What a Wonderful
World (Speakers Up) ---
How can you find, in less than a minute, the purported value of a home in the
None of the free major online appraisal sites (
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
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 ---
value of my house fluctuates more often — and for
even more mysterious reasons — than my weight these
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.
can’t tell, because I get
conflicting information from
online sites — like
where I find myself
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).
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
that most of my neighbors
are juggling payments on big
just like mine (thank you
that the bathroom I recently
remodeled may have increased
my property value by $33,490
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
And why not? I really,
really need every tiny bit
of information I can get
about managing my biggest
no! Oh, my goodness, I have
to tell you to stop right
now,” said Baba Shiv, an
associate professor of
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
“But everybody is doing it,”
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
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
Tidbits on August 9, 2007
For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and
other universities is at
Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures
Bob Jensen's Threads ---
Bob Jensen's Home Page is at
Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
(Also scroll down to the table at
Set up free conference calls at
World Clock ---
If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops ---
Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
It's a Beautiful World (when you open your eyes) ---
Jihad the Musical (humor albeit reckless humor) ---
Hawkish Obama targets al Qaeda in Pakistan for possible
military strikes and says it should've happened in 2005 (not humor) ---
It could be reckless to strike a nuclear power without permission.
Pakistan slams 'ignorant' Obama attack warning ---
Sudanese refugees in Israel ---
Romney: Let's emulate Hezbollah ---
Impeach Bush Theatre (not humor) ---
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
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 ---
Tom Rush - Remember Song ---
Comedy (on rare occasions) Central's John Stewart on Sub-Prime
(You must endure the tasteless Burger King-Homer Simpson commercial before John
English is the Language of this Land ---
First Look - Google Advertising In Video ---
From the slums of Rio de Janeiro ---
Women in Film (Across 80 Years) ---
How many can you recognize by name?
Type in a command (like "Roll Over" or "Kiss") to this dog ---
He barks when he doesn't understand your command.
Free music downloads ---
Louis Armstrong: 'The Man and His Music,' Part 1
Conjuring Bittersweet Memories of 'Ludlow Street'
(Suzanne Vega) ---
Do you know what the 409 stood for in the 1950s?
My 409 (Beach Boys Jivin') ---
It's a Beautiful World (when you open your
Last FM ---
Frank Sinatra ---
You have to click the play button several times to complete the songs.
Jihad the Musical (humor) ---
The Authentic Sounds of the "Ballad of Scarlet
Botstein Revives Zemlinsky with a Bard
Photographs and Art
Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various
types electronic literature available free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
The Boarded Window by Ambrose
(1842 1914) ---
Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
Other online books by Charles Dickens ---
The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
by Arthur Conan Doyle ---
Abolishing of Christianity in England
by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
The Private History of a Campaign that Failed
by Mark Twain (1835-1910)
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 ---
July 31, 2007 message from Jennifer
I stumbled upon your site today and
was quite impressed. I really liked the design. Did you make it
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.
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
Inside Higher Ed, August 2, 2007 ---
Is Google Killing Scholarship?
Does the search engine make it so easy to get data that users forgo deeper
"Google is Killing Intellect," Business Week, Podcast
Debate, July 31, 2007 ---
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 ---
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
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 ---
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 ---
"Pet Projects Are Flourishing in Congress, by Edmund L. Andrews, The New York
Times, August 4, 2007 ---
"Ethics Reform Shouldn't Hamper Lobbying," NPR, August 4, 2007 ---
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
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 ---
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,
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
Jamie Tarabay, "Sunni Militants in
Baghdad Shift Loyalties," NPR, July 31, 2007 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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,
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,
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
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 ---
US Corporations are finding that it is difficult to
receive high quality work with flexibility and cost effectiveness through
Subhra Kar, India Daily,
September 20, 2004 as quoted by Mark Shapiro in The Irascible Professor,
August 1, 2007 ---
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 ---
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
Richard Posner (famous
economist and legal scholar), " Decision Theory and the War in Iraq, " The
Becker-Posner Blog, July 29, 2007 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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
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 ---
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
John Stossel (my favorite "Give Us a Break" commentator),
"Let Wisconsin Experiment with Socialized Medicine," RealClearPolitics,
August 8, 2007 ---
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
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
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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
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
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
“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
Teresa Oden, The Future of
Spousework, Inside Higher Ed, August 6, 2007 ---
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) ---
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
Robert C. Pozen, "Insuring China's Future," The Wall Street Journal,
August 6, 2007; Page A12 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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
Mia Farrow, "'No Hopes for Us'," The Wall Street
Journal, July 27, 2007, Page A13 ---
Spectators to Genocide Your U.N. in action: A watered-down Darfur
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 ---
Overlord List grew out of the exchanges on
what is now the Star Trek mailing list "email@example.com", beginning in 1994
(when it was still "firstname.lastname@example.org"). 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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
Today in England we have a smoking ban.
- Innocent children are being stabbed to death
by feral gangs who chase them down
the street screaming “Kill! kill!” –
but we have a smoking ban.
- Child gangs fight deadly pre-arranged battles
with clubs and chains – but we have a smoking ban
- Over a quarter of children have taken illegal
and dangerous drugs – but we have a smoking ban.
- Gun crime is rife in our inner cities – but we
have a smoking ban.
- You are far more likely to be mugged or
burgled in London
than in New York
– but we have a smoking ban.
- People are being killed in their thousands by
filthy Government run hospitals (Sicko?)
– real people with real autopsies, real tissue samples and real grieving
families, not imaginary people produced by fake statistics – but we have
a smoking ban.
- The entire population are seized with a new
fear, acairasthenephobia , the fear of being taken ill out of hours,
which has already resulted in death – but we have a smoking ban.
- Police in crime and drug infested Scotland spend their time looking out
for smoking van drivers – for 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
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 ---
"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
All Homeowners Should Take Note of This Likely Change in Their Homeowners'
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 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on consumer protection are at
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 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on how to avoid being taken on eBay are at
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
Michelle Singletary, "Watch Your Debit Card Balance," NPR, July 31, 2007
"Credit Card 101: Advice Before Shopping," AccountingWeb, November
22, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on "Dirty Secrets of Credit/Debit Card Companies" are
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
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 ---
Part I is at
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
Seriously, this most likely becomes both a sickening and very, very boring
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
How can you make your own video game, possibly an educational game that you put
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,
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
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
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
a graduate student in the sociology
department at the University of
Munich and the founder of the game
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
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 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on learning games and edutainment are at
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,
Bob Jensen's threads on the Ward Churchill saga are at
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 ---
Does faculty research improve student learning in the classrooms where
Put another way, is research more important than scholarship that does not
contribute to new knowledge?
If the answer leans toward scholarship over research, it could monumentally
change criteria for tenure in many colleges and universities.
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
Inside Higher Ed, August 6, 2007 ---
"Controversial Report on Business School Research Released
for Comments," AACSB News Release, August 3, 2007 ---
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.
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.
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
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 ForceChairs:
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
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
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 ---
It’s not always clear where the Zeitgeist ends and
synchronicity kicks in, but Intellectual Affairs just got hit going and
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ---
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.
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.
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….
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.
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
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
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
UNIVERSITY PUBLISHING IN A DIGITAL AGE
"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
-- Multimedia and multi-format delivery will become
-- New forms of content will enable new economic models
The complete report is available online at
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
"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
Bob Jensen's threads on the flawed peer review process are at
What are the supposed Top 10 and the Top 100 e-Learning
tools, at least in England?
Top 100 ---
Various experts list their Top 10 ---
I totally disagree with the rankings of the Top 100 and the
Where is Blackboard and
Where are the many important
tools for handicapped learners? ---
Where is Camtasia? ---
Where are the edutainment
and learning game alternatives? ---
Where is Matlab (used in
virtually every U.S. university) --- ---
Like it or not, Wikipedia is
one of the most sought out sights in the world by e-Learners
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?
Where are the many huge and
free online libraries? ---
Where are the important
blogs and listservs? ---
I could go on and on here!
Bob Jensen's threads on
the history of course authoring, management, and
presentation technologies are at
Bob Jensen's threads on
tools and tricks of the trade are at
August 3, 2007 reply from
I agree with you that the list is flawed - Toolbook
should be #1
Richard J. Campbell
August 3, 2007 reply from
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
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.
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
Jordan Robertson, "Researcher Finds Media Player Flaws,"
PhysOrg, August 3, 2007 ---
(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 ---
Serious Financial Nerd
He lays out some of the math of VIX
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
as quoted in the Financial Rounds Blog, August 1, 2007
Historic Films and
Videotapes from the National Archives and Records
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
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 ---
What background color signals low probability of trustworthiness in the
massive Wikipedia encyclopedia?
New program color-codes text in Wikipedia entries to indicate
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 ---
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
operated by the program's creator,
Luca de Alfaro, associate professor
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
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
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 ---
The demonstration site is at
Repeatedly Click the Random Page link (on the left column to see some warning
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
"Co-Founder of Wikipedia Starts Spinoff With Academic Editors," University of
Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communications blog, October 18, 2006 ---
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
Of course the Wikipedia link to an unbelievable (nearly 2 million articles to
date) database in information (and some misinformation) is at
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at
From the Scout Report on June 1, 2007
Pathway 1.0.3 ---
Sometimes wandering through the wilds of
Wikipedia can result in confusion. For Dennis Lorson, his wandering led him
to create this handy application. With Pathway 1.0.3 visitors can retrace
their own steps through Wikipedia by creating a graphical network
representation of article pages. It’s worth a try, and it will work with all
computers running Mac OS X 10.4.
Why grades are worse predictors of academic success than standardized
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 ---
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 ---
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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 ---
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 ---
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ---
Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at
August 2 message from Carolyn Kotlas
MASHUPS IN EDUCATION
"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
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
"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 email@example.com for possible inclusion
in this column.
WE THINK: WHY MASS CREATIVITY IS THE NEXT BIG THING (Draft
version) By Charles Leadbeater
"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
NPR, August 2, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on SOX/Sarbox are at
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
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 ---
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
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
"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 ---
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."
. . .
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
"Virtual World, Virtual Economies").
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
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
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
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
How do politicians affect the stock market?
According to this study by
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:
Financial Rounds Blog on July 27, 2007 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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
"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 ---
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
PhysOrg, July 31, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's links to mathematics tutorials are at
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 ---
More Product Reviews by Business Week ---
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
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
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 ---
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
David Koph, T.H.E. Journal, July 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's links to online training and education alternatives are at
"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 ---
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
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 ---
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.)
"Star Athlete, You’re Admitted. Er, Never Mind,"
Inside Higher Ed, August 8, 2007 ---
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
Doug Lederman, "Star
Athlete, You’re Admitted. Er, Never Mind," Inside Higher Ed,
August 8, 2007 ---
for major reforms of intercollegiate athletics
A coalition of faculty senates will today release a
report calling for
major reforms of intercollegiate athletics — with
many of the recommendations calling for an enhanced role for
professors in overseeing sports programs. The Coalition on
Intercollegiate Athletics is calling for the creation of a
Campus Athletic Board at each campus, a majority of whose
members would be tenured professors selected through faculty
governance structures. This board would have to be consulted on
all major athletics decisions, including the hiring of key
officials, changes in the number of sports offered, and adding
significant facilities. Other recommendations are designed to
assure the primacy of academic values. For example, one
recommendation is that admissions standards should be the same
for all students, regardless of whether they are athletes, and
that athletes “should be admitted based on their potential for
academic success and not primarily
on their athletic contribution.”
Inside Higher Ed, June 18, 2007
Bob Jensen's threads on
athletics controversies in higher education are at
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 ---
Progressive Colleges On the Far, Far Left Are Having a Difficult Time With Finances
"Turmoil at Another Progressive College," by Elizabeth Redden, Inside
Higher Ed, August 1, 2007 ---
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
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
include women’s spirituality, teacher education, activism
and social change, and experimental performance.
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
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
Bob Jensen's threads on accreditation are at
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 ---
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 ---
Advantages and disadvantages are concisely summarized at
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 ---
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 ---
Custodial Accounts ---
Coverdell Education Savings Account ---
Coverdell U.S. Code Collection from Cornell University ---
How 529 Plans Work ---
For more links about 529 plans, enter "529" into the search box at
Scroll over the links to brokerage firms to see a set of great free links.
Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at
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,
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 ---
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
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
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
Ann Zimmerman, "The Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2007, Page A2 ---
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
From The Washington Post on August 1, 2007
What model did a blogger use
recently to organize major sites on the Internet?
Map of Earth
From The Washington Post on July 31, 2007
Which social networking site recently charged Facebook with fraud and
From The Washington Post on August 2, 2007
When was the first Turing Award
given by the Association for Computing Machinery?
From The Washington Post, August 6, 2007
What is the meaning of the
Swahili word used for eBay's classifieds site Kijiji.com?
Updates from WebMD ---
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 ---
The New York Times account of this one ---
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 ---
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 ---
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
"NYC french fries fail trans fats testing," PhysOrg,
August 3, 2007 ---
The NYT account is at
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 ---
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 ---
Cognitive impairment link found in older adults taking popular stomach
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
PhysOrg, August 3, 2007 ---
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 ---
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
"Does this child have appendicitis? Watch out for key signs," PhysOrg,
August 2, 2007 ---
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 ---
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 ---
"They Gave Much: Top biographies of American philanthropists," by Vartan Gregorian, The Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2007 ---
"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
3. "Mellon" by David Cannadine (Knopf,
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
4. "Morgan" by Jean Strouse (Random
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
5. "Titan" by Ron Chernow (Random House,
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 , NPR, August 1, 2007 ---
Forwarded by a great neighbor
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."
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."
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
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
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.
George Carlin's New Rules for 2007
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
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
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
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
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 ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and
other universities is at
Three Finance Blogs
Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog ---
FinancialRounds Blog ---
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) ---
Some Accounting Blogs
Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International
International Association of Accountants News ---
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries ---
Gerald Trite's eBusiness and
XBRL Blogs ---
Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New
Current and past editions of my newsletter called
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud
Online Books, Poems, References,
and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Shared Open Courseware
(OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing
Free Textbooks and Cases ---
Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials ---
Free Science and Medicine Tutorials ---
Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials ---
Free Education Discipline Tutorials ---
Teaching Materials (especially
video) from PBS
Teacher Source: Arts and
Teacher Source: Health & Fitness
Teacher Source: Math ---
Teacher Source: Science ---
Teacher Source: PreK2 ---
Teacher Source: Library Media ---
Free Education and
Research Videos from Harvard University ---
VYOM eBooks Directory ---
From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department ---
Online Mathematics Textbooks ---
National Library of Virtual Manipulatives ---
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 is an email Listserv list which
provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software
which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the
college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and
peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets,
multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base
programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc
Roles of a ListServ ---
CPAS-L 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.
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA.
This can be anything from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ
initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as
accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed
assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586