’s not happening quickly. A survey released last year by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing identified at least 637 faculty vacancies at more than 300 nursing schools with baccalaureate or graduate programs — or what amounts to a nearly 8 percent faculty vacancy rate. The majority of the openings are tenure-track positions that require applicants have a doctorate, the survey shows.

Meanwhile, there continues to be a backlog of students. In 2006, more than 38,000 nursing school candidates deemed “qualified” by the AACN were turned away from entry-level baccalaureate programs, while a total of 50,783 nursing school applicants enrolled and registered in courses. When the new students are added to the pool of all students enrolled, total enrollment rises to 133,578.

Nearly three quarters of the colleges that responded to the AACN survey pointed to faculty shortages as a reason for not accepting the applicants. Community colleges are turning away 3.3 “qualified” applicants for every one turned away by four-year institutions, said Roxanne Fulcher, director of health professions policy at the American Association of Community Colleges.

At many nursing schools, wait lists are shrinking after years of growth, officials say, not because slots are opening up, but because students are becoming frustrated that their chances of enrolling are dim.

Continued in article

Reasons for shortages of accounting professors are discussed at

Ward Churchill Divides the Academy on Issues of Academic Freedom
"Academic Freedom Needs Defending — From Ward Churchill," by Anne D. Neal, Inside Higher Ed, June 21, 2007 ---

When the Boulder campus’s Standing Committee on Research Misconduct issued its report on Churchill last summer, it unanimously found Churchill guilty of severe, sustained, and deliberate breaches of professional integrity. It further noted that the evaluative system that nurtured and rewarded Churchill needed an overhaul. Now, as Brown advises what sanction should apply, the investigation has also galvanized an important discussion about what academic freedom isand what it is not.

To Brown, accountability is a crucial component of academic freedom. In recommending that Churchill be dismissed, Brown noted that the university’s policies define academic freedom as a set of privileges and correlative responsibilities — the latter often ignored in academic discourse on the topic. Academic freedom, he wrote, is “the freedom to inquire, discover, publish and teach truth as the faculty member sees it. … Within the bounds of the definition, however, ‘faculty members have the responsibility to maintain competence, exert themselves to the limit of their intellectual capacities in scholarship, research, writing, and speaking; and to act on and off the campus with integrity and in accordance with the highest standards of their profession.’”

Noting that academic freedom entails both individual and institutional accountability, Brown observed that taxpayer-supported institutions have particularly binding obligations to the people. “The public must be able to trust that the university’s resources will be dedicated to academic endeavors carried out according to the highest possible standards,” he wrote. “Professor Churchill’s conduct, if allowed to stand, would erode the university’s integrity and public trust.” Churchill’s conduct, said Brown, “clearly violated the University’s policies on academic freedom.”

. . .

Crucially, disagreement on this very point is dividing the American Association of University Professors. As Inside Higher Ed has reported, Margaret LeCompte, an education professor who is also president of the Colorado AAUP chapter, calls the Churchill investigation “an opening wedge in the concerted effort to curb academic freedom and tenure.” But Jonathan Knight of the national AAUP’s academic freedom program has defended universities’ right to investigate allegations of faculty misconduct.

Historically the custodian of academic freedom, the AAUP is struggling to clarify, for itself and others, what academic freedom is. And that struggle centers on accountability — which, unfortunately, explains much of why the AAUP is encountering such difficulty. Roger Bowen, the outgoing general secretary, has vocally defended the notion that academics should not have to answer to anyone but themselves. “It should be evident,” he has written, “that the sufficient condition for securing the academic freedom of our profession is the profession itself.”

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the Ward Churchill controversies are available at

How bad can the ID theft scammers get?
Military spouses are frequent targets for charlatans, so they’re frequently warned to maintain a healthy skepticism. But the latest identity theft scam targeting soldiers' families is enough to make even a veteran crime fighter's skin crawl. Creeps are calling up military spouses, posing as representatives of the American Red Cross. The caller tells the spouse that his or her husband or wife has been injured in Iraq and taken to Germany for life-saving treatment. But the treatment cannot begin, the caller says, until the spouse provides the soldier's Social Security Number and birth date.

Bob Jensen's threads on ID theft are at

How to report ID theft ---

Why is law the "most unhappy" profession?
Why is alcoholism and drug abuse so prevalent among lawyers?
If you connect students to the real world, will they be happier?
Somehow it's nice to know that accountancy schools are not alone in this dilemma!

"If You Teach Them, They Will Be Happy," by Jennifer Epstein, Inside Higher Ed, June 19, 2007 ---

Law students — and the lawyers they become — are notoriously unhappy, but the interests of their professors could make all the difference in helping them through law school and in preparing them to be good lawyers.
A study published this month in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin compared recent classes at two law schools with almost identical average undergraduate grade-point averages and LSAT scores and found that students at the school that encouraged its professors to be good teachers rather than good scholars reported higher levels of well-being and competence, and scored higher on bar exams.

The study, “Understanding the Negative Effects of Legal Education on Law Students: A Longitudinal Test of Self-Determination Theory,” was conducted by Kennon M. Sheldon, a psychology professor at the University of Missouri at Columbia, and Lawrence S. Krieger, a law professor at Florida State University.

Students at both law schools entered with similar statistics: average undergraduate GPAs around 3.4 and LSAT averages near 156. The schools differed significantly, however, in overall ranking. Law School 1 (LS1), with a good reputation and an emphasis on faculty scholarship, ranked in the second tier (as defined by the study) while Law School 2 (LS2), with an emphasis on hiring and training faculty to be good teachers, ranked in the fourth tier.

Twenty-four percent of the Law School 2 graduates who took the bar exam in the summer of 2005 had “high” scores above 150, compared to 14 percent of Law School 1 graduates. Nearly half of Law School 1’s graduates, meanwhile, had “low” scores – below 130 – on the bar exam, compared with 22 percent of Law School 2’s graduates. Though the scoring statistics are representative of each law school overall, rather than just those students who participated in the study, they are “strongly suggestive that the teaching and learning at LS2 may be more effective,” the authors wrote.

Krieger, one of the authors, said in an interview that it was “almost shocking” to see “how significantly the fourth tier students outperformed the second tier law students on the bar.” But, he added, “it makes sense psychologically – the students at the fourth tier school were happier – and it makes sense that they would have learned more from better teachers.”

By the third year of law school, students at Law School 2 reported significantly higher levels of “subjective well-being,” autonomy and competence than students at Law School 1.

But Ann Althouse, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison said that though it is “intuitively right that the school that emphasizes teaching is the one with students who are happier and score better,” those students may not be better off in the long run.

She said that if all a law school expects of its faculty is to teach, then they can “put more time into teaching students to be lawyers, but not necessarily how to think like lawyers.”

In February, Althouse, a blogger on law and current events, was a month-long guest columnist for The New York Times. In one column, she wrote that while “law should connect to the real world … that doesn’t mean we ought to devote our classes to the personal expression of law students.” Rather, she said, law professors should “deny ourselves the comfort of trying to make [law students] happy and teach them what they came to learn: how to think like lawyers.”

Continued in article

Indirectly this relates to the current accounting doctoral program controversies described at

It also relates to the issues of whether it is best to spoon feed students ---

June 19, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]


In some ways, the situation in accounting is similar to that in law. In others, there is substantial difference.

In law there are essentially two tiers in law schools: those that are quite bar exam oriented, and those that emphasize legal theory and philosophy. The kinds of placements they have are also very different. The students at second sort of schools do clerkships with well known or almost-well known judges, while those at the first sort of schools do not. The students at the second sort of schools get hired by the large well known law firms (for example, on the Wall Street) doing structured finance and M&A work, whereas the first kind often may do work that could be considered menial (uncontested divorces, fixing speeding tickets/DUI, etc.). Of course there are crossovers.

Often, students at the second sort of schools do not practice at all, but have a profound impact on the profession, and there are some who practice only occasionally (Tribe, Dershowitz,...).

I agree with Ann Althouse that the second sort of schools teach students to think like lawyers whereas the first kind teach them to be lawyers.

In accounting, on the other hand, I think we have only one kind of schools (the equivalent of second sort have no professional accounting programs), and they teach students to BE accountants rather) than to think like accountants.

This situation is convenient for many. It is much easier to teach one to be like someone than to teach one to think like some one.


June 23, 2007 reply from Dan Stone, Univ. of Kentucky [dstone@UKY.EDU]

Hi all,

Regarding Ken Sheldon & Lawrence Krieger's law school study (actually, they have published two studies on this topic: the one that Bob cites is their second published study.)

Professor Althouse's assertion that the students at the teaching school may not be learning "how to think like lawyers" suggests that she has not read this study carefully. The students at the teaching school were not only happier they also scored HIGHER on the bar exam. Therefore, unless Professor Althouse argues that the bar exam doesn't test critical thinking skills her argument doesn't accord to the data.

So, perhaps one need not be unhappy to be a competent professional? Perhaps at least some professor-induced suffering merely creates unhappiness and doesn't improve the quality of the "product"? Ok, now I am overstepping the data.....

FYI, I saw Ken present this paper a few weeks ago at the self-determination theory conference and was left wondering if similar results hold for professional accountancy programs. I chatted with Ken about this and he is also interested this topic.

Relatedly, there is some evidence that lawyers have higher alcohol and drug use rates than do some other professionals (though I can't recall the cites just now).


Dan Stone

Reply from Bob Jensen

Thank you Dan and Jagdish for that helpful and somewhat personalized replies. Here are a couple of citations of possible interest with respect to lawyer substance abuse:

Title:  Substance Abuse in Law Schools: A Tool Kit for Law School Administrators
Authors: Orgena Lewis Singleton JD, Alfred "Cal" Baker L.C.D.C., more...
Publication Date: December 2005, American Bar Association
ISBN: 1-59031-628-2
Topics: Law School, Law Students, Lawyer Assistance Programs, Legal Education & Admissions to the Bar
URL:  Click Here or here
Also see "Torts, Trials and ... Treatments," by Elia Powers, Issues in Higher Ed, January 4, 2007 ---

The ABA report argues that the quality of the legal profession is affected by lawyers who “are impaired as a result of abuse of alcohol and drugs.” One of the co-authors who spoke at Wednesday’s meeting in Washington, Cal Baker, is a recent law school graduate and director of a company that provides chemical dependency treatments.

Baker, a recovering alcoholic, said alcohol and drug abuse are the two top problems he sees among law students. (Other panelists said students often report depression and extreme anxiety, as well as substance abuse issues. ) He said he would have been unable to recover from his condition while in school, because nearly all the planned social activities were centered around bar nights.

One of the largest hurdles, Baker said, is convincing students that admitting their drinking problems won’t lead to disciplinary action. Many who have previous alcohol-related citations are concerned about their professional futures.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I do not know of comparable studies in the accounting profession. I do know that substance abuse is a problem on two levels for accountants, particularly auditors who are away from home a lot of the time. At level one is the professional abuser away from home more than most other professionals. At level two is the family of a professional who is absent from home much of the time.

Some large CPA firms have hot lines where professionals and their family members can seek counseling with complete confidentiality and possible anonymity. These hot lines link directly with medical and family counseling professionals who are outside the firm itself but are paid by the firm. I'm told that an overwhelming proportion of the problems dealt with are substance abuse and troubled family members.

I suspect that these are problems that are not dealt with at all well in our schools of accountancy. One problem is that we want to attract students to this profession and do not like to dwell on the dark side of this profession's troubles. There are substance abuse problems in all professions. It would be interesting to study whether some professions tend to keep substance abuse problems in dark closets more than other professions. For example, perhaps there is more perceived sensitivity among clients/patients who are more afraid of substance abusers in accounting and medicine relative to law. That is only a personal observation and not something that I've studied. My guess is that substance abuse is highest among physicians and highest in terms of keeping their dependencies secret.

A more general site on substance abuse is provided at

June 23, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]


I am not familiar with the Sheldon/Krieger studies, but will read them soon.

However, I interact with law school faculty often, and ask them questions just to find out how we in accounting can learn from them. I also have an abiding interest in the relationship between jurisprudence and accounting, and it is one of the few psychic benefits I have enjoyed being an accounting academic.

The law school market is pretty much a differentiated market. I think the missions of the top tier schools and others are very different, and both conform to their missions well; there are no pretensions as we have among the accounting schools where there is a race to reach the greasy pole no matter what one's comparative advantages are.

It is difficult to find students from non-top schools doing clerkships with supreme court justices, or the top law firms recruiting from such schools.

* The top tier schools emphasise law as an interdisciplinary field rather than a field confined to narrowly defined learning of existing laws.

* The top tier schools emphasise more critical analyses of certain aspects of law such as constitutional law, international law, jurisprudence... and de-emphasise other aspects such as administrative law, criminal procedure,... as the other schools do.

* Many students graduating from top schools do not enter law practice, and even when they do, they enter very different practices where critical thinking, interdisciplinary, and liberal arts type skills predominate. Many enter government and public service. Many also enter the academia. Over my career I have had dozens of friends and colleagues who went to top law schools (Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, ...), and they have established their presence as scholars even outside their narrow domain. On the other hand, most law academics that I have known from non-top schools, on the other hand, have been in areas such as tax law, business law,..., generally not considerer the intellectual centers of gravity of law.

I do not mean to be an elitist when I make the above observations. In fact, one of my heroes in law, the late Don Berman, a Harvard educated lawyer at Northeastern, specialised in tax law. If I dig deep, I am sure I can find some law academics from non-top schools who were brilliant scholars in areas of law that are considered scholarly. The point I make is that the two types of schools are just different.

About a dozen years ago, I was trying to establish relationships with a local (non-top) law school to introduce our students in accounting to topics such as the relationship between constitutional law and accounting, and the role of jurisprudence in accounting. I got no where, and we were in fact on different wavelengths. On the other hand, more recently we did try to establish relationships for tax students and it has worked out very well. Our graduate tax students take some tax courses at the law school and it has helped them tremendously.

I attend law sort of conferences (usually at the intersection of law and computer science), and almost all participants are from the top tier law schools. Some from other law schools too attend, but usually to meet CPE requirements to keep their licenses current. I also am an avid reader of law literature (specially in constitutional law and jurisprudence) and there too just about every author is from a top tier law school.

There is nothing wrong in this dichotomy. Those from non-top law schools have performed brilliantly in the corporate world, and once in a while they do spectacular jobs for their clients (see OJ Simpson's dream team)Sometimes they also excel as legal scholars

Another difference I find between the alums at the two types of schools is that the contribution to legal literature from the top law schools is disproportionately large. Ronald Dworkin, Lawrence Tribe, and Richard Posner in the US, or Joseph Raz and HLA Hart in Britain,... one has to stretch one's imagination to come up with those from non-top tier law schools who come close.

And there is no cartel in law as we have in accounting. Good scholarship gets recognised no matter where it originates, and gatekeepers are generally powerless; quite unlike in accounting.

There is learning at both kinds of schools, they are just different. Trying to compare them is like comparing apples and oranges, or worse, like comparing apple to an ape.

I'll try to collect my thoughts on what we in accounting can learn from legal education at both levels and post them to AECM one of these days.




"PowerPoint Turns 20, As Its Creators Ponder A Dark Side to Success," by Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal,  June 20, 2007; Page B1 --- Click Here

One of the most elegant, most influential and most groaned-about pieces of software in the history of computers is 20 years old. There won't be a lot of birthday celebrations for PowerPoint; the program is one the world loves to mock almost as much as it loves to use.

While PowerPoint has served as the metronome for countless crisp presentations, it has also allowed an endless expanse of dimwit ideas to be dressed up with graphical respectability. And not just in conference rooms, but also in the likes of sixth-grade book reports and at

As it happens, what might be called the downside of the culture of PowerPoint is something that bemuses, concerns and occasionally appalls PowerPoint's two creators as much as it does everyone else.

Robert Gaskins was the visionary entrepreneur who in the mid-1980s realized that the huge but largely invisible market for preparing business slides was a perfect match for the coming generation of graphics-oriented computers. Scores of venture capitalists disagreed, insisting that text-based DOS machines would never go away.

With major programming done by Dennis Austin, an old chum, PowerPoint 1.0 for Macs came out in 1987. Later that year, Microsoft bought the company for $14 million, its first acquisition, and three years later a Windows version followed.

Gaskins and Mr. Austin, now 63 and 60, respectively, reflected on PowerPoint's creation and its current omnipresence in an interview last week. They are intensely proud of their technical and strategic successes. But to a striking degree, they aren't the least bit defensive about the criticisms routinely heard of PowerPoint. In fact, the best single source of PowerPoint commentary, both pro and con, (including a rich vein of Dilbert cartoons) can be found at, his personal home page.

Perhaps the most scathing criticism comes from the Yale graphics guru Edward Tufte, who says the software "elevates format over content, betraying an attitude of commercialism that turns everything into a sales pitch." He even suggested PowerPoint played a role in the Columbia shuttle disaster, as some vital technical news was buried in an otherwise upbeat slide.

No quarrel from Mr. Gaskins: "All the things Tufte says are absolutely true. People often make very bad use of PowerPoint."

Mr. Gaskins reminds his questioner that a PowerPoint presentation was never supposed to be the entire proposal, just a quick summary of something longer and better thought out. He cites as an example his original business plan for the program: 53 densely argued pages long. The dozen or so slides that accompanied it were but the highlights.

Since then, he complains, "a lot of people in business have given up writing the documents. They just write the presentations, which are summaries without the detail, without the backup. A lot of people don't like the intellectual rigor of actually doing the work."

One of the problems, the men say, is that with PowerPoint now bundled with Office, vastly more people have access to the program than the relatively small group of salespeople for which is was intended. When video projectors became small and cheap, just about every room on earth became PowerPoint-ready.

Now grade-school children turn in book reports via PowerPoint. The men call that an abomination. Children, they emphatically agree, need to think and write in complete paragraphs.

Still, the men don't appreciate PowerPoint being blamed for crimes it didn't commit. Mr. Gaskins studied a vast collection of presentations before designing the program. Bullet points, he says, existed long before PowerPoint.

While the two certainly know how to use PowerPoint, neither consider themselves true power users. They don't even know many of the advanced features it has come to sport. They also have no patience with cubicle warriors who, in the guise of doing actual work, spend endless hours fiddling with fonts. And they like telling the joke that the best way to paralyze an opposition army is to ship it PowerPoint and, thus, contaminate its decision making, something some analysts say has happened at the Pentagon.

Both left Microsoft in the 1990s and now pursue personal projects. Mr. Austin attended every day of last week's Apple developer conference, keeping up with the kids. While the two agree there is probably room for a PowerPoint-like program for building high-end Web sites, neither has any desire to create it.

Not being the self-promoting type, neither of the men are particularly bothered about being much less famous than their creation. Whenever they do tell a stranger what they did in life, they usually hear how much the person can't live without the program.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment and Question
I always viewed PowerPoint as largely a rip-off of earlier presentation software. Can you name at least three of presentation software packages that preceded PowerPoint?
Answers:  See

"What's wrong with PowerPoint--and how to fix it," by David Coursey, Executive Editor, AnchorDesk September 10, 2003 ---,10738,2914637,00.html 
(Thank you Ed Scibner for pointing to this link.)

PowerPoint and Other Teaching Helpers (Socratic Dialogue Gives Way to PowerPoint) ---

So what will happen (with two troubles Bear Stearns hedge funds ) requiring a loan of $3.2 billion?
Most likely the funds will sell off their assets and eventually be shut down. But the loan from Bear will give the funds time to do so in an orderly fashion and not at 30 cents on the dollar the WSJ reported this morning that some universities were bidding for the debt.
Jim Mahar's blog on June 22, 2007 --- 

The funds speculated in highly-rated CDOs -- securities backed by bonds, loans, derivatives and other CDOs -- that were hurt in March and April as defaults on subprime mortgages to people with poor or limited credit histories increased. The fund also lost on opposite bets against home-loan bonds, which backed many of its CDOs.
"Bear Stearns Plans $3.2 Billion Hedge Fund Bailout," Bloomberg --- Click Here

What is the new software package called "Meosphere?"

"Making Lists of Everything in Your Life:  Web Site Compiles Results for Sharing; A Haircut History," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2007; Page D6 ---

But what about making lists of things you've already done? Not summaries of the errands you ran in a day but broader catalogs of the things you've experienced throughout your life? This week, I tested a new Web site called that encourages users to check off lists related to topics ranging from cars they owned to former hairstyles to countries they visited. When the answers from these lists are compiled, they create a meosphere (emphasis on "me"), or an overall glance at one's life history., by Meosphere LLC, was launched in March as a way to catalog details about yourself or someone else, like a Web-based memory book. It offers some 2,500 lists, and new lists are added daily by users and site managers. But its users soon wanted to share their meospheres with others, forcing the site to steer more toward social networking and connecting people by letting them share and compare meospheres.

Continued in article

You Already Have Weapons In Your Computer To Monitor Your Kids
For years, add-on programs have attempted to give parents some control over what children can do on the computer. Some of these have been OK, but many have had weaknesses that were exploited by kids, who are typically technically savvier than adults. Many parents, however, don't realize that the latest versions of the two main computer-operating systems, Microsoft's Windows Vista and Apple's Mac OS X Tiger, have parental controls built right in. On both platforms, you can control even which programs a child can run. This is key, because it prevents kids from running alternative Web browsers or other programs that may not be susceptible to parental controls. Both also allow you to specify which Web sites a child can visit, another crucial feature. These built-in controls are free of charge and fairly easy to use. Even better, because they are designed by the same companies that built the operating system and aren't bolted on afterward, they can impose limits in ways that kids may find harder to evade.
Walter S. Mossberg, "You Have Weapons In Your Computer To Monitor Your Kids," The Wall Street Journal,  June 14, 2007; Page B1 ---
A video on this is available (free for a short time) from the WSJ.

Questioning the Admissions Assumptions

And further, the study finds that all of the information admissions officers currently have (high school grades, SAT/ACT scores, essays, everything)  is of limited value, and accounts for only 30 percent of the grade variance in colleges — leaving 70 percent of the variance unexplained.
Scott Jaschik, "Questioning the Admissions Assumptions," Inside Higher Ed, June 19, 2007 ---

The report is available at

Roland G. Fryer, who was hired by Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein to advise him on how to narrow the racial gap in achievement in the city’s schools, made his professional name in economics by applying complex algorithms to document how black students fall behind their white peers. But his life story challenges his own calculations. . . . His first job, though, he said, will be to mine data — from graduation rates to test scores to demographic information — to find out why there are wide gulfs between schools. Why, for example, does one school in Bedford-Stuyvesant do so much better than a school just down the block? And he will monitor the pilot program to pay fourth- and seventh-grade students as much as $500 for doing well on a series of standardized tests. That program will begin in 40 schools this fall. He hopes to find other ways to motivate students.
Jennifer Medina, "His Charge: Find a Key to Students’ Success," The New York Times, June 21, 2007 ---

Jensen Comment
I suspect that SAT scores are more predictive for some college graduates than others. For example. SAT math performance may be a better predictor of grades in mathematics and science courses than SAT verbal performance is a predictor of grades in literature and language courses. The study mentioned above does not delve into this level of detail. Top universities that have dropped SAT requirements (e.g., under the Texas Top Ten Percent Law) are not especially happy about losing so many top SAT performers ---

SAT/ACT testing falls down because it does not examine motivation vary well. High school grades fail because of rampant grade inflation and lowered academic standards in high schools. College grades are not a good criterion because of grade inflation in colleges ---

What factors most heavily influence student performance and desire to take more courses in a given discipline?

These outcomes are too complex to be predicted very well. Sex and age of instructors have almost no impact. Teaching evaluations have a very slight impact, but there are just too many complexities to find dominant factors cutting across a majority of students.

Oreopoulos said the findings bolster a conclusion he came to in a previous academic paper that subjective qualities, such as how a professor fares on student evaluations, tell you more about how well students will perform and how likely they are to stay in a given course than do observable traits such as age or gender. (He points out, though, that even the subjective qualities aren’t strong indicators of student success.) “If I were concerned about improving teaching, I would focus on hiring teachers who perform well on evaluations rather than focus on age or gender,” he said.
Elia Powers, "Faculty Gender and Student Performance," Inside Higher Ed, June 21, 2007 ---

Jensen Comment
A problem with increased reliance on teaching evaluations to measure performance of instructors is that this, in turn, tends to grade inflation ---

What works in education ---

A prominent librarian utters dire warnings about new media

"Mass Culture 2.0," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, June 20, 2007 ---

This month, Encyclopedia Britannica’s blog is serializing a commentary on the cultural effects of Web 2.0. The author, Michael Gorman, is dean of library services at California State University at Fresno and a former president of the American Library Association.

About two years ago, Gorman published a memorable essay in Library Journal. In it, he referred to “the Blog People,” expressing doubt that they were “in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts.” The immediate occasion for this remark was the public reception of one of Gorman’s own complex texts, about which uncomplimentary things had been said by bloggers (some of them, in fact, being his colleagues in the library world). “It is entirely possible,” he continued, “that their intellectual needs are met by an accumulation of random facts and paragraphs.”

There were other zingers of the same general sort. And so it has not escaped notice, much of it sardonic, that his most recent effort to win friends and influence people is taking place at a blog. His Britannica series consists of three chapters, each in two parts. Something of the flavor of the whole work may be gleaned from the phrases heading up its various segments. So far, “The Sleep of Reason” and “The Siren Song of the Internet” have been published, and may be consulted here. The final portion, “Jabberwiki,” will run next week

. . .

The tone of Gorman’s remedial lecture implies that educators now devote the better part of their day to teaching students to shove pencils up their nose while Googling for pornography. I do not believe this to be the case. (It would be bad, of course, if it were.)

But the idea that new forms of media require training in new kinds of literacy hardly counts as an evasion of the obligation to cultivate critical intelligence. Today the work of acquiring knowledge on a given subject often includes the burden of evaluating digital material. Gorman may pine for the good old days — back when literacy and critical intelligence were capacities to be exercised only upon artifacts made of paper and ink. So be it. But let’s not pretend that such nostalgia is anything but escapism at best.

What really bothers the neo-Luddite quasi-Mandarin is not the rise of digitality, as such. The problem actually comes from “the diminished sacredness of authority,” as Edward Shils once put it, “the reduction in the awe it evokes and in the charisma attributed to it.”

But it’s not that all cultural authority or critical intelligence, as such, are vanishing. Rather, new kinds are taking shape. The resulting situation is difficult and sometimes unpleasant. But it is not exactly new. Such wrenching moments have come repeatedly over the past 500 years, and muddling through the turmoil does not seem to be getting any easier.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on blogs and listservs are at

Combining Second Life and Google Earth.
"Second Earth:  The World Wide Web will soon be absorbed into the World Wide Sim: an immersive environment combining Second Life and Google Earth," by Wade Roush, MIT's Technology Review, June 18, 2007 --- 

What do American Airlines pensions have to do with funding of the Iraq war?

Plenty, but who knows why?

A pension measure tucked into last month’s Iraq war spending bill is causing some leading members of Congress to complain that American Airlines got a break worth almost $2 billion without proper scrutiny. The measure will allow American to greatly reduce its payments into its pension fund over the next 10 years. At the end of 2006, the fund had assets of $8.5 billion and needed an additional $2.5 billion to cover all its obligations. The new provision will allow American to recalculate those numbers, so that the shortfall disappears and the plan looks fully funded. Continental, along with a small number of regional airlines and a caterer, will also be able to take advantage of the provision. But American, the nation’s largest airline, is by far the biggest beneficiary, according to government calculations. Some lawmakers who would normally be involved in tax and pension measures say they were shut out of the process.
Mary Williams Walsh, "Pension Relief for Airlines Faulted by Some Legislators," The New York Times, June 21, 2007 --- 

Jensen Question
How should accountants factor in politics in disclosing and reporting pension obligations, especially for airlines that do not declare bankruptcy?

Bob Jensen's threads on pension accounting are at

"Last of 15 Enron Defendants Sentenced:  Former Broadband Chief Gets Lesser Prison Term After Aiding Prosecutors," by Carrie Johnson, The Washington Post, June 19, 2007 --- Click Here

The former chief of Enron's Internet business unit was sentenced to 27 months in prison yesterday, closing what could be the final chapter in the Houston energy trader's downfall.

Kenneth D. Rice, 48, is the 15th and final Enron official to face punishment for his role in the company's bankruptcy more than five years ago. Under federal guidelines, he must serve nearly two years, or 85 percent, of the sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore yesterday in a Houston courtroom.

Kenneth D. Rice, shown with daughter Kirsten Rice, got a 27-month sentence. His testimony helped win the conviction of Enron's top two executives. (By F. Carter Smith -- Bloomberg News)

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"What got me here is, I lied over about a two-year period, on a number of occasions, to the investing community," Rice said yesterday, according to Bloomberg News. "I wasn't raised that way, and I'm ashamed of that."

Rice told the jury in last year's criminal trial of Enron's two top executives that he and others misrepresented the financial health of Enron Broadband Services, a highly touted division that posted billions of dollars in losses. His testimony helped prosecutors win the conviction of former chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling, who is serving a prison term of 24 1/3 years. Company founder Kenneth L. Lay died in July 2006 before he could be sentenced.

Rice faced as much as a decade in prison and agreed to forfeit cash, sports cars and jewelry worth $14.7 million under the terms of his 2004 plea agreement. Between February 2000 and June 2001, Rice sold $53 million worth of Enron stock, some at a time when he later said he had access to secret information about its high debt burdens.

Once among Skilling's closest confidants and companions on off-road adventure tours, Rice ultimately turned against him. Rice was known within Enron's gleaming office towers as a risk taker who collected motorcycles and fast cars, including a Ferrari and a Shelby he turned over to the government as part of his plea deal.

Federal prosecutors Ben Campbell and Jonathan E. Lopez argued that Rice should receive a reduced prison term in exchange for his testimony against his former colleagues.

"Mr. Skilling would simply say . . . 'this is the number, this is what the number is going to be,' " Rice told jurors in February 2006 about the process of generating financial projections.

Remember the Enron Executive whose desk was a motorcycle in his tower office?
Kenneth Rice, who turned government witness and testified in the trial of former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling and company founder Kenneth Lay, was sentenced Monday to 27 months in prison.
"Ex-Enron Broadband Head Sentenced," The New York Times, June 18, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads, including a timeline, on the Enron scandals are at

The Enron Timeline is at

Bob Jensen's Enron Quiz is at

Success with Community College Success Courses
Sixty percent of students who enrolled in for-credit “success courses,” classes that teach students skills for note-taking, test-taking and time management, had “academic success” during the study’s five years, while just 40 percent of students who did not take success classes had the same success and had earned a degree or certificate, transferred to a state university or continued enrollment in a community college. In a field where student retention is a major concern, the results of the study, “Do Student Success Courses Actually Help Community College Students Succeed?” are significant, illustrating that success courses really are effective in helping students succeed.
Jennifer Epstein, "Teaching Success," Inside Higher Ed, June 18, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

From the University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communications Blog on June 5, 2007 ---

Journal-Value Analyzers, Ted and Carl Bergstrom, Recognized as SPARC Innovators

Washington, DC - June 5, 2007 - SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has recognized Ted Bergstrom and Carl Bergstrom as the new SPARC Innovators. The father-son team advances the open sharing of scholarly information through original research and the creation of innovative tools that are used widely by the academic community to assess the value of research.

Ted and Carl are best known for their collaborations on Ted's journal pricing Web pages and, more recently, on the Web site produced by Carl's research lab.

Ted's journal pricing page, which offers data reporting price per article and price per citation for about 5,000 academic journals, has centralized pricing information so it can be explored and compared in ways that were previously impossible. The site has become a vital resource for researchers and librarians alike.

Carl's site offers a completely new and innovative approach to assessing the value of journals; it provides researchers, librarians and others a new mechanism to evaluate based on a diverse array of criteria. As explained at the Eigenfacter web site.

anks the influence of web pages. By this approach, journals are considered to be influential if they are cited often by other influential journals.

Ted, an economist, holds the Aaron and Cherie Raznick Chair of Economics in the Economics Department at the University of California Santa Barbara. Ted's son, Carl, a theoretical and evolutionary biologist, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington.

Bob Jensen's threads on how many scholarly journals are ripping off libraries with oligopoly publisher pricing can be found at

From the University of Pennsylvania
"On the Fence: Are Illegal Immigrants Good or Bad for the U.S. Economy?" Knowledge@Wharton, June 13, 2007 ---;jsessionid=9a30fc95af573974375c?articleid=1754  

A clash of faiths in the U.S. Senate last week led to the collapse of the country's first major immigration reform bill in two decades. On one side were the pragmatists, backed by the Bush administration, who say the country needs to accept that its estimated 12 million illegal residents are likely here to stay, and it should offer them a path to citizenship. On the other side were the idealists, who say lawbreakers shouldn't be rewarded, and that doing so would only encourage more illegal immigration. Although Democratic majority leader Harry Reid withdrew the bill, he left open the possibility that the Senate could reconsider it later in the year. President Bush, having just returned from the G8 Summit in Europe, made a rare appearance on Capitol Hill this week to encourage Republicans to back the proposal.  

Buried in the ongoing debate is the potential economic impact of a measure that could change the composition of America's workforce in significant ways. By cracking down on illegal immigration, the legislation could constrict the future supply of workers in industries like agriculture, construction and restaurants and hotels, especially in the fast-growing Sun Belt. Yet by moving to an evaluation formula for visas that weighs skills more heavily than family ties, it could provide more workers for such booming sectors as high tech and biotechnology. Even so, some high-tech companies have decried the bill for not providing enough annual visas for skilled workers: It would have capped the number at 200,000 a year.

Continued in article

A federal audit said the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is losing millions of dollars to fraud as a result of softening its questionable claims program

"Audit Says IRS Losing Millions to Fraud," SmartPros, June 15, 2007 ---

The report by Inspector General Russell George praised the IRS for responding to a 2006 complaint by Nina Olson, the national taxpayer advocate, that the agency had frozen refunds for thousands of taxpayers without notifying them or giving them a chance to challenge the action.

However, the audit said the agency's response in altering its 30-year-old Questionable Refund Program may have gone too far, USA Today reported Thursday.

Among the problems, the audit said recent changes "could negatively affect tax administration by not holding perpetrators of smaller-valued (fraud) schemes accountable."

It also said $15.9 million in refunds were made as a result of the softer enforcement because initial reviews of questionable claims were not completed within "a certain number of days."

IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Eileen Mayer told the newspaper the agency is studying the recommendations and is trying to balance taxpayer rights with proper enforcement.

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

Borrowing Rates: You're Known by the College You Attend
Andrew Cuomo, attorney general of New York State, sent a letter to Congress Monday describing his concern over redlining-type practices by “a significant number of lenders” in the student loan industry, The New York Times reported. In this case, he said that some lenders — whom he did not name — are setting interest rates on private loans on a college-by-college basis, based on default rates. As a result, students whose personal situations make them good credit risks may be punished with a high interest rate because of the college they attend. Some bankers told the Times it was appropriate for them to consider factors such as a college’s default rate.
Inside Higher Ed, June 19, 2007 ---

Using Speech Recognition to Search Video
Despite recent advances in visual-search engines, accurate video search still remains a challenge, particularly when dealing with sports footage, says Michael Fleischman, a computer scientist at MIT. "The difference between a home run and a foul ball is often hard for a human novice to notice, and nearly impossible for a machine to recognize." To cope with growing video repositories, cutting-edge systems are now emerging that use automatic speech recognition (ASR) to try to improve the search accuracy by generating text transcripts. (See "More-Accurate Video Search.")
Duncan Graham-Rowe, "Searching Sportscasts A new way to search video could help fans find footage," MIT's Technology Review, June 21, 2007 --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on speech recognition are at

Should you refuse to be ranked if you're at or near the top?
The decision was announced Tuesday at the end of an annual meeting of the Annapolis Group, a loose association of liberal arts colleges. After two days of private meetings here, the organization released a statement that said a majority of the 80 presidents attending had “expressed their intent not to participate in the annual U.S. News survey.” . . . U.S. News says it provides a valuable service to parents and students in its yearly evaluations, which are based on factors that include graduation and retention rates, assessments by competitors, selectivity and faculty resources. Critics say the ranking system lacks rigor and has had a harmful effect on educational priorities, encouraging colleges to do things like soliciting more applicants and then rejecting them, to move up the list . . . Other college presidents who attended the meeting were more cautious. Anthony Marx, the president of Amherst, which is ranked second among liberal arts colleges, said he was not ready to stop cooperating with U.S. News and wanted to continue to discuss the issue.
Alan Finder, "Some Colleges to Drop Out of U.S. News Rankings," The New York Times, June 20, 2007 ---

Jensen Comment
Dropping out is the way some college presidents hope to eliminate the heat to raise their rankings. The heat comes from alumni and faculty wanting a higher quality pool of student applicants. Lower rankings becomes very stressful to colleges that think they are in the Top 10 in their classification (particularly national liberal arts colleges) who find themselves ranked much lower.

Should U.S. News Rankings Make College Presidents Rich?
"Should U.S. News Make Presidents Rich?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, March 19, 2007 ---

In a move that concerns some experts on college admissions and executive compensation, the Arizona Board of Regents has approved contract changes for Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, that link $60,000 in bonus pay to an improved rating from U.S. News & World Report.

Crow — whose total compensation already tops half a million dollars — was awarded an additional bonus plan tied to achieving specific performance goals. Incentive-based bonuses are increasingly common as part of the compensation packages of college presidents — the idea, common in the corporate sector, is that such a system promotes accountability and rewards performance.

In Crow’s case, he would be paid an extra $10,000 for each of 10 goals he achieves and would get an extra $50,000 if he achieves all of them. Nine of the goals relate to actions on which the university is the key actor (goals such as increasing the diversity of freshmen, improving freshman retention, adding to research expenditures, improving faculty salaries, etc.). There is one goal over which the university has no direct control — an improved U.S. News ranking. If Crow achieves the other nine only, he would miss a shot at $50,000 in addition to the reward for the higher ranking.

While Arizona State has won acclaim for many academic improvements and innovations in recent years, it has never done well in U.S. News, and is currently listed as “third tier” among national universities. The East Valley Tribune on Sunday drew attention to the rankings incentive, noting that Arizona State’s provost had been quoted in Inside Higher Ed just last week questioning whether there was any intellectual basis to the U.S. News approach to rankings.

Crow could not be reached for comment Sunday, but he told the Tribune that while he agreed that parts of U.S. News rankings were “subjective,” other parts — such as graduation rates — were valid and pointed to areas on which Arizona State needs to improve.

Continued in article

Why are so many college presidents up in arms about U.S. News & World Report’s rankings these days? Brian Kelly, the top editor at the magazine, says the reason is Lloyd Thacker, who through the Education Conservancy, which he founded, has been leading the charge against what he calls “ranksteering.” The movement against U.S. News grew last week with the meeting of the Annapolis Group, where many members pledged to stop participating in a key part of the U.S. News rankings — a survey of college presidents. While the Annapolis group didn’t identify those pledging to move away from the magazine, among those who went public immediately after the Annapolis meeting were Alma College, DePauw University and Eckerd College. On Friday, Kelly and Thacker did a joint podcast interview to discuss the rankings. Thacker argued that the rankings have hurt American higher education, encouraging colleges to focus on competition, not education. Kelly argued that colleges inflate the power of U.S. News, and he criticized colleges for not being more forthcoming with data about themselves.
Scott Jaschik, "Debate: Top Critic vs. ‘U.S. News’ Editor," Inside Higher Ed, June 25, 2007 ---

Controversies in media rankings of colleges are discussed at

Duke Reaches Settlement With Players
Duke University has reached an undisclosed financial settlement with three former lacrosse players falsely accused of rape, the school said Monday. Duke suspended Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans after they were charged last year with raping a stripper at an off-campus party. The university also canceled the team's season and forced their coach to resign. ''We welcomed their exoneration and deeply regret the difficult year they and their families have had to endure,'' the school said in a statement. ''These young men and their families have been the subject of intense scrutiny that has taken a heavy toll.'' The allegations were debunked in April by state prosecutors, who said the players were the innocent victims of a ''tragic rush to accuse'' by Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong. He was disbarred Saturday for breaking more than two dozen rules of professional conduct in his handling of the case.
The New York Times, June 18, 2007 ---

Call for major reforms of intercollegiate athletics
A coalition of faculty senates will today release a report calling for major reforms of intercollegiate athletics — with many of the recommendations calling for an enhanced role for professors in overseeing sports programs. The Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics is calling for the creation of a Campus Athletic Board at each campus, a majority of whose members would be tenured professors selected through faculty governance structures. This board would have to be consulted on all major athletics decisions, including the hiring of key officials, changes in the number of sports offered, and adding significant facilities. Other recommendations are designed to assure the primacy of academic values. For example, one recommendation is that admissions standards should be the same for all students, regardless of whether they are athletes, and that athletes “should be admitted based on their potential for academic success and not primarily on their athletic contribution.”
Inside Higher Ed, June 18, 2007

Bob Jensen's threads on controversies in college athletics can be found at

Where Less is More: What Nation has a far better tax code than the U.S.?
Anyone interested in seeing first-hand what a simple and fair tax system can help accomplish should visit Estonia. After gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the little Baltic country first tried its luck with the kind of progressive tax system so popular in the West. Productive people were punished with higher tax rates, and savings and investments -- the lifeblood of future prosperity -- were subject to double-taxation. Not surprisingly, Estonia did not prosper. To be fair, the tax system was just one of many problems plaguing the nation. But it was ironic that Estonia hindered its economic recovery from communist enslavement by using a fiscal regime -- progressive taxation -- advocated by Karl Marx. No less ironic is the fact that most capitalist economies have adopted that counterproductive taxation model as well. "Anyone interested in seeing first-hand what a simple and fair tax system can help accomplish should visit Estonia. After gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the little Baltic country first tried its luck with the kind of progressive tax system so popular in the West. Productive people were punished with higher tax rates, and savings and investments -- the lifeblood of future prosperity -- were subject to double-taxation. Not surprisingly, Estonia did not prosper. To be fair, the tax system was just one of many problems plaguing the nation. But it was ironic that Estonia hindered its economic recovery from communist enslavement by using a fiscal regime -- progressive taxation -- advocated by Karl Marx. No less ironic is the fact that most capitalist economies have adopted that counterproductive taxation model as well.
Daniel J. Mitchell, "Baltic Beacon," The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2007 --- Click Here

Google Wins Lawsuit With Microsoft

"Microsoft Concedes to Alter Its Vista Operating System," by Alan Sipress, The Washington Post, June 20, 2007; Page D01 --- Click Here

Microsoft has agreed to revise its Vista operating system under a compromise with federal and state officials monitoring the company's compliance with a five-year-old antitrust decree, according to a court filing last night.

Microsoft's concession came after Google filed a complaint alleging that it and other competitors were unfairly disadvantaged by how Microsoft designed the feature for conducting computer-desktop searches. In particular, Google said that it was difficult to turn off the Microsoft desktop search and that Google's desktop search ran too slowly when users chose it as an alternate.

Continued in article

The PhysOrg account is at
The Technology Review account is at

"Pork, the New Green Meat," Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2007; Page A16 ---

We already are paying thrice for Washington's love affair with corn-based fuel, in the form of higher taxes, higher gasoline prices and higher food prices. Yet because of the prodigious amounts of energy and fertilizer used in its cultivation, corn-based ethanol provides little or no net reduction in CO2 over the gasoline it displaces.

Big surprise: Congress is taking advice from farm lobbyists and Archer Daniels Midland, not climate scientists. And donor groups have plenty more ideas for how Congress can shovel money at "alternative energy" and justify it by citing global warming. An even bigger piñata are the competing bills to award various companies lucrative "emissions rights." Many a candlelit dinner will undoubtedly be held with lobbyists to haggle over which industries to include in this "solution."

By now, whatever their disagreements about the reality and risks of man-made climate change, all parties to the climate debate ought to be able to lay down their cudgels long enough to agree on one thing: Congress needs external help to avoid committing dumb, useless, costly policy.

The public says it fears global warming, but the public will also make sure nothing done in the name of global warming damages voters' lifestyle in a way voters can notice. Thank heaven for small favors. The U.S. accounts for 22% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Before the year is over, China will become the world's biggest outputter. Anything Congress does will be, at best, a gesture and an experiment, at worst, a special-interest blowout. And there's every reason to expect the worst -- a spasm of subsidies, mandates and prohibitions better calculated to win campaign donations and snooker voters than to deal rationally with a possible human role in climate change.

Congress, after all, is a machine for matching pronouncements with policy actions in a way that will get members re-elected; any relation to desirable policy ends is largely incidental. Global warming, meanwhile, is a true conundrum -- nothing is known with any certainty about the risks we face or whether we can do anything to avoid them.

Whatever we think we understand about climate change is likely to be revised radically in the years ahead. Worse, the finger one day will be pointed at science itself, perhaps unfairly, for all the political mobilization done in its name. Given much evidence of earthly cooling and warming in recent millennia, all too pat is the intuition that the current trend can be rounded down to a single variable: human fossil fuel consumption.

Don't be surprised (though the public surely will be) when an awkward new trend inevitably appears in the temperature record: cooling. This won't prove or disprove a warming effect from human CO2, only that many variables, feedbacks and chaotic wildcards shape our climate.

Not for the first time Washington faces a dangerous meeting of legislative incompetence, public simplemindedness and the opportunity for extreme mischief. Not for the first time it makes sense to appoint a blue-ribbon commission to lift policy above everyday horse-trading. We realize we're tempting fate here, but such a commission could hardly do worse than Congress. Which brings us to Al Gore, this little Pigovian.

No, we don't refer to his new plus-size physical presence, but to his recent pronouncements suggesting he has become a follower of the late British economist Arthur Pigou, who said tax bads and not goods. Mr. Gore advises not only adopting a carbon tax, but using it to offset payroll and income taxes. We should be taxing carbon, not work, he says.

Never mind that Mr. Gore just as enthusiastically endorses tradable emissions permits, apparently unaware the two proposals are redundant. Here he revives a valuable idea from the serious environmental literature of the '90s, that of the "double dividend." Let this idea frame a new climate commission's marching orders.

To wit: In addressing the speculative and uncertain risks of man-made climate change, let's make sure we also do some good for the economy. That means using a carbon tax to reduce existing distortions in the tax code. As Resources for the Future's Richard Morgenstern enumerated in a 1996 paper: "Taxes on labor discourage work effort; those on savings reduce the pool of capital available for investment; and those on investment discourage risk-taking."

This path is infinitely preferable to the Kyoto path, not to mention the successor path recently unveiled by President Bush, of trying to negotiate a climate policy with other major nations, a formula more likely to produce connivery in empty gestures and political favor-trading than good policy.

Continued in article

From The Washington Post on June 18, 2007

What technology did CBS chief Leslie Moonves announce at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show?

A. AddLogix box
B. Zplayer Ultra
C. Clip+Sling
D. TD Vision

From The Washington Post on June 20, 2007

Which Web site uses audio recognition technology from Audible Magic Corp. to block unauthorized content?

A. eBay
B. Yahoo
C. Facebook
D. YouTube
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.


Updates from WebMD ---


Sigh! Burning fat and carbohydrate during exercise
In a paper published in The Journal of Physiology, researchers from Copenhagen shed light on fat oxidation during exercise and physical activity. Their observations suggest that fat oxidation during exercise reflects a fine interplay between the cardiovascular, neurological, endocrine and muscle metabolic systems.
PhysOrg, June 18, 2007 ---

More women than men having mid-life stroke
More women than men appear to be having a stroke in middle age, according to a study published June 20, 2007, in the online edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Researchers say heart disease and increased waist size may be contributing to this apparent mid-life stroke surge among women.
PhysOrg, June 20, 2007 ---

Study Revises Risk Factors for Women on Hormones
Five years ago, the mammoth Women's Health Initiative startled millions of women and their doctors with the finding that women who take menopausal hormone supplements have a higher risk of heart disease. Now, researchers from the same study say hormone therapy actually lowers the risk of heart disease for some women, at least while they're taking the drugs. Women in their 50s taking estrogen pills had 40 percent to 60 percent fewer calcium deposits in their coronary arteries — a reliable marker of heart disease.
Richard Knox, "Study Revises Risk Factors for Women on Hormones," NPR, June 21, 2007 --- 

"Estrogen use lowered one risk factor for heart disease among some younger postmenopausal women," PhysOrg, June 20, 2007 ---

Male circumcision overstated as prevention tool against AIDS
In new academic research published today in the online, open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS ONE, male circumcision is found to be much less important as a deterrent to the global AIDS pandemic than previously thought. The author, John R. Talbott, has conducted statistical empirical research across 77 countries of the world and has uncovered some surprising results.
PhysOrg, June 20, 2007 ---

"How Many Doctors Does It Take to Treat a Patient?" by Peter B. Bach, The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2007; Page A17 --- Click Here

The typical Medicare patient in one year sees seven different doctors, including five different specialists, working in four different practices. For vulnerable patients with multiple chronic conditions, care is even more fragmented and involves more doctors. Forty percent of the patients in our study had seven or more chronic conditions and they saw on average 11 doctors in seven practices; the upper quartile of this group saw 16 or more different doctors in nine or more different practices.

Health care is like this because of the way doctors are paid. Few doctors receive an hourly rate or a set annual salary; most are paid according to a system called "fee for service," in which visits, tests and procedures are reimbursed separately. Doctors face incentives to provide more services and more expensive services, and so they do just that. The Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services just reported that in 2007 total spending on physician services will rise more than 6%, as it has every year this decade. In 2008, we may very well top the dubious milestone of $500 billion in spending on physician services in the United States, a number that nets out to about $1 million in payments per practicing physician.

The government's finding that spending is rising could be seen as evidence that more patients are benefiting from the best medicine has to offer. But another government report, from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, has a different message. Despite seeing many doctors, few patients get the treatments that are recommended for them, and few have their chronic diseases well-managed. For example, fewer than 30% of people with high blood pressure have it adequately controlled, according to the agency's most recent analysis of health-care quality. No surprise, really. Fee for service incentives are linked to the number of services doctors provide, not the quality of those services.

Perhaps then our study's findings could be interpreted as a boon for patient choice? Not likely. From a clinical perspective, 16 or 11 or even seven different doctors treating a patient is no way to deliver high quality care. Patients are best served when they have at most a few physicians who work together to develop and monitor a cohesive coordinated plan of care.

In particular, patients with multiple chronic conditions do not need more doctors, they need a few who cooperate. So why do Medicare patients see so many doctors in so many different practices? Again, the fee-for-service system can be blamed. The system rewards doctors more richly when they see other doctors' patients for the first time than when they see their own patients again.

So, costs are rising, quality is inconsistent, and care for the most complex and vulnerable of patients is fragmented. What needs to be done depends on which of these problems are viewed as a cause, and which as a consequence. Major physician organizations including the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians believe that the fragmentation of care is the core problem that drives up costs and reduces care quality. They propose that each patient should have a personal physician who will take responsibility for coordinating his care. Congress agrees with the vision, and has authorized Medicare to evaluate ways of implementing this "medical home" model for beneficiaries (Tax Relief and Healthcare Act of 2006).

Continued in article

"Detecting Cell Loss in Diabetes:  A new PET marker can spot damage earlier, improving treatment," MIT's Technology Review, June 25, 2007 ---

"Can Anyone Make Sense -- or Money -- Out of Personal DNA Testing?" Knowledge@Wharton, June 13, 2007 ---
Click Here 

According to Stephen Sammut, senior fellow in Wharton's Healthcare Systems Department and a venture partner at Burrill & Co., the San Francisco life sciences venture capital firm, the emerging industry is fraught with complexity. "Most of us are learning that every time you have an answer to a new question, the answer invites another 10 questions," he says.

Autistic children could learn through stereotypes
Autistic children have a capacity to understand other people through stereotypes, say scientists at UCL (University College London). The research shows that autistic children are just as able as others to predict people’s behaviour when stereotypes, such as gender and race, are the only available guide.
PhysOrg, June 18, 2007 ---

Forwarded by Dick Haar

Two robins were sitting in a tree.

"I'm really hungry," said the first one. "Let's fly down and find some lunch."

They flew down to the ground and found a nice plot of newly plowed ground that was full of worms. They ate and ate and ate till they could eat no more.

"I am so full, I don't think I can fly back up into the tree," said the first one.

"Let's just lay back here and bask in the warm sun," said the second.

"O K," said the first. So they plopped down, basking in the sun.

No sooner than they had fallen asleep, when a big fat tomcat sneaks up and gobbles them up. As the cat sat washing his face after his meal, he thought...

(scroll down)


(you're gonna like this one)


Forwarded by Team Carper

BUTCH the (Silent) ROOSTER

John the farmer was in the fertilized egg business. He had several hundred young layers called "pullets" (for you city folk) and ten roosters, whose job it was to fertilize the eggs. The farmer kept records and any rooster that didn't perform went into the soup pot and was replaced. That took an awful lot of his time, so he bought a set of tiny bells and attached them to his roosters. Each bell had a different tone so John could tell from a distance, which rooster was performing.

Now he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report simply by listening to the bells. The farmer's favorite rooster was old Butch and a very fine specimen he was, too.

But on this particular morning John noticed old Butch's bell hadn't rung at all! John went to investigate. The other roosters were chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing. The pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover. But to Farmer John's amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn't ring.

He would sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one. John was so proud of old Butch, he entered him in the County Fair and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.

The result...The judges not only awarded old Butch the No Bell Piece Prize but they also awarded him the Pulletsurprise as well.

Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making:

Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most highly coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention.


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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