What a Wonderful World (Speakers Up) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/c004/wonderful_celine.html

How can you find, in less than a minute, the purported value of a home in the United States?

None of the free major online appraisal sites ( Eppraisal.com, Realestateabc.com , Homegain.com and Zillow ) can find my current boondocks cottage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. But these sites all tell me that I sold my home in San Antonio too cheap. What can I say? It was my only offer after having my San Antonio home on the market for nearly a year.

After testing these free online appraisal sites out today, I'm impressed by the convenience of the online appraisal services. However, I think those appraisals run a bit too high, but that's only my opinion. I'm absolutely certain that the Bexar County Tax Appraisal District in San Antonio overvalues homes for tax purposes, but this may be the reason the online free appraisal services also provide, in my opinion, high appraisals. They probably get a lot of their inputs from public taxation appraisal databases.

Several accounting professors have written to me that their home appraisals at the online sites are way too low. They suspect that the appraisals are based upon old transactions in nearby neighborhoods that are not comparable to their neighborhoods.

In any case, these services are very fast and convenient if you are mildly considering moving to another community and want to compare home values. They're also convenient if you want to gossip, with wide margins of error, about what your friends' and relatives' homes are worth. That way you can prioritize your efforts to get cut into the better wills when they kick the bucket.

These online free services are no substitutes for more localized appraisals by supposed experts in the community in question. But these experts are sometimes dubious characters. When I purchased my current home my offering price was heavily influenced by the appraisal of John Doe, the local expert appraiser in the Sugar Hill area. The bank where I got my mortgage arranged for John Doe to conduct the appraisal, because I was living in Texas and had no idea who to hire for making an appraisal. The appraisal was $180 per square foot on the value of the house apart from the land value (which in New Hampshire is appraised separately for tax purposes). Keep in mind that high mortgage appraisals please both buyers and sellers of homes. Buyers feel like they got a great deal when they paid less than the appraised value. Sellers are relieved that the buyers could get enough financing to close the deal.

Two years later, my property tax appraisal shot up to $164 per square foot on my 140-year old cottage apart from the land value. In New Hampshire, the appraisals of surrounding houses and land are mailed by the towns to all home owners. Hence your neighbor's property tax appraisals are not secret. My immediate neighbors' houses were being assessed for less than $100 per square foot apart from land value. So I had John Doe do a second appraisal of my house. Keep in mind that John Doe is the same John Doe who two years earlier appraised my house for $180 per square foot. Since I was having the second appraisal done for purposes of lowering my taxes, John Doe nicely appraised my house now for $115 per square foot apart from the land value. There have been very few home sales in Sugar Hill over the past two years, but realtors tell me that house values have not declined. Certainly construction costs have greatly increased. My  point here is that you can get burned by both the online appraisal services and the local John Doe expert appraisers. Sadly, the Town of Sugar Hill did not agree with John Doe's lowered appraisal.

"What’s My House Worth? And Now?" by Michelle Slatalla, The New York Times, August 2, 2007 --- Click Here

THE value of my house fluctuates more often — and for even more mysterious reasons — than my weight these days.
But is it going up? Or down? Either my house lost $94,248 in value over the last two months, or else it gained $32,799 in the last 30 days.

I can’t tell, because I get conflicting information from online sites — like  Eppraisal.com, Realestateabc.com and Homegain.com — where I find myself obsessively comparing numbers every day or so.

O.K., every hour or so (or about as often as I used to get on the scale when I was in high school).

But if I didn’t keep up with the real estate sites, then I wouldn’t know that earlier this summer a center-hall colonial a block away from me sold for $2,439,500 despite its outdated kitchen (thank you, Cyberhomes.com). Or that most of my neighbors are juggling payments on big adjustable-rate mortgages just like mine (thank you Propertyshark.com). Or that the bathroom I recently remodeled may have increased my property value by $33,490 (thank you, Zillow.com).

With a growing number of Internet sites trolling public databases for financial facts, it has become increasingly easy in the last two years for information addicts like me to perform party tricks by announcing to our friends all kinds of delicious snippets that once were considered intimate, known mainly to brokers or people with enough time to drive to the courthouse to flip through musty files.

But it’s no longer just cocktail chatter. With a nationwide real estate crisis in full bloom thanks to subprime mortgage woes, falling prices and rising loan rates, homeowners are increasingly turning to Internet sites to try to glean bits of information that may shed light on when to refinance, or whether to sell.

And why not? I really, really need every tiny bit of information I can get about managing my biggest investment.

Don’t I?

“Oh, no! Oh, my goodness, I have to tell you to stop right now,” said Baba Shiv, an associate professor of marketing at Stanford University. “You are being completely irrational. This information can end up having a negative effect on your life.”

This was not the response I had hoped to hear from someone who specializes in studying how everyday investors make decisions about how to manage their money.

“But everybody is doing it,” I whined.

And in my defense, I would like to point out that’s true. In June, for instance, more than 39 million people visited the 20 most popular real estate Web sites, a 22.4 percent increase in visitors over the same period in the previous year, according to Nielsen/NetRatings Inc. Not only that, but a lot of those people are becoming addicted. At Zillow.com, for instance, 44 percent of the site’s users visited five or more times in June, and 25 percent of them 10 or more times, according to a spokeswoman for the site.

Beyond catering to the voyeuristic appeal of knowing what your neighbor paid per square foot, the sites say they offer a valuable service by making information more accessible to average folks.

Continued in article

As the Financial Accounting Standards Board in the United States and the International Accounting Standards Board in London move closer and closer to fair value accounting for non-financial and well as financial assets and liabilities, the real estate appraisal industry does not give me much faith in "fair value" estimates. Also fair value accounting mixes the hypothetical with transpired transactions into an accounting stew that does mean much to anybody.

Bob Jensen's threads on the science and art of valuation can be found in the following links:




One of my PowerPoint slides (Slide 4) deals with real estate appraisals of all Days Inn assets in that company's controversial 1987 annual report. That annual report has traditional historical cost financial statements audited by Price Waterhouse, forecasted financial statements reviewed by Price Waterhouse, and exit (liquidation) value financial statements prepared by an appraisal firm called Landhauer Associates. The PowerPoint show is the 10FairValue.ppt file at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/Calgary/CD/JensenPowerPoint/


Tidbits on August 9, 2007
Bob Jensen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Clock --- http://www.peterussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php

If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops  --- http://www.valour-it.blogspot.com/

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

It's a Beautiful World (when you open your eyes) --- http://www.aish.com/movies/BeautifulWorld.asp

Jihad the Musical (humor albeit reckless humor) --- http://www.jihad-the-musical.com/media/

Hawkish Obama targets al Qaeda in Pakistan for possible military strikes and says it should've happened in 2005 (not humor) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPsPZqPnUOc 
Jensen Comments
It could be reckless to strike a nuclear power without permission.
Pakistan slams 'ignorant' Obama attack warning --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1875319/posts

Sudanese refugees in Israel --- http://www.israelupclose.org/

Romney: Let's emulate Hezbollah --- http://youtube.com/watch?v=QlVHxDtwFZU
Also see http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56994

Impeach Bush Theatre (not humor) --- http://impeachforpeace.org/impeach_bush_blog/?p=2897
Jensen Comment
There are some exaggerations and lies in this video, but it is food for thought even though I don't think it makes a fair case for the impeachment of our President. For example, the wiretaps were not necessarily illegal under bills passed by Congress.  In fact, new legislation in August expanded the President's authority to conduct wiretaps without warrants. We were a nation at war. Saddam was a billionaire madman who fired missiles into Israel and was bent on acquiring WMDs and over 80% of the world's oil reserves.  If we do impeach Bush it should be because he's a spendthrift with a financially corrupt administration. But his administration is probably no more corrupt than the previous Clinton administration at the very top  (with over a hundred felony pardons) , and it is most certainly less corrupt than our earmarking Congress. Bush handled the invasion of Iraq recklessly and without viable strategy to keep the peace in Iraq afterwards. The invasion was not clothed in secrecy, voted on by Congress, and is probably not an impeachable offense. The invasion of Iraq is even less impeachable than the much more secret and illegal efforts of FDR to enter into WW II before he was authorized to do so. We would've impeached Bush long ago if he'd failed to stop or at least delay thousands upon thousands of additional lives in terror attacks in the U.S. and Israel after 9/11. This is a scenario that is virtually suppressed in the media and in academe. But it is not a scenario that is suppressed in the minds of the American people. Impeachment efforts are part political theatre without the least chance of success in reality. I recently received an email message that stated "peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs Afghans,  Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have  died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late." Speaking up means fighting back early on if deemed necessary. I think that both Presidents Bush and Roosevelt did what they did early on because they wanted to save lives even if it entailed sacrificing some lives earlier than the peaceful majority deemed necessary. On occasion presidents have to make major decisions without the hindsight of ensuing years following those decisions.

Collapse of the I-35 Bridge --- Click Here
Alternately --- Click Here

Tom Rush - Remember Song --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yN-6PbqAPM

Comedy (on rare occasions) Central's John Stewart on Sub-Prime Mortgages --- Click Here
(You must endure the tasteless Burger King-Homer Simpson commercial before John Stewart appears.)

English is the Language of this Land --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEJfS1v-fU0

First Look - Google Advertising In Video --- http://youtube.com/watch?v=xzmjlH5cbyI

From the slums of Rio de Janeiro --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12255923

Women in Film (Across 80 Years) --- http://miraulam.multiply.com/video/item/39
How many can you recognize by name?

Type in a command (like "Roll Over" or "Kiss") to this dog --- http://www.idodogtricks.com/index_flash.html
He barks when he doesn't understand your command.

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

Louis Armstrong: 'The Man and His Music,' Part 1 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12208712

Conjuring Bittersweet Memories of 'Ludlow Street' (Suzanne Vega) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12364072

Do you know what the 409 stood for in the 1950s?
My 409 (Beach Boys Jivin') --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/cw001/409.html

It's a Beautiful World (when you open your eyes) --- http://www.aish.com/movies/BeautifulWorld.asp

Last FM --- http://www.last.fm/music/
Frank Sinatra --- http://www.last.fm/music/Frank+Sinatra/_/September+Song
You have to click the play button several times to complete the songs.

Jihad the Musical (humor) --- http://www.jihad-the-musical.com/media/

The Authentic Sounds of the "Ballad of Scarlet Town" --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12391634

Botstein Revives Zemlinsky with a Bard Double-Bill --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12306823

Photographs and Art

Ron Mueck's Photo Realistic Sculptures --- http://www.hemmy.net/2006/04/12/ron-mueck-photo-realistic-sculptures/

72 Optical Illusions & Visual Phenomena --- http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/

Chiquitita (Beautiful) --- http://www.greatdanepro.com/Chiquitita/index.htm


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

The Boarded Window by Ambrose Bierce  (1842 1914) --- Click Here

Other Works by Ambrose Bierce (a great author)
An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge
Can Such Things Be?
Fantastic Fables
My Favorite Murder
The Devil's Dictionary

Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens (1812-1870) --- Click Here

Other online books by Charles Dickens --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#OnlineBooks

The Adventure of the Copper Beeches by Arthur Conan Doyle --- Click Here

Abolishing of Christianity in England by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) --- Click Here

The Private History of a Campaign that Failed by Mark Twain  (1835-1910) --- Click Here

Readprint.com offers thousands of free books for students, teachers, and the classic enthusiast. To find the book you desire to read, start by looking through the author index --- http://www.readprint.com/

July 31, 2007 message from Jennifer [proposal-381@lnk0.com]

Hi Bob,

I stumbled upon your site today and was quite impressed. I really liked the design. Did you make it yourself?

I wanted to let you know about ReadPrint.com -- a massive non-profit library similar to Bartleby -- except its far better organized and user friendly. We've been using it extensively in school nowadays -- it's great for doing research since you can search within the books.

Warm regards,

These numbers are way off, but I like them better than the auditor's numbers.
WSJ Cartoon, August 2, 2007

Motto Magazine, a new publication that describes itself as helping people “work with purpose, passion and profit,” has released a list of the top 10 college mottoes. The winners an their mottoes are: 1. Cornell University: “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.” 2. Brown University: “In God we hope.” 3. Wellesley College: “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” 4. Stanford University: “The wind of freedom blows.” 5. University of Pennsylvania: “Laws without morals are useless.” 6. Seton Hall University: “Whatever risk, yet go forward.” 7. Dartmouth College: “A voice of one crying out in the wilderness.” 8. Carnegie Mellon University: “My heart is in the work.” 9. Clark Atlanta University: “I’ll find a way or make one.” 10. Brigham Young University: “Enter to learn, go forth to serve.”
Inside Higher Ed, August 2, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/02/qt

Is Google Killing Scholarship?
Does the search engine make it so easy to get data that users forgo deeper study?
"Google is Killing Intellect," Business Week, Podcast Debate, July 31, 2007 --- Click Here

As Grudin wrote of the need for blocks or “nests” of time dedicated to thinking and personal awareness, “to be deprived of such free time is to be exiled from the self.” Surely higher education is about nothing so much as the self, and a more serious consideration of the time required for decisions about college should lead to the resolute abandonment of ranking systems that supposedly save time while circumscribing the self.
Alan Contreras, "The Cult of Speed," Inside Higher Ed, July 31, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/07/31/contreras 
Jensen Comment
It's easy to be critical of Google and the "cult of speed." However, it is seldom, if ever, mentioned that in the past much of our scholarship was a more-or-less random walk with the serendipity of stumbling upon gems in the literature. Sometimes this was literally a random walk though selected subject matter sections in the book stacks at libraries. What's sometimes overlooked is how Google and the "cult of speed" also enhances serendipity. Those that are the most critical are probably those who don't do it extensively enough to know how really deep into a subject scholars can get when they work at it online day in and day out. 

“I talk to students about not dreaming big enough,” he said. “I often tell students I never dreamed of being president of the University of Kentucky. In Kentucky, it’s a pretty big deal.”  . . . His own life story encapsulates the idea. Dr. Todd grew up in a small coal-mining and farming town in western Kentucky, graduated from the university and earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at M.I.T. He returned to his Kentucky alma mater to teach before leaving to spend 18 years creating two successful high-tech companies here, in a state better known for thoroughbreds and bourbon than for digital innovations.
Alan Finder quoting Lee T. Todd Jr., President of the University of Kentucky, "Getting a University to Aim Higher," The New York Times, August 1, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/01/education/01face.html

Earmark Scandals Increase Rather Than Decrease as Once Promised by Nancy Pelosi Before Becoming House Leader
It's almost too stereotypical to be true: Even as the FBI and IRS raided the home of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens this week as part of a corruption investigation, Congress is quietly moving to dismantle serious earmark reform. If the Members are wondering why their approval ratings have gone subterranean, this is it . . . As for Members restraining themselves, they once promised more transparency and limits for the pork-barrel projects known as "earmarks." These secret spending handouts have proliferated in recent years and in 2005 alone cost taxpayers some $27 billion. Worse, they are a kind of gateway drug used to buy votes for even greater spending. As the last unlamented Republican Congress showed all too well, earmarks are also major opportunities for corruption. The current investigation into Mr. Stevens, the long-time head of the Senate Appropriations Committee, centers on whether he may have directed millions in earmarks to benefit family, friends and business partners. (He says he has nothing to hide.)
"Earmarks As Usual," The Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2007; Page A14 --- Click Here
"Pet Projects Are Flourishing in Congress, by Edmund L. Andrews, The New York Times, August 4, 2007 --- Click Here 
"Ethics Reform Shouldn't Hamper Lobbying," NPR, August 4, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12503706

Even though Young (Bill Young, Florida) secured 52 earmarks, worth $117.2 million--and co-sponsored at least $27 million worth of others--John Murtha's 48 earmarks amount to a total of $150.5 million, according to a database compiled by the watchdog organization Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS).
Roxana Tiron, "Murtha nabs $150M pork," The Hill, August 3, 2007 ---

Yet, while members in both parties preach from their bully pulpits about the need to do away with earmarks, the House with virtually no debate on Sunday approved $459.6 billion in new money for the Pentagon. You want earmarks? "This bill has more than 1,300 earmarks. The notion that these had proper review is simply not reasonable," said Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who gave a good speech but still joined the overwhelming majority of House members in voting for every one of those earmarks – and the rest of the $459.6 billion in spending.
John Nichols, "An Overwhelming Vote for Waste, Earmarks and Corruption," The Nation, August 5, 2007 ---

We're so disillusioned. We really thought the Democrats would be different (about corruption and earmarking in Congress)!
Carol Muller, Opinion Journal, August 3, 2007
Jensen Comment
Public opinion of Congress just keeps sinking lower and lower.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul -- libertarian gadfly and current Republican Presidential hopeful -- has made a name for himself as a critic of overspending. But it seems even he can't resist the political allure of earmarks. After reporters started asking questions, the Congressman disclosed his requests this year for about $400 million worth of federal funding for no fewer than 65 earmarks.
"Ron Paul's Earmarks," The Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2007; Page A12 --- Click Here

And then came one of those coincidences that can sometimes become a turning point in politics. At nearly the same time the earmark reforms were voted on in the Senate, the FBI was in Alaska raiding the home of Sen. Ted Stevens--a senior Republican--looking for evidence of whether he diverted earmarks to benefit his son and business partners. If you thought Jack Abramoff was a symbol of Washington sleaze, just wait to see what happens if Mr. Stevens is further embroiled in scandal.
John Fund, "Northern Exposure:  The GOP's Alaska delegation could become the new poster boys for corruption," The Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110010437 
Also see http://www.thenation.com/blogs/campaignmatters?pid=218868

Not more than a week ago, Sunnis in Baghdad's western neighborhood of Amiriya were on the side of al-Qaida. Now they're fighting alongside U.S. forces to capture or kill members of the terrorist group.
Jamie Tarabay, "Sunni Militants in Baghdad Shift Loyalties," NPR, July 31, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12370610
Jensen Comment
The damper on this good military news is the total ineffectiveness of the current "government" in Iraq.

Iraq's largest Sunni Arab political bloc says it will withdraw from the government.
NPR, August 1, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12418000

A number of former enemies - Sunni and Shi'a groups - of the American presence in Iraq have already signed on and are guided by three simple rules: they must promise to stop fighting American forces; agree to attack Al-Qaeda forces; and finally, begin a gradual rapprochement and cooperation with Iraqi military and police forces. Bringing former insurgents into the fold is a mark not only of progress but of sound, practical thinking, a good grasp of historical precedent, and a much better understanding of local politics. Pols everywhere agree: all politics is local.
 Frederick J. Chiaventone, "Methods That Work in Iraq," American Thinker, July 31, 2007 --- http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/07/methods_that_work_in_iraq.html
Jensen Comment
Now if the Sunni and Shi'a groups would just stop blowing up each other we might have some real progress.

"Perceptions of Iraq War Are Starting to Shift," by Michael Barone, Townhall, August 6, 2007 --- Click Here 

It's not often that an opinion article shakes up Washington and changes the way a major issue is viewed. But that happened last week, when The New York Times (if you can believe it?) printed an opinion article by Brookings Institution analysts Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack on the progress of the surge strategy in Iraq.

Yes, progress. O'Hanlon and Pollack supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- Pollack even wrote a book urging the overthrow of Saddam Hussein -- but they have sharply criticized military operations there in the ensuing years.

"As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq," they wrote, "we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily 'victory,' but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with."

Their bottom line: "There is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008."

Continued in article

Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem.
John Galsworthy --- Click Here

Mr. Taranto mistakenly views the violence after 1973 as a direct result of our withdrawal (from Viet Nam). In fact, the violence arose from the conditions that led us to withdraw: a Vietnamese civil war we couldn't stop supported by a Cambodian insurgency we couldn't bomb into submission. It's horrifying that so many South Vietnamese suffered. But, even accepting Mr. Taranto's estimate of 165,000 Vietnamese deaths--double that of most academic sources--this is a significant decrease from the preceding eight years when 450,000 civilians and 1.1 million soldiers were killed.
John Kerry, The Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110010427 .

Mr. Taranto mistakenly correctly views the violence after 2008 as a direct result of our abrupt withdrawal (from Iraq). In fact, the violence arose from the conditions that led us to withdraw: an Iraq civil war we couldn't stop supported by a Pakistan-led al-Qaeda insurgency we couldn't bomb into submission. It's horrifying that so many millions of people in Iraq died without our continued military presence separating the al-Qaeda inflamed sectarian sides. Many more civilians died after withdrawal of U.S. forces than before when U.S. forces at last started to succeed in quelling al-Qaeda insurgency before 2008.
Bob Jensen, Tidbits, August 4, 2012 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

In the end, more than 1.7 million of Cambodia's 8 million inhabitants perished from disease, starvation, overwork, or outright execution in a notorious genocide. Now, 30 years after the Khmer Rouge came to power in a time of war and terror, we - who also live in a time of war and terror - would do well to consider what lessons can be learned from the Cambodian genocide. I offer four suggestions in the spirit of George Santayana's oft-cited words "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." . . . One of the most startling aspects of meeting perpetrators of genocide is how ordinary they often are. In their path to evil we catch reflections of ourselves. Most of us have, at some point, used stereotypes and euphemisms, displaced responsibility, followed instructions better questioned, succumbed to peer pressure, disparaged others, become desensitized to the suffering of others, and turned a blind eye to what our government should not be doing. These sorts of things are going on right now in the war on terror.
Alex Hinton, "Lessons from killing fields of Cambodia - 30 years on," The Christian Science Monitor, April 14, 2005 --- http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0414/p09s02-coop.html

It is more likely, however, that bloodshed of historic proportions will flow. Not hundreds of deaths a week, as now, but hundreds of thousands in a few months, and the depopulation of large areas. Instead of daily news of roadside bombs, prepare yourself for day after day of genocide stories. Shiite will fight Sunni. In the north of Iraq, the Kurds could well come under attack from Turkey, a U.S. ally that justifiably fears the terrorist PKK (People's Workers Party) operating on its border. Emboldened by America's defeat, Iran not only will engage more in Iraq, but also will foment further Hezbollah attacks on Israel. Lebanon is liable to revert to Syrian control. Afghanistan will get shakier as the Taliban base in Pakistan grows. Operating opportunistically through it all will be the global conspiracy of al-Qaida. 
Bruce Chapman, "No Surrender," The Seattle Times, August 5. 2007

Russian Youth Group Encourages "More Sex" to Save Motherland from Dwindling Population
John Jalsevac, Life Site, July 30, 2007 --- http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/jul/07073010.html
Jensen Comment
It's a tough assignment, but somebody's got to do it! Actually conceiving children is the fun and easy part. The hard part follows with the years and years of protecting, nurturing, and educating children and their offspring later on. A more open immigration policy combined with more democracy and less corruption and crime in Russia might also turn around the population decline. All these things are so much harder than "more sex."

In a prison cell south of Cairo a repentant Egyptian terrorist leader is putting the finishing touches to a remarkable recantation that undermines the Muslim theological basis for violent jihad and is set to generate furious controversy among former comrades still fighting with al-Qaida. Sayid Imam al-Sharif, 57, was the founder and first emir (commander) of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organisation, whose supporters assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and later teamed up with Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan in the war against the Soviet occupation.
Ian Black, "Violence won't work: how author of 'jihadists' bible' stirred up a storm." The Guardian, July 27, 2007 --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/egypt/story/0,,2135869,00.html

The second arms sale was the reported Russian agreement to sell Iran 250 advanced long-ranged Sukhoi-30 fighter jets and aerial fuel tankers capable of extending the jets' range by thousands of kilometers. Russia's massive armament of Iran in this and in previous sales over the past two years make clear that from Russia's perspective, all threats to US interests, including Shi'ite expansionism, work to Moscow's advantage. Today, the US finds itself competing not only against an emergent Russia, but against Iran, and the Shi'ite expansionism it advances. Moreover, it finds itself under attack from Sunni jihadism, which is incubated and financed by Saudi Arabia, America's primary ally in the Persian Gulf.
Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, July 31, 2007 --- Click Here

While the White House condemns Hamas terrorism, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, to which Mr. Bush promised a half billion dollars in July, is equally culpable. A year ago Fatah's military wing threatened to "strike at the economic and civilian interests of these countries [the U.S. and Israel], here and abroad," and it claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on the Israeli town of Sderot in June. Empty promises of accountability encourage terror by diminishing the costs of its embrace.
Michael Rubin, "President Bush's Broken Promises," The Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2007; Page A14 --- Click Here

US Corporations are finding that it is difficult to receive high quality work with flexibility and cost effectiveness through outsourcing!
Subhra Kar, India Daily, September 20, 2004 as quoted by Mark Shapiro in The Irascible Professor, August 1, 2007 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-08-01-07.htm

An innovative program at a Walgreen distribution center is offering jobs to people with mental and physical disabilities of a nature that has frequently deemed them "unemployable," while saving Walgreen money through automation.
Amy Merrick, "Erasing 'Un' From 'Unemployable'," The Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2007, Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118601925584985666.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

Another possible nonmonetizable cost is the boost to the terrorists that would be given by our acknowledging defeat in Iraq. Terrorist recruiters would argue that Islamic extremism was winning its global struggle with the West and that this was proof that God is on the side of the extremists. There is also a natural attraction to being on the winning team--the winning side in history. Again, though, there is an element of paradox in arguing that our invading Iraq was a provocation and that our withdrawing from Iraq would be an equal or (the position of the Administration) a greater provocation.
Richard Posner (famous economist and legal scholar), " Decision Theory and the War in Iraq, " The Becker-Posner Blog, July 29, 2007 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/
This is an excellent article identifying monetizable versus nonmonetizable costs of the war in Iraq.
Gary Becker (Nobel Lauriat) comments on Posner's article.

Costs are usually easier to measure in modern wars than benefits. Two estimates of the past and expected future cost of the Iraq war to the United States by Davis, Murphy, and Topel, and by Bilmes and Stiglitz are discussed in my blog entry for March 19, 2006. They quantity the cost of materials and equipment used and destroyed during the war, the higher cost of attracting volunteers to the American armed forces, the cost of the many injuries to military personnel, and the cost of reconstruction aid to Iraq. They also use modern economic research on the amounts necessary to compensate individuals for taking life-threatening risks to value the cost of the number of American lives lost in the war. Obviously it would be much easier to assess wars and other big events if benefits also could be readily quantified; maybe that will become possible some day as economists continue to make progress in finding ways to quantify various intangible benefits and costs. I say, "continue" because not that long ago economist believed that the value of life to individuals was unquantifiable. Yet advances in the theory of risk-bearing showed how the statistical value of a life could be estimated from choices individuals make in situations that increase their probability of dying, such as driving fast, or working as civilians in war zones such as Baghdad.
Gary Becker (Nobel Lauriate) comments on Posner's article, The Becker-Posner Blog, July 29, 2007 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/
Jensen Comment
As Einstein once stated:  "Not everything that can be counted, counts. And not everything that counts can be counted." The real problem is the massive costs and benefits (a cost to one side can be a benefit to the other side) in the entire future course of the world. For example, it is impossible to quantify the impact of the war in Viet Nam on the changed course of communists seeking to take over the world, the break up of the Soviet Union, and the abrupt shift in Asia toward capitalist economies and democracies, including Viet Nam itself which is becoming increasingly capitalist and democratized. Changing the course of a river upstream may lead to entirely new routings of the water.

On his first day as President, Edwards said, he would close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and end any forms of domestic spying programs. Also, as soon as elected, he would draw down 50,000 combat troops from Iraq, with the others following in nine to 12 months. He also said his promise of health care for every citizen would be funded through re-establishing taxes on wealthy individuals that were cut during the current Bush administration.
Trent Spiner, "Edwards' populist message draws 400 to Mack's Apples," Newsweek, July 30, 2007 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20028299/
Jensen Comment
Has anybody ever asked him how even a 100% tax on the incomes of the wealthy would fund universal health care for nearly 300 million people? The WSJ (8/2,07) says taxing capital gains is like "sawing the limbs off of fruit bearing trees." Edwards has already admitted that his populist plans will cost over a trillion dollars annually. Has he considered how such taxes and added national debt could destroy the economy that he wants to tax and inflate to death. Populism is a good political move to get elected, but it's a killer for the economy when it's put into place in any country other than small countries like Norway and Kuwait that have huge amounts of oil revenue per capita. At a time when virtually all nations are reducing taxes and tightening populist budgets, does the United States really understand that  populism entitlements lead to greatly reduced tax revenues and commercial innovations? Entitlements are almost impossible to reverse once they're in place.  Secondly do we really want terrorists to have a safe have in Iraq and tap into that country's oil revenues? This is a strong possibility if we follow the Edward's time table for pulling out. And do we really want to stop "any forms of domestic spying" on al-Qaeda and other terrorist suspects inside the United States? John Edwards is a handsome, articulate, sincere, and lethal presidential candidate among all the serious contenders in both political parties. His standings in the polls reflect the fact that "you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all the people all of the time."

Tort Lawyers Like John Edwards and the ACLU are Quietly Cheering the Latest Wiretapping Law
But it's important to understand for the debate ahead why all of this has become so ferociously controversial. Opposition from the Democratic left to this intelligence program isn't merely part of the partisan blood feud against a weak President near the end of his term. It is part of a far larger ideological campaign to erode Presidential war powers. Goaded by the ACLU and much of the press corps, many Democrats want to use the courts and lawsuits to restrict Mr. Bush and future Presidents in their ability to gather intelligence in the war on terror. For a flavor of this strategy, spend a few minutes on the ACLU's Web site. In that regard, even the weekend deal
(the warrantless wiretapping law passed by Congress this weekend) is far from encouraging. For example, the new law does not offer explicit liability protection for telecom companies that cooperate with the wiretap program. Instead, the most Democrats would accept is language to "compel" the cooperation of these companies going forward. The Administration hope is that this "I had no choice" claim will be an adequate defense against future lawsuits, but in the U.S. tort lottery that is no sure thing.
"Reason and Wiretaps:  What the terrorist surveillance fight is really all about," The Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010442 

The Wisconsin Plan for Socialized Medicine
As usual, most of the new taxes will be imposed on employers. Progressives believe money taken from them doesn't cost anything. Rich corporations will simply waste less on lavish perks and excess profits. But taxes on business are often paid by workers, stockholders and consumers. Businesses that can't pass the taxes on to someone else will close or move out of state. But progressives are oblivious to this fact. They see Wisconsin becoming a fairyland of health happiness supervised by the 16-person "authority" that will oversee the plan. Socialism will work this time because the "right" people will be in charge. Does it never occur to the progressives that the legislature's intrusion into private contracts is one reason health care and health insurance are expensive now? The average annual health-insurance premium for a family in Wisconsin is $4,462 partly because Wisconsin imposes 29 mandates on health insurers: Every policy must cover chiropractors, dentists, genetic testing, etc.
John Stossel (my favorite "Give Us a Break" commentator), "Let Wisconsin Experiment with Socialized Medicine," RealClearPolitics, August 8, 2007 ---
Click Here
Jensen Comment
It's interesting that Wisconsin once had the most liberal welfare system in the U.S. and shortly afterwards, in the face of monumental abuses of welfare, was the first to reform it into one of the tougher welfare states. If Wisconsin becomes the first state in the U.S. to adopt truly socialized medicine, watch for it to become the first to back off due soaring unemployment and eroding health care quality. Who would move a business into Wisconsin in the face having to pay such enormous health care taxes that cannot be competitively passed in product/service pricing? Where will Wisconsin attract top health care workers instead of dreg providers into the socialized medicine system? This is a far more  costly socialized medicine proposal than the plans adopted in Maine and Massachusetts.

This should be required reading for voters in Wisconsin
We should be wary of proposals that if adopted would not reduce (and might increase) aggregate costs, but instead would shift the costs to another class of payees, such as taxpayers (the Edwards plan contemplates additional federal subsidies for health care, which are paid for out of taxes) or future consumers of drugs.

Richard Posner (a famous economist), "The Reform of Health Care," The Becker-Posner Blog, April 15, 2007 ---
Click Here for a great summary of the issues followed by many informed commentaries

Sicko Deatho in Europe
We live in an age of unprecedented medical innovation. Unfortunately, most of today's cutting-edge research is conducted outside Europe, which was once a pioneer in this field. About 78% of global biotechnology research funds are spent in the U.S., compared to just 16% in Europe. Americans therefore have better access to modern drugs. One result is that in the U.S., the annual death rate from cancer is 196 per 100,000 people, compared to 235 in Britain, 244 in France, 270 in Italy and 273 in Germany.
Daniele Capezzone, "Sicko Europe, The Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2007; Page A9 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118610945461187080.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Within a year, Mr. Mitchell (in 1990 Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell proudly engineered the infamous "luxury tax) was back in the Senate passionately demanding an end to the same dreaded luxury tax. The levy had devastated his home state of Maine's boat-building business, throwing yard workers, managers and salesmen out of jobs. The luxury tax was repealed by 1993, though by the look of today's tax debate, its lessons haven't been forgotten. Top Democrats are working to implement a new class-warfare tax strategy, only this time they're getting pushback from those in their party who fear the economic consequences.
Kimberly Strassel, "Reluctant Class Warriors," The Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2007, Page A8 --- Click Here

Publix supermarket chain (tops in Florida where old folks are on their last stop toward heaven or wherever) said today it will make seven common prescription antibiotics available for free, joining other major retailers in trying to lure customers to their stores with cheap medications. The oral antibiotics, representing the most commonly filled at the chain's pharmacies, will be available at no cost to anyone with a prescription as often as they need them.
"Publix to offer 7 popular prescription antibiotics for free," Sun-Sentinel, August 6, 2007 --- http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sfl-0806publix,0,1726442.story
Jensen Comment 1
The Feds, at least the foolish ones, must be dancing in the streets since the majority of the folks getting these free antibiotics were probably on Medicare D or Medicaid that paid for them anyway. This freebie from Publix is helping the government more than anybody else, or so it seems at first blush. Actually the Feds may not be saving anything since most customers who pay for drugs are probably do not qualify for a medical income tax deduction for drugs, and Publix can deduct the entire cost of the drugs when it files its own tax return. Even if the Feds cheer is muted, our hats are off to Publix --- or are they?

Jensen Comment 2
Publix is being very shrewd. Notice that none of the seven free prescription drugs is a drug used regularly day in and day out by customers. Antibiotics are prescribed only now and then to treat certain types of temporary infections. Hence the freebie is only a now and then thing for a customer. By luring grateful customers into the supermarket, Publix may then sell other prescriptions (like those for drugs taken daily for the rest of your life) at higher prices than some other pharmacies like Wal-Mart and Target that sell over 140 common prescription drugs for $4 per monthly dosage and Walgreens that sells 138 such drugs for a comparable price.

Jensen Comment 3
The Publix freebie on seven antibiotics is what's known in marketing as a "loss leader." Loss leaders are sold at very low prices, usually below cost, to lure consumers into the store or Website. Once in a supermarket like Publix, customers seldom take their quota of the loss leaders without buying other merchandise such as milk, meat, cereal, produce, wine, and other highly profitable items in the store. If customers only grabbed the loss leaders and fled to shop where prices are lower, it would put an end to loss leaders in marketing. But customers are almost always not ones to flee in this manner. It takes too much time, trouble, and gas to shop for all the bargains around the city. And a free loss leader generally is preferred loss leaders that are not entirely free.

Jensen Comment 4
When prescription drugs are paid, at least in part, by third parties like insurance companies, Medicare D, and Medicaid, it adds "stickiness" to customer loyalty somewhat analogous to the way frequent flyer miles add "stickiness" to the choice of an airline. When I get my prescriptions filled by Wal-Mart in Littleton, the pharmacy has all computers set up for my renewable prescriptions and my Medicare D and Medicare supplemental plans. If I go to another area pharmacy for the first time, all the computer work has to be set up again in a manner that delays my shopping (which I hate in the first place). Hence if a loss leader draws me to a pharmacy in the first place (Wal-Mart is great for loss leaders), I'm not inclined to shop elsewhere except via the Internet. Publix would like to become the pharmacy of choice for third party setups on their computers. I think it made a shrewd move.

Jensen Comment 5
The American Medical Association purportedly is not so happy with this marketing ploy by Publix. There are serious externalities in society from prescribing antibiotics except when unequivocally necessary. The AMA thinks that Publix freebies will induce customers to pressure their doctors to write more prescriptions for antibiotics questionably necessary for illnesses that will probably run the same course with or without antibiotics.
Bob Jensen's consumer protection threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm


Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama found himself embroiled in a new foreign policy flap with rival Hillary Clinton on Thursday, this time over the use of nuclear weapons. Obama ruled out the use of nuclear weapons to go after al Qaeda or Taliban targets in Afghanistan or Pakistan, prompting Clinton to say presidents never take the nuclear option off the table, and extending their feud over whether Obama has enough experience to be elected president in November 2008.
Steve Holland, "Obama, Clinton in new flap, over nuclear weapons," The Washington Post, August 2, 2007 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/02/AR2007080201868_pf.html
Jensen Comment
Barack Obama will be a truly leading candidate for the presidency in 2016 if he learns from his 2007 and 2011 campaign spankings administered by his mentor, President Hillary Clinton (and Senator Dodd and others as well). Although his declaration more deeply endeared Obama to antiwar activists who bristled when he advocated military strikes on Pakistan, Obama's recent foreign policy campaign flaps may have cost him the 2008 primary presidential election.

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain on Thursday backed a scaled-down proposal that imposes strict rules to end illegal immigration but doesn't include a path to citizenship. The move away from a comprehensive measure is an about-face for the Arizona senator, who had been a leading GOP champion of a bill that included a guest worker program and would have legalized many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. It failed earlier this year.
Jennifer Talhelm, "McCain changes course on immigration," Yahoo News, August 2, 2007 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070802/ap_on_el_pr/mccain_immigration_1
Jensen Comment
More than any other issue, including his support for Bush's Iraq stance, Senator McCain's aggressive support of amnesty for over 12 million undocumented (illegal) aliens all but ruined his chances for winning the GOP nomination to become the next president of the United States. His latest about face is probably too little too late but may have an impact on other presidential hopefuls from both parties. What is truly remarkable is that McCain apparently supported amnesty out of conscience knowing full well the political consequences. His stance hurt his chances drastically and did not do much to win the love and support of Hispanics in the U.S. who, like Jewish voters, are die hard Democrats no matter how hard the GOP moves to garner their votes.

It's gotten catty out there. Jeri Thompson is a trophy wife, as is Cindy McCain. Michelle Obama is too offhand and irreverent when speaking of her husband, and Judith Giuliani is a puppy-stapling princess. Even Hillary Clinton was a focus, for wearing an outfit that suggested, however faintly, that underneath her clothing she may be naked, and have breasts. Why these stories? Because it's August and no one wants to think. Because the campaign is too long and reporters have to write about something. Because cable news has an insatiable need for guests, and if you write a story cable producers can easily find tape for, you get to go on Olbermann or O'Reilly and seem to publicize your paper, which will please your bosses, with the added benefit of giving you personal face time, which essentially asserts, in the world of high-level politics, that you exist.
Peggy Noonan, "Spouse Rules Advice for the ladies who seek to become first lady," The Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110010416 

“Spousework” is my term for a range of tasks that the spouses of college presidents perform or may perform. There is the involuntary role (being seen as an ambassador for the institution the partner leads). Every spouse is stuck with this. There are voluntary roles that could also be delegated to many people other than the spouse — helping the leader by performing tasks that impact the couple (such as planning events at the official residence, running the leader’s personal errands) or helping with institutional efforts that do not directly impact the leadership couple (such as serving on the recycling committee). There are also voluntary roles that only a select few people could fill — acting as a confidante, sounding board, extra pair of eyes and ears, source of new ideas and different point of view. And there are voluntary roles that no one other than the leader or the spouse can play, such as lobbying for the needs of the family and of the couple, jointly and individually.
Teresa Oden, The Future of Spousework, Inside Higher Ed, August 6, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/08/03/oden

The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we hold of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us.
Quentin Crisp (1908 - 1999) --- Click Here

In the communist era of the "iron rice bowl," state-owned enterprises (in China) regularly promised pensions to workers, who made no pension contributions. In 1997, as China moved toward a market-oriented economy, it adopted a two-tiered payroll tax to finance social security (primarily in urban areas). Employers now should contribute 20% of wages to support a defined retirement benefit. Employees also are now required to contribute 8% of a worker's wages to a personal account, with a variable retirement benefit based on investment returns. . The responsibility for paying social security benefits rests with local governments -- provinces, cities or townships -- which also collect the payroll taxes. Unfortunately, these local governments are using much of the employers' 20% payroll taxes to pay pre-1997 legacy pensions to workers who never made any contributions.
Robert C. Pozen, "Insuring China's Future," The Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2007; Page A12 --- Click Here 

Not all is gloom out there. That's the dominant message from the most recent Pew Global Attitudes Project's poll of 47 nations. Pew found that there is rising or constantly high contentment all over the globe with one's quality of life and family income. Satisfaction tends to be highest in the United States and Canada, but not far behind are Western Europe and Latin America. Even in Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America, about one-third are highly satisfied with their quality of life and income. As the Pew Global analysts point out, there is a high correlation here with economic...
Michael Barone, "Our National Funk," Townhall, July 31, 2007 --- Click Here

Congress' obsession with the TSP's legal pedigree has become the major threat to its continued viability, rivaling in its deleterious impact the infamous "wall," much criticized by the 9/11 Commission, which prevented information sharing between the Justice Department's intelligence and law-enforcement divisions. It is hypocritical for those in Congress who preach fidelity to the 9/11 Commission recommendations to behave so dramatically at odds with their spirit. The question Judiciary Committee members should have been asking Mr. Gonzales was not whether he had misled them--he clearly did not--but whether the TSP is still functioning well. The question the public should be asking those senators--and with not much more civility than the senators showed Mr. Gonzales--is what are they going to do about it if the answer is no.
David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, "The Real Wiretapping Scandal:  Our Terrorist Surveillance Program isn't as effective it was a few months ago. Where's the outrage?" The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010401 

The national passenger rail company is making the unusual offer to promote a new high-end service being offered on a trial basis for certain sleeper car trips. Members of Amtrak's guest rewards program--the railroad equivalent of frequent fliers--can get a $100 per person credit for alcohol between November and January.
Devlin Barrett, "Amtrak Offers Free Booze," Breitbart, August 3, 2007 --- Click Here

Not only do most people accept violence if it is perpetuated by legitimate authority, they also regard violence against certain kinds of people as inherently legitimate, no matter who commits it.
Edgar Z. Friedenberg --- Click Here

Eastern Chad has been plunged into chaos and lawlessness. In border towns, pick-up trucks outfitted with machine guns and loaded with armed, uniformed men careen through the dusty streets. No one knows who they are: the army, Chadian rebels, bandits? It makes little difference to the victims of the escalating violence. For about $5 (U.S.), anyone can get a uniform in the marketplace. As I passed through the town of Abeche, a U.N. refugee agency guard was murdered and two staffers severely wounded. About 100 humanitarian vehicles have been highjacked in the last year; aid workers have been robbed, beaten, abducted and killed.
Mia Farrow, "'No Hopes for Us'," The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2007, Page A13 --- Click Here

Spectators to Genocide Your U.N. in action: A watered-down Darfur resolution.
The 26,000 troops -- a combination of the current 7,000-strong African Union force and a new U.N. brigade -- will be stretched to cover an area the size of France. But the bigger handicap of the "hybrid" force is its mandate, watered down by China and Russia, which blocked tougher action. This is what happens when "consensus" is given higher priority than achieving actual security on the ground . . . In any case, the troops' ability to use force will be severely limited by another concession to Sudan. The soldiers will not be allowed to seize weapons from the government-supported Janjaweed killers, the Darfur rebels fighting against Khartoum, or other wandering thugs toting guns. Instead, they will "monitor whether any arms or related material are present in Darfur." If they find any? Oh, well.
"Spectators to Genocide," The Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2007; Page A10 --- Click Here

This Evil Overlord List grew out of the exchanges on what is now the Star Trek mailing list "shields-up@spies.com", beginning in 1994 (when it was still "startrek@cs.arizona.edu"). We were kicking around cliches that appeared on "Deep Space 9" at the time, and I started to compile a list of classic blunders they were making. The list came to about 20 or so items. In 1995, I decided to try to make it into a Top 100 List. I attached a copyright notice, some friends of mine posted it to a few newsgroups, and the contributions quickly poured in. In 1996 I revised the list entries to their current form, the Web page went up, more contributions were solicited, the list expanded beyond 100 and I had to open up a dungeon. I continued to contribute items; my total is around 40 or so. So while I am the originator, editor, and principal contributor, I certainly did not write the majority of the items on the list -- as may be seen by the sheer number of individuals who are listed as contributors. Around 1997, as the final contributions were coming in, a couple contributors mentioned that this was similar to a list of things not to do if you capture James Bond that had appeared on a sci-fi newsgroup. I'd never heard of or seen this list, so I assumed it was parallel development or perhaps something I had inspired.
Peter Anspach --- http://minievil.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html

Helen Green is said to have picked the Muslim call to prayer as HAND-WRITING practice. It includes the lines “Allah is the greatest” and “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah” . . . Billy’s angry dad Martin, 32, said there were no Muslims in the ten-year-old’s class. He added: “I am not religious but it offended me. “It must have been worse for children whose parents do have different beliefs.”
Alistair Taylor, "Kids told to write 'Allah is God'," The Sun, August 6, 2007 --- http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2007360135,00.html
Jensen Comment
Helen Green would probably be unemployed or maybe dead or sued for $10 million by the ACLU if "Jesus" had replaced "Allah" in the assignment.

"Shame, Triumph and Triumphalism," by John Brignell --- http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2007 July.htm

Black Sunday!

Today in England we have a smoking ban.

The most evident contemporary characteristic of the ban is its irrelevance to our broken society. It has come about as a result of the most ruthless and mendacious campaign in modern history. At least the American campaigners (such as the CDC and EPA) went to the trouble of committing gross statistical fraud to accomplish their ends. The British campaigners simply invented numbers – and then kept increasing them.

You can read more about the outspoken John Brignell at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brignell

Jensen Comment
I'm all in favor of smoking bans, but  John Brignell would have us to believe that such bans are like rearranging the deck chairs in our crime-infested, narcotics-dealing Titanic inner cities where health care and crime protections are shams.

Comparison of Plagiarism Detection Tools --- http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/SER07017B.pdf
"Plagiarism Detection: Is Technology the Answer?" at the 2007 EDUCAUSE Southeast Regional Conference, Liz Johnson, Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, provided a chart comparing seven plagiarism detection tools: Turnitin, MyDropBox, PAIRwise, EVE2, WCopyFind, CopyCatch, and GLATT.

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism and cheating are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm

All Homeowners Should Take Note of This Likely Change in Their Homeowners' Insurance Policies
Higher Deductibles Sting Homeowners
...more insurers change how they calculate deductibles, especially for damage caused by windstorms and other natural events. The newer method of figuring deductibles is based on a percentage of the insured value of your home -- typically between 1% and 5%, and even higher in earthquake zones. With home prices having soared in many areas in recent years, this often works out to be far more costly to the homeowner than the traditional flat-dollar method of figuring deductibles, by which you pay the first $1,000 or so of home repairs.
"Higher Deductibles Sting Homeowners," The Wall Street Journal via Market Watch, August 1, 2007 --- Click Here

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

Man Sold Goods on EBay, Never Delivered
A 37-year-old man was found guilty Tuesday of collecting more than $90,000 in payments for Rolex watches and sports tickets through eBay but never delivering the merchandise to customers. A federal court jury convicted him of 12 counts of mail fraud. Vartanian faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. He was arrested earlier this year in Fremont.
PhysOrg, August 8, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105770216.html

Bob Jensen's threads on how to avoid being taken on eBay are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#eBay

How to avoid those huge debit card fees?
Debit cards may seem attractive to consumers who want to avoid racking up credit charges, because they appear to have the safeguard of drawing from your checking account. But it is possible to overdraw from your debit card, and the resulting fees are very high. Here's how to avoid such charges.
Michelle Singletary, "Watch Your Debit Card Balance," NPR, July 31, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12374687

"Credit Card 101: Advice Before Shopping," AccountingWeb, November 22, 2006 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on "Dirty Secrets of Credit/Debit Card Companies" are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO

Why are their no more supermarkets in Detroit?
Why isn't Michael Moore's next book entitled "Starvo?"

High violent crime risks (Perhaps they should've been fronted by police substations)
Enormous shoplifting risks
School lunch programs
History of financial losses before all supermarkets were closed
Other complex factors factors

"No More Supermarkets?: Major Grocers Flee Detroit - Part II," NPR, August 3, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12477875

Part I is at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12477872

Where can I apply for a job like this?
More importantly, will your spouse let you get away with it if you bring home a fat paycheck?

Seriously, this most likely becomes both a sickening and very, very boring job.

Gene Toye gets paid to surf every site that you're not allowed to look at when working. An analyst for St. Bernard Software, a maker of messaging security products, Toye evaluates and categorizes Web sites. "My friends think it's a crazy job," he says. "Everyone thinks all I do is look for porn all day. They call me 'Porn Guy.'"
Thomas Wailgum, PC World via The Washington Post, August 2, 2007 --- Click Here

How can you make your own video game, possibly an educational game that you put online?

People who love to create their own blogs, podcasts, and movies have a new outlet for self-expression: home-made video games.
Erica Naone, "Playing Their Own Way," MIT's Technology Review, August 2, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19137/?a=f

Hoping to cash in on the popularity of user-generated content, a number of companies have set up websites that help average folks create their own video games.

Sites such as MyGame and Scratch, for example, provide simple personalizing or programming tools so that people with little or no programming experience can create their own kind of fun. Players can personalize games on MyGame in a matter of minutes using a basic home computer, and they can spend anywhere from hours to weeks designing a game, depending on its complexity.

Reflexive Entertainment, a video-game company based in California, has already had great success with user-generated content. In 2004, the company released a downloadable game called Big Kahuna Reef and included tools so that players could design their own levels. The feature was so popular that it formed the basis for a sequel, called Big Kahuna Reef 2, with 700 user-generated levels. Ion Hardie, director of product development for Reflexive, says that the core community of designers is small--some 30 or 40 people--but the company is working to increase involvement in new releases. Its most recent release, Ricochet Infinity, integrates more design features into the core game, with the idea of encouraging more players to participate.

Ulrich Tausend, a graduate student in the sociology department at the University of Munich and the founder of the game company Neodelight, says that user-generated content is getting attention in the game-development industry because visible game communities could attract more players. "One main goal of the casual game developers is to tell the nontypical potential computer players ... that gaming is also something for them," he says. The challenge to providing user-generated content, Tausend says, is that companies have to provide tools that are easy to use yet powerful enough to let people express themselves.

Continued in article

What are some computer science courses doing to slow the decline in enrollments?
Could robots play Monopoly in basic accounting and economics courses?

"U.S. Colleges Retool Programming Classes," by Greg Bluestein, PhysOrg, May 26, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news99378145.html 

Bob Jensen's threads on learning games and edutainment are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment

What does a leading Native American scholar think of Ward Churchill's scholarship and integrity?

And this was the judgment of Churchill's academic peers. UCLA professor Russell Thornton, a Cherokee tribe member whose work was misrepresented by Churchill, said "I don't see how the University of Colorado can keep him with a straight face," calling his material on smallpox a "fabrication" of history, and accusing him of "gross, gross scholarly misconduct." Real American Indian history, he told the Rocky Mountain News, is vitally important, not "a bunch of B.S. that someone made up." R.G. Robertson, author of Rotting Face: Smallpox and the American Indian and another scholar who has accused Churchill of misrepresenting his work, says that he's "happy that [he was fired], that he's been found out, and by his peers—meaning other university people—and been called what he is, a plagiarizer and a liar." Thomas Brown, a professor of sociology at Lamar University who has also investigated Churchill's smallpox research, said his work on the subject is "fabricated almost entirely from scratch."
Michael C. Moynihan, "Ward of the State:  Why the state of Colorado was right to sack Ward Churchill," Reason Magazine, August 1, 2007 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/121682.html

Bob Jensen's threads on the Ward Churchill saga are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HypocrisyChurchill.htm

Are student professional interests/demands harmful to liberal arts colleges?
What's a bastion of liberal arts education, Bard College, doing with startup programs in business and finance?

Think Bard College student and what comes to mind? More likely someone writing a play or conducting an experiment than checking a Bloomberg box. But officials at the liberal arts college want to be open to educating the future day traders and financial analysts. Those are some of the students who they say will benefit from a new dual-degree program that’s debuting this fall. Bard is offering a bachelor’s of science degree in economics and finance as part of a five-year arrangement in which students also receive a B.A. in a traditional liberal arts field — languages and literature; science or a social studies field other than economics, for instance.
Elia Powers, "Bard Brings Finance Into the Fold," Inside Higher Ed, August 2, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/02/bard

Does faculty research improve student learning in the classrooms where researchers teach?
Put another way, is research more important than scholarship that does not contribute to new knowledge?

Major Issue
If the answer leans toward scholarship over research, it could monumentally change criteria for tenure in many colleges and universities.

AACSB International: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, has released for comment a report calling for the accreditation process for business schools to evaluate whether faculty research improves the learning process. The report expresses the concern that accreditors have noted the volume of research, but not whether it is making business schools better from an educational standpoint.
Inside Higher Ed, August 6, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/06/qt

"Controversial Report on Business School Research Released for Comments," AACSB News Release, August 3, 2007 --- http://www.aacsb.edu/Resource_Centers/Research/media_release-8-3-07.pdf

FL (August 3, 2007) ― A report released today evaluates the nature and purposes of business school research and recommends steps to increase its value to students, practicing managers and society. The report, issued by the Impact of Research task force of AACSB International, is released as a draft to solicit comments and feedback from business schools, their faculties and others. The report includes recommendations that could profoundly change the way business schools organize, measure, and communicate about research.

AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, estimates that each year accredited business schools spend more than $320 million to support faculty research and another half a billion dollars supports research-based doctoral education.

“Research is now reflected in nearly everything business schools do, so we must find better ways to demonstrate the impact of our contributions to advancing management theory, practice and education” says task force chair Joseph A. Alutto, of The Ohio State University. “But quality business schools are not and should not be the same; that’s why the report also proposes accreditation changes to strengthen the alignment of research expectations to individual school missions.”

The task force argues that a business school cannot separate itself from management practice and still serve its function, but it cannot be so focused on practice that it fails to develop rigorous, independent insights that increase our understanding of organizations and management. Accordingly, the task force recommends building stronger interactions between academic researchers and practicing managers on questions of relevance and developing new channels that make quality academic research more accessible to practice.

According to AACSB President and CEO John J. Fernandes, recommendations in this report have the potential to foster a new generation of academic research. “In the end,” he says, “it is a commitment to scholarship that enables business schools to best serve the future needs of business and society through quality management education.”

The Impact of Research task force report draft for comments is available for download on the AACSB website: www.aacsb.edu/research. The website also provides additional resources related to the issue and the opportunity to submit comments on the draft report. The AACSB Committee on Issues in Management Education and Board of Directors will use the feedback to determine the next steps for implementation.

The AACSB International Impact of Research Task Force
Joseph A. Alutto, interim president, and
John W. Berry, Senior Chair in Business, Max M. FisherCollege of Business, The Ohio State University

K. C. Chan, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Richard A. Cosier, Purdue University
Thomas G. Cummings, University of Southern California
Ken Fenoglio, AT&T
Gabriel Hawawini, INSEAD and the University of Pennsylvania
Cynthia H. Milligan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Myron Roomkin, Case Western Reserve University
Anthony J. Rucci, The Ohio State University

Teaching Excellence Secondary to Research for Promotion, Tenure, and Pay ---

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Bob Jensen's threads on the sad state of academic accountancy research are at

Academic Publishing in the Digital Age:  Scott McLemee claims this is a "must read"

"Sailing from Ithaka,"  By Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, August 1, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/08/01/mclemee 

It’s not always clear where the Zeitgeist ends and synchronicity kicks in, but Intellectual Affairs just got hit going and coming.

In last week’s column, we checked in on a professor who was struggling to clear his office of books. They had been piling up and possibly breeding at night. In particular, he said, he found that he seldom needed to read a monograph more than once. In a pinch, it would often be possible to relocate a given reference through a digital search – so why not pass the books along to graduate students? And so he did.

While getting ready to shoot that article into the Internet’s “series of tubes,” my editor also passed along a copy of “University Publishing in a Digital Age” – a report sponsored by Ithaka and JSTOR.

It was released late last week. On Thursday, IHE ran a detailed and informative article about the Ithaka Report, as I suppose it is bound to be known in due time. The groups that prepared the document propose the creation of “a powerful technology, service, and marketing platform that would serve as a catalyst for collaboration and shared capital investment in university-based publishing.”

Clearly this would be a vaster undertaking than JSTOR, even. The Ithaka Report may very well turn out to be a turning point in the recent history, not only of scholarly publishing, but of scholarship itself. And yet only a few people have commented on the proposal so far – a situation that appears, all things considered, very strange.

So, at the risk of being kind of pushy about it, let me put it this way: More or less everyone reading this column who has not already done so ought (as soon as humanly possible) to get up to speed on the Ithaka Report. I say that in spite of the fact that the authors of the report themselves don’t necessarily expect you to read it.

It’s natural to think of scholarship and publishing as separate enterprises. Each follows its own course – overlapping at some points but fundamentally distinct with respect to personnel and protocols. The preparation and intended audience for the Ithaka Report reflects that familiar division of things. It is based on surveys and interviews with (as it says) “press directors, librarians, provosts, and other university administrators.” But not – nota bene! — with scholars. Which is no accident, because “this report,” says the report, “is not directed at them.”

The point bears stressing. But it’s not a failing, as such. Press directors and university librarians tend to have a macroscopic view of the scholarly public that academic specialists, for the most part do not. And it’s clear those preparing the report are informed about current discussions and developments within professional associations – e.g., those leading to the recent MLA statement on tenure and promotion.

But scholars can’t afford to ignore the Ithaka Report just because they were not consulted directly and are not directly addressed as part of its primary audience. On the contrary. It merits the widest possible attention among people doing academic research and writing.

The report calls for development of “shared electronic publishing infrastructure across universities to save costs, create scale, leverage expertise, innovate, extend the brand of US higher education, create an interlinked environment of information, and provide a robust alternative to commercial competitors.” (It sounds, in fact, something like AggAcad, except on steroids and with a billion dollars.)

The existence of such an infrastructure would condition not only the ability of scholars to publish their work, but how they do research. And in a way, it has already started to do so.

The professor interviewed for last week’s column decided to clear his shelves in part because he expected to be able to do digital searches to track down things he remembered reading. Without giving away too much of this professor’s identity away, I can state that he is not someone prone to fits of enthusiasm for every new gizmo that comes along. Nor does he work in a field of study where most of the secondary (let alone primary) literature is fully digitalized.

But he’s taking it as a given that for some aspects of his work, the existing digital infrastructure allows him to offload one of the costs of research. Office space being a limited resource, after all.

It’s not that online access creates a substitute for reading print-based publications. On my desk at the moment, for example, is a stack of pages printed out after a session of using Amazon’s Inside the Book feature. I’ll take them to the library and look some things up. The bookseller would of course prefer that we just hit the one-click, impulse-purchase button they have so thoughtfully provided; but so it goes. This kind of thing is normal now. It factors into how you do research, and so do a hundred other aspects of digital communication, large and small.

The implicit question now is whether such tools and trends will continue to develop in an environment overwhelmingly shaped by the needs and the initiatives of private companies. The report raises the possibility of an alternative: the creation of a publishing infrastructure designed specifically to meet the needs of the community of scholars.

Continued in article

Also see "New Model for University Presses," The University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communication Blog, July 31, 2007 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

As posted in Open Access News...
It’s the nightmare-come-true scenario for many an academic: You spend years writing a book in your field, send it off to a university press with an interest in your topic, the outside reviewers praise the work, the editors like it too, but the press can’t afford to publish it. The book is declared too long or too narrow or too dependent on expensive illustrations or too something else. But the bottom line is that the relevant press, with a limited budget, can’t afford to release it, and turns you down, while saying that the book deserves to be published.

That’s the situation scholars find themselves in increasingly these days, and press editors freely admit that they routinely review submissions that deserve to be books, but that can’t be, for financial reasons. The underlying economic bind university presses find themselves in is attracting increasing attention, including last week’s much awaited report from Ithaka, “University Publishing in a Digital Age,” which called for universities to consider entirely new models.

One such new model is about to start operations: The Rice University Press, which was eliminated in 1996, was revived last year with the idea that it would publish online only, using low-cost print-on-demand....

Rice is going to start printing books that have been through the peer review process elsewhere, been found to be in every way worthy, but impossible financially to publish....

Some of the books Rice will publish, after they went through peer review elsewhere, will be grouped together as “The Long Tail Press.” In addition, Rice University Press and Stanford University Press are planning an unusual collaboration in which Rice will be publishing a series of books reviewed by Stanford and both presses will be associated with the work….

Alan Harvey, editor in chief at Stanford, said he saw great potential not only to try a new model, but to test the economics of publishing in different formats. Stanford might pick some books with similar scholarly and economic potential, and publish some through Rice and some in the traditional way, and be able to compare total costs as well as scholarly impact. “We’d like to make this a public experiment and post the results,” he said.

Another part of the experiment, he said, might be to explore “hybrid models” of publishing. Stanford might publish most of a book in traditional form, but a particularly long bibliography might appear online…

University Publishing in a Digital Age

In case you've not seen the notices, the non-profit organization Ithaka has just released a report on the state of university press publishing today, University Publishing in a Digital Age. Based on a detailed study of university presses, which morphed into a larger examination of the relationship among presses, libraries and their universities, the report's authors suggest that university presses focus less on the book form and consider a major collaborative effort to assume many of the technological and marketing functions that most presses cannot afford; they also suggest that universities be more strategic about the relationship of presses to broader institutional goals.


August 2, 2007 message from


"Publishing in the future will look very different than it has looked in the past. Consumption patterns have already changed dramatically, as many scholars have increasingly begun to rely on electronic resources to get information that is useful to their research and teaching.

Transformation on the creation and production sides is taking longer, but ultimately may have an even more profound impact on the way scholars work."

The Ithaka report, "University Publishing in a Digital Age" (July 23, 2007), "began as a review of U.S. university presses and their role in scholarly publishing. It has evolved into a broader assessment of the importance of publishing to universities." To assess the current state and future role of university-based scholarly publishing, the report's authors interviewed a variety of university provosts, press directors, and librarians from public and private institutions. Based on the interviewees responses, in the future of university publishing:

-- Everything must be electronic

-- Scholars will rely on deeply integrated electronic

research/publishing environments

-- Multimedia and multi-format delivery will become

increasingly important

-- New forms of content will enable new economic models

The complete report is available online at http://www.ithaka.org/strategic-services/university-publishing.

Ithaka is an independent not-for-profit organization with a mission to accelerate the productive uses of information technologies for the benefit of higher education worldwide. "We work in close collaboration with JSTOR (http://www.jstor.org/) and ARTstor (http://www.artstor.org/), and we are currently incubating three

initiatives: Aluka (http://www.aluka.org/), a digital library of scholarly resources from and about the developing world; NITLE (http://www.nitle.org/), a collaborative effort to promote emerging technologies in liberal arts contexts; and Portico (http://www.portico.org/), a permanent archive of electronic scholarly journals." For more information about Ithaka, go to http://www.ithaka.org/.


See also:

"New Model for University Presses"

By Scott Jaschik

INSIDE HIGHER ED, July 31, 2007


"The Rice University Press, which was eliminated in 1996, was revived last year with the idea that it would publish online only, using low-cost print-on-demand for those who want to hold what they are reading."


"What a Difference a Publisher Makes"

by Alma Swan

July 7, 2007


"[Copy editing is] a special little focus of interest at the moment because publishers claim it as an important area of added value and want to demonstrate how much they contribute to the integrity of scholarly literature through providing it, while the proponents of self-archiving counter-claim that the author's final version of an article -- the one which contains all the changes advised or required by the peer review process -- is a perfectly adequate version to be deposited in a digital repository for open access purposes." In her blog, OptimalScholarship, scholarly communication consultant Alma Swan discusses some studies that examine the value of what publishers contributed to final versions of scholarly works.


Bob Jensen's threads about promotion and tenure controversies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#MLA

Bob Jensen's threads on the flawed peer review process are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#PeerReviewFlaws

What are the supposed Top 10 and the Top 100 e-Learning tools, at least in England?

Top 100 --- http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/top100.html
Various experts list their Top 10 --- http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/index.html

Jensen Comment
I totally disagree with the rankings of the Top 100 and the Top 10.

Where is Blackboard and WebCT? --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackboard

Where are the many important tools for handicapped learners? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Handicapped

Where is Camtasia? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm

Where are the edutainment and learning game alternatives? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment

Where is Matlab (used in virtually every U.S. university) --- --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MATLAB

Like it or not, Wikipedia is one of the most sought out sights in the world by e-Learners --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
There are risks, but the odds are high that users will get helpful learning information and links.

Where are HTML and related XML/RTF and XBRL markups?  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm  

Where are the many huge and free online libraries? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Where are the important blogs and listservs? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm

I could go on and on here!

Bob Jensen

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

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

August 3, 2007 reply from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

I agree with you that the list is flawed - Toolbook should be #1

Richard J. Campbell


August 3, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Richard

ToolBook should’ve been number 1 but it fumbled the ball. What proportion of e-Learners are now learning, today, from ToolBooks? My guess is that much less than one percent. A negligible proportion of instructors are developing learning materials using ToolBook dhtml files relative to FrontPage and Dreamweaver htm files.

The biggest innovation for e-Learners and authors was Adobe Acrobat’s tremendous development of online pdf files that could be read and electronically searched for free but not be tampered with by readers. Now major commercial publishing houses are putting new books on line as pdf files.

One of the biggest innovations I forgot to mention was the unknown (at least to me) date in which MS Office files (particularly ppt, doc, and xls files) could be downloaded and read from Web servers that at one time only could handle htm markups. In terms of e-learning htm, pdf, doc, xls, and ppt files are overwhelmingly the main files for e-Learning, although they are now joined by such files as xml files.

Another huge e-Learning innovation that I forgot to mention is the unknown (at least to me) date in which the above learning and research files could be attached to email messages. This made it easier to have private distributions (say to students in a class) without having to put files on Web, Blackboard, or WebCT servers. Anybody with email can not send files back and forth.

There is still a great risk of macro viruses when downloading MS Office files from the Web or email messages. However, most e-Learners are doing so from trusted Web sites and/or email senders such as files from their course instructors.

ToolBook could fade away and the world would hardly know about it or miss it.

Bob Jensen


Researcher Finds Media Player Security Flaws
Media players (like the popular Windows Media Player) in personal computers have serious vulnerabilities that could allow online criminals to attach malicious code and infect computers without the user's knowledge, a researcher said Thursday.
Jordan Robertson, "Researcher Finds Media Player Flaws," PhysOrg, August 3, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105328422.html

Free (advertising-based) Word Processing, Spreadsheet, and Other Software from Microsoft?
Microsoft Corp. will test a free, advertising-supported version of Works, an already inexpensive package of word processing, spreadsheet and other programs, but would not say whether it is exploring a similar Web-based suite. Microsoft's announcement comes a week after its top executives sketched out a strategy for supplementing traditional packaged software revenue with subscriptions and Web-based services, during a day of meetings with financial analysts at its Redmond, Wash., headquarters. Industry watchers have been parsing those speeches for signs the company will develop an online version of the more expensive Office suite to compete with free offerings from Google Inc., but the company has so far been silent on the issue.
Jessica Mintz, "Microsoft Works Goes Free, Ad-Supported," PhysOrg, August 3, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105291925.html

Serious Financial Nerd Alert
He lays out some of the math of VIX mean reversion here (caution - serious nerd alert ahead), and gives a few applications here (including a slick way of using implied vcolatility to get beta).
David Merkel at the Aleph Blog as quoted in the Financial Rounds Blog, August 1, 2007 --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/ 

Historic Films and Videotapes from the  National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives and Records Administration announced yesterday that it has reached a non-exclusive agreement with Amazon.com and one of its subsidiaries to reproduce and sell to the public copies of thousands of historic films and videotapes in the Archives' holdings.The arrangement allows Amazon and a California subsidiary, CustomFlix Labs, to make digitized copies of some of history's most famous, and infamous, footage and make them available in DVD form for purchase via the Internet.
Michael E. Ruane, "Amazon to Copy and Sell Archives' Footage:  First DVDs Already Available Under Non-Exclusive Deal," The Washington Post, July 31, 2001, Page C01 --- Click Here

What background color signals low probability of trustworthiness in the massive Wikipedia encyclopedia?

New program color-codes text in Wikipedia entries to indicate trustworthiness
The online reference site Wikipedia enjoys immense popularity despite nagging doubts about the reliability of entries written by its all-volunteer team. A new program developed at the University of California, Santa Cruz, aims to help with the problem by color-coding an entry's individual phrases based on contributors' past performance.
PhysOrg, August 3, 2007 0 --- http://physorg.com/news105376555.html

The program analyzes Wikipedia's entire editing history--nearly two million pages and some 40 million edits for the English-language site alone--to estimate the trustworthiness of each page. It then shades the text in deepening hues of orange to signal dubious content. A 1,000-page demonstration version is already available on a web page operated by the program's creator, Luca de Alfaro, associate professor of computer engineering at UCSC.

Other sites already employ user ratings as a measure of reliability, but they typically depend on users' feedback about each other. This method makes the ratings vulnerable to grudges and subjectivity. The new program takes a radically different approach, using the longevity of the content itself to learn what information is useful and which contributors are the most reliable.

"The idea is very simple," de Alfaro said. "If your contribution lasts, you gain reputation. If your contribution is reverted [to the previous version], your reputation falls." De Alfaro will speak about his new program this Saturday, August 4, at the Wikimania conference in Taipei, Taiwan.

The program works from a user's history of edits to calculate his or her reputation score. The trustworthiness of newly inserted text is computed as a function of the reputation of its author. As subsequent contributors vet the text, their own reputations contribute to the text's trustworthiness score. So an entry created by an unknown author can quickly gain (or lose) trust after a few known users have reviewed the pages.

A benefit of calculating author reputation in this way is that de Alfaro can test how well his reliability scores work. He does so by comparing users' reliability scores with how long their subsequent edits last on the site. So far, the program flags as suspect more than 80 percent of edits that turn out to be poor. It's not overly accusatory, either: 60 to 70 percent of the edits it flags do end up being quickly corrected by the Wikipedia community.

The exhaustive analysis of Wikipedia's seven-year edit history takes de Alfaro's desktop PC about a week to complete. At present he is working from copies of the site that Wikipedia periodically distributes. Once the initial backlog of edits is calculated, however, de Alfaro said that updating reliability scores in real time should be fairly simple.

While the program prominently displays text trustworthiness, de Alfaro favors keeping hidden the reputation ratings of individual users. Displaying reputations could lead to competitiveness that would detract from Wikipedia's collaborative culture, he said, and could demoralize knowledgeable contributors whose scores remain low simply because they post infrequently and on few topics.

"We didn't want to modify the experience of a user going in to Wikipedia," de Alfaro said. "It is very relaxing right now and we didn't want to modify what has worked so well and is so welcoming to the new user."

UCSC News Release --- http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/text.asp?pid=1471

The demonstration site is at http://trust.cse.ucsc.edu/
Repeatedly Click the Random Page link (on the left column to see some warning orange background)

Jensen Note
There are some Highly sensitive words and phrases that Wikipedia will not allow editing until a user registers. This provides limited controls on false and misleading entries. There are also certain controls on copyright violations when users want to insert works of others. This becomes very complicated in the world of open sharing that was pioneered in many ways by

There are some highly sensitive words or phrases that have Wikipedia warnings about trustworthiness and neutrality. For example, read the following under the Discussion Tab of "Cindy Shehan" in Wikipedia:

This section may not conform to the neutral point of view policy.
This section has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality. Discussion of this nomination can be found on the talk page.

"Co-Founder of Wikipedia Starts Spinoff With Academic Editors," University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communications blog, October 18, 2006 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

Can scholars build a better version of Wikipedia? Larry Sanger, a co-founder who has since become a critic of the open-source encyclopedia, intends to find out.

This week Mr. Sanger announced the creation of the Citizendium, an online, interactive encyclopedia that will be open to public contributors but guided by academic editors. The site aims to give academics more authorial control -- and a less combative environment -- than they find on Wikipedia, which affords all users the same editing privileges, whether they have any proven expertise or not.

The Citizendium, whose name is derived from "citizen's compendium," will soon start a six-week pilot project to determine many of its basic rules and operating procedures.

Mr. Sanger left Wikipedia at the end of 2002 because he felt it was too easy on vandals and too hard on scholars. There is a lot to like about Wikipedia, he said, starting with the site's open-source ethics and its commitment to "radical collaboration."

But in operation, he said, Wikipedia has flaws -- like its openness to anonymous contributors and its rough-and-tumble editing process -- that have driven scholars away. With his new venture, Mr. Sanger hopes to bring those professors back into the fold.

He plans to create for the site a "representative democracy," in which self-appointed experts will oversee the editing and shaping of articles. Any Web surfer, regardless of his or her credentials, will be able to contribute to the Citizendium. But scholars with "the qualifications typically needed for a tenure-track academic position" will act as editors, he said, authorizing changes in articles and approving entries they deem to be trustworthy.

A team of "constables" -- administrators who must be more than 25 years old and hold at least a bachelor's degree, according to the project's Web site -- will enforce the editors' dictates. "If an editor says the article on Descartes should put his biography before his philosophy, and someone changes that order, a constable comes in and changes it back," said Mr. Sanger.

Continued in article

The Citizendium link is at http://www.citizendium.org/

Of course the Wikipedia link to an unbelievable (nearly 2 million articles to date) database in information (and some misinformation) is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm

From the Scout Report on June 1, 2007

Pathway 1.0.3 --- http://pathway.screenager.be/download/ 

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

Why grades are worse predictors of academic success than standardized tests?

Several weeks into his first year of teaching math at the High School of Arts and Technology in Manhattan, Austin Lampros received a copy of the school’s grading policy. He took particular note of the stipulation that a student who attended class even once during a semester, who did absolutely nothing else, was to be given 45 points on the 100-point scale, just 20 short of a passing mark.
Samuel G. Freedman, "A Teacher Grows Disillusioned After a ‘Fail’ Becomes a ‘Pass’," The New York Times, August 1, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/01/education/01education.html 

That student, Indira Fernandez, had missed dozens of class sessions and failed to turn in numerous homework assignments, according to Mr. Lampros’s meticulous records, which he provided to The New York Times. She had not even shown up to take the final exam. She did, however, attend the senior prom.

Through the intercession of Ms. Geiger, Miss Fernandez was permitted to retake the final after receiving two days of personal tutoring from another math teacher. Even though her score of 66 still left her with a failing grade for the course as a whole by Mr. Lampros’s calculations, Ms. Geiger gave the student a passing mark, which allowed her to graduate.

Continued in article

Grades are even worse than tests as predictors of success

"The Wrong Traditions in Admissions," by William E. Sedlacek, Inside Higher Ed, July 27, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/07/27/sedlacek

Grades and test scores have worked well as the prime criteria to evaluate applicants for admission, haven’t they? No! You’ve probably heard people say that over and over again, and figured that if the admissions experts believe it, you shouldn’t question them. But that long held conventional wisdom just isn’t true. Whatever value tests and grades have had in the past has been severely diminished. There are many reasons for this conclusion, including greater diversity among applicants by race, gender, sexual orientation and other dimensions that interact with career interests. Predicting success with so much variety among applicants with grades and test scores asks too much of those previous stalwarts of selection. They were never intended to carry such a heavy expectation and they just can’t do the job anymore, even if they once did. Another reason is purely statistical. We have had about 100 years to figure out how to measure verbal and quantitative skills better but we just can’t do it.

Grades are even worse than tests as predictors of success. The major reason is grade inflation. Everyone is getting higher grades these days, including those in high school, college, graduate, and professional school. Students are bunching up at the top of the grade distribution and we can’t distinguish among them in selecting who would make the best student at the next level.

We need a fresh approach. It is not good enough to feel constrained by the limitations of our current ways of conceiving of tests and grades. Instead of asking; “How can we make the SAT and other such tests better?” or “How can we adjust grades to make them better predictors of success?” we need to ask; “What kinds of measures will meet our needs now and in the future?” We do not need to ignore our current tests and grades, we need to add some new measures that expand the potential we can derive from assessment.

We appear to have forgotten why tests were created in the first place. While they were always considered to be useful in evaluating candidates, they were also considered to be more equitable than using prior grades because of the variation in quality among high schools.

Test results should be useful to educators — whether involved in academics or student services — by providing the basis to help students learn better and to analyze their needs. As currently designed, tests do not accomplish these objectives. How many of you have ever heard a colleague say “I can better educate my students because I know their SAT scores”? We need some things from our tests that currently we are not getting. We need tests that are fair to all and provide a good assessment of the developmental and learning needs of students, while being useful in selecting outstanding applicants. Our current tests don’t do that.

The rallying cry of “all for one and one for all” is one that is used often in developing what are thought of as fair and equitable measures. Commonly, the interpretation of how to handle diversity is to hone and fine-tune tests so they are work equally well for everyone (or at least to try to do that). However, if different groups have different experiences and varied ways of presenting their attributes and abilities, it is unlikely that one could develop a single measure, scale, test item etc. that could yield equally valid scores for all. If we concentrate on results rather than intentions, we could conclude that it is important to do an equally good job of selection for each group, not that we need to use the same measures for all to accomplish that goal. Equality of results, not process is most important.

Therefore, we should seek to retain the variance due to culture, race, gender, and other aspects of non-traditionality that may exist across diverse groups in our measures, rather than attempt to eliminate it. I define non-traditional persons as those with cultural experiences different from those of white middle-class males of European descent; those with less power to control their lives; and those who experience discrimination in the United States.

While the term “noncognitive” appears to be precise and “scientific” sounding, it has been used to describe a wide variety of attributes. Mostly it has been defined as something other than grades and test scores, including activities, school honors, personal statements, student involvement etc. In many cases those espousing noncognitive variables have confused a method (e.g. letters of recommendation) with what variable is being measured. One can look for many different things in a letter. Robert Sternberg’s system of viewing intelligence provides a model, but is important to know what sorts of abilities are being assessed and that those attributes are not just proxies for verbal and quantitative test scores. Noncognitive variables appear to be in Sternberg’s experiential and contextual domains, while standardized tests tend to reflect the componential domain. Noncognitive variables are useful for all students, they are particularly critical for non-traditional students, since standardized tests and prior grades may provide only a limited view of their potential.

I and my colleagues and students have developed a system of noncognitive variables that has worked well in many situations. The eight variables in the system are self-concept, realistic self-appraisal, handling the system (racism), long range goals, strong support person, community, leadership, and nontraditional knowledge. Measures of these dimensions are available at no cost in a variety of articles and in a book, Beyond the Big Test.

This Web site has previously featured how Oregon State University has used a version of this system very successfully in increasing their diversity and student success. Aside from increased retention of students, better referrals for student services have been experienced at Oregon State. The system has also been employed in selecting Gates Millennium Scholars. This program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, provides full scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students of color from low-income families. The SAT scores of those not selected for scholarships were somewhat higher than those selected. To date this program has provided scholarships to more than 10,000 students attending more than 1,300 different colleges and universities. Their college GPAs are about 3.25, with five year retention rates of 87.5 percent and five year graduation rates of 77.5 percent, while attending some of the most selective colleges in the country. About two thirds are majoring in science and engineering.

The Washington State Achievers program has also employed the noncognitive variable system discussed above in identifying students from certain high schools that have received assistance from an intensive school reform program also funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. More than 40 percent of the students in this program are white, and overall the students in the program are enrolling in colleges and universities in the state and are doing well. The program provides high school and college mentors for students. The College Success Foundation is introducing a similar program in Washington, D.C., using the noncognitive variables my colleagues and I have developed.

Recent articles in this publication have discussed programs at the Educational Testing Service for graduate students and Tufts University for undergraduates that have incorporated noncognitive variables. While I applaud the efforts for reasons I have discussed here, there are questions I would ask of each program. What variables are you assessing in the program? Do the variables reflect diversity conceptually? What evidence do you have that the variables assessed correlate with student success? Are the evaluators of the applications trained to understand how individuals from varied backgrounds may present their attributes differently? Have the programs used the research available on noncognitive variables in developing their systems? How well are the individuals selected doing in school compared to those rejected or those selected using another system? What are the costs to the applicants? If there are increased costs to applicants, why are they not covered by ETS or Tufts?

Until these and related questions are answered these two programs seem like interesting ideas worth watching. In the meantime we can learn from the programs described above that have been successful in employing noncognitive variables. It is important for educators to resist half measures and to confront fully the many flaws of the traditional ways higher education has evaluated applicants.

William E. Sedlacek is professor emeritus at the University of Maryland at College Park. His latest book is Beyond the Big Test: Noncognitive Assessment in Higher Education

CUNY to Raise SAT Requirements for Admission
The City University of New York is beginning a drive to raise admissions requirements at its senior colleges, its first broad revision since its trustees voted to bar students needing remedial instruction from its bachelor’s degree programs nine years ago. In 2008, freshmen will have to show math SAT scores 20 to 30 points higher than they do now to enter the university’s top-tier colleges — Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter and Queens — and its six other senior colleges.
Karen W. Arenson, "CUNY Plans to Raise Its Admissions Standards," The New York Times, July 28, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/28/education/28cuny.html

Bob Jensen's threads on the reasons for grade inflation are at

Those "Free" Online Personal Photo Storage/Sharing Sites: Yahoo is Dropping This Service

"How the Big Photo-Sharing Sites Stack Up," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2007, Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118592598712284053.html

Yahoo's recent announcement that it would be closing its Yahoo Photos division on Sept. 20 forced its users to decide what to do with their photos. The site's photo-storage and sharing service, which has been around for about seven years, is bowing to its hipper counterpart, Flickr.com, also owned by Yahoo Inc.

When faced with the daunting task of transferring entire collections of uploaded photos to a new Web site, or just choosing a site on which to start sharing digital photos, consumers are worried about choosing the wrong one.

This week, I compared data about five popular photo-sharing sites: Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly, Snapfish, Flickr and Photobucket. Many other sites offer to do the job, such as SmugMug and Webshots, but I stuck to the five major sites suggested by Yahoo as alternatives to its photo service.

I had accounts on all but one of these free sites, and easily signed up for the fifth. In addition to using the sites, I quizzed each company on its offerings, asking about privacy, community sharing, editing, storage restrictions, what happens to dormant accounts, creating photo projects like books and uploading images via email or cellphone.

The features offered by each company are overwhelming -- and easy to confuse. Two of the five sites, Kodak Gallery and Snapfish, require a purchase at least once a year or your photos will be deleted (after warning emails). Each site offers free accounts and all except Shutterfly will upgrade your account for $25 a year. Photobucket and Flickr excel in creating communities for continuous sharing, while Kodak Gallery, Snapfish and Shutterfly focus on acting as repositories for uploaded images, one event at a time. The sharing sites have storage limitations, while the others don't.

Below, I've outlined some pros and cons for each service, while remarking briefly on a site's overall feel and usability. See the accompanying chart for more details.

 Kodak Gallery

This is a solid site for sharing albums with friends in a few straightforward steps. Though its options for editing photos tend to feel a bit clumsy, they're probably the best out of the five sites. Most sites expect users to edit images before sharing them. Earlier this year, Kodak introduced a new version of its EasyShare desktop software program with richer editing features, such as images that expand to almost the entire screen.

In addition to its $25 a year Gallery Premier account, you can opt to pay twice as much for the account and a discount on Kodak prints -- 10 cents each rather than 15 cents. Paid accounts let you download high-resolution versions of each photo and give you a unique Web address for sharing photos that can be password protected. But the other four sites offer personal Web sites as free features, rather than just with paid accounts.


Shutterfly seemed to be the simplest site, though it isn't the most attractive or user friendly. All of its features are free. Shutterfly does away with two conditions that Kodak Gallery and Snapfish have: It doesn't require any purchases in order to keep your account from being deleted nor does it ever require your friends to sign in before viewing a shared album.

But Shutterfly's simplicity can also be a hindrance. It doesn't let you upload videos to share, nor can you download high-resolution versions of each photo or send photos to the site via email or mobile device; the other sites do these things either for free or with a paid account.


Snapfish is Hewlett-Packard Co.'s photo-sharing site, and it stands out because it has the most restrictions. Along with its requirement that you purchase something at least once a year to keep your account, guests who view your albums must always sign in; you can't change this setting like on the other sites. To skirt this issue, Snapfish emphasizes its Group Rooms, or personalized sharing Web sites that users view with a specific URL and a password (if you choose to have one).

Snapfish and Shutterfly both have Web sites on which photos appear too small for my taste, though Snapfish does offer generously sized images in photo slideshows -- a plus. I'd prefer the site itself showed larger images in other instances. High-resolution version of photos can be downloaded for a fee of 25 cents for one and five cents for more than one.


Of the two community sharing sites, I preferred Flickr over Photobucket. The site felt cleaner, with fewer distractions and one less advertisement than Photobucket. For people who aren't used to these more progressive sites, Photobucket and Flickr may seem extreme. They offer things like tagging and use terms that can be confusing. Flickr uses "sets" in place of "albums," and photos are organized within "batches." Photobucket organizes albums, but then lets you create sub albums within an album.

Neither site requires annual purchases, and both allow free high-resolution downloads of photos. Instead of one-time sharing, the sites use photostreams, or constantly updated photo blogs that friends can check.

Continued in article

Would you like to choose a color and then easily find its RGB number code?
Go to Flickr Color Selectr --- http://color.slightlyblue.com/

Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm

August 2 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]


"For educators and policy-makers, already struggling with the many cultural and logistical challenges posed by digital technologies, mashups complicate the picture even while offering tremendous promise.

What, exactly, constitutes a valid, original work? What are the implications for how we assess and reward creativity? Can a college or university tap the same sources of innovative talent and energy as Google or Flickr? What are the risks of permitting or opening up to this activity?"

In "Dr. Mashup; or, Why Educators Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Remix" (EDUCAUSE REVIEW, vol. 42, no. 4, July/August 2007, pp.

12-24), Brian Lamb discusses the conditions needed in universities to enable mashups and other Web 2.0 tools to play a significant role in education. The article is online at http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm07/erm0740.asp.

EDUCAUSE Review [ISSN 1527-6619], a bimonthly print magazine that explores developments in information technology and education, is published by EDUCAUSE (http://www.educause.edu/). Articles from current and back issues of EDUCAUSE Review are available on the Web at http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/.



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

WE THINK: WHY MASS CREATIVITY IS THE NEXT BIG THING (Draft version) By Charles Leadbeater http://www.wethinkthebook.net/home.aspx

"We-Think: the power of mass creativity is about what the rise of the likes of Wikipedia and Youtube, Linux and Craigslist means for the way we organise ourselves, not just in digital businesses but in schools and hospitals, cities and mainstream corporations. My argument is that these new forms of mass, creative collaboration announce the arrival of a society in which participation will be the key organising idea rather than consumption and work. People want to be players not just spectators, part of the action, not on the sidelines."

Leadbeater is making a draft of his book available online prior to formal publication to allow readers to comment and make suggestions.

Sarbanes-Oxley Lowers Corporate Fraud Lawsuits
After five years, the Sarbanes-Oxley law has reduced corporate fraud. It was crafted to restore investor confidence with tighter rules for audits and forcing executives to certify financial statements. Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, talks with Renee Montagne.
NPR, August 2, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12555895

Bob Jensen's threads on SOX/Sarbox are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudProposedReforms.htm

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

Brocade Ex-CEO Convicted of Fraud
A jury in San Francisco has convicted Gregory Reyes, the former chief executive of Brocade Communications Systems, of conspiracy to defraud shareholders. The executive of the San Jose-based high-tech firm could face years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.
Scott Horsely, NPR, August 8, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12586282

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

The Financial Accounting Standards Board recently approached Bloomfield about studying how to create financial accounting standards that will assist investors as much as possible, he quickly turned to the virtual world for answers.

"Theory Meets Practice Online: Researchers and academics are looking to online worlds such as Second Life to shed new light on old economic questions," by Francesca Di Meglio, Business Week, July 24, 2007 --- Click Here 

In fact, many economics researchers, including Bloomfield, professor of accounting at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management, are using the virtual environment to test ideas involving staples of economics such as game theory, the effects of regulation, and issues involving money. Since 1989, Bloomfield has been running experiments in the lab in which he creates small game economies to study narrow issues. But when the Financial Accounting Standards Board recently approached Bloomfield about studying how to create financial accounting standards that will assist investors as much as possible, he quickly turned to the virtual world for answers.

"It would be very difficult to look at the complex issues that FASB is trying to address with eight people in a laboratory playing a very simple economic game," he says. "I started looking for how I could create a more realistic economy with more players dealing with a high degree of complexity. It didn't take me long to realize that people in virtual worlds are already doing just that."

. . .

At Indiana University, researcher Edward Castronova has posed the idea of creating multiple virtual economies to study the effects of different regulatory policies. At Indiana, Castronova is director of the Synthethic Worlds Initiative, a research center to study virtual worlds. "The opportunity is to conduct controlled research experiments at the level of all society, something social scientists have never been able to do before," the center's Web site notes (see BusinessWeek.com, 5/1/06, "Virtual World, Virtual Economies").

A virtual stock market is certainly not the only online entity that opens itself up to research. Marketers are already using the virtual world to test campaigns, packaging, and consumer satisfaction. Pepsi (PEP) famously tracks use of its products in There.com. Architects seek reaction to design. Starwood Hotels (HOT) test-marketed its new loft designs in Second Life (see BusinessWeek.com, 8/23/06, "Starwood Hotels Explore Second Life First").

Continued in article

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

Bob Jensen's threads on Accounting Research versus the Accounting Profession are at

Summarizing Academic Accounting Research for Practitioners

April 14, 2007 message from Ron Huefner [rhuefner@acsu.buffalo.edu]

The Journal of Accountancy (AICPA) has begun a new series of articles to review accounting research papers and explain them to practitioners. The April issue has an article on "Mining Auditing Research."

It summarizes about a dozen research articles, mostly from The Accounting Review, but also including articles from JAR, CAR, AOS, and the European Accounting Review.

The link for this article is: <http://aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/apr2007/boltlee.htm

This may be useful in bringing research findings into classes


How do politicians affect the stock market?
According to this study by Tomasz Wisniewski titled "Can Political Factors Explain the Behavior of Stock Prices Beyond the Standard Present Value Models?", stocks tend to be overvalued (undervalued) when Democrats (Republicans) hold the Presidency, and high (low) when Presidential approval ratings are high (low). (HT: CXO Advisory Group)

Financial Rounds Blog on July 27, 2007 --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/

Ghost Writers --- Literally?
His (Robert Ludlum's) estate has borrowed from the examples of V.C. Andrews, dead since 1986 but selling well thanks to novels in her name written by an uncredited author; Ernest Hemingway, whose estates issued several books after his suicide; and Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler (both quite alive) who diverted from their skin of solo thrillers to create series written in conjunction with, or solely by, others.
Richard Sandmir, "The Ludlum Conundrum: A Dead Novelist Provides New Thrills," The New York Times, July 30, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/30/business/media/30ludlum.html?ref=business

Young Employees Waste More Time
A new study shows young employees waste more time at work. Demands to get more done translate into spending more time at work. The amount of idle time drops off among employees older than 30. Peter Cappelli, a professor at Wharton Business School, talks with Steve Inskeep.
"Study: Young Employees Waste Time at Work," NPR, August 1, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
This probably does not hold true in academe where younger faculty are under extraordinary pressures for tenure and promotion. My experience is that older tenured faculty spend more time in idle chats in the faculty clubs.

Younger Employees Are More Apt to Understand and Remember Humor
Humor comprehension in older adults functions in a different fashion than humor comprehension in younger adults. The researchers studied older adults from a university subject pool as well as undergraduate students. The subjects participated in tests that indicated their ability to complete jokes accurately as well as tests that indicated their cognitive capabilities in areas of abstract reasoning, short - term memory, and cognitive flexibility. Overall, older adults demonstrated lower performance on both tests of cognitive ability as well as tests of humor comprehension than did younger adults.
"Researchers find older folks don't get the joke:  It’s no laughing matter that older adults have a tougher time understanding basic jokes than do younger adults," PhysOrg, July 31, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105119581.html

Understanding Math Day By Day
Parents can help their children understand mathematics by talking about the numbers and figuring used in daily life, preparing them for learning skills and concepts in the classroom, says a University of Arkansas math educator.
PhysOrg, July 31, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105120992.html

Bob Jensen's links to mathematics tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics

Microsoft's Latest Webcam Doesn't Pan Out
The LifeCam NX-6000 delivers at lower resolutions, but overall, its problems call for a lower price
Business Week, July 27, 2007 --- Click Here

More Product Reviews by Business Week --- http://www.businessweek.com/technology/reviews/

Last week, members of the U.S. Treasury met with executives and economists for the purpose of discussing America's system of corporate taxation in terms of global competitiveness.
At the conference, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson received support from participants for considering an overhaul of the U.S. business tax system.
AccountingWeb, July 31, 2007 http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=103823

Stanford University Begins Zero-Based Study for Re-designing the Internet

Researchers outlined plans for Stanford’s “clean-slate initiative” last month, part of a global effort to redesign the basic structure of the Internet. The project aims to start with a “clean slate,” as researchers imagine how they would design the Internet if they could start anew. Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Nick McKeown is the project’s team leader. “We want to look back in 20 years and see that we — here at Stanford — have had a significant impact on the future Internet,” McKeown said in an email to The Daily. “With the breadth of world-class expertise here on campus, and the proximity to the center of the networking industry, Stanford is well-placed to do it.”
Emma Trotter, The Stanford Daily, August 2, 2007 --- http://daily.stanford.edu/article/2007/8/2/internetProjectGearsUpAtStanford

e-Learning Market to hit $52.6 Billion by 2010
With an already strong foothold in the enterprise sector, e-learning is advancing in K-12 and higher education teaching environments, according to San Jose, CA-based market researchers Global Industry Analysts, which project the global e-learning market to surpass $52.6 billion by 2010....
David Koph, T.H.E. Journal, July 2007 --- http://www.thejournal.com/articles/21046

Bob Jensen's links to online training and education alternatives are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

"Now, It's a Picnik To Edit Your Photos Using a Web Program," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2007; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118539900300778055.html

One of the best examples of these slick new Web-based application is Picnik, a sophisticated, photo-editing application offered free of charge at picnik.com. I have been testing Picnik and I like it a lot. It's a fast and impressive program for tweaking and improving your photos, then posting them to popular photo Web sites, saving them to your own computer, emailing them, or even printing them.

Picnik, which comes from a small Seattle company called Bitnik, isn't meant to compete with Adobe Photoshop, or to serve professional photographers or dedicated hobbyists. Instead, it's for the same casual photographer who would use the limited editing tools in Apple's iPhoto or Microsoft's Windows Vista Photo Gallery.

Picnik isn't a place to store your pictures, or a way to organize them -- yet. The company says it will consider adding these features down the road. For now, it is focused on being an editing complement to popular Web services -- such as Yahoo's Flickr, Google's Picasa Web Albums, and the independent Facebook -- that already allow for storing and organizing photos. You could also easily use it as the main editor for photos you store on your hard disk.

The program is currently in beta, or test, phase, though in my tests it worked smoothly and surely. During this beta period, all of its features are offered for free. Later this summer, the company expects to end the beta period and begin charging something like $20 or $25 a year for access to some of the more rarified special effects that Picnik offers, though the core editing and sharing functions, and some of the effects, will remain free.

In my view, Picnik has a beautiful and responsive user interface that worked perfectly on the multiple Windows and Macintosh computers I used to test it. It worked equally well in the latest versions of the three best-known Web browsers: Microsoft's Windows-only Internet Explorer, Mozilla's Firefox (on both Windows and Mac) and Apple's Safari (on both Mac and Windows.)

Continued in article

In a dispute between coaches and faculty, guess which side wins, in some cases at least,  when the publicity is out?

Surprisingly it's not always the side that gets paid ten times as much per year.


Students get the minimum admissions bar if they can play football but not necessarily otherwise
The University of South Carolina is looking for ways to streamline its admissions process amid a threat from its football coach, Steve Spurrier, to quit if the university doesn’t admit all recruits who meet basic (read that really, really minimal) eligibility requirements set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, The State reported. Spurrier is angry because the university rejected two recruits this year. “As long as I’m the coach here, we’re going to take guys that qualify,” Spurrier said at a press conference. “If not, then I have to go somewhere else because I can’t tell a young man, ‘You’re coming to school here,’ he qualifies, and not do that. And we did that this year.”
Inside Higher Ed, August 6, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/06/qt

But the overaching issue Spurrier raises — what coaches and colleges tell athletes about their prospects for admission, and when in the process they send those signals — is a real one that affects every university that plays big-time sports. (Lest anyone wonder, it even applies in the Ivy League.)
Doug Lederman, "Star Athlete, You’re Admitted. Er, Never Mind," Inside Higher Ed, August 8, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/08/recruit

Officials at both Clemson and South Carolina said that they were aware of peer colleges — they declined to name names — where meeting the NCAA’s freshman eligibility standards, even as they have been weakened in recent years, was good enough to ensure admission for athletes, as Spurrier said he would prefer it at South Carolina. Clemson and South Carolina say that that’s not something they’re willing to do, and that the admissions processes for athletes — even those admitted outside the regular admissions process — must remain in control of academic administrators. Said Reeder, the Faculty Senate chair at South Carolina: “As long as that admissions process — whether we’re talking about standard or special admits — as long as that remains under purview of the faculty, that’s probably as good as it gets.”
Doug Lederman, "Star Athlete, You’re Admitted. Er, Never Mind," Inside Higher Ed, August 8, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/08/recruit

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 http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/06/18/qt

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

From Clemson University:  Small Group Learning for 14,000 Undergrads,
One of Clemson’s Creative Inquiry groups, the course is part of a larger program that aims to teach students critical thinking and research skills. Started in 2005, the program has rapidly grown from about 40 projects with between 5 and 15 students each in the first semester to 205 this spring. Administrators hope to eventually expand the program to all of the university’s 14,000 undergraduates.
Jennifer Epstein, "Small Group Learning for 14,000 Undergrads," Inside Higher Ed, August 1, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/01/clemson

Progressive Colleges On the Far, Far Left Are Having a Difficult Time With Finances and Accreditation

"Turmoil at Another Progressive College," by Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, August 1, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/01/newcollege

New College of California, which, according to its president, depends on tuition for 95 percent of its budget, finds itself at this crossroads as the closure of Antioch College’s main undergraduate institution focuses attention on the particular vulnerability of progressive colleges, which tend to feature small enrollments, individualized instruction and a commitment to producing alumni engaged in socially responsible, if not fiscally rewarding, careers. With a historic focus on non-traditional education, New College’s graduate and undergraduate program offerings today include women’s spirituality, teacher education, activism and social change, and experimental performance.

The college has repeatedly tangled with its accreditor in the past, with this month’s action coming a year, its president said, after it was removed from warning. A July 5 letter from the Western Association to the college’s president of seven years, Martin J. Hamilton, documents an ongoing financial crisis about as old as the college itself and a “pervasive failure” in proper recordkeeping. WASC also notes concerns about academic integrity at the college, including a “routine” reliance upon independent study that operates outside of published criteria or oversight. The accrediting body indicates that it found “substantial evidence of violations” of its first standard, that an institution “function with integrity.” (The letter is available on the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s blog).

Continued in article

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

Bob Jensen's threads on accreditation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Assess.htm#AccreditationIssues

Saving Bangladesh from Global Warming
When it comes to climate change, Bangladesh--with 140 million mostly poor residents and low-lying coastal geography--is among the most vulnerable nations on Earth. As part of the country's effort to prepare and adapt, Bangladesh government agencies are attempting to take global projections of climate change and turn them into highly local predictions.
David Talbot, MIT's Technology Review, July 31, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19121/

College Savings:  529 Versus Coverdell Plans

Time To Swap (College Education) Piggybanks? Custodial accounts have lost much of their tax benefits
For years, parents have been stashing money in custodial accounts to fund their kids' college educations. They've saved on taxes, too, since a large portion of the bill is paid at the child's lower rate. But recent changes in the law sap so much of the tax savings from custodial accounts that state-sponsored 529 college savings plans, which are tax-free if used for education, are better deals. In fact, they're so much better that you may want to cash out your kids' custodial accounts and put the money in 529s.
Business Week, August 6, 2007 --- Click Here

Advantages and disadvantages are concisely summarized at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/529_plan
The main drawback can be high fees along the way. Another drawback is a possible negative impact on eligibility for financial aid when in college --- http://money.howstuffworks.com/5299.htm

If the student owns the 529 account, which is what happens when a custodial account has been transferred to a 529 account, then the amount of the account will greatly affect his or her eligibility for financial aid. Because the student owns the account and it is one of the student's assets, a 35 percent assessment against those assets kicks in.

Other Drawbacks --- http://money.howstuffworks.com/5299.htm

Custodial Accounts --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Custodial_Account

Coverdell Education Savings Account --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coverdell_ESA

Coverdell U.S. Code Collection from Cornell University --- Click Here

How 529 Plans Work --- http://money.howstuffworks.com/5292.htm

Great Links
For more links about 529 plans, enter "529" into the search box at http://www.howstuffworks.com/
Scroll over the links to brokerage firms to see a set of great free links.

Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#InvestmentHelpers

How secure is your cell phone?
Phone companies should consider the recent hack of the Apple iPhone a wake-up call for better mobile security.
Kate Greene, "Securing Cell Phones," MIT's Technology Review, August 1, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19130/?a=f

The Worst Technology Laws:  Five ways legislation has made a mess of technology, plus five problems that desperately need a legal solution," by Anush Yegyazarian, PC World via The Washington Post, July 31, 2007 ---
Click Here

1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (as well as that same year's Copyright Term Extension Act, which protects copyrights virtually indefinitely) goes too far.
(Bob Jensen's threads on the horrid DMCA are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm#Copyright )

1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (as well as that same year's Copyright Term Extension Act, which protects copyrights virtually indefinitely) goes too far.

Bad patent grants lead to frivolous lawsuits that can cost millions of dollars even if they're settled early on--and you and I end up footing the bill in the form of higher prices.

Once upon a time, our government decided that we didn't need a cellular technology standard. The cost of that strategy has been slower networks, spotty coverage, and more limited services than in many other countries . . . Many European and Asian countries, whose governments have chosen a single cellular technology standard, have services that simply don't exist here or have been slow to debut, such as cellular payment systems (which are made easier by use of a single tech standard) and live TV broadcasts (which require ubiquitous high speeds).

As our world grows ever more connected, the amount of data any one company (or government agency) collects about us also increases, as do thenew threats to your privacy. But outside of a few heavily regulated fields such as the financial and health-care industries, few rules exist to govern the collection, storage, sale, accuracy, and security of that data.

The above quotations are only selected excerpts. Go to the article for the accompanying arguments.

Home Depot Fires Employees Amid Probe of Kickbacks
Home Depot, Inc. fired four merchandise-purchasing employees who allegedly received kickbacks to ensure certain flooring products were stocked by the retailer and put in prominent positions, the company said . . . The terminations follow several months of quiet in what has been a turbulent year for the retailer. In January, Bob Nardelli resigned as chief executive amid criticism over his compensation, the strategic direction of the company and its stock price.
Ann Zimmerman, "The Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2007, Page A2 --- Click Here

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

From The Washington Post on August 1, 2007

What model did a blogger use recently to organize major sites on the Internet?

A. Periodic Table
B. Solar System
C. Spider web
D. Map of Earth
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

From The Washington Post on July 31, 2007

Which social networking site recently charged Facebook with fraud and copyright infringement?

A. Friendster
B. LinkedIn
C. Orkut
D. ConnectU

From The Washington Post on August 2, 2007

When was the first Turing Award given by the Association for Computing Machinery?

A. 1966
B. 1971
C. 1978
D. 1980

From The Washington Post, August 6, 2007

What is the meaning of the Swahili word used for eBay's classifieds site Kijiji.com?

A. Sold
B. Community
C. Village
D. Market

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


Why do people have sex?
Researchers explore 237 reasons Many scientists assume people have sex for simple and straightforward reasons such as to experience sexual pleasure or to reproduce, but new research at The University of Texas at Austin reveals hundreds of varied and complex motivations that range from the spiritual to the vengeful.
PhysOrg, July 31, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105106906.html
The New York Times account of this one --- Click Here

Women are twice as likely as men to experience major depression.
Stacy Z. Berg, "8 Myths About Depression," WebMD, August 1, 2007 ---

Forwarded by Debbie

Sea snail venom paves way for potent new painkiller, CNN International, July 3, 2007 --- Click Here

Researchers Demonstrate How Placebo Effect Works in the Brain
Columbia University scientists, with colleagues from the University of Michigan, have shown how the neurochemistry of the placebo effect can relieve pain in humans.
PhysOrg, July 30, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105029324.html

Fast Food Chains Violate NYC Law
CSPI testers purchased large orders of fries from five McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's outlets in Manhattan -- which requires the use of trans-fat-free frying oils -- and asked an independent laboratory to analyze them. McDonald's had the least trans fat at 0.2 grams per serving. Wendy's had 3.7 grams per serving, and Burger King had 3.3 grams per serving, although officials noted Wendy's serving size was 25 percent larger than Burger King's.
"NYC french fries fail trans fats testing," PhysOrg, August 3, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105292595.html
The NYT account is at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/03/nyregion/03fat.html

Genetic breakthrough in multiple sclerosis -- biggest for decades
Investigators on Sunday reported the biggest breakthrough in decades into the genetic drivers for multiple sclerosis (MS), identifying two genes that each boost the risk of developing this tragic disease by up to 30 percent. In MS, the immune system attacks myelin, the fatty sheath that protects the cells of the central nervous system, rather like plastic insulation that protects electrical cables. As a result, "short circuits" occur in the body's messaging system, because nerve signals get slowed or blocked. This leads to difficulties in movement and coordination, muscle weakness, cognitive impairment, slurred speech and vision problems.
WorldNetDaily, July 29, 2007 --- Click Here

What can aging persons do to compensate for declines in working memory?
Older adults with better reading comprehension than their counterparts read differently, according to Elizabeth Stine-Morrow, a professor of educational psychology. By choosing to spend more time familiarizing themselves with new concepts, key details and the characters and settings in stories, older adults can compensate for declines in their working memories and language-processing speeds. Credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer, U. of I. News Bureau.
"Aging adults have choices when confronting perceived mental declines," PhysOrg, August 2, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105287886.html

Cognitive impairment link found in older adults taking popular stomach acid medications
Long-term use of histamine2 receptor antagonists (H2A), one class of drugs that blocks stomach acid, may be associated with cognitive impairment in older African-American adults. According to an Indiana University School of Medicine and Regenstrief Institute study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the risk for showing signs of cognitive impairment is 2.5 times greater for patients using these medications long-term.
PhysOrg, August 3, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105370525.html

Report: Strained Military Resulting in Abuse, Neglect
The ongoing U.S. war on terrorism continues to strain military servicemembers and families. A Journal of the American Medical Association study released Tuesday finds that deployments have resulted in increased rates of child abuse and neglect.
Rose Hoban, "Report: Strained Military Resulting in Abuse, Neglect," NPR, August 1, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12385667

Does this child have appendicitis?
Notably, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, hallmark appendicitis symptoms in adults, were NOT predictive of appendicitis in children. “These signs don’t give you an absolute diagnosis, but they should prompt the doctor to refer the child to a surgeon for evaluation,” said study lead author David Bundy, M.D., M.P.H., a pediatrician at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
"Does this child have appendicitis? Watch out for key signs," PhysOrg, August 2, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105253833.html 

A Lyme Disease Warning from the Financial Rounds Blogger (who calls himself "Unknown" but at times provides a clue that Unknown is male)
The Unknown Daughter had a rash for the last few days. Today we went to the doctor, and it turns out she has Lyme Disease. For those of you in parts of the country where it's not common, it's a spirochete that gets spread by deer tick, and usually manifests as a bulls eye-shaped rash.
Financial Rounds, August 2, 2007 --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/

If it's not caught early, it can result in a lot of serious and long-ranging problems. But luckily, we did catch it, so it merely means a three-week course of amoxicillin.

But I can;'t let this go without a link to

Reading ability protects brain from lead exposure
Lead smelter workers who are better readers have more protection against the effect of lead exposure on the brain than those who do not read as well, according to a study on the impact of cognitive reserve published in the July 31, 2007, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
PhysOrg, July 31, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105092485.html

"They Gave Much:  Top biographies of American philanthropists," by Vartan Gregorian, The Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110010426

1. "Andrew Carnegie" by David Nasaw (Penguin, 2006).

Every time I think I know all there is to know about Andrew Carnegie, some other fascinating aspect of this complex man is revealed. Until I read David Nasaw's deeply detailed biography of the rags-to-riches steel magnate who essentially invented modern-day philanthropy, I did not know, for example, that he supported the progressive income tax and favored substantial levies on inherited fortunes. Having famously declared "He who dies rich, dies disgraced," Carnegie proceeded to create more than 20 organizations in the U.S. and abroad dedicated to advancing knowledge and education, rewarding heroes, creating pensions for teachers, and promoting international peace and other noble goals. This Scottish immigrant who became a champion of American democracy gave away over 90% of his fortune ($350 million, or tens of billions in today's dollars) and built more than 2,500 libraries. When he died in 1919, he did not die disgraced.

2. "Henry Clay Frick" by Martha Frick Symington Sanger (Abbeville, 1998).

The life of Henry Clay Frick--industrialist, coke magnate and, later, Andrew Carnegie's partner in the steel business--is fascinatingly chronicled in this volume by his great-granddaughter Martha Frick Symington Sanger. In taking a decidedly psychological approach to her subject, Ms. Sanger may have explained a mystery that has perplexed Frick's past biographers: What motivated one of the most notorious of the turn-of-the-century robber barons to begin collecting paintings and other artwork so assiduously? According to Ms. Sanger, Frick grieved his entire life over the death of a daughter in childhood, and he found solace in art. Frick, who died in 1919, bequeathed his New York mansion, a $15 million endowment and the best of an extraordinary collection to establish a public gallery with the goal of "encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts." Today the institution is known as the Frick Collection. He left only one-sixth of his fortune to his family, with the rest given to charitable institutions.

3. "Mellon" by David Cannadine (Knopf, 2006).

British historian David Cannadine admits that he embarked on the research for a biography of Andrew Mellon (1855-1937) with some ill feeling about his subject: He believed Mellon to be "an unsympathetic person with unappealing politics." But after being given unfettered access to the financier's papers by the Mellon family and foundation, Mr. Cannadine seems to have developed a rapt--if not always admiring--interest in what he terms the "big life" that Mellon led. A passionate love of art led Mellon to amass a magnificent collection, including 21 of the Hermitage's greatest paintings. (Apparently, Stalin needed the money to advance the Soviet economy.) In 1937, Mellon deeded the collection to the American people in what Mr. Cannadine calls a philanthropic gift without "precedent or parallel" in the country's history. Thus was born the National Gallery of Art. At the time, the gift was valued at $60 million--priceless today in terms of both worth and significance.

4. "Morgan" by Jean Strouse (Random House, 1999).

Not only a banker but a force in the railroad and steamship industries, J.P. Morgan (1837-1913) purchased Andrew Carnegie's vast steel empire in 1901. He, too, embarked on an ambitious philanthropic campaign, one that seemed, at least in part, to reflect the times: As the 19th century waned, there was a growing trend among wealthy Americans to move from amassing private collections to endowing public institutions. Biographer Jean Strouse says that the cultured and generous man her study revealed was a surprise: "I went into the research, essentially, looking for the 'robber baron' of popular Morgan mythology, and eventually found someone very different." Like Mellon and Frick, Morgan was a great collector of art. He became one of the most important benefactors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History, and he created the magnificent Morgan Library. Along the way, it has been pointed out, Morgan also took the time to collect two wives, three yachts, four children, six houses and assorted mistresses.

5. "Titan" by Ron Chernow (Random House, 1998).

Ron Chernow says that, early in his research of the life of the taciturn John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), he worried that he "was confronting a sphinx." But thanks in part to unprecedented access to millions of documents at the Rockefeller Archive in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., Mr. Chernow makes the sphinx speak in this insightful work. Apparently Rockefeller was convinced that after acquiring as much wealth as possible through Standard Oil, he was morally compelled to use his fortune to improve the lot of humanity. Along with Andrew Carnegie, he helped to define modern philanthropy as a strategic system aimed at finding solutions to long-term problems. All told, Rockefeller gave away somewhere around $550 million, the equivalent of many billions today. His many benefactions included creating the Rockefeller Foundation in 1913 (which now has assets of $3.5 billion); building Rockefeller University in New York; funding an Atlanta college for black women that eventually became Spelman College; and adding incalculable support to the progress of medical science.

Dr. Gregorian, the president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, is the author of the autobiography "The Road to Home" (Simon & Schuster, 2003) and "Islam: A Mosaic, Not a Monolith" (Brookings Institution Press, 2004).

How could he forget the America's biggest philanthropists?
Where are Bill Gates and Warren Buffet?

"Gates Foundation's Education Chief Controls Billions," by Rob Manning, NPR, August 1, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12430124

Forwarded by a great neighbor

Hi Bob,

Thought you would enjoy this lesson in marketing and economics! Enjoy

People often ask for a simple explanation of "Marketing." Here it is:

You're a woman and you see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and say, "I'm fantastic in bed."
That's Direct Marketing.

You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a handsome guy. One of your friends goes up to him and pointing at you says, "She's fantastic in bed."
That's Advertising.

You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and get his telephone number. The next day you call and say, "Hi, I'm fantastic in bed."
That's Telemarketing.

You see a guy at a party, you straighten your dress. You walk up to him and pour him a drink. You say, "May I?" and reach up to straighten his tie, brushing your breast lightly against his arm, and then say, "By the way, I'm fantastic in bed."
That's Public Relations.

You're at a party and see a handsome guy. He walks up to you and says, "I hear you're fantastic in bed."
That's Brand Recognition.

You're at a party and see a handsome guy. He fancies you, but you talk him into going home with your friend.
That's a Sales Rep.

Your friend can't satisfy him so he calls you.
That's Tech Support.

You're on your way to a party when you realize that there could be handsome men in all these houses you 're passing. So you climb onto the roof of one situated towards the center and shout at the top of your lungs, "I'm fantastic in bed!"
That's Junk Mail.
You are at a party; this well-built man walks up to you and grabs your ass.

That's the Governor of California.
You like it, but 20 years later your attorney decides you were offended.
That's America.

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

George Carlin's New Rules for 2007

New Rule: Stop giving me that pop-up ad for classmates.com! There's a reason you don't talk to people for 25 or 30 years. Because you don't particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days - he's mowing my lawn.
New Rule: Don't eat anything that's served to you out of a window unless you're a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it to contain? Caviar?
New Rule: Stop saying that teenage boys who have sex with their hot, blonde teachers are permanently damaged. I have a better description for these kids: lucky little bastards
New Rule: If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards, you're a dope. If you're a kid, the cards are keepsakes of your idols. If you're a grown man, they're pictures of men.
New Rule: Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care about your eyebrows: do you have two of them? Okay, we're done.
New Rule: There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket, water, but without that watery taste. Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That's your flavored water.
New Rule: Stop screwing with old people. Target is introducing a redesigned pill bottle that's square, with a bigger label. And the top is now the bottom. And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the morgue. Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.
New Rule: I'm not the cashier! By the time I look up from figuring which way to slide my card, entering my PIN number, finding and pressing "Enter," verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don't want cash back, and pressing "Enter" again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my candy bar.
New Rule: Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you spiritual. It's right above the crack of your ass. And it translates to "chicken with broccoli." The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not spiritual. You're just high.
New Rule : Competitive eating isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadly sins. ESPN recently televised the U.S. Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those celebrities playing poker was just too damned exciting. What's next, competitive farting? Oh no wait! They're already doing that. It's called "The Howard Stern Show."
New Rule: I don't need a bigger mega M&Ms. If I'm extra hungry for M&Ms, I'll go nuts and eat two.
New Rule: If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy, old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. Let's remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is that the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.
New Rule: No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it's for babies and new homes, graduations and getting out of rehab. Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't gift giving, it's the white people's version of looting.
New Rule: and this one is long overdue: No more bathroom attendants. After I zip up, some guy is offering me a towel and a mint like I just had sex with George Michael. I can't even tell if he's supposed to be there, or just some freak with a fetish. I don't want to be on your web cam, dude. I just want to wash my hands.
New Rule: When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to know in months. "27 Months." "He's two," will do just fine. He's not a cheese. And I didn't really care in the first place.
New Rule: If you ever hope to be a credible adult and want a job that pays better than minimum wage, then for God's sake don't pierce or tattoo every available piece of flesh. If so, then plan your future around saying "Do you want fries with that?"

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Importance of Walking

Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5000 per month.

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. Now she's 97 years old and we don't know where the hell she is.

The only reason I would take up exercising is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks. Haven't lost a pound. Apparently you have to go there.

I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing.

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.

The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier.

If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

And last but not least,
You could run this over to your friends but why not just e-mail it to them!

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

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

Three Finance Blogs

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

Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

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

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



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