It's a chilly ten degrees above freezing this morning and the coldest beginning of July that I can remember. I guess I picked the best week of the summer to fly to Irvine, California on a consulting trip.

Things seem to come to a head at the end of June. The June 30 edition of New Bookmarks is available at . The June 30 edition of Fraud Updates is available at . And you are reading the July 2 edition of Tidbits.

As the Fourth of July Independence Day holiday approaches, I selected the above picture snapped from our driveway.  In spite of the political divisiveness that separates our people, this is still a wonderful place to live, work, and retire. Actually 231 is relatively young for a nation still experimenting with freedom and democracy.

God bless our beloved country on the 231st anniversary of its birth.
Peggy Noonan

Inspirational and Patriotic Music ---

America, Why I Love Her (John Wayne) ---

American Heroes ---


Tidbits on July 2, 2007
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to 

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- 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 ---   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at

Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
       (Also scroll down to the table at )

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 ---

Museum of Media History ---

Sam the Bellhop ---

Press One for English (Country Swing) ---

Ted Kennedy breaks out into song (in Spanish) on Latino radio program --- Click Here

The Goat Lady (not humor) ---

"Video: A Virtually New Web: The collision of virtual reality and mapping brings excitement to cyberspace," by Jason Pontin,MIT's Technology Review, July/August, 2007 --- 

"Holographic Video for Your Home:  A compact optical setup that produces 3-D video could make holography much less expensive," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, July/August, 2007 ---

From Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, July 2007 ---


Billed as “The Tax Show for the Tax Pro,” this IRS-sponsored site hosts live programs featuring tax experts and professionals on the second Tuesday of the month, with video, podcasts and transcripts of programs available from the previous 12 months. Visit the “Program Resources” tab before airtime for links to workshops, forums and online tools on the month’s tax topic. CPAs can earn one CPE credit hour for every program watched or listened to (live or archived) as long as their state board accepts NASBA-sponsored programs—so it would be wise to check with your state board before buying credits.

June 26, 2007 Message from Bob Blystone

From Purdue University
Computer Animation of the 9/11 Collapse of the World Trade Center --- 

The URL is from Purdue Univ. and is a computer animation of what happened when one of the aircraft impacted the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. It is 5 minutes long and gives an idea of how the structural failure of the building occurred.

The visualization is striking in its CIS and Engineering depictions. Yet, it is so stark when one remembers that the animation can not deal with the lives that were impacted by the senseless act.

Bob Blystone

Find Sounds ---

How to Buy a DVD Recorder --- Click Here

Free music downloads ---

Inspirational and Patriotic Music ---

Hear Maican and his (symphonic) music on NPR's radio program 'From the Top' and in concert in Washington, D.C. ---

Enthralled By Jazz, Joni Mitchell Sets New Moods ---

Miles Davis: Miles' Styles (54 minutes) ---

It's hard to believe that Joan Wasser, the singer-songwriter behind Joan as Police Woman, is only now attracting widespread attention. She could easily be considered an industry veteran: She's performed with the Boston University Symphony Orchestra and collaborated with the likes of John Zorn, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed and the late Jeff Buckley ---

Press One for English (Country Swing) ---

These days, vocalist Cesaria Évora spends much of her time touring, performing for foreign audiences in regions as remote as Siberia. Yet she always returns home to her native Cape Verde ---

Improvising with Keith Jarrett on 'Piano Jazz' ---

Photographs and Art

New Unseen Pictures of Korean War (including Marilyn Monroe) Published ---

Rafal Taras ---

Life Magazine's rare unseen photographs of JFK (from Time Magazine) --- Click Here

Light Graffiti ---

Knysna Fine Art (some on the weird side) ---

Grimm's Fairytales (from National Geographic) ---

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art ---


Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

Obama, Poet ---

The Poetry Pages ---

Arcanum Cafe (for poets) ---

The Literature Network ---

Planet PDF (free PDF eBooks) ---

Octavo Digital Rare Books ---

Grimm's Fairytales (from National Geographic) ---

The Princeton Dante Project ---
The Dartmouth Dante Project ---

Dickens and the Rhetoric of Laughter ---

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll --- Click Here

American Notes by Charles Dickens --- Click Here

The Altar Of The Dead by Henry James --- Click Here

The Cask Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe --- Click Here

A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain --- Click Here

God bless our beloved country on the 231st anniversary of its birth.
Peggy Noonan

I am optimistic for the future of pessimism.
Jean Rostand --- Click Here

In the movie “Ghostbusters,Dan Aykroyd commiserates with Bill Murray after the two lose their jobs as university researchers. “Personally, I like the university. They gave us money and facilities, and we didn’t have to produce anything. You’ve never been out of college. You don’t know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results.” I can find some amusement in this observation, in a self-deprecating sort of way, recognizing that this perception of higher education is shared by many beyond the characters in this 1980s movie.
Jeremy Penn, "Assessment for ‘Us’ and Assessment for ‘Them’," Inside Higher Ed, June 26, 2007 ---

I asked Harvard economist Claudia Goldin if there is sufficient evidence to conclude that women experience systematic pay discrimination. "No," she replied. There are certainly instances of discrimination, she says, but most of the gap is the result of different choices. Other hard-to-measure factors, Goldin thinks, largely account for the remaining gap -- "probably not all, but most of it." The divergent career paths of men and women may reflect a basic unfairness in what's expected of them. It could be that a lot of mothers, if they had their way, would rather pursue careers but have to stay home with the kids because their husbands insist. Or it may be that for one reason or another, many mothers prefer to take on the lion's share of child-rearing. In any case, the pay disparity caused by these choices can't be blamed on piggish employers.
Steve Chapman, "The Truth About the Pay Gap Feminist politics and bad economics," Reason Magazine, April 30, 2007 ---

In all areas measured (health treatment), the U.S. fared better than Canada. For example, 24 percent of Canadians waited four hours or longer to be seen in the emergency room versus 12 percent in the U.S. The difference was more acute when it came time to see a specialist. Fifty-seven percent of Canadians waited four weeks or longer to see a specialist versus 23 percent in the U.S. . . . The film (Sicko) concludes with a trip to Cuba where Moore seeks care for a group of workers who have experienced health problems after responding to 2001 terrorist attacks. They are greeted with open arms at a hospital in Havana and given what appears to be top-notch care that they could not get in the U.S. The question left for viewers to ponder is whether Cubans are given such red carpet treatment, too.
Kevin Freking and Linda A. Johnson, " 'Sicko' Film Gives Accused Little Say," PhysOrg, June 30, 2007 ---

Take the case of four-year-old Elias Dillner. In 2004, Dillner's parents were told by doctors that their son too would benefit from cochlear implants. After being fitted with the first implant, Dillner's insurance provider said the second operation could not be "prioritized." The family would have to wait. "We will do anything," Elias's mother told reporters, "even if it means that we have to take out a loan for the operation." Without insurance, the second procedure would likely cost $40,000. But Dillner's truculent insurance provider was not Aetna or Kaiser, but the notoriously generous Swedish welfare state, where health care is "free." And because there is no private clinic in Sweden that could perform the operation, Elias will sit in a queue, hoping, in lieu of privatization, for prioritization. Swedish legislator Robert Uitto said that the Dillner case was unfortunate, but "People shouldn't, on principle, be allowed to purchase care in the public system."
Michael C. Moynihan, "Michael Moore's Shticko His health care jeremiad won't win any converts," Reason Magazine, June 22, 2007 ---

Michael Moore has teased and bullied his way to some brilliant highs in his career as a political entertainer, but he scrapes bottom in his new documentary, “Sicko.” . . . Moore winds up treating the audience the same way that, he says, powerful people treat the weak in America—as dopes easily satisfied with fairy tales and bland reassurances. And since he doesn’t interview any of the countless Americans who have been mulling over ways to reform our system, we’re supposed to come away from “Sicko” believing that sane thinking on these issues is unknown here. In the actual political world, the major Democratic Presidential candidates have already offered, or will soon offer, plans for reform. A shift to the left, or, at least, to the center, has overtaken Michael Moore, yielding an irony more striking than any he turns up: the changes in political consciousness that Moore himself has helped produce have rendered his latest film almost superfluous.
David Denby (a strong advocate of a national health plan for the U.S.), "Do No Harm 'Sicko' and 'Evening'," The New Yorker, July 2, 2007 --- Click Here 

Who's Really 'Sicko' In Canada, dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week. Humans can wait two to three years . . . Her client, Lindsay McCreith, would have had to wait for four months just to get an MRI, and then months more to see a neurologist for his malignant brain tumor. Instead, frustrated and ill, the retired auto-body shop owner traveled to Buffalo, N.Y., for a lifesaving surgery. Now he's suing for the right to opt out of Canada's government-run health care, which he considers dangerous.
David Gratzer, "Who's Really 'Sicko'?" The Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
If he'd retired in the U.S., Lindsay's retirement-age client could probably quickly get fast lifesaving surgery under Medicare. With reasonably-priced Medicare supplements the surgery would be virtually free to this client. Although I'm not a defender of Michael Moore's non-academic cherry-picking research tactics, Lindsay's client would have a much more difficult time getting lifesaving surgery in the U.S. as an unemployed younger person with no health insurance whatsoever. In that case, much depends upon the luck of the draw regarding which emergency room treats the malignant brain tumor. Certain counties, states, and hospitals in the U.S. are more generous than others in this regard. The U.S. does not have a good medical system for for over 50 million uninsured citizens and illegal aliens. The first question is what proportion of the GDP a nation is willing to devote to health care of persons who cannot afford health insurance. The second question is what limits to place on providing really expensive procedures like years of nursing care, organ replacements, neuro surgeries, open-heart surgeries, dialysis, etc. that, if unchecked, will drag the economy so low that either health care becomes a sham or too many people have no economic opportunity in life. No nation has the answer here, including France and Germany with their excellent national health care systems and soaring unemployment. Nations low in population and rich in oil such as Norway are hardly comparable since most nations do not have much underground oil per capita. Most other nations must do their best to have a full-employment economy where workers can afford health coverage whether paid for through wages or taxes such as a nationwide VAT/Sales tax. The first problem is how to insure workers in small businesses that pay low wages and cannot survive if forced to provide medical coverage for each full-time and part-time employee. The second problem is, and always will be, how to provide quality health care coverage to what Karl Marx called the Industrial Reserve Army made up largely of people who will not or cannot work. These are the folks who made Michael Moore a multi-millionaire by expounding, along with Moore, government entitlements for themselves. The sad fact is that virtually all nations burdened with soaring economic entitlements, especially the U.S. and all of Europe, are headed for disaster whereas nations without such entitlements like China and India will eventually take over the world ---

About half of those polled thought small businesses would be hurt. While some will offer insurance to compete for employees, others are daunted by the requirement to include part-time employees working 35 hours or more a week. “This is going to bring me to my knees,” said Deb Maguire, who runs Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub and Restaurant in Falmouth. Ms. Maguire said she had offered health insurance, costing employees $42 a week and her $45, but only about 10 of 30 employees purchased it. Now the others will enroll, she said, an expense significant for them and “just astronomical for me.”
Pam Belluck, "Massachusetts Universal Care Plan Faces Hurdles," The New York Times, July 1, 2007 --- Click Here 

Opium production in Afghanistan is soaring out of control, the annual UN report on illegal drugs says. The World Drug Report says more than 90% of illegal opium, which is used to make heroin, comes from Afghanistan . . . In the 1980s, Afghanistan produced some 30% of the world's opium, but now that figure has more than tripled, the UN document says . . . In the 1980s, Afghanistan produced some 30% of the world's opium, but now that figure has more than tripled, the UN document says.
Imogen Foulkes, BBC News, June 25, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
This leads me to conclude that the Taliban is really fighting so intensely for drug turf rather than ideology.

More than 200 professors have been killed in Iraq since the U.S. invasion, the AP said, while thousands have fled the country.
Inside Higher Ed, June 27, 2007 ---

A 65-year-old St. Louis man is missing after Amtrak personnel, mistaking his diabetic shock for drunk and disorderly behavior, kicked him off a train in the middle of a national forest, according to police in Williams, Ariz. Police said Roosevelt Sims was headed to Los Angeles but was asked to leave the train shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday at a railroad crossing five miles outside Williams, reported KPHO-TV in Phoenix.
"Diabetic Man Kicked Off Train, Now Missing," Channel Six News, June 28, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
But do not fear for that he will stay lost. There are 152,623 attorneys scouring the woods in search of him. For a starving lawyer this will be like winning the lottery.

In Alaska, bald eagles outnumber people and are not viewed with the respect they get in the continental United States.
Charles Homans, NPR, June 30, 2007 ---

Arguably, the issue (tenure rejection at Depaul University)  is not Finkelstein's morality but the quality of his work. In this area, Finkelstein has some backers with no apparent political axe to grind; renowned Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg has praised his research on the mishandling of reparation payments to Holocaust survivors. But it is worth noting that he has no publications in peer-reviewed journals—usually a requirement for tenure—and most assessments of his books have been scathing. Columbia University historian David Greenberg, no knee-jerk defender of Israel, called The Holocaust Industry "a hate-filled screed" filled with "pseudo-scholarship, extreme anti-Israel ideology and—there is no way around it—anti-Semitism."
Cathy Young, "Finking on Finkelstein Does the tenure case of Norman Finkelstein bode ill for academic freedom?" Reason Magazine, June 25, 2007 ---

Mexico, which annually deports more illegal aliens than the United States does, has much to teach us about how it handles the immigration issue. Under Mexican law, it is a felony to be an illegal alien in Mexico.
J. Michael Waller, Human Events, May 8, 2006 ---

The National Council on Teacher Quality on Wednesday released a report criticizing most states for their teacher education policies. Among the criticisms: too few “alternate routes” to teaching for liberal arts graduates and others and insufficient monitoring of the academic skills of those entering and graduating from teacher education programs. Most of the criticisms are similar to those made in previous reports — and are of the sort that teacher ed groups say are outdated. The new report provides state by state analysis in addition to national summary data.
Inside Higher Ed, June 28, 2007 ---

Roll Call on the June 28, 2007 immigration bill in the U.S. Senate --- Click Here

"American Decadence—Part 1 of 4:  The Characteristics of an Uncivilized People," by Reginald Firehammer, The Autonomist, June 2007 ---

The war in Iraq? Opinion within the London newsrooms was overwhelmingly opposed to military action from the start and has never wavered since. Man-made climate change? The BBC has jettisoned all semblance of impartiality on the issue; it now openly campaigns with a constant stream of scare stories. The Arab-Israeli conflict? The BBC's sympathies are firmly on the side of the Palestinians, who, having achieved the status of permanent victims, escape skeptical examination of their actions and motives.
Robin Aitken, "A Biased Look in the Mirror," The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2007 --- Click Here

"An Academic Hijacking," by Alan M. Dershowitz, The Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2007; Page A13 --- Click Here

Anti-Israel sentiment among left-wing academics, journalists, and politicians in Britain is politically correct and relatively uncontroversial (as is anti-American sentiment). Several years earlier, a petition to boycott several Israeli universities initially passed but was later rescinded, and the British National Union of Journalists has also voted to boycott Israeli products. At about the same time, a British academic journal fired two of its board members apparently because they were Israeli Jews. Some popular British political leaders, most notoriously, London's Mayor "Red Ken" Livingstone, have made anti-Israel statements that border on anti-Semitism, in one instance comparing a Jewish journalist to a Nazi "war criminal."

Many of the academics who have been pushing the boycott most energetically are members of hard-left socialist-worker groups. These radicals devote more time and energy to international issues than to the domestic welfare of their own members, who have suffered a serious decline in salary and working conditions. Their pet peeve, sometimes it appears their only peeve, is the Israeli occupation -- not of the West Bank and, before its return, of Gaza but rather of all of Palestine, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. These are not advocates of the two-state solution, but of a one-state dissolution of Israel, with the resulting state being controlled by Hamas.

In a world in which dissident academics are murdered in Iran, tortured in Egypt, imprisoned in China and fired in many other parts of the world, the British Union decided to boycott only academics from a country with as much academic freedom as in Britain and far more academic freedom -- and more actual academic dissent -- than in any Arab or Muslim country. Indeed, Arabs have more academic (and journalistic) freedom in Israel, even in the West Bank, than in any Arab or Muslim nation.

But these union activists couldn't care less about academic freedom, or any other kind of freedom for that matter. Nor do they care much about the actual plight of the Palestinians. If they did, they would be supporting the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to make peace with Israel based on mutual compromise, rather than Hamas in its futile efforts to destroy Israel as well as the PA.

What they care about -- and all they seem to care about -- is Israel, which they despise, without regard to what the Jewish state actually does or fails to do. The fact that this boycott effort is being undertaken at precisely the time when Israel has ended the occupation of Gaza and is reaching out to the PA, and even to Syria, in an effort to make peace proves that the boycott is not intended to protest specific Israeli policies or actions, but rather to delegitimize and demonize Israel as a democratic Jewish nation. One union activist said on a BBC radio show that "Israel is worse than Stalinist Russia."

The boycotters know that Israel, without oil or other natural resources, lives by its universities, research centers and other academic institutions. After the U.S., Israeli scientists hold more patents than any nation in the world, have more start-up companies listed on Nasdaq, and export more life-saving medical technology.

Continued in article

Opposition continues to grow to the push by leaders of Britain’s faculty union to have professors there boycott academics and universities in Israel. The Guardian reported that faculty members at the University of Oxford are demanding a full vote on the issue. Support for the boycott has generally been strongest at smaller conclaves of faculty leaders, and universitywide votes have suggested that a majority of professors oppose the boycott. On the other side of the pond, the Association of American Universities is the latest group to condemn the boycott. A statement issued Friday said on behalf of its 62 research universities in the United States and Canada said: “Academic boycotts are inimical to the free exchange of ideas that is essential to academic freedom. Members of the academic profession should seek to preserve academic freedom, not restrict it.”
Inside Higher Ed, July 2, 2007 ---

The story of a 6-year-old Afghan boy who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into being a suicide bomber provoked tears and anger at a meeting of tribal leaders.
"Taliban tricked me into wearing bomb, boy says," MSNBC, June 25, 2007 ---

To many  left-wing British professors and media reporters, Islamic terrorist bombers are their heroes if they kill Jews and Americans. The main difference between a terrorist and a combatant is that the terrorist targets innocent victims even if there are no enemy combatants present.
Letter to The New York Times on June 28, 2007 from a grieving father named Arnold Roth 

Today's New York Times carries a (highly favorable) review of a film called "Hot House" that goes inside Israeli prisons and examines the lives of Palestinian prisoners. We're not recommending the film or the review. But we do want to share our feelings with you about the beaming female face that adorns the article. You can see it here 

The film is produced by HBO. So it's presumably HBO's publicity department that was responsible for creating and distributing a glamor-style photograph of a smiling, contented-looking young woman in her twenties to promote the movie.

That female is our child's murderer. She was sentenced to sixteen life sentences or 320 years which she is serving in an Israeli jail. Fifteen people were killed and more than a hundred maimed and injured by the actions of this attractive person and her associates. The background is here <>  Neither the New York Times nor HBO are likely to give even a moment's attention to the victims of the barbarians who destroyed the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem and the lives of so many victims. So we would be grateful if you would pass along this link to some pictures of our daughter whose name was Malki. She was unable to reach her twenties - Hamas saw to that.

Though she was only fifteen years old when her life was stolen from her and from us, we think Malki was a beautiful young woman, living a beautiful life. We ask your help so that other people - far fewer than the number who will see the New York Times, of course - can know about her. Please ask your friends to look at the pictures - some of the very few we have - of our murdered daughter. They are at 

The police phoned to the Roth home immediately after the mourning week (the shiva) was over to say they had found Malki's cell phone in the wreckage of the Sbarro restaurant. Its ballistic nylon holder was shredded by the nails and other shrapnel; a nail and a fragment are at the right of the phone in this photo. On the phone itself, Malki had written: "Assur ledaber lashon harah"; a reminder (in Hebrew) to herself that it is improper to speak ill of other people.

We will not yield, we will not be intimidated,'' he said in an interview with BBC television, after his government raised the national security level to "critical'' following the attacks. He said terrorism "can never be justified as an act of faith'."
The Harald Sun quoting Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown on July 1, 2007 following three botched car bombing attacks in London and Glasgow.

One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.
Sir Winston Churchill

Several conflicts of various intensities are raging in the Middle East. But a bigger war, involving more states--Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and perhaps the United States and others--is growing more likely every day, beckoned by the sense that America and Israel are in retreat and that radical Islam is ascending.
Joshua Muravichk, "Winds of War:  Iran is making a mistake that may lead the Middle East into a broader conflict," The Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2007 ---

What recent documentary did Corporation for Public Broadcasting fund but refuse to air?
More importantly, why did PBS refuse to air the documentary?

"Liberals vs. Free Speech," by Jack Kelly, Real Clear Politics, June 26, 2007 --- Click Here

Are there moderate Muslims? And if there are, why aren't they speaking out against the beheaders and the suicide bombers?

A lot of people ask those questions. Canadian filmmaker Martyn Burke set out to answer them. He made a documentary. "Islam vs. Islamist," which was financed in part by a $675,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Mr. Burke hired journalists who reported from Denmark, France, Canada and the United States. There are a great many moderate Muslims, they found, but they don't speak out because they are intimidated by threats of coercion, ostracism and physical violence from the Islamists in their communities.

Mr. Burke's findings are important, but this column is about why the Public Broadcasting System chose not to air his documentary.

PBS had two objections, Mr. Burke told Bill Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The first was that Mr. Burke showed "favoritism" to those Muslims who don't want to blow up their neighbors.

"Basically, the attitude...was that the Muslims we were portraying as the moderates were in some way, in their view, not true Muslims because they were Westernized," Mr. Burke told Mr. Steigerwald. "They felt the Islamists somehow represented a truer strain of Islam."

PBS also objected to Mr. Burke's co-producers, Frank Gaffney, a former assistant secretary of defense, and Alex Alexiev, a former RAND corporation expert on Islamic extremism.

"They demanded that I fire my two partners, because my partners were conservatives," Mr. Burke said.

PBS is the beau ideal of many liberals when it comes to free speech. Their point of view is subsidized by the taxpayers. Other points of view are suppressed.

In another triumph for the liberal view of free speech (free for me but not for thee), the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled city officials may override the First Amendment if the exercise of free speech by some city employees offends the delicate sensibilities of liberals.

Some black Christian women who work for the city of Oakland, California produced a flier in which they said "marriage is the foundation of the natural family and sustains family values." This was treated as "hate speech" by the city government after another city employee, who is a lesbian, said she "felt threatened" by the sentiment expressed.

Defending marriage is now a firing offense in Oakland, where, however, city officials see nothing inappropriate about permitting gay rights groups to advertise "Happy Coming Out Day" over the city communications system.

Liberal intolerance of other than liberal opinions is behind efforts to reinstate the inaptly named "Fairness doctrine" in radio.

A think tank funded in large part by George Soros and headed by former Clinton aide John Podesta has noted with alarm that 91 percent of total weekday talk programming is conservative. Mr. Podesta attributed the gap between conservative and "progressive" talk radio to "multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system." He proposed new regulations to restrict conservatives and subsidize liberals.

But liberal talk radio is failing not because of "multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system." It's failing because hardly anyone listens to it. Expensive efforts like Air America with big stars such as "comedian" Al Franken flopped because the audience for liberal talk is tiny.

Talk radio is an interactive medium. There may be something in that format that is especially appealing to conservatives. But I suspect talk radio has become a conservative bastion chiefly because the broadcast television networks, two of the three cable networks, and a large majority of the nation's most prominent newspapers and magazines -- not to mention publicly funded PBS and NPR -- are in liberal hands. There are few outlets for conservative expression other than talk radio and Fox News.

Continued in article

What's an advantage of memory failure?

Stanford researchers using functional magnetic resonance imaging have discovered for the first time that the brain's ability to suppress irrelevant memories makes it easier for humans to remember what's really important.
Lisa Trei, "Forgetting helps you remember the important stuff, researchers say," Stanford News, June 6, 2007 ---

For the first time, Stanford researchers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have discovered that the brain's ability to suppress irrelevant memories makes it easier for humans to remember what's really important.

"It's somewhat of a counter-intuitive idea," said Brice Kuhl, a doctoral student working in the lab of Associate Professor Anthony Wagner of the Psychology Department. "Remembering something actually has a cost for memories that are related but irrelevant." But this cost is beneficial: The brain's ability to weaken unimportant memories and experiences enables it to function more efficiently in the future, Kuhl said.

Continued in article

What topic was so boring to these Chinese students?
Hint:  It wasn't international accountancy

It was like watching a man try to swim up a waterfall. Professor Tao Xiuao cracked jokes, told stories, projected a Power Point presentation on a large video screen. But his students at Beijing Foreign Studies University didn't even try to hide their boredom. Young men spread newspapers out on their desks and pored over the sports news. A couple of students listened to iPods; others sent text messages on their cellphones. One young woman with chic red-framed glasses spent the entire two hours engrossed in "Jane Eyre," in the original English. Some drifted out of class, ate lunch and returned. Some just lay their heads on their desktops and went to sleep.
Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2007 --- Click Here

It isn't easy teaching Marxism in China these days.
The subject matter is much more exciting for Harvard and Columbia students.
In Venezuela it's a required subject.

From Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, July 2007 ---

The NASD has answered the calls of investors looking for background information on potential financial service providers. The organization’s BrokerCheck Program lets users research current or formerly registered securities firms, individual brokers and regulated Investment Adviser firms. It also provides a comprehensive 10-year business and licensure history and list of disclosure events, including criminal actions, customer complaints and disciplinary actions by regulators against the firm or broker. Investors receive an electronic disclosure report as well as access to other educational services, including the Professional Designation Database and state disclosure programs.


Whether you’re living on a student’s budget or a CFO’s salary, Free Money Finance has innovative ideas for increasing net worth, budgeting and maximizing retirement savings that you can immediately put into practice. On Mondays, check out “Star Money Articles,” a posting of news and tips from several of the Web’s popular personal finance sites. Take a few minutes on Fridays to read “One Year Ago,” popular posts from the prior year, to jump-start a frugal weekend.


Visit this Smart Stop for the latest tax news and information affecting the employee plans community. CPAs can search for resources on employee plans (EP) examinations and enforcement, retirement plans, benefit audits and correcting EP errors. Click on the “EP/Forms/Pubs/Products” link for access to PDF versions of EP forms and publications, plus in-depth instructions for form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, and form 5330, Return of Excise Taxes Related to Employee Benefit Plans.


Visit Chicago-area attorney Joel Schoenmeyer’s Web site to brush up on topics straddling the lines between law, accounting and wealth management. Death and Taxes—The Blog offers estate planning and administration news and commentary, plus coverage of legal issues about real estate, gift and income taxes, trusts and charitable giving.

Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at

June 29, 2007 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


The report of the 2007 EDUCAUSE Current Issues in higher education information technology is now available online. The survey, now in its eighth year, asks "campus information technology leaders to rate the most critical IT challenges facing them, their campuses, and/or their systems." As it has been in five previous years, funding was ranked as the number one IT issue. Included in the top ten issues listed were faculty development, support, and training (number 6) and course/learning management systems (number 9). The report and related readings are available at .

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. The current membership comprises more than 1,900 colleges, universities, and educational organizations, including 200 corporations, with 15,000 active members. EDUCAUSE has offices in Boulder, CO, and Washington, DC. Learn more about EDUCAUSE at .


"Most debates over high textbook prices devolve into a blame game . . . Publishers go after excessive profits, bookstores stock too few used books, professors ignore prices and switch books on a whim, colleges fail to guide their faculty members, and students are not smart shoppers. Such claims are unproductive, the [Education Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance] says, though it sides more with students than with publishers." [The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 1, 2007]

After a yearlong study, the Committee, an independent panel that advises the U.S. Congress on student aid policy, has released "Turn the Page: Making College Textbooks More Affordable," a report that addresses the problem of rising prices of college textbooks. Long-term solutions would entail an "infrastructure of technology and support services with which institutions, students, faculty, bookstores, publishers, and other content providers can interact efficiently. This infrastructure would consist of a transaction and rights clearinghouse, numerous marketplace Web applications, and hosted infrastructure resources. . . . The hosted infrastructure would ensure that all systems interface, support a registry of millions of learning items, provide marketplace services to thousands of campuses and millions of users, and process hundreds of millions of transactions for both fee-based and no-cost content."

The report and related materials are available at .


Mobile learning is the theme of the current issue of the INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF RESEARCH IN OPEN AND DISTANCE LEARNING. Papers include:

"Mobile Distance Learning with PDAs: Development and Testing of Pedagogical and System Solutions Supporting Mobile Distance Learners" by Torstein Rekkedal and Aleksander Dye, Norwegian School of Information Technology

"The Growth of m-Learning and the Growth of Mobile Computing: Parallel Developments" by Jason G. Caudill, Grand Canyon University

"Mobile Learning and Student Retention" by Bharat Inder Fozdar and Lalita S. Kumar, India Gandhi National Open University

"Instant Messaging for Creating Interactive and Collaborative m-Learning Environments" by James Kadirire, Anglia Ruskin University

"m-Learning: Positioning Educators for a Mobile, Connected Future" by Kristine Peters, Flinders University

The issue is available at . Papers are available not only in HTML and PDF formats, but you can also download and listen to them in MP3 audio versions.

International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) [ISSN 1492-3831] is a free, refereed ejournal published by Athabasca University - Canada's Open University. For more information, contact Paula Smith, IRRODL Managing Editor; tel: 780-675-6810; fax: 780-675-672;
email: ;
Web: .

See also:

"Are You Ready for Mobile Learning?" By Joseph Rene Corbeil and Maria Elena Valdes-Corbeil, University of Texas at Brownsville EDUCAUSE QUARTERLY, vol. 30, no. 2, 2007 

"Frequent use of mobile devices does not mean that students or instructors are ready for mobile learning and teaching."


As a follow-up to last month's article on teaching different generations, Infobits reader Sam Eneman, Instructional Technology Consultant at UNC-Charlotte, recommends:

"Of Hot Tubs and Beowolf: E-learning for Seniors," by Mark Notess, eLearn Magazine


"Online Learning for Seniors: Barriers and Opportunities," by Mark Notess and Lesa Lorenzen-Hube, eLearn Magazine

Bob Jensen's threads on the tools of education technologies are at

Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are at

Humor is also a way of saying something serious.
T.S. Eliot ---

"Using humor in online classes," by Gail E. Krovitz, Educator's Voice from eCollege, June 2007 ---

In our work with you, through these articles, professional development courses and in-person trainings, we spend a lot of time talking about instructor presence and immediacy. These are the things we do as instructors to personalize ourselves to our students, help us connect with our students, and create a welcoming learning community for our students.

In a traditional classroom, one way that faculty presence is achieved is through the use of humor. Based on student surveys, humor use is consistently ranked as one of the top five characteristics of effective teachers. Humor use in the classroom contributes to a supportive learning environment, and enhances student attention, recall of information, pleasure in learning, and interest in the subject matter (James). Finally, humor use on exams can help alleviate student tension and can function as a stress-reducing tool (Berk).

However, while there is a wide body of research identifying the benefits of using humor in the traditional classroom, the use of humor in online classes is largely ignored as a pedagogical tool. Many online instructors do not go out of their way to find and use humorous material in their courses. Why is that? A primary reason is that it takes extra planning and effort to make humor happen in online classes (James). Instructors who are pressed for time (and who isn’t?) find that it takes more time to be humorous than it takes to just get the job done. Additionally, online classes do not easily lend themselves to the auditory or spontaneous aspects of humor that are available in a traditional classroom setting. For these reasons, humor use in online classes is a largely untapped resource for building a positive learning community.

A recently published study examined the intentional use of humor in two otherwise identical sections of an online psychology class (LoSchaivo and Shatz). Material was presented traditionally in one section (without consciously adding humor), while the other section presented the same material with the following humorous additions: two or three content-relevant jokes to each lecture, cartoons to each quiz, and witty remarks to all electronic announcements. Statistical comparisons at the end of the semester showed no difference in final grades between sections, but did show that students in the “humor-enhanced” section earned more participation points by more frequent participation in online discussions. Students in the “humor-enhanced” section used the interactive class features more (including email and discussions), and were more likely to reply to other student’s questions in the discussions.

Resources for finding and using humor

So, do you want to use humor to increase your instructor presence in your class and help create a positive learning environment? If so, help is on the way. There are several good resources for crafting humor for online classes. Shatz and LoSchaivo provide detailed information on locating or creating humor for online classes, as well as guidelines for incorporating humor into online lectures and exams. The authors suggest that visual humor (such as cartoons, illustrations and photographs) and funny quotes, jokes, examples, word-play, forms of exaggeration, top-10 lists, and so on, can easily be incorporated into online courses. Shatz and LoSchaivo also recommend doing an internet search for your topic and “humor” to find humorous material specific to your discipline. Berk gives guidelines for print and non-print humor forms that can be incorporated into online classes, and also gives numerous examples and web resources. His suggested print forms include humorous course components, course disclaimers, announcements, warnings or cautions, lists, word derivations, foreign word expressions, acronyms and emoticons. Non-print forms include visual and sound effects.

If you want to get students involved in your search for new humorous material, Shatz and LoSchaivo suggest an activity called “The Contributing Editor” where students locate course-related humor and then write a report (extra-credit or for-credit) detailing the source of the material and how the topic relates to the course. Alternately, this material could be shared in a discussion area, such as the Class Lounge. Shatz and LoSchaivo stress the importance of giving guidelines for the student so they know what humor is appropriate for the assignment.

Cautions for online humor use

To go along with these suggested ways that humorous material can be located or developed, Shatz and LoSchaivo also provide some guidelines and cautions regarding the use of humor in online classes (see also Shatz, and LoSchaivo and Shatz). When selecting humorous material to include in your online classes, you will want to keep the following in mind:

Humor must have an educational or instructional objective. The effectiveness of classroom humor should be gauged by how well it promotes learning and by how it contributes to the learning community.

Less is more. It is not necessary to use over-the-top humor since students have low humor expectations in the classroom (versus, say, at a comedy club). Humor enhances, but is not a substitute for, the educational material. Going for big laughs in a classroom setting can distract the students and result in them remembering the humor and not the material.

Instructors need to know their audience, and stay away from potentially offensive types of humor. Students are not acceptable targets for humor, while the instructor is a potential target since self-depreciating humor humanizes the teacher and allows their personality to come through. Instructors should be especially cautious about incorporating “risky” humor in online classes, as the humor cannot be softened by aspects of delivery (voice, timing, gestures), instructors have no immediate feedback from students, and (gulp!) the humor cannot be easily retracted or forgotten because it lingers in the course shell. I hope that this information has convinced you to think of some ways to incorporate humorous material into your online classes. The resources discussed above provide a good place to start with your search for relevant pedagogical humor, and it is worth some time with your favorite search engine to find what’s out there for your subject matter. My own search for humorous material for my discipline had me laughing out loud, and I hope this material provides me with new ways to connect with students in my own classes.

Good luck and good teaching!

– Gail E. Krovitz, Ph.D.

June 30, 2007  reply from Amy Dunbar [Amy.Dunbar@BUSINESS.UCONN.EDU]

I like to intersperse funny pics of my grandchildren in my online courses. For a pic to illustrate how messy partnership rules are I use a pic of my four-year-old grandson with peanut butter all over himself, one sticky finger in his mouth and the other holding the peanut butter jar, trying to hide under the kitchen table.

In the last module, when the students are all tired and just want the course to be over, I put music clips on random self test buttons, like "I feel good," and "you know it ain't easy."

I use a "water cooler" board for jokes and cartoons. One thing that works well on the water cooler board is to post something about what you to do to relieve stress, and ask students what they do. I get all kinds of posts. It's great to see another side of students. Another benefit of this board is that students who aren't into reading a lot of posts know they can safely skip anything posted on the water cooler board.

On the main board, I post a "summary of the week," and I include funny exchanges (with names removed) that students have in their chat sessions that I ask them to post on their group boards. I also like to pick up a few quotes from the instant messenger away messages. Those are always fun!

Bottom line, I think humor is important, but I think the real point is to show some of the human interaction the students would experience in the classroom.

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting humor are at

"Are B-Schools Hiding the Cheaters?" by Alison Damast, Business Week, June 20, 2007

Want to know where business students are cheating? Many schools have honor codes, but it's not easy to find out when they're broken.

With the controversy surrounding the cheating scandal at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, a prospective business school student might be inclined to take a closer look at just how often cheating occurs at some top B-schools. But if you're of that mind, be prepared to encounter some roadblocks along the way.

This was what happened when BusinessWeek conducted an e-mail survey of our top 25 ranked graduate business schools in an effort to quantify how widespread cheating is among B-school students. It turned out to be a tougher task than we expected. We learned that business schools are reluctant to release data about cheating and, in some cases, refuse even to discuss it.

Back in May—shortly after Duke announced it was disciplining 34 students for ethical violations involving a test and classwork—we asked each of the top 25 how many students had been sanctioned for cheating or other ethical violations over the past 10 years. We requested a breakdown by school year, type of violation committed, and punishment handed down, if any. We also asked the school if they had an honor code and, if so, what their process was for dealing with students who violated it.

Handful of Cases Only

Out of the 25 business schools, only three—the University of Virginia, Duke, and the University of Chicago—were able to provide us with specific data about ethical violations among their B-school students. Fifteen schools provided us with information about their policy for dealing with ethics violations, but did not provide specific figures on cheating. And seven schools declined to provide any information (see, 6/21/07, "Schools' Responses on Cheating Stats").

From the limited amount of information provided by the schools, there was no indication that cheating cases resulting in school disciplinary action were numerous at top B-schools. Chicago, for instance, said that it only had 25 disciplinary hearings over the past 13 years. All 25 resulted in sanctions, although only 11 were related to academic issues or misconduct. That's an average of less than one academic sanction per year during that period.

Schools such as New York University and Indiana University's Kelly School of Business said they just have a "handful" of cases each year, but declined to get more specific on the figures. And Virginia has had just a small number of cases in the past seven years that resulted in expulsions, according to online records kept by the school's honor committee.

Playing With Cheaters

Still, the unwillingness of a large number of top schools to provide data on cheating is bad news for a business school student who wants to get an accurate picture of how his classmates might conduct themselves while in school, said David Callahan, author of The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead.

"It seems to me like it is a piece of information you would want to know about the business school you are going to," Callahan said. "If you are an honest student, it puts you at a disadvantage to be in an environment with cheating because you're going to be working harder and losing out to people who are not playing by the rules."

Administrators at business schools offered a wide variety of reasons they were unable to disclose data on cheating; some said they simply didn't keep track of it, while others said they could not disclose it because of federal privacy laws. A handful said simply that cheating rarely, if ever, happens at their school.

Continued in article

"Both Sides of Kenan-Flagler:  MBAs run around like frantic idiots but are courted by huge companies as rock stars. It is no surprise that this combination of frenzy and entitlement leads to cheating," by Danvers Fleury, Business Week, June 24, 2007

I used to think poorly of Duke MBAs. As a UNC recruit, one of my fondest memories was Welcome Weekend, where all admitted students are invited to meet each other and figure out whether Kenan-Flagler is right for them. While attending, I wanted to see how advanced I was at the fine art of diagnosing who would be ill enough to choose Fuqua over Kenan-Flagler.

My first suspected victim used to be an engineer, had a GMAT of 770, and got into seven different schools. When asked about his interest in North Carolina, he said, "Oh the weather. It’s so nice," and then proceeded to sweat, nervously tic, and stare intently at me, playing the crack addict to my crack. Clearly he suffered from Fuquash: the inability to relate to humans.

Others were afflicted with Fuquardation, or arrogance and entitlement falling just short of Whartonitis. This could be diagnosed by simply asking them, "What do you do for a living?" Infected parties came just short of an elaborate PowerPoint presentation-style pitch followed by a monopolization of group conversation revolving around their pet horse and its food likes and dislikes.

Now, it turns out that these people did not go to Kenan-Flagler, but they also haven’t been among the numerous upstanding and well-balanced people I’ve met from Fuqua. Concern has been voiced over Duke MBA ethics; I heartily disagree. According to a recent survey, 56% of MBAs cheat, yet somehow Fuqua is the only MBA program that can catch them and then admit to it! To me, that seems more like an accomplishment and less like a scandal, and I hope you don’t fault them for it in your search.

At business school you learn to look at both sides of complicated situations, and accordingly in this post I’d like to share my positive and negative thoughts on the MBA as a whole, and the Kenan-Flagler experience in particular.

The MBA: Invaluable

My ability to manage time and stress has skyrocketed, and overall I think through problems in a broader and more insightful fashion. A lot of my gut instincts on management and decision-making have been reinforced, while compelling evidence has been provided through 360-degree feedback and interactive course work that other habits need to go.

As for the career benefits, I’ve seen English teachers turn into financiers in 12 weeks. The MBA is worth every penny to career-switchers and adds incredible value to folks who don’t have strong business backgrounds. Just as important, the size of my professional network quadrupled overnight and continues to grow daily.

The MBA: Dinosaur

MBA programs give you credibility, new skills, and a great network, but there are plenty of ways they could go about it better.

Most classes in most programs revolve around lecture and case studies; this is not going to continue to fly for the MTV generation. I fully understand how teachers feel that asking questions and discussing a shared case is interactive, but they clearly haven’t grown up in the highly immersive multimedia world that most echo boomers come from. Integrating real-time simulation into the classroom as well as experimenting with group participation could favorably affect learning.

Furthermore, the core economic principles that most programs teach come from a microeconomic and macroeconomic world where people are rational, systems are closed, and equilibrium is always reached. Considering how irrational people are and how open and dynamic our economy is, I can’t help but think we’re getting led astray, and books like The Origin of Wealth by Eric Beinhocker go a long way to confirming this fear.

Finally, I think programs create overload for overload’s sake while at the same time coddling students. MBAs run around like frantic idiots but are courted by huge companies as rock stars. It is no surprise that this combination of frenzy and entitlement leads to cheating. I think a less insular environment that is more integrated with the real world and local community would help students stay focused and balanced, making them less likely to make poor decisions.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at

D-Schools Are Also Cheating
The Southern Illinois University dental school, which is affiliated with the Edwardsville campus, is withholding grades of all first-year students, because of questions raised about the academic merit and integrity of the students. A university spokesman declined to provide details, citing the need to preserve confidentiality and the presumption of innocence, but said that all 52 first-year students would be interviewed as part of the inquiry. Ann Boyle, dean of the dental school, issued a statement: “This matter raises questions about the integrity and ethical behavior of Year I students and is, therefore, under investigation. We will follow our processes as outlined in our Student Progress Document to resolve the situation as quickly as we can.” KMOV-TV quoted students at the dental school, anonymously, as saying that the investigation concerned students who had tried to memorize and share information from old exams that instructors let them see, so the students did not consider the practice to be cheating. The Southern Illinois incident follows two other scandals this year involving professional school cheating: one at Duke University’s business school and one at Indiana University’s dental school.
Inside Higher Ed, June 27, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at

Language Learning Helpers (With Audio)

June 26, 2007 message from

Dear Dr. Jensen,

I have contacted you about a year ago, regarding a link request to our website ( ). We have manually reviewed your site and saw that you have links to language related resources.

Our free website targets people who are interested in learning foreign languages, such as Spanish, German or English (ESL). During the past year we have added many features to Vocabulix, such as audio pronunciation and lessons with visuals. Presently we are welcoming 40'000 users monthly.

We would appreciate it a lot if you would place a link to our website (see below). In return, if you have unique language related content on your pages, we will add a link to your website from our "language resources book".

Thank you in advance.

Mark Guggenheim
Zurich, Switzerland +41-44-586 69 26

P.S. If you'd like, you could simply copy and paste one of the following sections into your code:

1. <a href="">Learn Spanish</a>

2. <a href="">Learn German</a>

3. <a href="">Learn English</a>

"Overcoming Language Anxiety," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, June 29, 2007 ---

Various modern language and literature helpers are linked at

Bob Jensen's links to free language tutorials are at


Casaubon, Susan Sontag, and Viagra

"Casaubon on Viagra," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, June 27, 2007 ---  

One generation’s faculty gossip is sometimes another’s cultural history. At the University of Chicago in the early 1950s, a professor stopped a teenage student leaving one of his classes. She was not properly enrolled in the course, but bureaucratic proprieties really did not have anything to do with it. She was stunning. He was smitten. They had lunch. And 10 days later, give or take, Philip Rieff was joined in marriage to a young woman who never actually did change her name to Susan Rieff, instead always being known as Susan Sontag.

They did not live happily ever after. The opening pages of Sontag’s last novel, In America, are written in a first-person voice that sounds very much like the author’s. The narrator mentions reading George Eliot as a young bride and bursting into tears at the realization she had, like Dorothea in Middlemarch, married Casaubon.

As you may recall, Dorothea is at first transfixed by the learning and gravitas of Casaubon, a scholar who is many years her senior. It soon dawns on her (as it does perhaps more quickly for the reader) that he is a bloodless pedant, joyless except when venting spleen against other bloodless pendants. And there are hints, as clear as Victorian propriety will allow, that Dorothea’s honeymoon has been disappointing in other ways as well.

Sontag’s allusion must rank as one of the more subtly devastating acts of revenge ever performed by an ex-wife. At the same time, it is in keeping with some durable and rather less literary attitudes towards professors — the stereotype that treats them as being not just other-worldly, but also rather desexed by all the sublimation their work requires. This view really took hold in the 19th century, according to the analysis presented by A.D. Nuttall in Dead From the Waist Down: Scholars and Scholarship in Literature and the Popular Imagination (Yale University Press, 2003).

But a different cliché is emerging from Hollywood lately. The summer issue of The American Scholar contains an essay by William Deresiewicz called “Love on Campus” that identifies a “new academic stereotype” visible in popular culture. The sexually underachieving Casaubon’s day is over. The new stereotype of the professor has some notches in his bedpost (this character is almost always a male) and for the most part demonstrates his priapic prowess with students.

Continued in article

With the Feds on their tails, colleges are pledging more voluntary academic accountability
As Congress and the U.S. Education Department contemplate whether and how to force colleges to publish significantly more information about their performance, two associations of public universities are forging ahead with their own plan for a voluntary accountability system under which institutions would release data about student learning outcomes that most of them have not typically made public. And the major association of private colleges on Monday offered a look at its own accountability template, which would give institutions much more leeway about what they report about their students’ classroom success.
Doug Lederman, "Campus Accountability Proposals Evolve," Inside Higher Ed, June 26, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on financial and academic accountability are at

Open2 Net Learning from Open University (the largest university in the U.K.) ---

Bob Jensen's links to online training and education alternatives are at

I've mentioned this several times in Tidbits over the years, but the Financial Rounds blog reminds us once again about how to send huge files (i.e., too large for email attachments) for free over the Internet:

Need to send a large file (and you or the person you're sending it to uses an email service that can't handle it)?
DropSend or YouSendIt. The first service requires a small bit of personal info, but also offers some storage.
Financial Rounds, June 21, 2007 ---

Does Jim miss the point on why white collar crime pays even if you know you will get caught?

For most convicted felons, he probably is on target in his module below. But there are some who would commit the fraud even if they knew ahead of time that they're likely to get caught, because white collar crime often pays quite well. The judge even let Ken Lay's wife keep millions of his ill-gotten heist dollars ---

From Jim Mahar's blog on June 27, 2007 ---

Going to jail for a while..

Since it now seems that the Rigases will actually serve jail time for their roles in the Adelphia scandal, I thought it would be a good time to mention a very cool paper by Karpoff, Lee, and Martin that is forthcoming in the Journal of Financial Economics on what happens to managers who “cook the books”.

Short version? They burn.

Longer version: Karpoff, Lee, and Martin look at over 2000 (2,206 for those who want more precision) cases of SEC or Department of Justice “enforcement actions for financial misrepresentation” from the late 1970s to September 2006. They find that those managers who were responsible did have a price to pay above and beyond the drop in the value of their stock holdings (and options I would add!).

The price varies predictably with severity of crime and strength of governance, BUT overall it is quite clear the managers do pay a personal penalty. It starts with loss of employment--an amazing “93% lose their job by the end of the regulatory enforcement period” with more than fifty percent of those being fired.

But the fun does not stop there! Over a quarter are also charged criminally with about three quarters of those “[having] pled guilty or convicted.” If that is their fate, then on average they guilty party is “sentenced to an average of 4.3 years in jail and 3 years of probation.”

Moral: Contrary to what many people believe those at the top do pay the price for their indiscretions.

Bob Jensen's opposing view --- --- 

Also see
Especially note Question 17

June 29, 2007 reply from Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU]

In an episode of the old Alfred Hitchcock TV show, an accountant at the bank goes to the bank manager and says he stole $100,000 (remember this is a TV show from the 1950's). The bank manager said if you give the money back, he'll forget the whole thing. The accountant refuses. The manager calls the FBI. The FBI agent tells the accountant if he gives back the money, he'll be charged with a lesser crime. The accountant refuses. At his trial, judge said if the accountant gives back the money, he would get a lighter sentence. The accountant refuses, so the judge gives him 10 years in prison.

After 10 years, the accountant gets out of prison and checks into a hotel. The old FBI agent goes to his room and says that even though he is now retired, he is going to follow the accountant until gets the $100,000 back and closes the case. The accountant points to a suitcase and says the $100,000 is there and that the FBI agent can take it. The FBI agent leaves with the money.

In the next scene the accountant is on a cruise ship, drinking Champaign, and talking with other passengers. The passengers were talking about how they made their money. One made it in real estate; another said sales. Then they asked the accountant how he made his money. His answer: compound interest.


An interesting ranking of best places to work in IT
Eight colleges and universities made Computerworld’s 2007 list of the best places to work in information technology. Colleges on the list and their ranks among the top 100 are: University of Miami (2), University of Pennsylvania (8), Cornell University (40), Miami Dade College (65), Temple University (67), Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix (73), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (93), and Creighton University (95).
Inside Higher Ed, June 26, 2007 ---

Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function.
Author unknown

What do Felice's cats have in common with the students from the worst high schools in America?

Normally, my cats leave fur and fur balls in their wake as signs that they are alive and well. Occasionally, I will see them stampeding down the hall after an unsuspecting moth that inadvertently flew through an open door. A few weeks ago, I watched as ButtercupOfTunafish sat by my closed front door, waiting patiently while a scorpion pushed its way through the tight seal into our cool, air-conditioned home; then she smashed it. However, since the release of the Cat Challenge List, my cats have been hiding under beds. They are depressed and embarrassed because their score was too low to make the list.
Felice Pager, "The 100 "Best" High Schools in America - The View from the Litter Box," The Irascible Professor, June 24, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
The problem in this analogy is that none of Felice's cats can read, write, or calculate the solution to 367/5. In that respect her cats resemble students form the 100 worst high schools in America. Newsweek Magazines listing of the 100 best high schools can be found at

What does Walt Mossberg think about the Ask3D search engine?

But Ask's new system, called "Ask3D," is a much bolder and better advance in unifying different kinds of results and presenting them in a more effective manner. It shows, once again, that Ask places a higher priority than its competitors do on making search results easy to navigate and use. Both new systems are now the defaults on the search sites. You don't have to do anything special to use them. Indeed, Google's change is so subtle you may not even notice it for some searches.
Walter S. Mossberg, " Takes Lead In Designing Display Of Search Results," The Wall Street Journal,  June 28, 2007; Page B1 --- ---

Bob Jensen's search helpers ---

"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 Scribner for pointing to this link.)

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

June 26, 2007 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

Bob, my memory might be failing me, but why is everyone claiming that PowerPoint was the "groundbreaking" "innovated" presentation software? I distinctly remember using something called "Harvard Graphics" to produce mylar transparencies (for overhead projectors) on a four-pen color plotter, when I was in the business world back in 1986.

Of course, we didn't have LCD projectors back in those days, but to be honest, I don't believe they had them in 1987 when PowerPoint supposedly came out, either.

I am not sure, and I very well may be mistaken, but I believe there was also a product that ran on HP machines under CP/M, or perhaps early MS-DOS. I was using a Hewlett-Packard HP-150C with an HP-plotter to put together color slides for a presentation I did in Los Angeles in early 1987, and I had been using the product for several months at the time. I also remember several people in our office using Harvard Graphics on an Apple MacIntosh in 1986.

But if my memory is still functioning, Harvard Graphics did essentially the exact same thing that PowerPoint does: it allowed you to create "slides" containing text, bullet points, graphics, pictures, charts, etc., it allowed you to add colors, backgrounds, etc. So, ... why has everyone forgotten this product? I don't even see it mentioned anymore.

Does anyone remember a product that came out in the late 1980's called Toolbook? Or how about Lotus Freelance? I believe all the products were direct replacements for (or were directly replaced by, to be more accurate) PowerPoint. Ahhhh, I guess the present generation doesn't care much about history...

David Fordham
(a former user of CP/M, MS-DOS, and a still-living RPG-II programmer)

June 26, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

Actually the seminal contribution in my viewpoint was software for Apple Computers called HyperCard. This was followed by HyperWriter, TookBook, Authorware, ScriptX, Harvard Graphics, PowerPoint, Freelance, Astound, etc. ---

There is a distinction between strictly presentation software versus course management software (e.g., Authorware and ToolBook) that also had presentation features. For the history of these various products go to 

Most all of this software is dead or dying by now. Many were built with programming codes not suited for the the Internet that became wildly popular after the invention of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989/90. See the many dead hopes and dreams at 

Richard Campbell reminds me that ToolBook is still alive with a new Version 9.0 out whereas Authorware possibly will be dropped completely by Adobe. But the "new" ToolBook using DHTML is totally unlike the old ToolBook built upon a scripting language called OpenScript. Whereas OpenScript allowed course authors to be very creative, creativity is very limited under the new ToolBook. DHTML is just not good for creativity because it takes hundreds of lines of code to perform simple tasks. Users are largely limited to pre-programmed modules that stifle creativity. The new versions of ToolBook claim to have some creative scripting capability, but I have my doubts regarding efficiency.

The biggest failure was the failure in those early days to anticipate the popularity of the Internet. Most of those early packages like Authorware and ToolBook were coded in languages that were just not adaptable to Internet technologies.

I bought one of the early projectors that you laid on top of overhead projectors. The classroom had to be totally dark, and even then the images on the screen were awful. But then Model T Fords were not the epitome of comfort and speed. And there were flat tires about every five miles or less depending on road conditions.

Technology, like cars, had to start somewhere. But we seldom, if ever, look to Microsoft for the seminal contributions. Microsoft was adept and copying innovations of others. In fairness, however, by the time Microsoft got an MS Office product rolling, it was generally more full-featured than the competition. For example, Excel was certainly more full featured than VisiCalc --- 

Interestingly, a lot of the key strokes of VisiCalc are still built into modern day Excel. For example, the use of the "$" symbol to freeze a row, column, or cell in Excel is the same symbol used for such purposes in VisiCalc.

What's amazing about this technology is how fast it evolved since the Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989/90 following the first Internet networking in 1969 ---

Bob Jensen


"Holographic Video for Your Home:  A compact optical setup that produces 3-D video could make holography much less expensive," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, July/August, 2007 ---

June 29, 2007 message from StudentsReview []

I was browsing for resources for prospective students and I found your webpage. ("Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks for Quarter 2 in the Year 2001" )

I see that you link to Usnews and Xap, and I was hoping that you might consider linking to StudentsReview (  ) as well.

StudentsReview has collected 50,000 in-depth college reviews, which it provides freely to prospective students. Students can perform personalized rankings, learn about majors, and read up on campus news/life from over 150 student newspapers. StudentsReview has been mentioned by the Washington Post and is listed as #1 in Google for "College Reviews".

Here is how a student describes us: "I am a senior in high school, and I think that your site is one of the BEST I have seen online. Since it isn't just the brochure perfect things you see from the school, I actually get a more realistic hold on what the colleges are like. [...] Keep up the amazing work~!"

Please let me know -- Anything that we can do to help out students is much needed! Beracah

Beracah Yankama
Director, StudentsReview

Updates from WebMD ---


Adding folic acid to bread could help in the fight against depression
"A unique study by researchers at the University of York and Hull York Medical School has confirmed a link between depression and low levels of folate, a vitamin which comes from vegetables," PhysOrg, June 26, 2007 ---

U.S. Government Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ---

Excessive pressure to succeed can have dire consequences for middle school and high school students
A dramatic rise in mental health problems, increased cheating and pervasive stress characterize the lives of many teens, according to speakers at the fourth annual "SOS -- Stressed-Out Students" conference . . . No longer were they the traditional "problem children" from broken families and harsh upbringings; they were overwhelmingly upper-middle-class teenagers who "looked incredibly good on the outside, but, metaphorically or not, when you rolled up their sleeves, they were bleeding underneath."
Annie Jia, "Teenage fixation on ‘success’ bad for mind and spirit, according to panelists, Stanford News, May 21, 2007 --- 

"AMA Considers a New Addiction: Video Games --- While noting the risks, it makes sense to also note the rewards," by Erica Naone, MIT's Technology Review, June 25, 2007 ---

The American Medical Association (AMA) votes this week on a set of recommendations that caused a stir earlier this month by suggesting that video-game addiction might belong in the next edition of the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders. Other recommendations include calls for parents to pay more attention to what games kids play and for how long, and calls for the industry to better regulate itself. The recommendations are part of a report by the Council on Science and Public Health with the subject "Emotional and behavioral effects, including addictive potential, of video games."

The report singles out massive multiplayer, online, role-playing games (MMORPGs) as a cause for concern, saying that video-game overuse is most common in the 9 percent of gamers who play MMORPGs:

"MMORPGs are simultaneously competitive and highly social, and provide interactive real-time services. Researchers have attempted to examine the type of individual most likely to be susceptible to such games, and current data suggest these individuals are somewhat marginalized socially, perhaps experiencing high levels of emotional loneliness and/or difficulty with real life social interactions. Current theory is that these individuals achieve more control of their social relationships and more success in social relationships in the virtual reality realm than in real relationships."

Current evidence of video-game addiction comes from case studies and surveys that recognize varying symptoms of addiction. The report loosely defines overuse as "a constellation of behaviors observed in persons using the Internet to such an extent that it began to cause other aspects of their lives to become dysfunctional," and it compares video game addiction to pathological gambling. Anywhere from very few to 15 percent of players may overuse video games, according to the report, which calls for more research.

In light of the danger of overuse and the well-known concerns about violence in video games, the report recommends that parents be sure that their children under 18 limit their "screen time" (video games, television, and the Internet) to one to two hours a day. Martin Wasserman, executive director of MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, explains, "There are many tasks you have to learn in adolescence, and you don't have time to do that if you're playing seven hours a night."

Continued in article

But then the AMA backs off calling gaming an addiction ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of education technologies are at

Bob Jensen's threads on edutainment and learning games are at

The Downside of Electronic Commerce and Technology:  Psychological Implications --- 

"CDC Tracks Sexual Behavior and Use of Cocaine and Other Street Drugs in U.S. Adults, by Miranda Hitti, WebMD, June 22, 2007 ---

The CDC today released its latest facts and figures on sex and drug use in the U.S.

The report shows that only 4% of adults over 20 have never had sex, and more than 20% of adults aged 20-59 have ever tried cocaine or other street drugs.

Data came from more than 6,200 civilians aged 20-59 who took part in government health surveys conducted nationwide from 1999 to 2002.

Using an anonymous computerized system, participants answered questions about their sex lives and drug use.

The resulting report, "Drug Use and Sexual Behaviors Reported by Adults, United States, 1999-2002," is posted on the CDC's web site.

Continued in article

The June 22, 2007 CDC report is linked at

Can Extinct Animals Be Brought Back to Life?
Today the only place to see woolly mammoths and people side-by-side is on The Flintstones or in the movies. But researchers are on the verge of piecing together complete genomes of long-dead species such as Neandertals and mammoths. (See a brief overview of human genetics.) So now the big question is, Will we soon be able to bring such extinct species back to life? Researchers are divided over how they might try to do this and whether it's even feasible.
Mason Inman, "Mammoths to Return? DNA Advances Spur Resurrection Debate," National Geographic News, June, 25, 2007 ---

A study confirms the importance of sexual fantasies in the experience of sexual desire
"Scientists of the Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment of the University of Granada (Universidad de Granada) have studied how some psychological variables such as erotophilia (positive attitude towards sexuality), sexual fantasies and anxiety are related to sexual desire in human beings," PhysOrg, June 27, 2007 ---

"One Nation: A cheer for these books about America," by David Gelernter, The Wall Street Journal,  June 30, 2007 ---

1. "On Two Wings" by Michael Novak (Encounter, 2002).

Michael Novak describes the nation's birth as it happened, not the way our aggressively secular society likes to remember it. Two wings lofted the American eagle into flight, writes Novak: Enlightenment philosophy and the nation's compact with "the God of the Jews," meaning "the God of Israel championed by the nation's first Protestants." Novak marshals impressive evidence, including the remarkable scene in September 1774 when a clergyman read Psalm 35 to the Continental Congress. John Adams described the scene to his wife: "It was enough to melt a heart of stone. I saw tears gush into the eyes of the old, grave, pacific Quakers. . . . I must beg you to read that Psalm." Novak's account may be ignored but will never be contravened. His book may change forever your ideas about America's founding.

2. "Fields of Battle" by John Keegan (Knopf, 1996).

John Keegan is the world's best-known military historian because his books are alive with the sights, sounds, smells and feel of battle; they are as evocative as a fistful of fresh soil. In "Fields of Battle"--a series of related essays, like most of his books--he discusses his American travels, the battle of Yorktown, Confederate fortifications and Custer's last stand. His brilliantly lucid few paragraphs on the Wright Brothers' first flight are worth the price of admission. He explains exactly what knowledge the Wrights inherited and the "conception of genius" that they added. And he tells us (as a bonus) why the famous image of their first flight is "one of the most beautiful" photographs of all. The vivid clarity of Keegan's writing has a similar rare beauty.

3. "The Religion of Abraham Lincoln" by William J. Wolf (Seabury, 1963).

This is one of the best (and shortest) of the huge and ever-growing pile of Lincoln biographies. William J. Wolf is a humble historian who stands back and lets Lincoln speak. The author doesn't try to resolve questions that Lincoln himself never answered (was he a Christian?), but he does show us Lincoln's evolving, ever-deepening faith in the Bible and the Bible's God, and the direct connection between Lincoln's faith and his conduct of the Civil War. Wolf also demonstrates Lincoln's tendency to understand Americans (God's "almost chosen people," Lincoln called them) in biblical terms. That a book about Lincoln's religious development should read like a concise biography is an eloquent fact in itself.

4. "The Two-Ocean War" by Samuel Eliot Morison (Little, Brown, 1963).

If John Keegan's "Fields of Battle" is military history only in part, Samuel Eliot Morison's "Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War" is the thing itself, the best book I know about Americans in battle. Morison was a distinguished Harvard historian who joined the Navy and sailed into war just to write this authoritative history. His description of the battle of Midway (June 4-7, 1942), where Japan's relentless advance was finally thrown back in confusion, is justly renowned. Wave after wave of heroic American flyers were destroyed. Virtually the whole air-strength of the three U.S. carriers on the scene had been used up when a lone squadron of dive bombers finally turned the battle around. Remember the "threescore young aviators who met flaming death that day," Morison urges, "in reversing the verdict of battle. Think of them, reader, every Fourth of June. They and their comrades who survived changed the whole course of the Pacific War." Little enough to ask. (But too much, evidently, for our schools to teach.)

5. "The Inheritance" by Samuel G. Freedman (Simon & Schuster, 1996).

A beautifully written, strangely moving book. There are many striking chapters in this story, as the subtitle has it, of "How Three Families and America Moved From Roosevelt to Reagan and Beyond." But the most striking of all recounts the 1967 antiwar march on the Pentagon--which Normal Mailer celebrated in "Armies of the Night"--from the standpoint of one of the young military policemen charged with facing down the huge, surging mob of demonstrators. Samuel G. Freedman describes the (generally) non-college-educated MPs who had been drafted and were grimly, bravely doing their duty versus the privileged, patronizing protesters who screamed hate, threw rocks and had no intention of doing theirs. It is an unforgettable account.

Mr. Gelernter's "Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion" has just been published by Doubleday. He a national fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a professor of computer science at Yale.


Forwarded by Bob Blystone
How do you tell between older faculty and younger faculty and students?
Older faculty (and probably older staff too) double space between sentences.

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Invest in a Sure Thing

If you had purchased $1000.00 of Nortel stock one year ago, it Would now be worth $49.00.

With Enron, you would have had $16.50 left of the original $1000.00.

With WorldCom, you would have had less than $5.00 left.

If you had purchased $1000 of Delta Air Lines stock you would have had $49.00 left

But, if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum Recycling REFUND, you would have had $214.00.

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Moodle  --- 

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

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Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
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Phone:  603-823-8482