Erika Telling Secrets at My Retirement Party on May 14, 2006 at in the Great Hall at Trinity University

Getting Old (Speakers Up) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/c004/oldpeople.html

It amazes me that I'm already into the second year of retirement. Where the heck did the first year go? Andy Rooney was right about life being like a roll of toilet paper. It spins ever so slow when you're a kid and ever so fast after you retire. Now September with its autumn colors is about to spin forth. The days are already much shorter, and I'm hauling up my sweat suits from the basement. I'm writing this on the morning of August 10. The temperature hovers shakily around 20 degrees above freezing. Our furnace kicked on. The truth of the matter is that I like a cool summer, the colder days of autumn, and even the frigid days of winter.

The days are growing shorter in this spin of things. I listened to a hoot owl for about a half hour this morning before I rolled out of bed. One of the joys of retirement is that I don't have to contend with commuting and traffic. Whenever we see more than one car on our Interstate 93 we call it the rush hour.

A close (also retired accounting professor) friend sent me the blue prints for his new house under construction on eight acres near Spokane. I’ve never built a new house before, but if I designed my own house the most important thing for me is an enormous amount of storage. Fortunately, my present cottage has a huge full basement with 12-foot ceilings. It has drywall walls, but it is not a finished basement. I also have a barn where, among other things, I keep my tractor and my second car. Up here we have a summer car and a winter car that we switch seasonally. Erika cannot drive this year.

I also have an outdoor “studio” where I can keep most of my books, desks, files, and computer paraphernalia. Erika likes keeping all that mess and me outside, although this particular year I've worked mostly inside the cottage so I can help her recover from her surgeries. Now an enormous groundhog lives with the chipmunk family under the studio. Can groundhogs do structural damage to buildings? I sort of like the menagerie under my feet! Wild animals are so much easier than pets. The feed and otherwise care for themselves.

I don't mind the groundhogs and chipmunks sharing my space. But I don't much care for bats in my chimneys. The furnace man cleaned out a bat's nest here early this morning. I'm putting up a bat house on a pole near my barn. I hope to attract those greatly misunderstood creatures into the joys of outdoor living.

I miss some things about my house in Bangor, Maine years ago (1968-1978). It was a large old two-story house with a basement and a wonderful attic. I hung an 80-foot pipe on the rafters where we could hang summer clothes in the winter and winter clothes in the summer. Since then I’ve never had a big attic with a wide stairway from the second floor.

The move from Texas to New Hampshire taught me one thing --- I never want to move again!!! That move turned into an enormous ordeal mostly because we mistakenly moved so much stuff. The things we wanted to keep would not all fit in one 54-foot North American van. In these mountains that enormous van could not make the turn onto our road. So I borrowed a pick up truck from my neighbor (Lon), and we "lightered" the big van one or two pieces at a time into the back of the pick up. It took over 34 hours nonstop with four strong North American men and Erika and me. Fortunately, the weather was clear and we could watch bears moving down the way in the light of a full moon. I think they were probably going to and from the Sunset Hill House Hotel dumpster. Bears sometimes can even pull away the logging chains hunkering down the lid of that dumpster.

It took about almost a year to get things sorted and tucked away. We moved from a large Texas house into a smaller cottage, and that made it tough to tuck away all our stuff. We still have many unpacked boxes and wardrobes in our basement and barn. I think we moved them up here just to eventually give them to charity now that they're more antique than before in Texas. I keep telling Erika we can't take a thing along on our next move, which will be from this world rather than in this world.

Today I feel September blowing in on the mountain winds.

The Autumn Leaves, The Days Grow Long (Speakers Up) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/c002/autumn_leaves.html

September Song --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_Song

       When I was a young man courting the girls
        I played me a waiting game
        If a maid refused me with tossing curls, oh
        I let the old earth, take a couple of whirls
        While I plied her with tears in place of pearls
        and as time came around she came my way
        As time came around she came

        For it's a long-long while
        from May to December
        And the days grow short
        when you reach September



       And I have lost my teeth (well not quite yet)
        and I'm walking in the little rain
        Hey honey, I haven't got the time
        for any waiting game

        And the days turn to gold
        as they grow few

        And these few golden days
        I'd like to spend them with you
        These golden days
        I'd like to spend them with you


      And the days dwindle down
        to a precious few

        And I'm not quite equipped
        for these waiting games
        I have a little money
        and I've had a little pain

        And these few golden days
        as the days grow so few
        These golden days
        I'd like to spend them with you
        These precious golden days
        I'd like to spend them with you

Frank Sinatra --- Click Here
Click the play button several times to finish the song.

More Tracks by Frank Sinatra
Fly Me To The Moon
I've Got You Under My Skin
Strangers in the Night

Sarah Vaughan --- Click Here
Click the play button several times to finish the song.

More tracks by Sarah Vaughan
Black Coffee
Are You Certain

Midi Version 1--- Click Here

Midi Version 2 --- Click Here

Lou Reed Youtube--- Click Here  
(Not my favorite rendition)



Tidbits on August 16, 2007
Bob Jensen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alan Russell: Why can't we grow new body parts? (18-minute video, not humor) --- http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/142

Dick Cheney's Quagmire --- https://pol.moveon.org/donate/cheneyvideo.html?r=2879&id=10983-3623233-YUJAF3

A New Tune for Iraq (video about press coverage) ---

Video on Personal Tech in the Workplace --- Click Here
There are many other video links at this same link.

Video News of the Future (Remembering Broadcast.com) --- http://www.blogmaverick.com/2007/07/15/remembering-broadcast-com/
From Blog Maverick Mark Cuban (Click the Play Button)

Ethan (Five Year Old Pianist) on the Jay Leno Show --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yzmtNWHHu0
NBC will no longer allow this to be shown on YouTube.
Try http://www.thedailyreel.com/spotlight/coffee-break/topics/jay%20leno
Also see http://www.accesshollywood.com/news/ah5478.shtml

Notable New Yorkers --- http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/digital/collections/nny/index.html

Remember the 1960s (society facts and music excerpts) --- http://moreoldfortyfives.com/TakeMeBackToTheSixties.htm

Online Dog (Type in  roll over, down, stand, sing, dance, shake, fetch, play dead etc. Afterwards type in "Kiss." --- http://www.idodogtricks.com/index_flash.html

Tale of the Pussy and the Printer --- http://youtube.com/watch?v=8QvofkIIlLk

What engineers do in spare time --- http://www.chilloutzone.de/files/player.swf?b=10&l=197&u=ILLUMllSOOAvIF//P_LxP92A42lCHCeeWCejXnHAS/c

Meeting Crashers --- http://youtube.com/watch?v=wJ_F-JLpCro

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

A Beethoven Extravaganza Recreated --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12424757

At the Concert Hall, a Symphony for Space Invaders --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12478692

Glimmerglass Opera presents the world premiere of Stephen Hartke's The Greater Good --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12633609

Stephen Hartke's 'The Greater Good' (Opera) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12633609

Chris and Thomas: Drenched in Harmony --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12549024
Click on the Listen Button

Elvis died 30 years ago. You can listen to many, many of his recordings here --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/elvisonstage.html
Janie has a bit better reproductions of Elvis recordings --- http://jbreck.com/myelviswebsite.html
A New Elvis page from Janie --- http://mjbreck.com/elvischarleeheavensdoor81607.html
America the Beautiful (Elvis) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/c002/america.html
I Did it My Way (Elvis) --- http://mjbreck.com/epthegracelandtreesbyjbw0307.html

One of Bob Jensen's Favorites
A Special Love Song (Charlie Rich) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/c004/lovesong_rich.html

Bring on the Rain (Jo Dee Messina with Tim McGraw) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/cw001/bringontherain.html

The Rose (Bette Midler) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/a001/likearose.html

All These Things (Juke Box Nostalgia) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/cw001/allthesethings.html

Are You Sure (Timi Yuro) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/c004/areyousure.html

At Last (Etta Jones) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/cw001/atlast.html
Also see http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/atlast.htm

Could I Have This Dance? (Anne Murray) ---http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/c001/thisdance.html 

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Gutsy Rock 'n' Roll --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12638880
Click on the Listen button

America the Beautiful (Elvis) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/c002/america.html

Photographs and Art

Top 15 Skylines of the World --- http://www.diserio.com/top15-skylines.html
Top 18 Skylines of the World --- http://necromanc.blogspot.com/2006/03/top-18-skylines-in-world.html

Ink Bottle --- http://www.jacquielawson.com/viewcard.asp?code=ZS43976949

"With Fixtures of War as Their Canvas, Muralists Add Beauty to Baghdad," by Stephen F. Farrell, The New York Times, August 11, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/11/world/middleeast/11murals.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Venice Exhibit Traces the Migration of Culture ---

Getty Museum Strikes Deal to Surrender Antiquities --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12428709

Targeta Aviation Photography --- http://www.targeta.co.uk/axalp_intro.htm

Inscribing Meaning: Writing + Graphic Systems in African Art --- http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/inscribing/index2.html

Human Rights --- http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/humanrights/


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

Open Library --- http://www.openlibrary.org/
For a good review, see http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/08/08/mclemee

The Pulitzer Prizes --- http://www.pulitzer.org/ 

Bruno's Revenge by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) --- Click Here

The Adventure Of The Abbey Grange by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)  --- Click Here

The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe --- Click Here

A Footnote To History by Robert Louis Stevenson --- Click Here

Tom Sawyer Abroad by Mark Twain --- Click Here


How do most professors spend their summers, holidays from teaching, and retirements?
You see, Michel, professors have three responsibilities: teaching, research, and service. Most of us at research universities teach anywhere from four to six courses per year; usually three classes in each of the fall and winter semesters but sometimes also during the summer semester. And of course many who teach at community colleges or institutions without a research emphasis teach many more courses. The ratio of preparation to class contact time is 2 or 3 to 1 on average, which means that for every hour we spend in the classroom, we spend two to three hours preparing beforehand. In addition, we have frequent communications with our students outside of class through after-lecture discussions, office appointments, or by phone and e-mail. As well, we spend many, many hours evaluating and judging the fine work of our students. Indeed, although most of us absolutely love teaching and the idea that we might make an impact on our students’ lives, the hours and hours on end of marking is demanding. So that means that, when we teach three three-hour classes in one semester, we are indeed in the classroom for nine hours per week, but we are also investing another 18 to 27 hours in preparation and additional hours interacting with students and grading course assignments.
Céleste Brotheridge and Raymond Lee, "4 Months of Holidays? Not Quite!" Inside Higher Ed, August 9, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/08/09/brotheridge 
Jensen Comment
I might add this is a lot like retired professors spend their time if they can't break old habits. I'm finding research to be an occupational hazard.

We ultimately get satisfaction from our relations with family and friends, the love we give or receive, the meaning we find in work, service, religion or hobbies.
Robert J. Samuelson, "The Bliss We Can't Buy For better or worse, there are limits to re-engineering the human spirit.," Newsweek, July 11, 2007 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19709408/site/newsweek/page/0/

Historian Professor Dyhouse shows that students have always gained different advantages from their degrees depending on their gender and background. Since they were first admitted to universities in the late 19th century, women have benefited less in straight economic terms from their degrees than men, but have still considered the experience "a gift beyond price". Professor Dyhouse's study, which is published on the History and Policy website, traces the history of university funding from grants to top-up fees. She shows how the university experience has changed over the past century; one hundred years ago the 'typical' student was a full-time male undergraduate, now female part-time students are more representative.
"History shows degrees are worth more than a bigger pay packet:  Ten years after the Dearing Report, which paved the way for tuition fees, a new University of Sussex study challenges the current 'market place' approach to higher education policy," PhysOrg, August 6, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105630476.html

Since its founding in 1969, the NAEP has become something of an annual exercise in American educational masochism. Last year, only 54% of students met NAEP's "basic" standard--the equivalent of a passing grade--on the science test. The previous year tested history; a mere 47% passed. But when knowledge of economics was tested this year, well, let's just say the supply curve shifted. NAEP reported this week that 79% of twelfth graders passed this first-ever national economics test. Holy Hayek. The exam, taken by a representative sample of twelfth graders at public and private high schools, tested students on micro- and macroeconomic principles and international trade. What, for example, is the effect of breaking down trade barriers between countries? A majority correctly said that goods would become less expensive. They chose this over "the quality of goods available would decrease." Maybe John Edwards should hire more teenagers for his Presidential campaign.
"The Kids Are All Right:  Economic literacy test: High school seniors beat Congress," The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010453 
"High School Students Find Economics Hard," NPR, August 9, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12623062

"They'll find their way back to the middle. And if they don't, they won't win." So says a blunt Harold Ford Jr., chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, of his party's current crop of presidential candidates. The question is just how many would-be Democratic presidents recognize the wisdom of his words.
Kimberly A. Strassel, "Democratic Dustup: The far left isn't the path to a governing majority.," The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/kstrasselpw/?id=110010454
Jensen Comment
In the primary, all Democratic candidates will stay closer to the far left progressives on wire taps, abortion, increased taxes for poverty elimination, health care, gay rights, immigration amnesty, and surrendering in Iraq. It's more likely that eventual winner of the primary will find her/his way "back to the middle" when running against the GOP candidate in November, 2008. Most all political candidates expound political promises that blow like feathers in the winds of change. The GOP winning candidate also moves more toward the middle before major election, especially on issues like abortion rights since a majority of voters favors abortion including voters that've not read Freakonomics. By November 2008 it will be pretty hard to distinguish between the two major contenders except on looks. The pack of losers along the way were probably too steadfast in their convictions or too obvious in their lack of convictions such as when attending church and teaching Sunday school only before elections.

Casey Sheehan's Gravesite --- http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/sheehangrave.asp

2006 Pork Buster Hall of Shame Award Winners --- http://porkbusters.org/hall_of_shame.php
And the top winner is a Byrd from West Virginia

The Slick Political Schip:  Keel Haul the Poor Old Folks
Health Care for "Children":  Transfer Payments from Very Poor Old People to Poor and Not-So-Poor Children Up to Age 25

Congress has left town for August, thank heavens, but not before passing bills that set up some important debates for the autumn. One of the biggest ought to be over the plans to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (Schip), which is a dress rehearsal for the health-care fight in 2008. Schip was supposed to help children from low-income families, but Democrats are now using the program to expand government control of health care and undermine private insurance. To see this plan in action, look no further than the 465-page Schip revelation that Democrats muscled through the House last week . . . The House bill will eliminate $50 billion in Medicare Advantage funding over the next five years and $157 billion through 2017. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the funding cutbacks will likely result in three million people losing their Advantage coverage, and the rest facing reduced benefits and higher out-of-pocket costs. Politically, it's ironic that Democrats are funding "free" health care for the middle class by dinging poor seniors, who will have no other options besides normal Medicare and all of its gaps. The seniors probably have another word for it.
"The Schip Revelation." The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2007; Page A12 ---

. . . terrorist actions are often embedded in extremist movements. It's not just monetary poverty. It's a loss of dignity, a sense of humiliation and alienation and a feeling you have no options . . . We need to create alternative pathways for them and a future so that people can see a way out.
Stuart Hart, "Cornell Professor Builds on His Base," Business Week, August 1, 2007 ---

Cambridge University Press Asks Book on Saudi Financing of Terror to Be Returned from Libraries
The Saudis' efforts to keep a veil of secrecy over their support for al Qaeda and Hamas got a shot in the arm last week, as a British publisher opted to suppress a controversial book on the financing of terror. Facing the mere threat of a lawsuit from Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz, Cambridge University Press agreed to pulp all the unsold copies of "Alms of Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World," issue a public apology to Mahfouz and pay his legal expenses and substantial undisclosed damages. The prestigious publisher - the world's oldest publishing house - had carefully vetted the book before publishing it last year. Yet now it has asked more than 200 libraries worldwide to pull the work off their shelves. Bin Mahfouz never sued the authors, J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins, both U.S. citizens, who had provided their publisher with all the sources to back their allegations that bin Mahfouz, his family and his former bank, the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia, funded Hamas and al Qaeda. Yet Cambridge University Press still caved - and even asked the authors to join its apology to bin Mahfouz. (They rightly refused.)
Rachel Ehrenfeld, "Saudis Sue for Secrecy," Email Message from Naomi Ragen [nragen@netvision.net.il] , August 8, 2007
Jensen Comment
If this was a Harry Potter book, it would be widely distributed on the Internet before the publisher could recall all the copies.

When Dying is a Gift
The late Rev. Jerry Falwell, who founded Liberty University, took out life insurance policies that left the university $29 million, a little more than the university’s debt, The Lynchburg News & Advance reported.
Inside Higher Ed, August 13, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/13/qt

In a recently released scientific survey of 1,269 faculty members across 712 different colleges and universities, 53 percent of respondents admitted to harboring unfavorable feelings toward evangelicals.
World Magazine, August 18, 2007 --- http://www.worldmag.com/articles/13235
Jensen Comment
I thought it would've been more like 99%. The article calls them bigots, but in academe the reasons are much more complicated than bigotry. Even faculty who are faithful Christians have unfavorable feelings toward many evangelicals in part because of the dogma about needing to be Christian to be saved in an afterlife.

The essence of mathematics resides in its freedom.
Georg Cantor --- Click Here

Increasingly, doctors are refusing to see new Medicare patients. A recent AMA survey found that 60% of responding doctors said they would stop accepting new Medicare patients if the 10% cut is imposed. Even if that figure is inflated by currently angry doctors, it could represent a significant decrease in seniors' access to care. The situation is worse under Medicaid. It reimburses even less than Medicare, which will lead to more and more access problems for the elderly and the poor. It can also lead to doctors trying to see ever more patients in a given time period in order to keep the income from falling. Less time for each patient reduces the quality of care. Because politicians want to keep health-care spending as low as possible, they have very little incentive to raise those reimbursement rates. Much easier to rail against "greedy physicians" or use them as pawns when they want to pass other pieces of legislation. You can expect even more political maneuvering if health-care "reform" gives the government increased control over prices and spending. Either the market will set prices based on supply and demand, or the government will set prices based on budget priorities and bureaucrats' best guess at what specific goods and services should cost. That process may undermine the access to and quality of care, but at least government-run health care advocates can claim it keeps costs down.
Merrill Matthews, "Cost Control for Dummies,"  The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2007; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118714325206398102.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

American women have gotten fatter as it has become more socially acceptable to carry a few extra pounds, according to a new study (by Professor Frank Heiland at Florida State University).
PhysOrg, August 6, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105624363.html

Social networks that influence eating and leisure activities has been recently suggested as a further factor in the spread of obesity. An article in the July 26 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine ("The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network Over 32 Years") analyzed the famous Framingham Heart Study for any evidence of social influences on obesity. This Study has followed about 5000 individuals and their children and grandchildren since 1948, with questionnaires on health, weight, friends, marital status, and many other variables. The recent exploration of these data between 1971-2003 for obesity social influences finds that a person becomes fatter when his or her friends, spouse, or siblings become fatter. The authors are aware that this does not necessarily mean causation from weight gain by friends and family to weight gain by this person. They probe further by adjusting for past weight, by looking at the timing of weight increases, by seeing if weight changes of neighbors are correlated (they are not), and develop a few other tests.
Gary Becker (Nobel Laureate), "Social Causes of the Obesity 'Epidemic'," The Becker-Posner Blog, August 5, 2007 ---

In a heterogeneous society, practice tends to be normative. That is why homosexual activists greatly exaggerate the prevalence of homosexuality--asserting, on the basis of a misreading of Kinsey's famous studies, that 10 percent of the population is homosexual, whereas the true figure is probably at most 2 percent. The more homosexuals there are, the stronger their claim to be normal, a claim that would fail in a society that had a strict moral code condemning homosexuality. Similarly, the more fat people there are, the more being fat is seen as normal. A half century ago, when obesity and overweight were relatively rare in this country, fat people were regularly ridiculed by entertainers, and this ridicule helped to keep people thin. As more and more people become fat, fatness becomes more normal-seeming, and the ridicule ceases (though another factor is the march of "political correctness," which discourages criticism of people's weaknesses).
Richard Posner (famous economist), "Social Causes of the Obesity 'Epidemic'," The Becker-Posner Blog, August 5, 2007 ---

In an unexpected development in the early 1990s, the absolute number of science and engineering (S&E) articles published by U.S.-based authors in the world's major peer-reviewed journals plateaued. This was a change from a rise in the number of publications over at least the two preceding decades. With some variation, this trend occurred across different categories of institutions, different institutional sectors, and different fields of research. It occurred despite continued increases in resource inputs, such as funds and personnel, that support research and development (R&D).
"Flattening of the U.S. Output of Scientific Articles: 1988–2003," The University of Illinois Blog Issues in Scholarly Communication, August 6, 2007 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/
As reported in the Aug. 3 Science, a recent NSF analysis of U.S. scientific publishing output during the time period 1988-2003 shows that the number of articles produced has remained fairly constant in all areas of science.
The cause of this flattening remains a mystery --- Several hypotheses from the Science article

It’s not every office name change that sets off a national debate, but the University of Michigan’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs has done just that with its recent announcement that it was starting a lengthy and multi-staged process of rethinking its name. Among those far from Ann Arbor who have weighed in: Dan Savage, the sex advice columnist, who fears that “process queens are running amuck;” Andrew Sullivan, the neocon columnist, who says he supports campus gay groups but “the p.c. (read that "politically correct) crapola gets you down;”
Inside Higher Ed, August 7, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/07/qt

Recent campus incidents have highlighted the importance of effective communication among administrators, faculty, and staff, as well as between campus representatives and students, families, and surrounding communities. Some commentators have argued that these incidents prove the need to amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the federal statute known as FERPA that protects student privacy, in order to permit greater disclosure of information about troubled students. Actually, the current law works well, but colleges and universities need to better understand what that law really provides — and each institution needs to develop an internal consensus on how to approach the policy choices FERPA allows it to make . . . In some circumstances, FERPA has been invoked as the reason not to share student information, when in reality the law would permit disclosure but the interests of student development and autonomy weigh against it. For example, FERPA permits but does not require colleges and universities to notify a student’s parents of certain drug and alcohol violations of the institution’s disciplinary code. Many institutions do not notify parents of every incident involving a minor illegally in possession of alcohol, choosing instead to begin with an educational intervention to assist the student in making better choices, and only notify parents in cases of repeated, serious, or dangerous violations.
Nancy E. Tribbensee and Steven J. McDonald, "FERPA Allows More Than You May Realize," Inside Higher Ed, August 7, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/08/07/ferpa

The ruble got no respect. During the cold war, it symbolized the backward Soviet economy. After the U.S.S.R. collapsed, it was an avatar of instability. Even plumbers in Moscow often preferred to be paid in bottles of vodka rather than rubles — the bottles did not lose their value. No more. Lifted by high oil prices and a wave of foreign investment, the once humble ruble is showing its muscle, and fueling a consumer boom. After gaining 20 percent in value against the dollar in the last few years, the ruble is even starting to displace the greenback as Russians’ currency of choice for both saving and spending.
Andrew E. Kramer, "The Almighty Ruble," The New York Times, August 6, 2007 --- Click Here

Police identified a man as a suspect in a rape after he used the cell phone he stole from the victim to send a photo of himself to her friend, authorities said. The armed man raped the 23-year-old woman in a park (in California) on May 20 and stole cell phones from her and two of her friends, sheriff's Detective Bob Thacker said Tuesday. Weeks later, the woman received an e-mail from a friend asking why she had sent a photograph of an unknown man from her cell phone, officials said. The photo showed a man in a white T-shirt standing in front of a house. "We couldn't believe that he sent a picture of himself to one of her contacts. I don't know if he knew he did it, but we can only assume it was an accident," Thacker said. "That was kind of a big break in the case for us."
"Rape suspect nabbed after he sends his photo from victim's cell," Houston Chronicle, August 8, 2007 --- http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/bizarre/5038907.html

YouTube Video Helps Catch Thief --- http://physorg.com/news105945032.html

We have now developed an urban badlands which is national and troubling because of the incredible numbers of people who are murdered or suffer the physical and psychological effects of violent crime. Our presidential candidates are quick on the draw when asked about the war on terror or homeland security, but the American people have not heard a peep from them about the concrete killing fields of our cities.
Stanley Crouch, "Pols are tiptoeing around killing fields," New York Daily News, August 13, 2007 --- Click Here

It's very promising technology," says Davitt McAteer, a former official with the Mine Safety and Health Administration
"Could Robots Replace Humans in Mines?" by Eric Weiner, NPR, August 9, 2007 ---

If you were a terrorist, how would you attack? That's the question posed by a blogger from the New York Times on Wednesday. Steven D. Levitt is soliciting terrorism worst-case scenarios in a posting on the paper's Freakonomics blog.
"New York Times Blogger Solicits Terrorism-Attack Ideas," Fox News, August 9, 2007 --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,292689,00.html
Jensen Comment
I can't believe the NYT would publish answers to this stupid query.
You can read the blog at http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/08/if-you-were-a-terrorist-how-would-you-attack/

A concert to save the planet... reminds me of a band concert after dinner on the Titanic.
Author Unknown

"This is one of the strongest of scientific consensus views in the history of science," Gore said. "We live in a world where what used to be called propaganda now has a major role to play in shaping public opinion." After the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of the world's top climate scientists, released a report in February that warned that the cause of global warming is "very likely" man-made, "the deniers offered a bounty of $10,000 for each article disputing the consensus that people could crank out and get published somewhere," Gore said. "They're trying to manipulate opinion and they are taking us for fools," he said. He said Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, is one of the major fuel companies involved in attempting to mislead the public about global warming.
Gillian Wong, "Gore: Polluters Manipulate Climate Info," PhysOrg, August 7, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105695111.html
Jensen Comment
In the public dispute of Al Gore versus Industry and Cows (that emit more carbon into the atmosphere than anything else), it's a shame that this has become a blame game dispute. The question should be what can be done now without starving half the people of the world in the process? Both sides seem to agree that short term curtailment of man-made air pollution will have negligible impact on reversing global warming. Drastic and costly measures are indeed controversial and probably will not have a huge reversal effect. However, small steps such as trying less polluting forms of energy and less polluting vehicles should be seen as reasonable and hopeful for harming the planet less and less. Any sudden reversal of global warming, however, will probably only happen if caused by natural events such as sun-blocking volcanic eruptions or huge asteroid collision debris.

UAW (U.S automobile) workers get a better deal not only than Japanese workers, but other American workers as well.
Shikha Dalmia, "The UAW's Health-Care Dreams Union has best health care in the world, wants better," Reason Magazine, August 3, 2007 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/121746.html
Jensen Comment
I was not aware of such surprising details about the health insurance program in Japan. It's no wonder Japanese industries compete so well in U.S. markets until U.S. companies like GM, Ford, and Chrysler manage to pawn off health care costs to taxpayers.

The lawsuit (filed by the Southern Poverty Law Firm) contends that the plaintiffs were hired out of Mexico on an H-2A visa to work in the tomato fields. The plaintiffs allege the defendants did not pay them the prevailing wage for migrant workers – $8.01 in 2007 and $7.58 in 2006. Their suit covers a time period of 2002 – 2007. They further allege their employers did not reimburse them for travel, visa and other hiring fees. The local (Monticello, Arkansas) health department provides "free" (free to the non-citizens but not to the American migrants) medical care to the families of the migrant workers, who pick up the voter registration cards on the waiting room tables as they leave. It’s important to note here that it is against the law to vote if one is not a citizen. At the local revenue office, the workers bring interpreters and their recent electric bills to obtain a driver’s license or other identification. Even though it is well known that many crimes and worrisome events, including the purchase of handguns, can be completed by illegals who obtain such licenses – the 9/11 terrorists had tens of driver’s licenses among them – this practice continues unabated. The weekly county newspaper's "Arrest Report" is filled with migrant workers arrested for drunk driving, driving without a license or insurance, disorderly conduct and other crimes. This is not a surprise, as violent crime and drug distribution and possession is prevalent among illegal aliens, so over 25% of today's federal prison population is comprised of illegals.
Renee Taylor , "Watching America Slip Away," Family Security Matters, August 10, 2007 --- http://familysecuritymatters.org/homeland.php?id=1233021

Last September, not long after the Israeli-Hezbollah war, South Africa's minister of intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils, praised the Islamist group committed to Israel's destruction. The Iran News Agency, albeit prone to exaggeration, reported that Mr. Kasrils "lauded [the] great victories of the Lebanese Hezbollah against the Zionist forces" and "stressed that the successful Lebanese resistance proved the vulnerability of the Israeli army." . . . Postapartheid South Africa's easy relationship with dictatorships, it should be noted, is not a new development. Until very recently, however, it has largely been overlooked by the media. This oversight is likely due to the fact that, much like its out-of-control crime rate, any bad news about South Africa is viewed as a blemish on the popular and self-comforting narrative surrounding the country's emergence from apartheid. Indeed, that a country scarred by so many years of violent racial segregation could transform itself into a fully functioning democracy with a robust economy while simultaneously avoiding the wide-scale racial bloodbath feared by many is nothing short of miraculous. But judging by its international relations, South Africa--by far the most politically stable, economically productive and militarily powerful country in sub-Saharan Africa--appears to be moving into the camp of the anti-Western powers, a loose but increasingly worrisome consortium not unlike the Cold War-era Non-Aligned Movement. Drawing heavily upon its history as a liberation movement, the African National Congress cloaks itself in a shroud of moral absolutism that not so subtly implicates its critics as racists, Western stooges, or apologists for apartheid.
James Kirchick, "South Africa's Betrayal Postapartheid Pretoria has become the free world's leading coddler of dictators," The Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/federation/feature/?id=110010440

"If I could live my life all over again, I would do something completely different," she says half seriously, relaxing on a black leather divan in a living space sprinkled with rugs and contemporary art. "I would focus so immediately on what interests me that I think I wouldn't have room for children. When you have a fascinating life, you don't need children," says Corinne Maier, author of the French best seller Hello Laziness.Come to think of it, if her parents hadn't had children, she wouldn't have this problem either.
Carol Muller, Editor "Best on the Web Today," Opinion Journal Newsletter, August 9, 2007

Lieutenant Eli Kahn, 23, led a unit of elite paratrooper commandos advancing against heavily defended Hizbullah positions in the Lebanese town of Maroun al-Ras in the early days of the fighting. The Israelis, hoping to knock out Katyusha rockets that had already taken a bloody toll on civilian targets, drew unexpectedly intense fire from the enemy and sustained heavy casualties. While tending to one of his wounded paratroopers, Lt. Kahn saw a terrorist run toward them and throw a grenade that landed at their feet. Rather than jumping out of the way and abandoning his comrade to certain death, Lt. Kahn immediately picked up the grenade and threw it directly back at the Hizbullah fighter, killing the terrorist and turning the tide of battle. For his leadership and quick thinking, he received the Medal of Valor – Israel’s equivalent of America’s Medal of Honor.
Michael Medved , "The Hidden Basis For Hostility To Israel And America," Jewish Press, August 8, 2007 --- http://www.jewishpress.com/page.do/22955/The_Hidden_Basis_For_Hostility_To_Israel_And_America.html 

The historical record makes clear that Arab fury against Jews in the Middle East bears no connection to any occupation policy or to the plight of refugees, since this murderous rage claimed countless victims long before Israel occupied a single square inch or territory and before a single Palestinian had fled his home. A brief history of the early conflict (published by the indispensable Israel Pocket Library) offers a necessary reminder of Palestinian terrorism as long ago as 1929. In that year, the bitterly anti-Semitic Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (who later traveled to Berlin and spent most of the war years at Hitler’s side) claimed that the largely unarmed and loosely organized Jewish community harbored secret “designs” on Muslim holy places, and launched bloody attacks on the Jews of Jerusalem.
Michael Medved , "The Hidden Basis For Hostility To Israel And America," Jewish Press, August 8, 2007 --- http://www.jewishpress.com/page.do/22955/The_Hidden_Basis_For_Hostility_To_Israel_And_America.html 

Kidnappers attempting to evade capture in Iraq have hit on a new, risk-free method of collecting ransom payments: the homing pigeon. Iraqi police say they have recorded repeated instances of kidnappers leaving homing pigeons on the doorsteps of their victim's homes, with instructions for the families to attach cash to the birds' legs. The pigeons then deliver the ransom to the gangs' hideouts. Pigeon-keeping is a popular hobby in Iraq, and enthusiasts there say that some of the stronger birds can carry weights of up to 2½ ounces on each leg. One family attached $10,000 in $100 notes to the legs of five homing pigeons, which they found in a cage left on their doorstep.
Aqeel Hussein, "Kidnappers use pigeons to collect ransoms," London Telegraph, August 8, 2007 ---

The no. 2 Democrat in the Senate — the assistant majority leader, Richard Durbin of Illinois — is conceding that the surge of American troops has led to military progress in Iraq. His comments make him the second Democratic leader in 10 days to make comments that could open the door for the majority party in Congress to pivot away from its insistence on a deadline for an American retreat. Speaking to CNN yesterday while visiting Baghdad, Mr. Durbin said, "We found that today as we went to a forward base in an area that, in the fifth year of...
Eli Lake, "A Ranking Senate Democrat Concedes Surge Is Working," The New York Sun, August 9, 2007 --- http://www.nysun.com/article/60135

Jensen Comment
Hell will freeze over before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the embittered John Murtha would utter such blasphemy.

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, responded to a question by CNN's congressional correspondent Dana Bash of whether he would believe General David Petraeus if he reported that the "so-called surge" is working: REID: No, I don't believe him . . .
P.J. Gladnick, "Surge Derangement Syndrome Grips MSM and Liberals," Newsbusters, August 10, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Senator Reid is in denial and feels that any successes in Iraq are bad timing for politics and his surrender plan.

The L.A. Times has morphed Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama's over-the-top campaign rhetoric that he would attack Pakistan into "suggestions by U.S. politicians that American forces unilaterally strike" that country. But, no where did the story mention Obama, nor that no Administration officials are advocating such a move. How is it that Obama's absurd gaffe has suddenly become a U.S. political policy that the Pakistanis fear is impossible to know, but the way the L.A.Times wrote the story, one would cast blame on the Bush Administration instead of Obama for this slight to Musharraf and the Pakistani government.
Warner Todd Huston, "LAT: 'Suggestions by U.S. Politicians' That Pakistan Be Attacked Has No Mention of Obama," Newsbusters, August 10, 2007 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
I watched Secretary of State Rice last Sunday on television emphatically stress that since 9/11 Pakistan has been our ally in the fight against terror and that President Bush has never considered military strikes against this nation controlling nuclear bombs and missiles. The highly biased Los Angeles Times made an outright lie to discredit the Bush Administration and to take the heat off presidential hopeful Barach Obama's foreign policy gaffe  --- http://www.latimes.com/services/site/premium/access-registered.intercept

A year later after six weeks of bloody battle, Hezbollah is celebrating the anniversary of what it calls, "the Divine Victory (over Israel)." A new Hezbollah exhibit commemorating the conflict has been erected near the Shia movement's headquarters in the southern suburbs of Beirut.
Ivan Watson, "Hezbollah Commemorates Costly 'Divine Victory'," NPR, August 14, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Hezbollah fighters minimized their own losses by hiding behind civilian shields and firing rockets from civilian apartment complexes. If there was any "divine victory" it was a cowardly victory. But then it's never clear what makes it a Hezbollah victory? Perhaps it was a victory to keep the bloodshed going for six weeks against an Israeli army accustomed to winning wars in a matter of days. I keep thinking of the Black Knight in Monty Python's Holy Grail --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Knight_(Monty_Python).

Iraq's most senior Sunni politician issued a desperate appeal Sunday for Arab nations to help stop what he called an "unprecedented genocide campaign" by Shiite militias armed, trained and controlled by Iran. The U.S. military reported five American soldiers were killed, apparently lured into an al-Qaida trap. Adnan al-Dulaimi said "Persians" and "Safawis," Sunni terms for Iranian Shiites, were on the brink of total control in Baghdad and soon would threaten Sunni Arab regimes which predominate in the Mideast. "It is a war that has started in Baghdad and they will not stop there but will expand it to all...
Steven R. Hurst, "Iraqi Sunni Claims 'Genocide Campaign'," Las Vegas Sun, August 12, 2007 ---

Sunni politicians have left the Iraqi government, calling it too sectarian. Many Shiites are gone, too. This week, the Iraqi government called a meeting to bring together various factions — with mixed success at best.
"Iraqi Politics in Tatters, One Month Before Report," NPR, August 15, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12800966

A New Tune for Iraq (video about press coverage) ---

Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to build pipelines for the transfer of Iraqi crude oil and oil products, the state-run Iran news network Saturday quoted the oil ministry as announcing. The 32-inch (81-centimetre) pipeline will bring crude from the southern Iraqi port of Basra to the southwestern Iranian port of Abadan. There will be a separately 16-inch one for oil products. Under the deal, Iran would buy 100,000 barrels of Iraqi crude to be refined in the southern port of Bandar Abbas, then sell the product back to Iraq. The accord would have no upper limit...
"Iran, Iraq sign oil pipeline deal," Yahoo News, August 11, 2007 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070811/wl_mideast_afp/iraniraqeconomyoil_070811095132

"You Worry Me," An Undetermined Urban Legend --- http://www.snopes.com/rumors/soapbox/worryme.asp


College professors can probably get students to pay more attention to classroom PowerPoint slides if they insert some of these!

"Greatest 1-liners in tough-guy movie history," by Chuck Norris (Texas Ranger Role Model), WorldNetDaily, August 6, 2007 ---

My favorite one-liners in others' movies

"Here's looking at you kid." (Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca" – 1942)

"How does a girl like you get to be a girl like you?" (Cary Grant in "North by Northwest" – 1959)

"Out here, due process is a bullet." (John Wayne in "The Green Berets" – 1968)

"You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?" (Clint Eastwood in "Dirty Harry" – 1971)

"I spent my whole life trying not to be careless. Women and children can be careless. But not men." (Marlon Brando in "The God Father" – 1972)

"I don't want to kill everyone." (Al Pacino in "The God Father 2" – 1974)

"You talkin' to me?" (Robert De Niro in "Taxi Driver" – 1976)

"Dyin' ain't much of a living, boy." (Clint Eastwood in "The Outlaw Josey Wales" – 1976)

"With a little luck, the network will pick me up." (Sigourney Weaver in "Alien" – 1979 – after ridding the spacecraft of aliens)

"Why, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder!" (Carrie Fisher in "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" – 1980)

"Go ahead, make my day." (Clint Eastwood in "Sudden Impact" – 1983)

"I'll be back" (Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator" – 1984) (This line would be repeated in some reminiscent way in nine of his following movies).

"He's dead tired." (Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Commando" – 1985 – after killing a man)

"You're the disease. I'm the cure." (Sylvester Stallone in "Cobra" – 1986)

"A hundred million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister." (Bruce Willis in "Die Hard" – 1988 – after killing and stealing the shoes of a terrorist)

"I'm like a bad penny, I always turn up." (Harrison Ford in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" – 1989)

"After I shoot you through the door, you can examine the bullet. Open up!" (Mel Gibson in "Lethal Weapon 2" – 1989).

"I crap bigger than you." (Jack Palance in "City Slickers" –1991)

"Hasta la vista, baby!" (Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" – 1991)

"Why Johnny Ringo, you look like somebody just walked over your grave." (Val Kilmer in "Tombstone" – 1993)

"Before we let you leave, your commander must cross that field, present himself before this army, put his head between his legs, and kiss his own arse." (Mel Gibson in "Braveheart" – 1995)

"Before this war is over, I'm going to kill you." (Mel Gibson in "The Patriot" – 2000)

"We just rolled up a snowball and threw it into Hell. Now we'll see if it has a chance." (Tom Cruise in "Mission Impossible 2" – 2000)

"Who's your Daddy now?" (Angelina Jolie in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" – 2005 – After she hits Brad Pitt's character with a teapot and headbutts him)

A few favorite lines from my own movies

I'm often asked about my favorite one-liners from my own movies. Here are a few that stand out and still cause me to chuckle.

"My kind of trouble doesn't take vacations" ("Lone Wolf McQuade" – 1983)

"If I want your opinion, I'll beat it out of you" ("Code of Silence" – 1985)

"If you come back in here, I'm going to hit you with so many rights, you're going to beg for a left." ("Invasion USA" – 1985)

"Sleep tight, sucker." ("The Delta Force" – 1986 – after taking out a terrorist)

PowerPoint Slide One-Liner Rephrasing by Bob Jensen

"Here's looking at this confusing slide." (Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca" – 1942)

"How does a girl like you pass this course?" (Cary Grant in "North by Northwest" – 1959)

"Up here on PowerPoint Mountain, due process is a bullet point." (John Wayne in "The Green Berets" – 1968)

"You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I know the answer? Well, do ya punk?" (Clint Eastwood in "Dirty Harry lecturing in the Accounting Systems Course Scene" – 1971)

"I spent my whole life trying not to pee on my shoelaces. Students in class can dribble that way. But not instructors up front." (Marlon Brando in "The Yellowed Laces" – 1972)

"I don't want to flunk everyone." (Al Pacino in "The God Father 2 Managerial Accounting Course Scene" – 1974)

"You talkin' instead of listenin' to me?" (Robert De Niro in "Taxi Driver's Accounting Theory Course Scene" – 1976)

"Flunkin'' ain't much of a future, boy." (Clint Eastwood in "The Outlaw Josey Wales" – 1976)

"With a little luck, the network will sneak me the answer." (Sigourney Weaver in "Alien" – 1979 – after drawing a blank on her take home test)

"Why, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerd-accountant!" (Carrie Fisher in "Star Wars: The Sarbanes-Oxley Law Strikes Back" – 1980)

"Go ahead, make my day." (Clint Eastwood in "Sudden Impact" – 1983) (This line could be given just after calling on a student to answer a question posed on a PowerPoint slide.)

"I'll be back" (Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator" – 1984) (This line would be written on the back of report cards for students having to repeat a course the following semester).

"He's dead tired." (Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Commando" – 1985 – while looking at a hung over student passed out in class)

"You're the ignoramus. I'm the cure." (Sylvester Stallone in "Cobra" – 1986)

"A hundred million students in the world and I gotta teach one with a brain smaller than my pinkie." (Bruce Willis in "Die Hard" – 1988 – after killing and stealing the shoes of a terrorist)

"This test question is like a like a bad penny, It'll always turn up." (Harrison Ford in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" – 1989)

"After I walk out the door, you can examine the last bullet point. Take at least an hour." (Mel Gibson in "Lethal Weapon 2" – 1989).

"I crap bigger than you. My PowerPoint slides for this course prove it!" (Jack Palance in "City Slickers" –1991)

"Hasta la answer, baby!" (Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" – 1991)

"Why Johnny Ringo, you look like somebody just posted the course grades over your grave." (Val Kilmer in "Tombstone" – 1993)

"Before class begins, your instructor must stand at the podium, bring forth his first PowerPoint slide, put his head between his legs, and kiss his own arse." (Mel Gibson in "Braveheart" – 1995)

"Before this course is over, I'm going to kill you with my bad jokes." (Mel Gibson in "The Patriot" – 2000)

"I just put a stamp on your blue book and sent it off to Hell. Now we'll see if it has a chance." (Tom Cruise in "Mission Impossible 2" – 2000)

"Who's your flunk out now?" (Angelina Jolie in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" – 2005 – After she hits Brad Pitt's character with her A-grade term paper and moons him)

A few favorite lines from Chuck Norris movies:

"My kind of trouble doesn't take vacations. I'm still trying to get tenure." ("Lone Wolf McQuade" – 1983)

"If I want your opinion, I'll send you an email." ("Code of Silence" – 1985)

"If you don't pay attention, I'm going to hit you with so much homework, you're going to beg on your knees to pass." ("Invasion USA" – 1985)

"Sleep tight, sucker." ("The Delta Force" – 1986 – after walking over to a dozing student)


Many (movie) one-liners are bad, if treasured, puns (Arnold put his stamp on "You're fired" long before Donald did). Others display a wit that we might grudgingly concede ("Barbeque, huh? How do you like your ribs?"). The one-liner is also remarkably versatile. It spans the grandiose ("I'm going to show you God does exist"; "I'm your worst nightmare") to the minimalist ("Get off my plane"; "Whoah"). It ranges from the functional ("Dead or alive, you're coming with me") to the iconic ("Go ahead … make my day"). And while some are uninspired ("It's time to die"), others are absurd ("I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass—and I'm all out of bubble gum"), self-referential ("No sequel for you"), and sardonic ("Go ahead … I don't shop here").
Eric Lichtenfeld, "Yippee-Ki-Yay ... The greatest one-liner in movie history," Slate, June 28, 2007 --- http://slate.com/id/2168927/

George Wright later reminded me about the following one-liner:

The list of one-liners in your recent tidbits reminded me of one delivered by the late John Vernon, as Dean Wormer, in Animal House: "Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son."


People who visit www.intelius.com  can enter a person's name to get a cell phone number, or do the reverse by entering a number to get the subscriber's name. Each search costs $15. They can also download a raft of personal information about the subscriber. This was a feature on ABC evening news, August 14, 2007.

"Free Cell Phone Number Search - How To Find Free Cell Phone Numbers," --- Click Here
The freebies are not really very worthwhile relative to the fee-based services.

Jensen Comment
This will be terribly frustrating if telemarketers and crank callers begin to use up your allotted free minutes of cell phone time each month.

You may enter your cell phone numbers into the "Do Not Call" registry the same as you probably did for your landline phone --- https://www.donotcall.gov/default.aspx
However, telemarketers are not supposed to call cell phones with automatic dialers --- https://www.donotcall.gov/default.aspx
This is no protection, however, from crank callers or telemarketers who take the trouble to dial in your cell phone number. Of course, being in the "Do Not Call" registry does not protect you from telemarketing charitable organizations that are typically the biggest nuisance these days. Also the "Do Not Call Register" provides no guarantee that you will not get calls from commercial telemarketers, especially those who fly by night.

It might just pay to get the cell phone numbers of your state Senators and local Congressional representative and call them late at night at home on their supposedly "personal" cell phones. Better yet, call their children and ask them to tell their parents how you got their phone numbers.

Note that if you've never given a cell phone number out to any organization other than your phone company, Intelius may not have your cell phone number in its dastardly database. You should make your children aware of this.

To my knowledge there's no unlisted phone service for cell phones like the one that you can pay for monthly on your landline number.

Compressed Versus Uncompressed AVI Camtasia Video Files
How to make and broadcast Podcasting and Vodcasting Lessons Using Camtasia and Screencast

Below I added a discussion about how to improve run times with smaller video file sizes. Video file size is the biggest barrier to having more learning video files on Web servers, Blackboard servers, and WebCT servers. Most universities simply do not provide each faculty member with sufficient server space to serve up a lot of video. Below I discuss some options (floating capture regions and frame rate adjustments) that provide more run time for each KB of space taken on a server or CD/DVD disk

Although I've been using Camtasia for years, I've recently been preparing some Camtasia video for a road show that I will do on education technology. Camtasia is wonderful for making educational videos, especially narrated videos of lessons and tutorials on computer screens, videos of narrated PowerPoint files, interactive videos, podcasts (audio), Vodcasts (video), and narrated sequences of pictures turned into video files.

One really nice thing about Camtasia is that you do not have to record an entire video clip continuously, It's easy to record a segment and then hit the pause button (or F9 that's used both to start a recording session and pause a recording session). That way you have time for each segment to think about what you're going to say and to bring up software, video files, audio files, and/or Websites appropriate for that segment of the clip. When you've finished the entire clip you can hit the stop button (or F10) to generate a avi file. Later on you can "produce" a compressed version of the clip.

Camtasia generally captures video as uncompressed avi files. These uncompressed files are enormous and are not efficient for storing on CDs, DVDs, Web servers, Blackboard servers, WebCT servers, etc. Fortunately Camtasia has software called "Producer" in Camtasia Suite that compresses videos into much smaller files that can be played in common software such as wmv files for Windows Media Player, rm files for RealMedia, mov files for Quicktime, scf files for Adobe flash, mp3 files, and other "production" files.

I thought you might be interested in how much disk space is saved in the compression process. Last weekend I made a number of Camtasia avi videos and then compressed them into wmv video for Windows Media Player. I have both an old Camtasia 2 and a current Camtasia 4 (with updates). I captured the avi files using Camtasia 4, because this will also capture video playing on the screen. However, I found that the Producer software in Camtasia 2 gave me smaller compressed video files for some reason. The savings are shown below comparing the avi files and my compressed files:

Video Uncompressed AVI File Size Compressed Video File Size Video Run Time
Video 1 106,095 KB avi 5,928 KB wmv 02.57minutes
Video 2 319,904 KB avi 29,586 KB wmv 22.28 minutes
Video 3 162,745 KB avi 22,228 KB swf 05.47 minutes
Video 4 25,315 KB avi 4,766 KB wmv 04.49 minutes

Warning:  You can only edit the video (e.g., add fades, delete portions of clips, combine clips, split clits, change volume, etc) in the uncompressed avi video using Producer software. You lose quality in video and audio if you have to re-capture a compressed video as a avi file using Camtasia. Hence, it is best to store the initial avi files somewhere if you think you might want to edit later on.

The video size to runtime ratio varies greatly with both the capture rate and the size of the region on a computer screen that you are capturing. Since all the above videos were captured at the same (default) capture rate, the ratio of file size to run time varies greatly because the capture region varies in size in each of the above videos.  Capturing only a region greatly saves on the size of the captured video file. Capturing full or nearly-full screen sizes greatly adds to the video file size.

I prepared a video called GoalSeek01.wmv to illustrate the use of a “floating (panning) capture region” to greatly save on both the AVI and the WMV file sizes. In this illustration the outcomes were 56,596 KB for the uncompressed AVI file and 7,932 KB for the compressed WMV version. The runtime is 12.07 minutes. File sizes are more than triple if I capture the same video full screen.

To download this video tutorial, go to  http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/EdTech/Video/GoalSeek01Wmv/
I captured this video using only the built-in microphone on my laptop. It is possible to greatly improve the video with a better microphone and more quiet ambient noise surroundings.

Note in particular that the dimensions of the “floating capture region” can be varied for any video you capture. Just before starting to record the video you trace out a rectangle to the desired size of the region. Make sure the panning option is turned on so that you can float that region to any part of the computer screen. In the video I explain how to turn the panning option on or off in Camtasia recorder.

Remember that if you want to cut down greatly on the size of your video file, keep the “floating capture region” quite small. You can move that floating region to wherever you point your mouse on the full screen during the video recording.

Note that Camtasia also allows for fixed region or reduced-frame capturing rather than floating region capturing. For example, it possible to set an XLS file, a DOC file, or a JPG slide show of pictures to a given frame size and then ask Camtasia to capture whatever appears in that frame. This is great when you want to narrate or add music to a video presentation of a sequence of pictures that you’ve taken on your camera and stored in your computer.

Video size relative to video run time also depends heavily on the frame rate at which the video is captured. Camtasia allows you to use a default setting for both the capture rate and audio interleaving. The default rate is fast enough to capture video with audio playing on the screen with reasonable lip synching if the audio shows the face of a speaker. If you were making a video of a PowerPoint file without adding audio narration you could save disk space by greatly slowing down the video capture rate. However, I generally do not mess with the default settings. If you want to change the frame rates, you can read more about it --- Click Here
You can also change playback rates --- Click Here

Camtasia allows you to do some things like highlighting where your cursor is pointing. I generally use a big yellowish translucent circle around my mouse pointer. You can also have audio sounds whenever you click on your mouse and/or keyboard. This may alert student attention. You can also bring up a pen that allows you to write on video screens without writing on the computer program, like Excel, that you are running in the video.

You can also pan and zoom. Zoom lets you point to something like a cell formula in Excel and then make that formula larger and larger and larger. You can subsequently return to normal size. I use the panning feature when I am only recording a region of a screen such as a rectangle about a third of the size of the full computer screen. Capturing only a region greatly saves on the size of the captured video file. I use the panning feature to allow me to float the capture region to wherever I move my mouse. This allows me to capture anything appearing on a computer screen without having to capture a full screen in every video frame.

Years ago I started using Camtasia to field questions posed by students. For example, after technical lessons in my Accounting Information Systems course, I almost always received email messages from students who could not get something to work, especially in Excel and MS Access. I would then record a video tutorial and shared my answers with the entire current class and my future classes. You can download some of my sample wmv tutorials in this regard from http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/acct5342/
The acronym PQQ stands for Possible Quiz Question source.

I also prepared longer tutorials on more complicated technical lectures in my Accounting Theory course. Most all of my students were confused after my lectures in this course until they viewed my video tutorials over and over and over. Some of my tutorials for the theory course are at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/acct5341/

I think video capturing is the way to go for technical tutorials that students can play over and over. You can also play them when a student comes to your office for help and you can’t remember how to do something technical that you once mastered but flub up easily after time passes --- for example something technical you did in MS Access a year ago but cannot recall how to make it work just before going to class in ten minutes. Some Excel and MS Access illustrations are listed as wmv files at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/acct5342/

Another illustration is the Korean stock exchange illustration of XBRL that I sometimes flub up when trying to teach it live in front of a class. It is great to have my video tutorial (that won’t flub up). See the XBRLdemos2005.wmv file at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/Tutorials/

The more forgetful I get the more I need my Camtasia crutch. I’ve recorded video on technical things that I never again want to have to learn all over again from scratch. It’s a great way to appear brilliant for your audiences over the years even though you’re no longer as clever as in your youth. I thought about transferring some of my most technical videos to the server under a folder called “Viagra Video.” But I doubt Trinity University that hosts my two servers would appreciate my humor. One of the files I would’ve placed in this folder is my tutorial on the Feng Gu and Baruch Lev controversial approach to measuring the value of intangibles. To see the illustration go to the LevIntangiblesMetrics.wmv file at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/acct5341/

I also recorded some general tutorials that you can download from http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/Tutorials/

I have other tutorials that are filed away somewhere on CDs. It would take some effort to dig them out now.

The nice thing about Camtasia is that it's is so simple to use when creating and compressing video. Editing video is more complicated. It is also possible to add hot spots to swf flash video that you have compressed such that you can create interactive videos for your students, including examination videos. However, this is extremely tedious. I found it better to create my interactive examination files in Excel and then link to my tutorial videos at any time in those Excel files.

The hard thing about Camtasia is getting the audio to sound professional. Actually, I found my narrations using a cheap microphone adequate for my course tutorials. This weekend I had satisfactory results using only the internal microphone that's built into my Dell laptop. However, audio could be improved with an expensive microphone and a sound proof booth. Ambient noise in your office can be irritating when recorded in video.

If you are recording in your office, you should probably disconnect the telephone during recording sessions. Also put a sign on your office door that you are in a recording session.

It is also possible to make videos of PowerPoint files. If you choose to do so you can easily add a Camtasia toolbar in your PowerPoint file such that you can make videos with audio narrations on any any part or all of a PowerPoint file. That way you can teach from PowerPoint when you're out of town, retired, or dead.Users can download compressed video files of PowerPoint files with less virus risk than from any MS Office files such as doc, xls. or ppt files. However, when I narrate any of my PowerPoint files and make videos of them, I generally find that even the compressed videos are enormous since my PowerPoint files usually have more than 50 slides. Actually, it is probably best to compress PowerPoint vides at a slow frame rate as swf Flash files. Since Powerpoint is not fast moving video, a slower frame rate is usually quite satisfactory.

Nevertheless, recording and serving up entire lectures requires huge amounts of disk space. If your university will not provide you with enough Web, Blackboard, or WebCT server space for such large video files, I suggest that you make a DVD disk of compressed video for each lesson and then make these disks available in the library or by mail to students. Your campus media center may have more creative solutions.


A summary video of using Camtasia for recording and serving up Podcasts, Vodcasts, and Audio Enhanced PowerPoint files --- Click Here

Three nice summary videos on how to create interactive Flash videos using Camtasia --- Click Here

You can find out more about Camtasia and related TechSmith products at http://www.techsmith.com/

You can watch an introductory video at http://video.techsmith.com/camtasia/latest/demo/summary/enu/cs_summary.html

TechSmith has a link to Richard Campbell's (University of Rio Grande) interactive examination questions at http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia/education.asp
However, the link to Richard's files appears to broken, and Richard says he can no longer find the illustration file.

Happy video, podcast, and vodcast producing!

You can read more about video and audio capturing at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm

How can you capture streaming media?

August 9, 2007 question from XXXXX

How do I get a copy of the power point show of this great presentation? Am not computer literate but would like this on disc or dvd for a friend who does not have a pc.

Thank you

August 9, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

I assume you mean from the link http://www.greatdanepro.com/Chiquitita/index.htm 

This is a streaming presentation which means you cannot download it as a file like you would download it as a PowerPoint file.

There are several alternatives for capturing streaming media.

One alternative is to capture the streaming media in a Camtasia Studio video. This will work fine for the images, but the music that is also captured may be somewhat disappointing --- http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp 

You may also check out Playstream at http://www.playstream.com/ 

Also check out Studio Now --- http://www.studionow.com/conversion/?gclid=CKidoveJ6I0CFSasGgodZFTr0w 

One approach to get a PowerPoint version is to click on Pause with each image and capture the image in streaming video. You can then paste the image into your own PowerPoint slide. It’s a bit tedious but you can then have a PowerPoint slide for each captured image. There are various software options for image capturing such as the Import command in Paints. Separately you can capture the music and then add it to your PowerPoint file --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#PowerPointAudio 

Various alternatives for capturing screen images are available for a fee. For years I used the Import feature of Paint Shop Pro from JASC. Now, however, I prefer SnagIt from Tech Smith --- http://www.techsmith.com/screen-capture.asp 
Tech Smith also has a free capture program called Jing. PC World (via The Washington Post) gives a highly favorable review of Jing that is quoted at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2007/tidbits070801.htm

Hope this helps a little.

Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of education technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

How to capture and broadcast streaming media --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#StreamingMedia

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

How can you give online examinations?
How can you help prevent cheating?

If it's a take home test the easiest thing is probably to put an examination up on a Web server or a Blackboard/WebCT server. For example, you might put up a Word doc file or an Excel xls file as a take home examination. You can even embed links to your Camtasia video files in that examination so that video becomes part of an examination question. Then have each student download the exam, fill out the answers, and return the file to you via email attachment for grading. One risk is that the returned file might have a virus even though the student is not aware that his/her computer added a virus.

In order to avoid the virus risk of files students attach via email, I had an old computer that I used to open all email attachments from most anybody. Then in the rare event that the attached file was carrying a virus I did not infect my main machines. Good virus protection software is essential even on your old computer.

If students are restricted as to what materials can be used during examinations or who can be consulted for help, an approach that I used is examination partnering. I posted quizzes (not full examinations) at a common time when students were required to take the quiz. Each student was randomly assigned a partner student such that each partner took the exam in the presence of a randomly assigned partner. Each student was then required to sign an attest form saying that his/her partner abided by the rules of the examination. I only used this for weekly quizzes. Course examinations were given in class with me as a proctor. Partnered quizzes worked very well in courses where students had to master software like MS Access. They could perform software usage activities as part of the quiz.

Giving online interactive examinations via a Web server is more problematic. A huge problem is that most universities do not allow student feedback on instructors Web pages. When you fill a shopping cart at an online vendor site such as Amazon, Amazon is letting you as a customer send a signal back that you added something to your shopping cart. Amazon allows customers to send signals back to an Amazon server. Universities do not generally allow this type of feedback from students on a faculty Web server.

Some universities, especially those with distance education programs, have online examination software. This varies greatly in cost and quality. You can read more about such software at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#Examinations

Technology for Proctoring Distance Education Examinations

"Proctor 2.0," by Elia Powers, Inside Higher Ed, June 2, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/02/proctor

It’s time for final exams. You’re a student in Tokyo and your professor works in Alabama. It’s after midnight and you’re ready to take the test from your bedroom. No problem. Flip open your laptop, plug in special hardware, take a fingerprint, answer the questions and you’re good to go.

Just know this: Your professor can watch your every move ... and see the pile of laundry building up in the corner of the room.

Distance learning programs – no matter their structure or locations – have always wrestled with the issue of student authentication. How do you verify that the person who signed up for a class is the one taking the test if that student is hundreds, often thousands, of miles away?

Human oversight, in the form of proctors who administer exams from a variety of places, has long been the solution. But for some of the larger distance education programs — such as Troy University, with about 17,000 eCampus students in 13 time zones — finding willing proctors and centralized testing locations has become cumbersome.

New hardware being developed for Troy would allow faculty members to monitor online test takers and give students the freedom to take the exam anywhere and at any time. In principle, it is intended to defend against cheating. But some say the technology is going overboard.

Sallie Johnson, director of instructional design and education technologies for Troy’s eCampus, approached Cambridge, Mass.-based Software Secure Inc. less than two years ago to develop a unit that would eliminate the need for a human proctor. Johnson said the hardware is the university’s response to the urgings of both Congress and regional accrediting boards to make authentication a priority.

The product, called Securexam Remote Proctor, would likely cost students about $200. The unit hooks into a USB port and does not contain the student’s personal information, allowing people to share the product. The authentication is done through a server, so once a student is in the database, he or she can take an exam from any computer that is hardware compatible.

A fingerprint sensor is built into the base of the remote proctor, and professors can choose when and how often they want students to identify themselves during the test, Johnson said. In the prototype, a small camera with 360-degree-view capabilities is attached to the base of the unit. Real-time audio and video is taken from the test taker’s room, and any unusual activity — another person walking into the room, an unfamiliar voice speaking — leads to a red-flag message that something might be awry.

Professors need not watch students taking the test live; they can view the streaming audio or video at any time.

“We can see them and hear them, periodically do a thumb print and have voice verification,” Johnson said. “This allows faculty members to have total control over their exams.”

Douglas Winneg, president of Software Secure, said the new hardware is the first the company has developed with the distance learning market in mind. It has developed software tools that filter material so that students taking tests can’t access any unauthorized material.

Winneg, whose company works with a range of colleges, said authentication is “a painful issue for institutions, both traditional brick-and-mortar schools and distance learning programs.”

Troy is conducting beta tests of the product at its home campus. Johnson said by next spring, the Securexam Remote Proctor could commonly be used in distance learning classes at the university, with the eventual expectation that it will be mandatory for students enrolled in eCampus classes.

Onsite Versus Online Education (including controls for online examinations and assignments) ---  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#OnsiteVersusOnline

Bob Jensen's threads on emerging tools of our trade --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

Tenure Credits for Micro-Level Research?
In public sociology, scholars use their research outside of academe to reshape an organization, or they work with people outside academe (social service providers, government officials, and others) to define and execute research projects. There is no one precise definition of the field (and some consider it an updated version of applied sociology), but it is generally assumed that it involves a direct link to research and is more than just helping in the community. A scholar of the homeless who works one morning in a soup kitchen is a volunteer, not a public sociologist. A scholar who uses her research to redesign the way a soup kitchen provides services might be a public sociologist. Proponents of public sociology very much want to see it receive due credit in tenure and promotion decisions, but they acknowledge that there is not a historic framework to do so. “If it’s just a sociologist saying that he or she has done something, it has limited credibility,” said Philip W. Nyden, a professor of sociology who is co-chair of a task force of the American Sociological Association that has been studying these questions for the last two years. Nyden discussed the work of the task force at the association’s annual meeting this week
Scott Jaschik, "Tenure and the Public Sociologist," Inside Higher Ed, August 15, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/15/tenure

Jensen Comment
The same question my be raised about an accounting faculty member who "redesign the way a small business" accounts for business transactions, especially if the design is creative relative to known designs and entails customizing software innovatively. A problem is that clever designs for a particular business may not generalize well to other businesses and, therefore, have less appeal to academic research journal editors, especially editors of leading journals.

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

Bob Jensen's birthday poem to a close friend!

For his 70th birthday I sent a professor friend of mine who is very popular with students and has won many major awards for excellence. For a present I sent him something he may soon need (from Amazon) --- the History Channel's DVD on entitled "Modern Marvels --- High Tech Sex.".

The following module from the Financial Rounds blog contains a cute variation of the Happy Birthday song. This blog is authored by a finance professor who calls himself “Unknown."

The following appears on August 8, 2007 --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/


Pointy Headed Bosses Shouldn't be Given Spreadsheets

 To see the above Dilbert cartoon, go to Financial Rounds on August 8, 2007 --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/

Wednesday (Birthday) Link Dump

Sometimes having kids can be hazardous to your health. Today's my 49th birthday (in another year I suppose I'll start getting those AARP mailings), and I faked being asleep this morning when the kids came up to wake me up. So, the 8 year-old Unknown Son puts his mouth to my ear and shouts "WAKE UP". This was followed by the classic:

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
You Look Like a Monkey
And Smell Like A Zoo



Bob Jensen’s variation for my professor friend

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
I look out at my hills and smile
Knowing you’re older than them too


A Federal Judge is Still Trying to Get $54 Million for Two Pairs of Pants Delayed in Altering (the pants have since been returned to him)

"U.S. judge presses $54 mln suit over pants," Reuters, August 14, 2007 --- Click Here

A U.S. judge appealed his $54 million (27 million pounds) lawsuit on Tuesday against the dry-cleaning shop that misplaced his trousers, shrugging off legal setbacks and international ridicule.

Judge Roy Pearson filed a notice of appeal with the District of Columbia Superior Court, indicating that he won't abandon the crusade that has turned him into a symbol of America's lawsuit-happy legal culture.

Pearson asked his neighbourhood dry cleaners to pay him $1,150 when they misplaced a pair of trousers he brought in for a $10.50 alteration in May 2005. The owners of Custom Cleaners said they located the garment a few days later, but Pearson said the pair they offered him was not his.

Claiming that the shop's "satisfaction guaranteed" sign misled customers who, like him, were dissatisfied with their experience, Pearson sought $1,500 for every day that Custom Cleaners displayed the sign over a four-year period, multiplied by the three members of the Chung family, who owned the business.

He also sought $15,000 to rent a car to take his clothes to another cleaner for 10 years.

The judge hearing the case ruled in June that Pearson did not interpret the sign in a reasonable fashion.

A sympathetic public donated enough money to pay the Chung's legal fees, estimated at around $85,000.

Pearson, meanwhile, could lose his job as an administrative judge for the District of Columbia, where he hears disputes involving the decisions of city government agencies.

The city has warned Pearson it might not reappoint him when his job comes up for review next month, according to The Washington Post.

Pearson was not immediately available for comment.

Jim Reeves and later Elvis recorded a song that I hope Washington DC officials will listen to when considering Pearson's reappointment:

He'll Have to Go (speakers up) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/e006/hewillhavetogo.html

"HOWTO: Be more productive," by Aaron Swartz --- http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/productivity

Aaron is the founder of the Open Library --- http://www.openlibrary.org/
For a good review, see http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/08/08/mclemee

The Future of Work
Note that the title "The Future of Teaching could be "The Future of Teaching" with the articles slightly revised to encompass education as well as business

"The Future of Work:  How we will master technology, manage companies, and build careers in the era of the global, 24-7 workplace," Business Week Cover Story, August 20, 2007 --- Click Here

Video on Personal Tech in the Workplace --- Click Here
There are many other video links at this same link.

Education Balance: The liberal arts make us competitive in the ways that matter most

"Not By Geeks Alone," by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Diane Ravitch, The Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2007; Page A13 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118653759532491305.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

In a globalizing economy, America's competitive edge depends in large measure on how well our schools prepare tomorrow's workforce.

And notwithstanding the fact that Congress and the White House are now controlled by opposing parties, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are bent on devising new programs and boosting education spending.

Consider the measure -- the America Competes Act -- that recently passed Congress and is on its way to the president's desk. The bill will substantially increase government funding for science, technology, engineering and math ("STEM" subjects). President Bush, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid support this initiative. Nearly all of the 2008 presidential candidates endorse its goals. And 38 state legislatures have also recently enacted STEM bills. The buzz is as constant as summer cicadas.

Indeed, STEM has swiftly emerged as the hottest education topic since No Child Left Behind. They're related, too. NCLB puts a premium on reading and math skills and also pays some attention to science. Marry it with STEM and you get heavy emphasis on a particular suite of skills.

But there is a problem here. Worthy though these skills are, they ignore at least half of what has long been regarded as a "well rounded" education in Western civilization: literature, art, music, history, civics and geography. Indeed, a new study from the Center on Education Policy says that, since NCLB's enactment, nearly half of U.S. school districts have reduced the time their students spend on subjects such as art and music.

This is a mistake that will ill-serve our children while misconstruing the true nature of American competitiveness and the challenges we face in the 21st century.

As with all education reforms, the STEM-winders mean well. They reason that India and China will eat America's lunch unless we boost our young people's prowess in the STEM fields. But these enthusiasts don't understand that what makes Americans competitive on a shrinking, globalizing planet isn't out-gunning Asians at technical skills. Rather, it's our people's creativity, versatility, imagination, restlessness, energy, ambition and problem-solving prowess.

True success over the long haul -- economic success, civic success, cultural success, domestic success, national defense success -- depends on a broadly educated populace with flowers and leaves as well as stems. That's what equips us to invent and imagine and grow one business line into another. It's also how we acquire qualities and abilities that aren't easily "outsourced" to Guangzhou or Hyderabad.

Students who garner high-tech skills may still get undercut by people halfway around the world who are willing to do the same work for one-fifth of the salary. The surest way to compete is to offer something the Chinese and Indians (and Vietnamese, Singaporeans, etc.) cannot -- technical skills are not enough.

Apple's iPod was not just an engineering improvement on Sony's Walkman. It emerged from Steve Jobs's American-style understanding of people's lifestyles, needs, tastes and capacities. (Yes, Mr. Jobs dropped out of college -- but went on to study philosophy and foreign cultures.)

Pragmatic folks naturally seek direct links from skill to result, such as engineers using their technical knowledge to keep planes aloft and bridges from buckling. But what about Abraham Lincoln educating himself via Shakespeare, the Bible and other great literary works? Alan Greenspan's degrees are in economics but he plays a mean jazz saxophone. Indeed, many of today's foremost (and wealthiest) entrepreneurs, people like Warren Buffett, studied economics -- not a STEM subject -- in college. Adam Smith studied moral philosophy.

The liberal arts make us "competitive" in the ways that matter most. They make us wise, thoughtful and appropriately humble. They help our human potential to bloom. And they are the foundation for a democratic civic polity, where each of us bears equal rights and responsibilities.

History and literature also impart to their students healthy skepticism and doubt, the ability to question, to ask both "why?" and "why not?" and, perhaps most important, readiness to challenge authority, push back against conventional wisdom and make one's own way despite pressure to conform. (How will that be viewed in China?)

We're already at risk of turning U.S. schools into test-prepping skill factories where nothing matters except exam scores on basic subjects. That's not what America needs nor is it a sufficient conception of educational accountability. We need schools that prepare our children to excel and compete not only in the global workforce but also as full participants in our society, our culture, our polity and our economy.

Addressing a recent Fordham Foundation education conference, Arts Endowment chairman Dana Gioia said "We need a system that grounds all students in pleasure, beauty and wonder. It is the best way to create citizens who are awakened not only to their humanity, but to the human enterprise that they inherit and will -- for good or ill -- perpetuate."

Creating such a system calls not for a host of specialized new institutions and government programs, but for closely examining the curriculum in all our schools. It also calls for recalibrating academic standards and graduation requirements, as well as amending our testing-and-accountability schemes -- most certainly including NCLB -- by widening the definition of "proficient" to include reasoning, creativity and knowledge across a dozen subjects as well as basic cognitive skills. We need to start reconceptualizing "highly qualified" teachers as people who are themselves broadly educated rather than narrowly specialized.

Abandoning the liberal arts in the name of STEM alone also risks widening social divides and deepening domestic inequities. The well-to-do who understand the value of liberal learning may be the only ones able to purchase it for their children. Top private schools and a few suburban systems will stick with education broadly defined, as will elite colleges. Rich kids will study philosophy and art, music and history, while their poor peers fill in bubbles on test sheets. The lucky few will spawn the next generation of tycoons, political leaders, inventors, authors, artists and entrepreneurs. The less lucky masses will see narrower opportunities. Some will find no opportunities at all, which frustration will tempt them to prey upon the fortunate, who in turn will retreat into gated communities, exclusive clubs, and private this-and-that's, thereby widening domestic rifts and worsening our prospects for social cohesion and civility.

Not a pretty picture. Adding leaves and flowers to STEM and NCLB won't necessarily avert it -- but hewing to basic skills at the expense of a complete education will surely worsen it.

Mr. Finn and Ms. Ravitch, former assistant U.S. Secretaries of Education and members of the Koret Task Force on K-12 Education at the Hoover Institution, are editors of "Beyond the Basics: Achieving a Liberal Education for All Children" (Thomas B. Fordham Institute, 2007).


"The Overworked College Administrator," by Barbara Mainwaring, Inside Higher Ed, August 10, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/08/10/mainwaring

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

Did Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibnitz Plagiarize?
Dr George Gheverghese Joseph from The University of Manchester says the 'Kerala School' identified the 'infinite series'- one of the basic components of calculus - in about 1350. The discovery is currently - and wrongly - attributed in books to Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibnitz at the end of the seventeenth centuries. The team from the Universities of Manchester and Exeter reveal the Kerala School also discovered what amounted to the Pi series and used it to calculate Pi correct to 9, 10 and later 17 decimal places. And there is strong circumstantial evidence that the Indians passed on their discoveries to mathematically knowledgeable Jesuit missionaries who visited India during the fifteenth century. That knowledge, they argue, may have eventually been passed on to Newton himself. Dr Joseph made the revelations while trawling through obscure Indian papers for a yet to be published third edition of his best selling book 'The Crest of the Peacock: the Non-European Roots of Mathematics' by Princeton University Press.
"Indians predated Newton 'discovery' by 250 years ," PhysOrg, August 14, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news106238636.html

Jensen Comment
Plagiarism and citation are not viewed today quite like they were in the Middle Ages. In particular failing to cite ideas and discoveries was much more common in earlier times. Well into the 20th Century, European and other professors often took credit for works of others, particularly their students. Sometimes professors took credit for entire books written by their students just as artists sometimes took credit for the works of their students without any acknowledgements whatsoever. Of course there is no proof in the above example that Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibnitz had knowledge of the purported earlier discoveries in India.

August 14, 2007 reply from Gadal, Damian [DGadal@SANTABARBARACA.GOV]

I think this is modern agenda driven research. It's easy to try and discredit the deceased. This does little to diminish the fact that Newton was without peer. Another thing about Newton that gets little mention is his crusade against alchemy... he was a spy.

Reminds me of the recent news story about the discovery of wireless electronics. Anyone remember Tesla? and how about the feud he had with Edison?


August 14, 2007 reply from Roger Collins [rcollins@TRU.CA]

Here is Dr. Joseph's home page --- http://les1.man.ac.uk/ses/staff/ggj/ 

I wonder - is it coincidence that PhysOrg published this in the week of the 60th anniversary of India's independence from Britain?

Bob Jensen wrote..

" Sometimes professors took credit for entire books written by their students just as artists sometimes took credit for the works of their students without any acknowledgements whatsoever."

A particularly egregious example of "credit taken" from physics research...

The 1974 Nobel prize for physics (discovery of pulsars) ignored the work of Jocelyn Bell, the research student who had discovered the first radio pulsars with her thesis advisor Antony Hewish.

(Wikipedia extract) "As Hewish's graduate student, Bell first noticed the radio source which was ultimately recognised as the first pulsar.

The paper announcing the discovery had five authors, Hewish's name being listed first, Bell's second. Hewish was awarded the Nobel Prize, along with Martin Ryle, without the inclusion of Bell as a co-recipient."

Fred Hoyle, who objected strongly to this state of affairs, was subsequently denied a Nobel for Physics himself (1983 prize went to his co-author on the paper).

I believe there are other Ig-Nobel examples involving women researchers, tho' I can't put a name to them right now.



Roger Collins
TRU School of Business

August 14, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]

The degradation of knowledge as property is of recent import. Until recently, as I understand, even in Europe, knowledge was considered a communal asset to be enjoyed by all.

A far cry from the present state where even universities get into feeding frenzy whenever some one on their payroll invents something.

I am not sure Newton or Leibnitz really cared. They were probably just thrilled that they had contributed something to culture; specially Newton, since Britain was not really known as a fountainhead of mathematics those days. During my undergraduate days, I used to wonder why most mathematicians had strange sounding European names (Leibnitz, Caratheodory, Dedekind, Poincare, Descartes, DeMoivre, Cantor, Abel, Noether, Weierstrauss, Gauss,... I could go on and on; my list of British mathematicians would be very short and those too just textbook writers).

Then when I was in graduate school in Calcutta, some of the Russian mathematics books (really good and really cheap, I must say) startled me by claiming that just about everything in mathematics was invented by the Russians; I have the greatest respect for Russian mathematics, but this was too much to bear, and the thought that Lenin had something important to say about mathematics did not help either.

Later when I came to the United States, I had the fortune of meeting a wellknown English mathematician at the University of Pennsylvania. He gave me some lessons on the origins of Indian mathematics, and they were stunning. It made me proud, but I never understood why he was making those points. I did feel ashamed when I discovered his daughter spoke fluent Sanskrit, and said grace in Sanskrit at the thanksgiving dinner in 1974.

Discovery (or interpretation, if you wish) that something has been shown to be of non-European origin does not in any way diminish the work of the stalwarts of European mathematics. However, it gives us some cause for celebration, given the often abominable treatment that mathematicians of non-European descent have received in the past especially in the United States. May I give examples of some of my heroes?

For example, two of my African-American heroes: David Blackwell (Princeton would not hire him; he got his PhD at an age that nowadays he might just have been permitted to quaff beer) and A.T. Bharucha-Reid (who proudly refused to write his dissertation at Chicago, a decision that haunted him all his life)..



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

Mike Kearl's great social theory site --- http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/

Guide to writing a research paper --- http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/methods.html#rp

Sociology of Knowledge --- http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/knowledg.html

Science and Technology --- http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/science.html

Some sites to stimulate the sociological imagination --- http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/theory.html#imag

According to Karl Popper (Logik der Forschung, 1935: p.26), Theory is "the net which we throw out in order to catch the world--to rationalize, explain, and dominate it." Through history, sociological theory arose out of attempts to make sense of times of dramatic social change. As Hans Gerth and C. Wright Mills observed in Character and Social Structure (Harbinger Books, 1964:xiii), "Problems of the nature of human nature are raised most urgently when the life-routines of a society are disturbed, when men are alienated from their social roles in such a way as to open themselves up for new insight." Consider the historical contexts spawning the theoretical insights below:

Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both. Yet men do not usually define the troubles they endure in terms of historical change and institutional contradiction. ... The sociological imagination enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety of individuals. ... The first fruit of this imagination--and the first lesson of the social science that embodies it--is the idea that the individual can understand his own experience and gauge his own fate only by locating himself within this period, that he can know his own chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in his circumstances. ...We have come to know that every individual lives, from one generation to the next, in some society; that he lives out a biography, and that he lives it out within some historical sequence (The Sociological Imagination, 1959:3-10).

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. --Voltaire (1694-1778)

A definition is no proof. --William Pinkney, American diplomat (1764-1822)

A theory is more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises, the more different the kinds of things it relates and the more extended its range of applicability. --
Albert Einstein, 1949


SocioSite: Noted Sociological Theorists and Samplings of their Works

Alan Liu's Voice of the Shuttle: Great collection of synopses and primary works of the great theorists

Society for Social Research Page: Classical Sociological Theory. Good site for excerpts from the classics, courtesy of the University of Chicago.

Serdar Kaya's The Sociology Professor, a portal of social theories and theorists

Sociolog: many phenomenological links

Larry Ridener's Dead Sociologists Index: Biographies of and excerpts from those who carved the discipline

SociologyCafe's "Social Thinkers, Sociologists, and Online Texts" and Theory Outline

PRAXIS: The Insurgent Sociology Web Site at University of California, Riverside

Ed Stephan's "A Sociology Timeline from 1600"

Carl Cuneo's Course on Theories of Inequality

Marxist Internet Archive

Marxism/ Leninism

Marxism Made Simple

Marx and Engels' Writings

Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

Antonio Gramsci site from Queens College 

Habermas links collected by Antti Kauppinen

Durkheimian links

Durkheim Homepage

Weberian links

Mannheim Centre for European Social Research

Charles Horton Cooley's Social Organization: A Study of the Larger Mind

George Herbert Mead Repository at Brock University

All Things Simmelian--Georg Simmel Homepage

Erving Goffman

Game Theory Society--mathematically modeling "strategic interaction in competitive and cooperative environments"

Thorsten Veblen's The Theory of the Leisure Class

Foucault Homepage

Jean Baudrillard speaks

Anthony Giddens

Howard S. Becker's Home Page--replete with recent papers, biographical updates and web recommendations

Amitai Etzioni's Articles in Professional Journals and Books

"Contemporary Philosophy, Critical Theory and Postmodern Thought" from the University of Denver

Norbert Elias site from University of Sydney

FreudNet: The A.A. Brill Library

An evolving site to keep an eye on is Jim Spickard's Social Theory Pages, with historical backgrounds and intellectual biographies of the key players

Need a dictionary for those works of critical theorists and postmodernists? Try the Red Feather Dictionary of Critical Social Science

Gene Shackman's Social, Economic and Political Change--featuring links to theory, data and research about large scale long term political, economic and social systems change at the national and international level 

World-Systems Archive
The Research Committee on Sociocybernetics (of the Intl. Sociological Association)

Want to see what theories sociologists are currently cooking up? Below is a sampling of sociological journals.

Electronic Journal of Sociology Home Page
Sociological Research Online
Journal of World-Systems Research
Journal of Mundane Behavior (first issue February 2000)
Annual Review of Sociology--with 12-years of searchable abstracts
Sociological Abstracts Home Page
The Canadian Journal of Sociology
Tables of Contents for all issues of Postmodern Culture

Bob Jensen's threads on economics, social science, anthropology, and philosophy tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social

Human Rights --- http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/humanrights/

Bob Jensen's threads on law and legal studies --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Law

Are college students good surrogates for real life studies?
The majority of behavioral experiments in accounting have used students as experimental subjects

"Too Many Studies Use College Students As Their Guinea Pigs," by Carl Bialik, The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2007; Page B1--- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118670089203393577.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

Many of the numbers that make news about how we feel, think and behave are derived from studying a narrow population: college students. It's cheap for social scientists to tap into the on-campus research pool -- everyone from psychology majors who must participate in studies for course credit to students who respond to posters promising a few bucks if they sign up.

Consider just three studies that have received press in the past month. In one, muscular men were twice as likely as their less well-built brethren to have had more than three sex partners -- at least according to 99 UCLA undergraduates. Another, an examination of six separate studies that tape-recorded college students' conversations, found that women, despite being stereotyped as relatively chatty, spoke just 3% more words each day than men. And in the third, 40 undergraduates at Washington University in St. Louis were 6% more likely to complete verbal jokes and 14% more likely to complete visual jests than 41 older study participants.

College students are "essentially free," says Brian Nosek, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia. "We walk out of our office, and there they are." The epitome of a convenience sample, they have become the basis for what some critics call the "science of the sophomore."

But psychologists may be getting what they pay for. College students aren't representative by age, wealth, income, educational level or geographic location. "What if you studied 7-year-old kids and made inferences about geriatrics?" asks Robert Peterson, a marketing professor at the University of Texas, Austin. "Everyone would say you can't do that. But you can use these college students."

Prof. Peterson scoured the literature for examples of studies that examined the same psychological relationships in students and nonstudents. In almost half of the 63 relationships he examined, there were major discrepancies between students and nonstudents: The two groups either produced contradictory results, or one showed an effect at least twice as great as the other.

In a follow-up study, not yet published, Prof. Peterson demonstrated that even college students are far from homogeneous. With help from faculty at 58 schools in 31 states, he surveyed undergraduate business students across the country and found that they vary widely from school to school. That means a professor studying the relationship between students' attitudes toward capitalism and business ethics at one school could reach a sharply different conclusion than a professor at another school.

"People have always been aware of this issue," Prof. Peterson says, but many have chosen to ignore it. A 1986 paper by David Sears, a UCLA psychology professor, documented the increased use of college students for research in the prior quarter century and explored the potential biases that might introduce. In the meantime, the use of college students has, if anything, risen, researchers say.

Authors of the recent studies on sex, chattiness and humor acknowledge the limitations of their research pool. But they argue that college students do just fine for purposes of studying basic cognitive processes. Others agree. "If you think all people have the same attitudes as introductory psychology students, that's really problematic," says Tony Bogaert, a psychology professor at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. "But if you're looking at cognitive processes, intro psych students probably work OK."

After all, every study is hampered by possible differences between those who volunteer to participate and those who don't, whether they're college students or a broader group.

In any case, the fault often lies not with the researchers, who are careful not to overstate the impact of their findings, but with the news articles suggesting the numbers apply to all humanity. "Even if you only focus on college students, the results are still generalizable to millions of Americans," says David Frederick, a UCLA psychology graduate student and lead author of the study on muscularity and sex partners.

Prof. Nosek, a critic of the science of the sophomore, responds that college students are still developing their personalities and behavior. "There is no other time outside my life as an undergraduate where I thought it would be a good idea to wear all my clothes inside out," he says, or to "stay up for as many hours in a row as I could just to see what happens."

To widen the pool of people answering questions about, say, all-nighters, Prof. Nosek has submitted a proposal to the National Institutes of Health to fund the creation of an international, online research panel. That would build on studies his laboratory has already administered online at ProjectImplicit.net.

Online research has its own problems, but at least it taps into the hundreds of millions of people who are online globally, rather than just the hundreds of people enrolled in Psych 101.

"The scientific reward structure does not benefit someone who puts in the enormous effort" to create a representative research sample, Prof. Nosek says. "The way to change researchers' data habits is to make it easier to collect data in a more generalizable way."

August 20, 2007 reply from Tracey Sutherland [tracey@AAAHQ.ORG]

Good question -- also being raised by the neuro-biology folks with implications in legal decisions as well. Interesting analysis (and references) in the American Bar Association article, "Adolescence, Brain Development, and Legal Culpability", which notes:

“The evidence now is strong that the brain does not cease to mature until the early 20s in those relevant parts that govern impulsivity, judgment, planning for the future, foresight of consequences, and other characteristics that make people morally culpable…. Indeed, age 21 or 22 would be closer to the ‘biological’ age of maturity.”10

Gur, Ruben C. Declaration of Ruben C. Gur., PhD, Patterson v. Texas. Petition for Writ of Certiorari to US Supreme Court, J. Gary Hart, Counsel. (Online at: www.abanet.org/crimjust/juvjus/patterson.html )

Tracey Sutherland
Executive Director
American Accounting Association


Economics Tutorials
National Taxpayers Union & National Taxpayers Union Foundation
--- http://www.ntu.org/main/

A Case Study: Gross Domestic Product --- http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.cfm?lesson=EM225&page=teacher

Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_Domestic_Product

Bob Jensen's threads on economics, social science, anthropology, and philosophy tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social

August 12, 2007 message from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

I am sometimes asked for my recommendations to college professors on books about teaching and learning. The books I recommend all deal with the learning-centered approach, the often and only recommended approach for professors to use in their college classrooms.  Also, my list is for the essential books, there are many others out there.  I am now adding a third, a wonderful book by Marcia Tate.

Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses (Jossey Bass Higher and Adult Education Series) (Hardcover) by L. Dee Fink (2003) http://www.amazon.com/Creating-Significant-Learning-Experiences-Integrated/dp/0787960551/ref=pd_sim_b_2_img/002-2010896-1131251?ie=UTF8&qid=1186944721&sr=1-1

What the Best College Teachers Do (Hardcover)
by Ken Bain (2004) http://www.amazon.com/What-Best-College-Teachers-Do/dp/0674013255/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-2010896-1131251?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1186944721&sr=1-1

"Sit and Get" Won't Grow Dendrites: 20 Professional Learning Strategies That Engage the Adult Brain (Paperback)
by Marcia L. Tate (2004) http://www.amazon.com/Sit-Get-Wont-Grow-Dendrites/dp/0761931546/ref=sr_1_8/002-2010896-1131251?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1186941938&sr=8-8

David Albrecht
Bowling Green State University

August 14, 2007 reply from Henry Collier [mailto:henrycollier@aapt.net.au]

David: I’ve read your comments on ACECM for some now, and for the most part agree with many of the things you write. I suppose that everybody who actually cares about the processes of teaching and learning has their own ‘guide books’ … I’d prefer to establish a basic foundation in the ‘art / science’ before I attempted any of the texts that you recommend. I think that the guides that you offer are excellent, but are more prescriptive. Without some base or foundation, I’m concerned that ‘teachers’ will apply ‘techniques’ without knowing either why they might work or how they work.

With that in mind, I’d suggest the following two texts to help build some sort of a foundation to ‘learning and cognition’.

Ben Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives

William Graves Perry Jr.’s Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College Years

Both use a ‘stage like’ theory of development … Both are relatively old … they do have their problems as well, but do, IMO, bring us an understanding of how things work.

I’ve recently become a fan of Jack Mezirow and his thinking about ‘transformational learning’. I think that there’s something there, but the application (maybe that’s a problem with both Bloom and Perry as well) is difficult. I’m also of the view that Herrenstein and Murray’s The Bell Curve is more than a bit useful.

I’m more of an elitist than and egalitarian. While I’ve campaigned long and hard for equal rights and social justice in many different areas, tertiary education is not a basic right … we need to spend a significant part of our scarce educational resources on the brightest and the best.

Best wishes, David … I thought that it would do more in writing directly to you

All the best from the land down under



Updates on Science Tutorials

Assessing-to-Learn Physics: Project Website --- http://a2l.physics.umass.edu/

The Life Cycle of a Mineral Deposit-A Teacher’s Guide for Hands-On Mineral Education Activities --- http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/2005/17/

From the University of Wisconsin
BioLEARN --- http://www.wisc.edu/cbe/biolearn/index.html 

The Brain (this is quite good actually) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain

The Brain Matters --- http://www.thebrainmatters.org/index.cfm?key=1.1.1

Antbase.org (Biology of Ants) --- http://www.antbase.org

Bob Jensen's threads on science and medicine tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science

Functions Grapher --- http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/3/?pa=content&sa=viewDocument&nodeId=404

Famous Curves Index --- http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Curves/Curves.html

Bob Jensen's threads on math and statistics tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics

Conversations about Creativity ---  http://www.cecilvortex.com/swath/conversations_about_creativity /

There are very few new ideas ---
Alan Russell: Why can't we grow new body parts? (18-minute video) --- http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/142

MIT's Trinity Review Innovator of the Year (2007) --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/19258/
"2007 TR35: Innovator of the Year:  David Berry at Flagship Ventures is creating genetically engineered organisms that make biofuels."

A genetically engineered microbial protein could mean better data storage
"Rewritable Holographic Memory," by Amitabh Avasthi, MIT's Technology Review, August 13, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19228/?a=f

Sociology of Knowledge --- http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/knowledg.html

Some sites to stimulate the sociological imagination --- http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/theory.html#imag

"Course Requirement: Extortion," bu Michael Granof (Professor of Accounting at the University of Texas), The New York Times, August 12, 2007 ---
Click Here

By now, entering college students and their parents have been warned: textbooks are outrageously expensive. Few textbooks for semester-long courses retail for less than $120, and those for science and math courses typically approach $180. Contrast this with the $20 to $30 cost of most hardcover best sellers and other trade books.

Perhaps these students and their parents can take comfort in knowing that the federal government empathizes with them, and in an attempt to ease their pain Congress asked its Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance to suggest a cure for the problem. Unfortunately though, the committee has proposed a remedy that would only worsen the problem.

The committee’s report, released in May, mainly proposes strengthening the market for used textbooks — by encouraging college bookstores to guarantee that they will buy back textbooks, establishing online book swaps among students and urging faculty to avoid switching textbooks from one semester to the next. The fatal flaw in that proposal (and similar ones made by many State Legislatures) is that used books are the cause of, not the cure for, high textbook prices.

Yet there is a way to lighten the load for students in their budgets, if not their backpacks. With small modifications to the institutional arrangements between universities, publishers and students, textbook costs could be reduced — and these changes could be made without government intervention.

Today the used-book market is exceedingly well organized and efficient. Campus bookstores buy back not only the books that will be used at their university the next semester but also those that will not. Those that are no longer on their lists of required books they resell to national wholesalers, which in turn sell them to college bookstores on campuses where they will be required. This means that even if a text is being adopted for the first time at a particular college, there is almost certain to be an ample supply of used copies.

As a result, publishers have the chance to sell a book to only one of the multiple students who eventually use it. Hence, publishers must cover their costs and make their profit in the first semester their books are sold — before used copies swamp the market. That’s why the prices are so high.

As might be expected, publishers do what they can to undermine the used-book market, principally by coming out with new editions every three or four years. To be sure, in rapidly changing fields like biology and physics, the new editions may be academically defensible. But in areas like algebra and calculus, they are nothing more than a transparent attempt to ensure premature textbook obsolescence. Publishers also try to discourage students from buying used books by bundling the text with extra materials like workbooks and CDs that are not reusable and therefore cannot be passed from one student to another.

The system could be much improved if, first of all, colleges and publishers would acknowledge that textbooks are more akin to computer software than to trade books. A textbook’s value, like that of a software program, is not in its physical form, but rather in its intellectual content. Therefore, just as software companies typically “site license” to colleges, so should textbook publishers.

Here’s how it would work: A teacher would pick a textbook, and the college would pay a negotiated fee to the publisher based on the number of students enrolled in the class. If there were 50 students in the class, for example, the fee might be $15 per student, or $750 for the semester. If the text were used for 10 semesters, the publisher would ultimately receive a total of $150 ($15 x 10) for each student enrolled in the course, or as much as $7,500.

In other words, the publisher would have a stream of revenue for as long as the text was in use. Presumably, the university would pass on this fee to the students, just as it does the cost of laboratory supplies and computer software. But the students would pay much less than the $900 a semester they now typically pay for textbooks.

Once the university had paid the license fee, each student would have the option of using the text in electronic format or paying more to purchase a hard copy through the usual channels. The publisher could set the price of hard copies low enough to cover only its production and distribution costs plus a small profit, because it would be covering most of its costs and making most of its profit by way of the license fees. The hard copies could then be resold to other students or back to the bookstore, but that would be of little concern to the publisher.

A further benefit of this approach is that it would not affect the way courses are taught. The same cannot be said for other recommendations from the Congressional committee and from State Legislatures, like placing teaching materials on electronic reserve, urging faculty to adopt cheaper “no frills” textbooks and assigning mainly electronic textbooks. While each of these suggestions may have merit, they force faculty to weigh students’ academic interests against their fiscal concerns, and encourage them to rely less on new textbooks.

Continued in article

Textbook Publishers Scrutinized By Congress
There's an interesting short article in today's Chronicle of Higher Education about a briefing by textbook publishers. Congressional staff members pelted company officials with questions about the high costs of college textbooks and asserted that the publishers did not have students' best interests in mind during a briefing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.But the publishers said they offer professors hundreds of books to choose from for a specific subject, varying in cost from only $30 to upwards of $100, and in some cases even let the professor purchase certain chapters of a book that will not be wholly used. Data offered by both sides about the amount students pay for textbooks varied from $644 to $900 a year. Congressional staff members, many of whose children are college students, complained about the frequency of new editions of text books that students have no choice but to purchase. Publishers described new online products that they contend will be more effective and less costly than traditional printed textbooks, but in general, these staffers seemed cautious about the efficacy of online learning tools.
The University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communication Blog, July 11, 2007 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

Bob Jensen's threads on the publisher oligopoly are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#ScholarlyJournals

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

What students and their parents should, but probably don't, know about study abroad programs
Many colleges have arrangements with companies and nonprofit groups that financially reward colleges, but not students, when students enroll in certain study abroad programs — and many students are unaware of these ties when they pick their study abroad programs, The New York Times reported. The article noted similarities between these arrangements and relationships between colleges and student loan providers that have come under fire in the last year.
Inside Higher Ed, August 13, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/13/qt
Also see "
Study Abroad Under Scrutiny," by Elizabeth Redden, August 14, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/14/abroad

Education Balance: Even Resident Students Can Benefit for Life With Some Online Courses

"Latest Twist in Distance Ed," by Elia Powers, Inside Higher Ed, August 9, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/09/american

Turns out, the American University online program is somewhat of a hybrid. While the university marketed that first course, about terrorism and the legal system, to all sorts of groups in an effort to gauge outside interest, all but two of the 27 students who took the class were its own. Many of the students were away from Washington for the summer, living abroad or at home

“The most important information we’ve gathered is that our distance learning courses are most attractive to our own students,” Ettle said. “Students know they can use credits toward a degree, whereas some students [outside] might be unsure how they could use the credits.”

As distance education continues to evolve, American’s model will likely become more common, according to Diana Oblinger, vice president for Educause, the nonprofit group that deals with technology issues in higher education.

“It makes absolute sense,” Oblinger said. “Both institutions and students are concerned about the time-to-degree. If you can take a course while you are away and when it’s convenient, that helps you progress toward graduation. From an institution’s perspective, why allow your student to take someone else’s course?”

This summer, American is offering 25 online courses, none of which are longer than seven weeks. The condensed schedule works well for students who are either amidst or have just finished study abroad programs or summer jobs and want to extend their stays away from campus while earning credits, Ettle said. It’s also popular with students who take on internships during the year and want to go to school in the summer without having a full course load.

American provides incentives for those who are part of the distance learning program. Starting several summers ago, the university began giving professors whose online course proposals were accepted a $2,500 course development grant. Summer teaching at American isn’t a substitute for teaching an academic year course, and the additional compensation is only monetary incentive to teach in the summer online. Students receive a discounted rate on summer distance courses, and the price hasn’t changed in four years. A three-credit course costs $2,200, which is about 30 percent cheaper than a graduate course and about 25 percent cheaper than an undergraduate course, Ettle said.

There are other obvious cost savings: Students don’t have to pay for campus housing, and the university frees up space for other uses. The overhead cost of running a distance education course is also significantly less than it is for a normal classroom-based course, Ettle said.

“We’re utilizing our facilities more efficiently,” she said. “We want repeat customers — it’s good for them and it’s good for us.”

Still, American limits students to two distance courses per summer to prevent those who are working or studying elsewhere from overloading their schedules. The university places no limits, though, on the number of summers a student can take an online course.

Oblinger said it’s becoming more common for a university to either require or strongly suggest that its students take an online course as a way to prepare them for how learning often takes place in the workplace.

Continued in article

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

How to Avoid Expensive Adobe Software for Converting MS Office Documents to PDF Files

"Creating Documents for All to Read Inexpensive Ways To Convert a Variety Of Content to PDFs," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2007; Page D9 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118652753636390978.html

For years, people have accessed a variety of digital content in one of the most universally accepted formats: Adobe's Portable Document Format, better known as the PDF. A PDF holds images and text without altering a document's original fonts and layout. It can be searched, protected with a password, disabled from printing and enriched with bookmarks and hyperlinks that make it more navigable.

But while Adobe provides a free reader for viewing PDFs, creating PDFs yourself can be costly and confusing, even though the format is great for saving and sharing documents of almost any kind including images, Web pages, Word documents and emails. For users who want higher-end PDF creation and collaboration software, Adobe Systems Inc. offers its $450 Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional software program. But that's pricey for most casual users. So this week I tested some inexpensive or free methods for making PDFs.

There are plenty of Windows programs available for download online that will help you create basic PDFs. On Windows computers, I tried three programs, starting with the $20 standard version of deskPDF from Plano, Texas-based Docudesk Corp. (www.Docudesk.com). I tested a stripped-down and less-expensive version of Adobe's program called Create Adobe PDF Online, which works by uploading your document at www.CreatePDF.com and costs $10 monthly or $100 annually. And I also used a free program called CutePDF from Acro Software Inc. (www.CutePDF.com).

If you own a Mac, things are even simpler. Macs come out of the box with the ability to turn documents into PDFs, and I tested that function as well.

DeskPDF and CutePDF worked roughly the same way, though deskPDF costs $20 and CutePDF is free. Adobe's less-expensive program offered a few more features than deskPDF and CutePDF, such as the ability to add password encryption to a document or to make it unprintable by others. Making PDFs on the Mac was a cinch, including options to compress or encrypt a PDF. None of these methods allowed me to add extra features to PDFs like bookmarks and hyperlinks; for that, you'll need a more serious program.

When Microsoft's Office 2007 program shipped early this year, many people expected that it would have the built-in ability to save documents in PDF format; it didn't. Users can find a patch that fixes this on Microsoft's Web site.

Apple's operating system has long been known for the ease with which it can create PDFs using built-in tools. Put simply, any document that can be printed from a Mac can also be turned into a PDF. Users follow the normal steps necessary to print a document or Web site (usually File, Print), but can choose a button on the Print screen labeled "PDF" that converts the document.

In seconds, I turned all types of documents on my iMac into PDFs, including images in JPEG and TIF formats, emails, Word documents and Web sites. This last conversion was helpful for saving not just a view of the current screen, but the entire site from the top of the page to the bottom.

Options labeled "Compress PDF" and "Encrypt PDF" can be chosen in this Print screen. I chose Encrypt PDF and protected a PDF using a password in one quick step. The option to compress a PDF will decrease the size of an image in a document, but won't decrease the size of a text-only document.

Two of the three Windows programs use a method similar to Apple's, letting me send documents or Web sites into print mode and converting them into PDFs. Downloading and installing deskPDF or CutePDF adds a virtual printer driver to the computer. Rather than choosing a separate button labeled "PDF," the conversion program is selected from a list of printers, and hitting the Print button saves the document as a PDF file. The first time I did this, I thought my document was printed rather than saved because a printer icon appeared in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, as if the document was printing. But a screen appeared asking where I wanted to save the new PDF, and I specified a location.

Docudesk offers free 24-hour technical support with all of its deskPDF programs, even trial versions. The company also touts its $40 deskUNPDF program, which restores PDFs to Word documents for editing purposes, one of the features also found in Adobe's $450 product.

CutePDF writer and deskPDF must be used with separately installed converter programs, but these are small and free, and their installation is prompted after each of the core programs is downloaded. Both programs are also offered in upgraded versions that cost $50 for CutePDF Pro and $30 for deskPDF Pro, enabling advanced features like hyperlinks, encryption, password protection and printing restrictions.

Adobe's Create Adobe PDF Online program offers a few more features than the others, but feels a bit disconnected because it uploads documents to the Web for PDF conversion rather than converting documents in an installed program.

An option called Create Adobe PDF Online Printer installs a printer driver on your PC, like deskPDF and CutePDF. But this saves your PDF online forcing you to retrieve it via Adobe's Web site, an emailed link or an emailed attachment.

After registering to use Adobe's online conversion product, users must select the file or Web page intended for PDF conversion. Security features are optional with each document, such as requiring a password to view it or not allowing others to print it. I tried both successfully. Once converted, a document can be delivered to you via email in a link or attachment. It can also be retrieved from a Conversion History section on the site or converted directly on the site.

Most of these conversion programs are available in some free capacity. DeskPDF can be used five times free of charge in the standard and professional versions before it starts adding a watermark to each PDF, which is intrusive. Adobe's program can be used five times for each email that you register before you must subscribe to its conversion service.

If you need to save a document in a format that has the greatest likelihood of being viewable by all of your recipients, PDFs are the way to go, and they aren't difficult to make.

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade in education technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

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

A powerful argument for Sarbox can be made simply by examining the performance of financial markets since the landmark act was passed. Though Sarbox certainly can't take full credit, the U.S. stock market (as measured by the S&P 500) has increased 67%, or about $4.2 trillion in market value, between July 30, 2002 and June 30, 2007. Even John Thain, CEO of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and no great fan of Sarbox, concedes "There is no question that, broadly speaking, Sarbanes-Oxley was necessary."
Thomas J. Healey, "Sarbox Was the Right Medicine," The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2007; Page A13 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118662443703492573.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

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

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

The hedge funds wanted huge profits and with reduced risk (by globally spreading out the risk)
Now they want taxpayers and the Fed to bail them out!
It's hard to shed tears for hedge fund equity investors who want high returns without risks!

Wall Street wants the Fed to ease the pain of its lending mistakes
Financial markets were roiled again yesterday, with the Federal Reserve and other central banks stepping in to bolster liquidity in the wake of the subprime credit seizure. Serving as lender of last resort in these conditions is the proper function of central banks. But going further--with an emergency rate cut, as some in the market seem to be anticipating or hoping for--carries the risk of introducing even greater moral hazard into the financial system.
"The Bernanke Call--II," The Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/hottopic/?id=110010457 
Jensen Comment
Lowering interest rates sounds like a magic bullet for the subprime bubble. Poor home owners are more likely to meet their mortgage payments if the interest rates go down instead of up on adjustable rate mortgages. Lenders are more likely to be paid. And politicians go into an election year with the economy on a high note. But lowering interest rates may also make the economy crash and really burn big time to say nothing about soaring inflation.

"Fed Floods Bank System with Cash to Avoid Crisis," NPR, by Jim Zarroli, August 11, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12692597

"Et Tu, Paribas?" The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2007; Page A10 --- Click Here

The dead bodies keep floating to the surface in the subprime credit market contagion, yesterday hitting France's largest bank, BNP Paribas, and sending global equities into a swoon. The question going forward is whether the world's regulators and central bankers know how to contain this incipient financial panic.

The European Central Bank took a sensible step yesterday, pumping €94 billion of short-term liquidity into the system. This lender of last resort role is appropriate for a central bank when credit markets seize up, as they did yesterday after BNP Paribas froze three of its asset-backed securities funds. Several other European banks have also reported losses from the subprime debt market, and amid so much uncertainty a surprise like the one at Paribas can all too easily trigger a full-fledged global run. Mr. Trichet's job is to restore trust and confidence, which he did well yesterday.

What's becoming clearer by the day is that we're watching the unraveling of a global real estate financing bubble. The U.S. subprime market is the heart of the problem, but financial innovation has spread the risk around the world in a way that wasn't possible a generation ago. Long-term assets -- real estate -- have been financed by hedge funds with short-term debt instruments, and the amount of the debt now exceeds the value of the collateral in these subprime investments. Somebody is going to have to swallow the difference, and the challenge for regulators in both the U.S. and Europe is to assist this debt workout while protecting an otherwise healthy global economy.

Part of that regulatory challenge is understanding where the biggest problems still are, and cauterizing the wounds. That shouldn't be construed as an invitation to bailouts; quite the opposite. (See Gerald O'Driscoll's argument on the opposite page.) Amid the asset boom, many even conservative institutions began to take surprising risks. Everyone wanted to be a hedge fund manager and play in such instruments as high-risk asset-backed securities. In announcing the launch of two of the now-frozen funds back in 2005, BNP Paribas Asset Management said in a press release that asset-backed securities "have lost their exotic status and entered the mainstream of fixed income investing."

They've also now entered the history books as non-exotic losses. One question is who is going to suffer the consequences. In suspending, even if "temporarily," redemptions from funds that bear its prestigious name, BNP Paribas was saying it doesn't want to subsidize the losses in its subprime funds from elsewhere in the bank. But imagine the outcry if Paribas had prevented its retail customers from withdrawing their savings. (Paribas shares did sink 3.4% after its announcement yesterday, while dragging most of the European banking sector down with it.)

That kind of decision only promotes financial contagion by encouraging a run on other hedge funds before they close their redemption windows. The market already suspected Europe was more vulnerable to the subprime shakeout than was visible to the naked eye. Perhaps the French regulator and Banque de France chief, Christian Noyer, might quiz BNP CEO Baudouin Prot about the bank's policy of keeping its promises.

Only last week, when presenting second-quarter results, Mr. Prot claimed that BNP had little exposure to the subprime mortgage market. "It was a deliberate choice" to stay clear, Mr. Prot said. "For many years, we didn't get the revenue, now we don't get the problems." Well, now he's found a way of spreading the problems around. At least Bear Stearns parted with its co-president Warren Spector on the weekend after two of its mortgage funds collapsed.

The larger point here is that the losses should be absorbed by the hedge fund promoters as well as by the investors. That means by the equity holders in Paribas, Bear Stearns or any of the other big and supposedly safe financial institutions that decided to play in the subprime casino. As Mr. O'Driscoll notes, one of the root causes of the current mess is that bankers concluded they would always be rescued by the Federal Reserve. On that score, Germany's Bundesbank sent the wrong message yesterday by hosting a meeting with the country's finance minister, private banks and state bank KfW to stitch together a €3.5 billion rescue package for IKB Deutsche Industriebank. That small company lender said last week it had run up huge losses in the U.S. subprime market.

The subprime mess needn't derail the global economy, and it is less likely to do so if Paribas and the other hedge fund operators meet their obligations. Having some of these financial firms swallow the losses for running lousy funds may teach everyone a few salutary lessons about risk.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is No Hero in the Subprime Bubble
"Our Subprime Fed," by Gerald P. O'Driscoll, Jr. The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2007; Page A11 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118671030461793891.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

The crisis was foreseen -- for more than a year before the bust, bankers, analysts, and even regulators knew they had a mess in the making. And once the mess became clear, it wasn't hard to see what was wrong. Lending practices in the subprime market were "shoddy and absurd," said John Makin of the American Enterprise Institute in March of this year. Lewis Ranieri, former chairman of Salomon Brothers, echoed those comments in this newspaper when he observed: "We're not really sure what the guy's income is and . . . we're not sure what the house is worth. So you can understand why some of us become a little nervous." Mr. Ranieri helped pioneer the bundling of mortgages into marketable securities ("securitization"), so he should know!

The collapse of the subprime mortgage market is the latest in a series of financial bubbles whose existence reflects, at least in part, moral hazard in financial markets. At one time, deposit insurance was a major culprit. For example, in an October 2002 speech to economists in New York, then Fed Governor Ben Bernanke described the savings and loans crisis of the 1980s as "a situation . . . in which institutions can directly or indirectly take speculative positions using funds protected by the deposit insurance safety net -- the classic 'heads I win, tails you lose' situation." After an intellectual and political battle of more than a decade, the deposit insurance loophole was sealed.

Today, monetary policy is fostering moral hazard. Monetary policy can generate moral hazard if it is conducted so as to bail investors out of risky and otherwise ill-advised financial commitments. If investors come to expect that the policy will persist, then they will deliberately take on additional risk without demanding commensurately higher returns. In effect, they will lend at the risk-free interest rate on risky projects, or at least at a lower rate than would otherwise be the case. Too much risky lending and investment will take place, and capital will be misallocated.

The new moral hazard in financial markets has its source in what can be best described as the Greenspan Doctrine. The doctrine was clearly enunciated by Alan Greenspan in his December 19, 2002 speech. Mr. Greenspan argued that asset bubbles cannot be detected and monetary policy ought not to in any case be used to offset them. The collapse of bubbles can be detected, however, and monetary policy ought to be used to offset the fallout.

Two months earlier, Mr. Bernanke endorsed the Greenspan Doctrine, arguing against the use of monetary policy to prevent asset bubbles: "First, the Fed cannot reliably identify bubbles in asset prices. Second, even if it could identify bubbles, monetary policy is far too blunt a tool for effective use against them." Since Mr. Bernanke is now Fed chairman, it is reasonable for market participants to assume that the Greenspan Doctrine still governs current Fed policy.

The two men were surely asking and answering the wrong question. They were implicitly treating bubbles as solely the consequences of real shocks or disturbances. (An example of a real shock is a technological innovation leading to productivity gains and higher future expected profits in a sector.) They asked whether monetary policy should be used to offset the effects of real shocks, and concluded that it should not. The latter is the correct answer to the question they each posed.

A different question would be to ask whether monetary policy should be conducted so as to create or exacerbate asset bubbles. The answer to that question is surely "no." Consider Mr. Bernanke's apt characterization of moral hazard in the context of the deposit insurance crisis: "When this moral hazard is present, credit flows rapidly into inelastically supplied assets, such as real estate. Rapid appreciation is the result, until the inevitable albeit belated regulatory crackdown stops the flow of credit and leads to an asset-price crash."

He could have been talking about the subprime mortgage market. The Fed pre-announced that it will take no action against bubbles, but will act aggressively to offset the consequences of their collapse. In effect, the central bank is promising at least a partial bailout of bad investments. The logic of the old deposit insurance system is at work: Policymakers should protect investors against losses, no matter their folly. Or, in Mr. Greenspan's own words: Monetary policy should "mitigate the fallout [of an asset bubble] when it occurs and, hopefully, ease the transition to the next expansion."

In the present context, the "next expansion" could also be rendered as "the next asset bubble." If the Fed promises to "mitigate the fallout" from "irrational exuberance," then it is rational for investors to be exuberant. Investors may be at risk for some loss, as with a deductible on a conventional insurance policy, but losses are still being mitigated.

The Bernanke Fed has confused matters for investors by not yet cutting interest rates in the face of the recent crisis. There are two possible (not mutually exclusive) reasons for its not doing so. First, it may not view the current crisis as serious enough. Second, current price inflation is above its comfort zone, and the Fed may feel it has no room to maneuver. Time will only tell which is at work.

The Fed cut the Fed Funds rate sharply after the bursting of the stock market bubble in March 2000. In the eyes of many, the Fed cut rates too far and held them down too long, fueling not only a vigorous economic expansion but also the housing bubble. In his December 2002 speech, Mr. Greenspan was at pains to deflect any argument that the Fed was inflating a housing bubble. "To be sure," he acknowledged, mortgage debt was high relative to household income (remember the date) by historical norms. But "low interest rates" were keeping the servicing requirements of the mortgage debt manageable (emphasis added). "Moreover, owing to continued large gains in residential real estate values, equity in homes has continued to rise despite very large debt-financed extractions."

How wrong the Fed chairman was! If Mr. Greenspan was not worried about interest rates resetting, however, why should mortgage bankers and homeowners worry? It would have been reasonable to read into the chairman's musings an implicit guarantee of continued low rates. A homeowner is certainly entitled to bet his home on the come if he wants. Should the central bank encourage such behavior, however?

A monetary policy of substantial stimulus will have a number of real consequences, including asset bubbles. These asset bubbles have real costs and involve misallocations of capital. For example, by the peak of the tech and telecom boom in March 2000, too much capital had been invested in high-tech companies and too little in "old economy firms." Too much fiber-optic cable was laid and too few miles of railroad track were laid.

By 2002, worried about the possibility of price deflation, the Fed introduced a strong anti-deflationary bias. A tilt to stimulus was understandable at the time. A continued bias against deflation at any cost, however, will produce a continued bias upward in price inflation. With the bursting of each asset bubble and the fear of deflationary pressure, Fed policy must ease. The Greenspan Doctrine prescribes a stimulative overkill that begins the cycle anew. The Greenspan-era gains against inflation will then prove to be only temporary. His doctrine will be the death of his legacy, a legacy that already includes a housing bubble and its aftermath.

Mr. O'Driscoll, a former vice president with the Dallas Fed and a former director of policy analysis at Citigroup, is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.


There appears to be a "good old boy" network of public pension fund "consultants." What is sad is how they can exploit a relatively high level appointment (like being on the Advisory Board of the PCOAB)

August 10, 2007 message from Bill Davis [piked@mail.com]

Dr. Jensen,


Maybe you can figure this out.   It made Texas newspapers and TV last week end




John Krimmel, CPA, CFA before he came to Kentucky had a national reputation for excellence and was named to the PCAOB advisory group.




The KY Ret. Systems with a long history of good ol boy politics has accused Krimmel basically stealing and fraud in their official financial statements. http://www.ralphlong.com/labels/krs.html


 Either Krimmel is a crook running loose with Texas pension dollars or the entire State of Kentucky has falsified its financial statements.


One theory is that KY copied IN.   Indiana PERS where their CIO Patricia Gerrick just kind of disappeared  It was revealed several years after she left  that she got a $212,000 payoff to keep her mouth shut.


KyRet.Sys uses the same lawyer IceMiller as IN PERF.    Ralph Longs blog showed a $2.5 million salary spike in 06 when Krimmel and Mullis were forced out. 


 I think Krimmel took a $200,000-  $300,000 severance package and contract which says he has to keep quiet on all the dirt he found in the KyRet.Sys.    I think “hush” agreements do not belong in a public plan.



Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

You're familiar with the Dow Industrial and the S&P Indices? What's the new SPCREX?

Macro Level
Expanding its widely followed suite of investable real estate indices, Standard & Poor's announced today the launch of the S&P/GRA Commercial Real Estate Indices (SPCREX). The indices measure the change in commercial real estate prices by property sector and geographic region, and are designed to be a reliable and consistent benchmark for commercial real estate prices in the United States.

"S&P Launches U.S. Commercial Real Estate Indices Developed with Schwab: Only Index Provider to Offer Both Commercial & Residential Real Estate Indices in the U.S.," CNN Money, August 10, 2007 --- http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/prnewswire/NYTU02607082007-1.htm

Micro Level
Free online real estate appraisal sites ( Eppraisal.com, Realestateabc.com , Homegain.com and Zillow )

Do you suppose there will ever be sonic accounting, golf, calculus, economics, etc.?

With every swing, the club transmitted a noise that sounded like the flourish of a pipe organ. A computer recorded data from each swing in colorful arcs as Grober sent balls clacking around his laboratory and echoing through the building’s halls ... Fifteen years after Grober, 44, first put an electronic sensor into a club to study the golf swing, his scientific journey has produced a company, Sonic Golf, and a technology that he says can help professionals and amateurs in the complex, frustrating game of golf.
Damon Hack, "Professor Puts Swing’s Rhythm to Music," The New York Times, August 6, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/06/sports/golf/06golf.html

Sonic Golf --- http://www.sonicgolf.com/

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

Thanks to improved outreach efforts, engineering and technology universities are seeing a boost in female enrollments nearly across the board

As concern has grown about declining enrollments of men generally in higher education, engineering colleges and technology institutes have the opposite problem: not enough women. But more than two years after Larry Summers thrust the controversy over women in the sciences into the spotlight, a number of technologically oriented colleges have posted significant gains in women’s enrollment that admissions officers are attributing in part to beefed-up outreach efforts.
Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, August 7, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/07/enrollment

Say what? Urban women making more than men at an accelerating pace.
A recent analysis of census data by Dr. Andrew Beveridge shows that median wages for women have surged ahead of those for men in cities like New York and Los Angeles. Beveridge talks with Lynn Neary.
"Study: Women in Big Cities Bridging Income Gap," NPR, August 5, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12513001

Deloitte to Pay an Added $167.5M in Adelphia Case  
Officials at the trust formed after Adelphia went bankrupt claim the settlement with Deloitte & Touche is among the largest between a public accounting firm and a client.
Sarah Johnson, CFO.com August 06, 2007 --- http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/9612110/c_2984378?f=FinanceProfessor.com

A Deloitte spokesman confirmed to CFO.com that the accounting firm has settled the case but believes it would have prevailed had the case continued. "As part of the settlement, Deloitte & Touche denies any wrongdoing," the firm said in a prepared statement, adding that Deloitte "believes ... that it was in the best interests of the firm and its clients to settle this action rather than to continue to face the burden, expense, and uncertainty of further litigation."

Deloitte served as Adelphi's audit firm from the mid-1980s to May 14, 2002, when Deloitte suspended its work on the audit for the year ended December 31, 2001, saying Adelphia's books and records had been falsified.

The Rigases were convicted in 2004 on several counts, including securities fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank fraud at what had been the fifth-largest cable company before its collapse. Prosecutors claimed that the two executives hid nearly $2.3 billion in Adelphia debt from stockholders to mask the company's unhealthy financial status.

Starting Monday, Timothy Rigas will serve 20 years in prison, and his father will serve 15. In an interview with USA Today published over the weekend, 82-year-old John Rigas said fraud did not occur at Adelphia. He went on to say the government's case against him was based on the business environment at the time, amid other corporate scandals like Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco. "It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," Rigas said. "If this had happened a year before, there wouldn't have been any headlines."

More than two years ago, Deloitte settled charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which claimed the accounting firm had "failed to detect a massive fraud perpetrated by Adelphia and certain members of the Rigas family" in its fiscal 2000 audit. Deloitte paid $50 million to settle the case.

It was the largest fine ever imposed on an auditing firm
Deloitte & Touche LLP incurred the wrath of federal regulators Tuesday over public statements that appeared to shift the blame away from the auditing firm for failed audits of Adelphia Communications Corp. and Just for Feet Inc. Deborah Harrington, a Deloitte spokeswoman, said regulators requested that the firm revise the first press release it put out. The second release omitted some disputed statements. Deloitte, the U.S. accounting branch of Big Four accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Tuesday agreed to pay $50 million to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it failed to detect fraud at Adelphia. It was the largest fine ever imposed on an auditing firm.
"SEC Rebukes Deloitte on Adelphia Audit Spin," SmartPros, April 28, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x48015.xml

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on April 29, 2005

TITLE: Deloitte to Be Latest to Settle in Accounting Scandals
REPORTER: Diya Gullapalli
DATE: Apr 26, 2005
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111444033641815994,00.html 
TOPICS: Auditing, Fraudulent Financial Reporting, Securities and Exchange Commission

SUMMARY: Deloitte & Touche LLP agreed to pay a $50 million fine to settle SEC civil charges related to fraud at Adelphia Communications Corp. One related article discusses Adelphia's fine. A second related article discusses a negative reaction by the SEC to Deloitte's statement about Adelphia executives "deliberately misleading" their auditors in its public disclosure about payment of the fine.

1.) The author describes the fine of $50 million paid by Deloitte & Touche as resulting from failure to "prevent massive fraud" as cable company Adelphia Communications Corp. What is the purpose of a financial statement audit? Can an audit "prevent" fraudulent financial reporting? In your answer, define the phrase "fraudulent financial reporting."

2.) Refer to the first related article. Of what failure did the SEC accuse Deloitte & Touche?

3.) Given your answers to #'s 1 and 2 above, how can auditors serve as gatekeepers in a line of defense against fraud?

4.) Refer to the second related article. What steps did the SEC require Deloitte to undertake in relation to its fine regarding Adelphia audits?

5.) Why was the SEC concerned about Deloitte & Touche's characterization of the reason for the failure of the Adelphia audit to detect fraudulent financial reporting? In your answer, comment on the intent of the agreement associated with the payment of the $50 million fine.

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

TITLE: Adelphia to Pay $715 Million in 3-Way Settlement
REPORTER: Peter Grant and Deborah Solomon
PAGE: A3 ISSUE: Apr 26, 2005
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111445555592816193,00.html 

TITLE: Deloitte Statement About Adelphia Raises SEC's Ire
REPORTER: Deborah Solomon
PAGE: C3 ISSUE: Apr 27, 2005
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111456098308517768,00.html


Adelphia Communications Corp. agreed to a $715 million settlement
Adelphia Communications Corp. agreed to a $715 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve claims stemming from the corporate looting and accounting-fraud scandal that toppled the country's fifth-largest cable-television operator.
Peter Grant and Deborah Solomon," "Adelphia to Pay $715 Million In 3-Way Settlement," The Wall Street JournalApril 26, 2005, Page A3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111445555592816193,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Regas Father and Son in Club Fed at Last
In June, U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand rescinded the order allowing them to remain free, giving the father and son until Aug. 13 to report to prison. John Rigas, 82, was sentenced to 15 years and Timothy Rigas, 51, to 20 years for their role in the collapse of one of the nation's largest cable television companies (Adelphia). The pair had asked that they be allowed to serve their time together at a facility close to their homes in Coudersport, Pa. Instead, the federal Bureau of Prisons sent them to the Butner Federal Correctional Complex, located about 45 minutes northwest of Raleigh.
Martha Waggoner, "Adelphia's Rigases Report to Prison," Forbes, August 13, 2007 --- http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/08/13/ap4014493.html

Bob Jensen's threads on Deloitte are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#Deloitte

International Gateway for Gifted Youth
The University of Warwick, in Britain, has announced the creation of the
International Gateway for Gifted Youth, to be known by the acronym IGGY. The program will be open to 11-19 year olds around the world, identified by grades and other measures as being in the to 5 percent of all students. IGGY will create online forums to link these students together, while also creating places for the students to meet in person, starting with a gathering in Britain and one in an Asian country yet to be selected. Other universities and nonprofit groups, from numerous countries. are expected to be involved in the effort over time.
Inside Higher Ed, August 7, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/07/qt

Is Language Innate or Learned?

Japanese, Canadian, and Stanford University researchers have designed a novel computer program that, through listening to samples of speech, was able to identify different categories of sounds without any human guidance. These findings shed light on how human infants learn language. "In the past, there has been a strong tendency to think that language is very special and that the mechanisms involved are predetermined by evolutionary constraints, and are not very general," says James McClelland, a cognitive neuroscientist at Stanford University who worked on the project. "What we are saying is, Look, we can use a very general approach and do quite well learning aspects of language."
Brittany Sauser, MIT's Technology Review, August 2, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/17672/

Is your academic association negotiating a good deal for conference hotel rooms and airline fares?

"No, No, NACUBO," by Wick Sloane, Inside Higher Ed, August 6, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/08/06/sloane

My name is Wick, and I have been a NACUBO member.

The National Association of College and University Business Officers last week nailed at least $4 million to the fall tuition bills going out to strapped families and students this month. NACUBO gathered more than 1,000 higher education business officers and 200-plus vendors at a Mardi Gras in New Orleans.... I mean, an annual meeting, “Crossroads: New Beginnings Built on Valued Traditions.” Those traditions being, for example, free food, an umbrella from Microsoft in the registration bag and a golf tournament with the Beverage Cart sponsored by Higher One, a cash-card company, I think.

. . .

Did NACUBO negotiate premiums as high as 58 percent for hotel rooms in New Orleans? I was looking up prices on Web hotel sites, and I scrolled down to the featured hotels on the NACUBO pages. I thought I’d made a mistake – NACUBO prices were higher. How hard can negotiating a deal be in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans? Take a look.


NACUBO Price Web Price Difference Premium
Hilton $175 $119 $56 47%
Wyndham $169 $109 $60 55%
W New Orleans $169 $107 $62 58%
Marriott $167 $129 $38 29%

. . .

I have yet to meet anyone who accepts accountability for the ever-rising costs of a higher education. As a society, we’ve never known more about the mind and learning and cognitive science. New knowledge and great need in other fields breed innovation. How about a better way to deliver an education? The four-year bachelor’s degree, the big cost driver in higher education, is a construct from the University of Bologna in the 1400s. The pedagogical constraint was the virtual absence of books. Education required gathering students in a room and the professor reading the book to them. I pitched this idea many times to NACUBO chiefs. Not the answer, but let’s tackle the question. No luck, and costs keep rising, and back interest on student loans compounds.

Continued in article

 Jensen Comment
Years ago, a well known academic Association in which I'm a member negotiated airline fares (to a conference in Hawaii) from a Florida travel agency that were much higher than fares available directly from the designated airline (Delta) without going through the Association's "special fare" travel agent. Complaints from the membership subsequently led to various happenings including the dropping of that travel agency used for years by the Association.

Bob Jensen's threads about accountability and conflicts of interest in higher education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Accountability 

Bob Jensen's threads about conference rip-offs are at

When should professors add practitioners to their courses?

"Mixing Theory and Practice on Defense Policy," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, August 8, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/08/defense

In a class about United Nations regulations on the laws of war, the discussion turned inevitably to Star Trek.

When the U.N. authorizes sanctions against a particular nation, said Ilan Berman, the professor, the institution acts much like the Borg — in the show’s universe, a mechanized force of cyborg mercenaries bent on assimilating all of mankind. The analogy was lost on most of the class, but Berman drove the point home for those who didn’t regularly tune in to syndicated science fiction programs in the early 1990s: Each member nation must act as part of the collective.

The lecture, peppered as it was with the occasional pop culture reference, covered a lot of ground, from the U.S. national security strategy to the justifications for nations’ use of force. The students in the class — five were present on a Monday night in July for the elective — come from a range of backgrounds, several of them working full-time, but all in the program with an eye toward defense policy, whether in the government, consulting or think tanks.

In Washington, those are hardly unorthodox goals. Programs in defense or security studies churn out students every year in the nation’s capital, from well-known and respected institutions such as Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and also outside the Beltway at places like Harvard (Kennedy) and Princeton (Wilson). The students in Berman’s class, tucked in a conference room on the seventh floor of a corporate office building in Fairfax, Va., are part of a relatively new experiment: What if a state school in Springfield, Mo., operated a satellite campus alongside the established players in defense studies?

So far, enrollments have been growing each year since the unit opened shop in 2005 within commuting distance from the city, sandwiched between a rapidly developing apartment complex and an office park. The Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, a part of Missouri State University, caters to students who want to break into Beltway defense circles with a public university price tag and the advantages of a more practical approach. In doing so, it offers a two-year M.S. degree that requires both coursework and internships.

Having access to actual practitioners in the classroom means, in this case, connections to defense and foreign policy officials in the government. As with others like it, the program has had a long revolving-doors tradition, starting from its original incarnation in the early 1970s at the University of Southern California, where it was founded by a former defense official who served on the SALT I delegation, William R. Van Cleave, and partially funded by the free-market Earhart Foundation. But unlike at similar departments elsewhere, Missouri State’s full-time faculty of three and its nine affiliated lecturers tend to come mainly from positions in Republican administrations and conservative-leaning institutions.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Some years back Professor Sharon Lightner (UC at San Diego) put together a really interesting online course for students, practitioners, and accounting standard setters in six different countries where the classes met synchronously.
"An Innovative Online International Accounting Course on Six Campuses Around the World" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255light.htm

Where do your tax payments annually stand relative to your mortgage, health insurance, and automobile payments and automobile expenses?

A typical family pays substantially more to the government than its combined mortgage, automobile and health insurance expenses. And most presidential candidates wants the government to take a whole lot more to pay for either universal health care coverage or drastic increases in coverage for persons age 25 and younger.

"The Two-Income Tax Trap," by Todd J. Zywicki, The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2007; Page A17 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118705537958296783.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

The argument is developed in the book, "The Two Income Trap: Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke," by Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren and her daughter Amelia Tyagi. In fact, using their own numbers, it is evident that they have overlooked the most important contributor to the purported household budget crunch -- taxes.

Ms. Warren and Ms. Tyagi compare two middle-class families: an average family in the 1970s versus the 2000s (all dollar values are inflation-adjusted). The typical 1970s family is headed by a working father and a stay-at-home mother with two children. The father's income is $38,700, out of which came $5,310 in mortgage payments, $5,140 a year on car expenses, $1,030 on health insurance, and income taxes "which claim 24% of [the father's] income," leaving $17,834, or about $1,500 per month in "discretionary income" for all other expenses, such as food, clothing, utilities and savings.

The typical 2000s family has two working parents and a higher income of $67,800, an increase of 75% over the 1970s family. But their expenses have also risen: The mortgage payment increases to $9,000, the additional car raises the family obligation to $8,000, and more expensive health insurance premiums cost $1,650. A new expense of full-time daycare so the mother can work is estimated at $9,670. Mother's income bumps the family into a higher tax bracket, so that "the government takes 33% of the family's money." In the end, despite the dramatic increase in family income, the family is left with $17,045 in "discretionary income," less than the earlier generation.

The authors present no explanation for why they present only the tax data in their two examples as percentages instead of dollars. Nor do they ever present the actual dollar value for taxes anywhere in the book. So to conduct an "apples to apples" comparison of all expenses, I converted the tax obligations in the example from percentages to actual dollars.

In fact, for the typical 1970s family, paying 24% of its income in taxes works out to be $9,288. And for the 2000s family, paying 33% of its income is $22,374.

Although income only rose 75%, and expenditures for the mortgage, car and health insurance rose by even less than that, the tax bill increased by $13,086 -- a whopping 140% increase. The percentage of family income dedicated to health insurance, mortgage and automobiles actually declined between the two periods.

During this period, the figures used by Ms. Warren and Ms. Tyagi indicate that annual mortgage obligations increased by $3,690, automobile obligations by $2,860 and health insurance payments by $620 (a total increase of $7,170). Those increases are not trivial -- but they are swamped by the increase in tax obligations. To put this in perspective, the increase in tax obligations is over three times as large as the increase in the mortgage payments and almost double the increase in the mortgage and automobile payments combined. Even the new expenditure on child care is about a quarter less than the increase in taxes.

Overall, the typical family in the 2000s pays substantially more in taxes than the combined expenses of their mortgage, automobile and health insurance. And the change in the tax obligation between the two periods is substantially greater than the change in mortgage, automobile expenses and health-insurance costs combined.

This suggests that the most important change in the balance sheets of middle-class households over the past three decades is a dramatically higher tax burden caused by the progressive nature of the American tax system. In turn it follows that the most effective way of alleviating the household budget crunch would be to adopt lower and flatter tax rates that would reduce the government's take. Another possibility, advocated by Prof. Edward J. McCaffery of the University of Southern California Law School, would eliminate the "secondary earner bias" in the tax system, which causes all of the wife's income to effectively be taxed at a much higher marginal tax rate than the husband's. Any of these reforms seem sensible.

Lower and flatter marginal tax rates generally are not advocated by those who dominate the American legal academy today. But for those who want to consider serious strategies for preventing bankruptcies, less money in Uncle Sam's pockets may mean more money in ours.

Mr. Zywicki is a professor of law at George Mason University and author of a book on consumer bankruptcy and consumer lending, forthcoming from Yale University Press.


Why does the media almost always take a pessimistic view of the state of the economy?
Can economists really predict better than a random sample of the public?

"Fair but Unbalanced:  How the media promote false pessimism about the economy," by Brian S. Wesbury, The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110010446

For example, the most recent Wall Street Journal economic forecasting survey, from July, shows that 49 out of 60 forecasters expect real GDP to grow at an average annual rate of 2%, or faster, in 2007. Of the remaining 11 forecasters, only two expect growth of less than 1%, and only one expects a recession. For 2008, the forecasters are even more optimistic, with none expecting recession. There are at least a half-dozen other institutions publishing surveys, and all of them report very similar results among the 100 or so active professional forecasters. Except for two well-known economists (Nouriel Roubini at New York University, and Gary Shilling of A. Gary Shilling & Co.), who are not in many surveys, a super-duper majority of professional forecasting economists believe the economy will continue to expand during the next year and have believed so for the past four or five years.

Despite this, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken in late July found that 68% of Americans thought that the economy either was in recession already, or would experience a recession sometime during the next 12 months. Interestingly, this is not much of a change from the past. This same survey question has been polled at least five times since September 2002. Each time a robust majority of between 65% and 85% of respondents thought a recession either was under way or would occur within the year. Americans have been bearish on the economy for quite some time.

In short, over the past five years, forecasting economists from academia, consulting shops, financial services and industry have a perfect 5-0 record against a random sample of American citizens. It's important to understand that economists are not always right. Some even say that economists were put on earth to make weathermen look good.

In fact, some suggest that the experts don't know what they are talking about. They say that economists make the mistake of looking at aggregate data, for GDP or overall income, which hides serious dislocations for the middle class and those with lower incomes. Those who argue this point believe that unfair foreign competition and unfair distribution of income are leaving many Americans behind.

But this is hard to believe. The economy moderated last year, but the unemployment rate is still just 4.6%, almost a full percentage point below its 20-year average of 5.5%. Since the jobless rate first fell below 5% in December 2005, average hourly earnings have expanded at a 4.1% annualized rate--as good as any year during the late 1990s. And recent research shows that incomes for the bottom fifth of wage earners have risen faster in the past few decades than incomes at the top, hard work is being rewarded more by performance pay, and income volatility is no worse today than it was in the 1980s and 1990s.

Stranger still is a July poll by the American Research Group (ARG) in which 68% of respondents rated their own personal financial situation as "good, very good or excellent." This is a huge improvement from March 2003, when another ARG poll found only 46% of Americans were either "hopeful or happy" about their personal financial situation, while 46% were "worried or angry."

This begs the question: If the actual economic data, the views of professional economists and the self-proclaimed personal financial situation of a majority of Americans have improved this much, why are people so worried about the economy? Why do people assume they are the exception rather than the rule?

One answer is that people gather knowledge about the rest of the economy, the part they cannot see, from watching news. As a result, it could be that the format behind most business journalism skews perceptions and creates pessimism. To be very clear, I am not arguing that business news is purposefully biased. But what seems clear is that in the name of producing an entertaining product, and in an attempt to provide contrasting views, the true consensus of experts is rarely reported.

A randomly selected pairing of economists from The Wall Street Journal forecasting panel would pit two rather optimistic forecasters against each other in debate. But having two economists debate about whether GDP will grow 2.1% this year or 2.4% is downright boring. As a result, the producers of business news spice things up. They arrange for debates between a bullish economist and a bearish economist. And since they can't have Messrs. Roubini and Shilling on every hour of every day, they find equity short-sellers who make a living when things turn down, or political economists who are trying to score points.

While this is entertaining, and may bring in eyeballs, which sell commercials, this idea of "fair and balanced" debates leaves an impression that the experts are split 50/50, when in reality it's more like 80/20, or 90/10. After all, the economy is closing in on six straight years of growth and the stock market is up more than 80% since its bottom in October 2002. It is true that the number of shares sold short on the Nasdaq rose to a record of 9.3 billion last week, but this only equals the number of shares that change hands on the Nasdaq (on average) every 4.9 days. There are way more bulls than bears. It's not a 50/50 world.

Continued in article


"The Incapacitating Flashlight An LED flashlight makes culprits vomit," by Prachi Patel-Predd, MIT's Technology Review, August 6, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19142/?a=f 

Soon cops' flashlights might not only temporarily blind bad guys: they might also stop them in their tracks by disorienting them and making them nauseatingly sick. When suspects turn away or reel, cops or border-security agents can nab and handcuff them.

The flashlight, which is being developed for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), uses a range finder to measure the distance to the target's eyes so that it can adjust the energy of the light to a level that won't cause permanent damage. Then it rapidly shoots out pulses of light from an array of ultrabright light emitting diodes (LEDs).

The flashes incapacitate a person in two different ways, says Robert Lieberman, CEO of Intelligent Optical Systems, based in Torrance, CA, which is making the device. The flashes temporarily blind a person, as any bright light would, and the light pulses, which quickly change both in color and duration, also cause what Lieberman calls psychophysical effects. These effects, whose effectiveness depends on the person, range from disorientation to vertigo to nausea, and they wear off in a few minutes.

It's not clear why the changing light pulses cause this effect, even though the effect has been well documented, Lieberman says. Helicopter pilots, for example, have been known to crash because they get disoriented by the choppy flashes of sunlight coming through the chopper's spinning blades.

Continued in article

What happens now that two huge galaxies are seen colliding with one another?

"Spitzer Spies Monster Galaxy Pileup," PhysOrg, August 6, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105632804.html

The clashing galaxies, spotted by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, will eventually merge into a single, behemoth galaxy up to 10 times as massive as our own Milky Way. This rare sighting provides an unprecedented look at how the most massive galaxies in the universe form.

"Most of the galaxy mergers we already knew about are like compact cars crashing together," said Kenneth Rines of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass. "What we have here is like four sand trucks smashing together, flinging sand everywhere." Rines is lead author of a new paper accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Collisions, or mergers, between galaxies are common in the universe. Gravity causes some galaxies that are close together to tangle and ultimately unite over a period of millions of years. Though stars in merging galaxies are tossed around like sand, they have a lot of space between them and survive the ride. Our Milky Way galaxy will team up with the Andromeda galaxy in five billion years.

Mergers between one big galaxy and several small ones, called minor mergers, are well documented. For example, one of the most elaborate known minor mergers is taking place in the Spiderweb galaxy – a massive galaxy that is catching dozens of small ones in its "web" of gravity. Astronomers have also witnessed "major" mergers among pairs of galaxies that are similar in size. But no major mergers between multiple hefty galaxies – the big rigs of the galaxy world – have been seen until now.

The new quadruple merger was discovered serendipitously during a Spitzer survey of a distant cluster of galaxies, called CL0958+4702, located nearly five billion light-years away. The infrared telescope first spotted an unusually large fan-shaped plume of light coming out of a gathering of four blob-shaped, or elliptical, galaxies. Three of the galaxies are about the size of the Milky Way, while the fourth is three times as big.

Further analysis of the plume revealed it is made up of billions of older stars flung out and abandoned in an ongoing clash. About half of the stars in the plume will later fall back into the galaxies. "When this merger is complete, this will be one of the biggest galaxies in the universe," said Rines.

Continued in article

From the Scout Report on August 10, 2007

SlimBrowser 4.10 --- http://www.flashpeak.com/sbrowser/

There are many web browsers out there, but SlimBrowser 4.10 has some defining features that warrant a look. This latest version has the ability to render RSS feeds into readable web pages and visitors can also customize the appearance of the browser with over 100 unique skins. Additionally, this version also includes online translation capabilities and a form filler.

SlimBrowser 4.10 is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and above.

VLC Media Player 0.8.6c --- http://www.videolan.org/

Some media players play just a few formats, but VLC Media Player 0.8.6c an handle just about any format. The player supports more common formats (such as mp3’s and DivX) and a number of less common media formats. Some users will also find VLC’s ability to function as a streaming media server to be tremendously useful. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and above or Mac OS X and above.

From The Washington Post on August 7, 2007

The founder of which site plans to create a search service to compete with Google and Yahoo?

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

From The Washington Post on August 9, 2007

What percent of American adults say they have sent text messages while driving?

A. 25 percent
B. 41 percent
C. 57 percent
D. 68 percent
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.


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

Alan Russell: Why can't we grow new body parts? (18-minute video) --- http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/142

Draining away brain's toxic protein to stop Alzheimer's
Scientists are trying a plumber’s approach to rid the brain of the amyloid buildup that plagues Alzheimer’s patients: Simply drain the toxic protein away. That’s the method outlined in a paper published online August 12 by Nature Medicine. Scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center show how the body’s natural way of ridding the body of the substance is flawed in people with the disease. Then the team demonstrated an experimental method in mice to fix the process, dramatically reducing the levels of the toxic protein in the brain and halting symptoms. The team is now working on developing a version of the protein that could be tested in people with the disease.
PhysOrg, August 12, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news106149708.html
Jensen Comment
Seems like the trick is to drain the bad stuff while leaving the good stuff. I wonder if stores will one day be selling brain pumps over the counter. Or maybe this will lend new meaning to the phrase "blow it out your ear."

Testosterone patch benefits women with low sexual desire
Novel research published in the current issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine supports the claim that women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder or HSDD (persistent or recurrent deficiency and/or absence of sexual fanatasies/thoughts, and/or desire for, or receptivity to, sexual activity, which causes personal distress) show noted improvement in sexual desire and sexual function following low dose testosterone treatment.
PhysOrg, August 14, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news106326835.html

Researchers find vitamin B1 deficiency key to vascular problems for diabetic patients
Researchers at Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, have discovered that deficiency of thiamine – Vitamin B1 - may be key to a range of vascular problems for people with diabetes. They have also solved the mystery as to why thiamine deficiency in diabetes had remained hidden until now. Diabetes is increasing in incidence in the UK and elsewhere and one of the most significant health problems associated with the condition are vascular complications: microvascular complications, such as damage to the kidney, retina and nerves in arms and legs; and macrovascular complications, such as heart disease and stroke. The University of Warwick researchers, led by Professor Paul Thornalley, have shown conclusively that diabetic patients are thiamine deficient in blood plasma. They were also able to solve the mystery of what was happening to thiamine in diabetic patients and connect it more closely to vascular complications in diabetic patients.
PhysOrg, August 7, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105715539.html

Why Ketamine Helps Fight Depression
Last year, neuroscientists at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) made headlines with a surprising result. They found that a single dose of ketamine--an anesthetic and club drug known as special K--could relieve depression in some patients in a matter of hours, rather than in the six or more weeks it typically takes for existing antidepressants to kick in. What's more, the drug was successful in a group that is usually extremely difficult to treat: patients who had failed to find relief after trying multiple antidepressant medications.
Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, August 7, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/19156/

Green tea boosts production of detox enzymes, rendering cancerous chemicals harmless
Concentrated chemicals derived from green tea dramatically boosted production of a group of key detoxification enzymes in people with low levels of these beneficial proteins, according to researchers at Arizona Cancer Center. These findings, published in the August issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggest that a green tea concentrate might help some people strengthen their metabolic defense against toxins capable of causing cancer.
PhysOrg, August 10, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news105966521.html

A genetic variation that boosts risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
A genetic variation that boosts risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) paradoxically appears to predict who will grow out of the learning disability. Scientists found that brain development in ADHD-afflicted children with this variation was out of whack at age 8 but normalized by 16. ADHD symptoms in this group were also more likely to disappear with age. The study is the first to identify a genetically determined pattern of brain development linked to ADHD and supports the existence of a real neurological basis for the disorder, which has been viewed by some as a product of pharmaceutical marketing or bad parenting. "This is the first step in individualizing treatment for ADHD based on genetic make-up," says Philip Shaw, a neuroscientist at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD, who led the study.
Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, August 9, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/19197/

Bedbugs tuck into Southland:  Calls to exterminators are rising. Eradication is neither quick nor cheap
Bed feeling a little crowded? Maybe you have company. The Cimex lectularius, better known and despised as the common bedbug, is snuggling into households across Southern California, giving people the heebie- jeebies. The blood-sucking, heat-seeking, pint-size parasites aren't believed by the experts to transmit disease, but they do have a way of cranking up stress levels. "It was just horrendous," said a West Hollywood middle-school teacher, who, like others who have been horrified to have lived with the uninvited guests, asked that she not be identified. "Think of how you wouldn't sleep at night if you had roaches, and this...
Leslie Earnest, LA Times, August 13, 2007 --- http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-bedbugs13aug13,0,7652786.story?coll=la-home-center

"Making Deaf Ears Hear with Light: A laser-based approach could make cochlear implants, which currently use electrical signals, more effective," by Michael Chorost, MIT's Technology Review, August 10, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/19206/

About 100,000 profoundly deaf people now hear with cochlear implants, which work by stimulating the auditory nerve with a string of electrodes implanted in the inner ear. While the devices enable many users to converse easily and use telephones, they still fall short of restoring normal hearing. Now scientists at Northwestern University are exploring whether laser-based implants could one day outperform today's electrical version.

The mammalian ear uses neural firing rates as one way of encoding sound. As part of a project funded by the National Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), Claus-Peter Richter and his colleagues at Northwestern have demonstrated that they can control firing rates in the auditory nerve of animals using infrared laser radiation. They are now trying to establish that it's safe to use for long periods of time and that it can manipulate neural firing rates with enough precision to send useful information to the brain.

With conventional cochlear implants, electrical signals spread in the wet, salty environment of the body, muddying the signal. That makes it difficult to trigger specific populations of nerves inside the cochlea. Further complicating matters, simultaneous pulses in different locations merge with each other, stimulating the cochlea everywhere instead of in the desired locations.

Engineers work around the problem by triggering only one or two of the 16 or 24 electrodes in the inner ear at a time. It's done so rapidly that the user has the illusion that all of the electrodes are firing, but the result is still a relatively crude simulation of normal hearing. To many cochlear implant users, voices sound mechanical and music sounds washed out.

An infrared laser, on the other hand, can be beamed at nerve fibers with pinpoint accuracy. Furthermore, the directional nature of laser light means that optical pulses in different places won't interfere with each other. The increased precision of neural stimulation would make voices and music sound more natural, and users would be able to converse in noisy environments more easily.

While it's not yet clear why infrared radiation can trigger activity in the auditory nerves, Richter hypothesizes that it heats the cells slightly, opening ion channels in the cell walls and sending an electrical signal down the length of the neuron.

Five Best Children's Books

"Hear Ye, Hear Ye:  These children's books are especially enthralling when read aloud," by Meghan Cox Gordon, The Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110010459

1. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl (Knopf, 1964).

No one questions the civilizing utility of reading aloud to children, nor is there much doubt that the young will cheerfully sit still for almost any story, so long as it's read with a bit of style. The trick is to find picture books for small children that can stand frequent re-readings ("Again! Again!") and longer narratives for older listeners that won't drive you half-mad with over-long sentences, irritating digressions or endless landscape description. This children's favorite is, in my opinion, the gold standard of read-alouds for ages 5-12 and when read aloud far surpasses any of its flashy film versions: The sentences are crisp, the plot is full of surprises and, best of all, virtually every character lends itself to a rich, fruity accent. In our household, for instance, the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka is German ("Velcome to ze fectory!"), Grandpa Joe is Irish and the intolerably spoiled Veruca Salt comes from Dixie ("Ah've decided Ah want a squirrel! Git me one of those squirrels"!). That this approach creates a pig-pile of regional twangs only adds to the mad joy of the story.

2. "Half Magic" by Edward Eager (Harcourt Brace, 1954).

In this droll classic set in the 1920s, four siblings find an object that resembles a nickel but that is, in fact, an ancient talisman with a curious power: Whatever one wants, one gets it by halves. So when Mark wishes the children were all on a desert island, they get only as far as a desert. When Martha longs for the family cat to talk, suddenly the creature can--sort of. "Idlwidl baxbix!" is the type of thing she says, which makes young listeners fall about laughing. Over the course of the children's adventures, they are kidnapped by an itinerant Arab, trounce Sir Launcelot on the jousting field right before King Arthur's horrified eyes and inadvertently transport their mother onto the back of a circus steed. "Half Magic" is lightly peppered with literary references (to Longfellow, Lewis Carroll, Hans Christian Andersen et al.) that not all children age 7-12 will recognize but that the alert adult may take pleasure in explaining along the way.

3. "Just William" by Richmal Crompton (Newnes [London], 1922).

These brilliantly funny stories require some skill on the part of the reader--a certain archness in the descriptive bits and British accents for the dialogue--but they're infinitely worth the effort. The escapades of 11-year-old English schoolboy William Brown and his doughty companions, the Outlaws, first began appearing in British magazines in 1919 (a dozen were collected for "Just William" three years later, and more compilations ensued until the author's death in 1968). Over the decades, no matter how detestable the houseguest, devious the schoolmate or dull the drizzly afternoon, our incorrigible boy always wins out. Try this passage aloud, where William realizes the comic potential of a new toy, and you'll see what I mean about archness: "He had bought a balloon adorned with the legs and head of a duck fashioned in cardboard. This could be blown up to its fullest extent and then left to subside. It took several minutes for it to subside, and during those minutes it emitted a long-draw-out and high-pitched groan. The advantage of this was obvious."

4. "Anatole" by Eve Titus; illustrated by Paul Galdone (McGraw-Hill, 1956).

I don't know why it is, but few English-speakers fail to enjoy putting on the occasional outrageous French accent. This wonderful picture book for children ages 4-8, about a dignified mouse named Anatole, gives adult readers a blissful opportunity to fool around with diphthongs of Clouseau-like absurdity. After overhearing an insult, Anatole decides that it is wrong simply to pilfer scraps from humans to feed his family. He wants to earn what he takes. So the clever Parisian sneaks into the tasting room of Monsieur Duval's cheese factory, samples the wares and carefully spikes tiny signs into the cheeses with advice such as "needs more grated onion" and "add a little vinegar." Then (naturally, read aloud with fond, full-throated Francophilia), Anatole surveys his work: "Voila! Now the Duval Factory will learn a thing or two. Mice are known everywhere as the World's Best Judges of Cheese! As for myself, I shall bring some home proudly, for I have honorably earned it!"

5. "The Perfect Nest" by Catherine Friend; illustrated by John Manders (Candlewick, 2007).

This brightly colored picture book for young children has a charming narrative rhythm, a happy ending and that indefinable quality that makes it stand up to many return visits. Here a dastardly, yellow-eyed farm cat named Jack constructs a fabulous nest in order to lure passing fowl to lay their eggs in it, eggs that Jack plans to turn into a fabulous omelet. Alas, he is too successful: The nest is first occupied by three squabbling birds, then, briefly, by three warm eggs, and then, to the cat's dismay, by three damp baby chicks. "Hola, mama!" cries the first, looking at Jack. "Sacre bleu! Bonjour, Maman," cheeps the second. And the third--to the glee of listeners ages 4-7--says: "Great balls of fire! Howdy, Ma." This being a bedtime story, it ends with Jack curled protectively around the three heavily accented babies who have adopted him, all fast asleep in the perfect nest.

Mrs. Gurdon reviews children's books for The Wall Street Journal.


Saturday Wife at Huge Discount (chuckle)
Subject line of an August 12, 2007 message from Naomi Ragen [nragen@netvision.net.il]
Jensen Comment
The Saturday Wife is actually a book by Naomi about Jewish women --- Click Here

Forwarded by Roger and Diane
(I especially like the last one.)

1) NUDITY   I was driving with my three young children one warm  summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up  and waved.  She was  stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year-old  shout from the back seat, "Mom! That lady isn't wearing a seat belt!" 

 2) OPINIONS   On the first day of school, a first-grader handed  his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, "The opinions  expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents."  

3) KETCHUP   A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of  the jar.  During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old  daughter to answer the phone. "Mommy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now.  She's  hitting the bottle."  

4) MORE NUDITY   A little boy got lost at the YMCA and found himself  in the women's locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into  shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little  boy watched in amazement and then asked, "What's the matter, haven't  you ever seen a little boy before?"  

5) POLICE # 1   While taking a routine vandalism report at an  elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years  old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, "Are you a cop?"  Yes," I answered and continued writing the report. "My mother said if  I ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that right?  "Yes, that's right," I told her. "Well, then, "she  said as she extended her foot toward me, "would you please tie my  shoe?"  

6) POLICE # 2   It was the end of the day when I parked my police  van in front of the  station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9  partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me  "Is that a dog you got back there?" he asked. "It sure is," I replied.  Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van.  Finally he said," What'd he do?"  

7) ELDERLY   While working for an organization that delivers  lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on  my afternoon rounds.  She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age,  particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her  staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced  myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and  whispered, "The tooth fairy will never believe this!"  

8) DRESS-UP   A little girl was watching her parents dress for a  party.  When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, "Daddy, you  shouldn't wear that suit." "And why not, darling?" "You know that it  always gives you a headache the next morning. "  

9) DEATH   While walking along the sidewalk in front of his  church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made  his collar wilt.  App  arently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin.  Feeling  that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box  and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of  the deceased.  The  minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with  sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said:   "Glory be unto the Faaaather, and unto the Sonnn,  and into the hole he gooooes."  

10) SCHOOL   A little girl had just finished her first week of  school.  "I'm just wasting  my time," she said to her mother . "I can't read, I  can't write and they won't let me talk!"  

11) BIBLE   A little boy opened the big family Bible. He was  fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something  fell out of the Bible.  He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf  that had been pressed in between the pages "Mama, look what I found,"  the boy called out.. "What have you got there, dear?" With  astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered,  "I think it's Adam's underwear!"

Although it's been abnormally cool in the White Mountains, such is not the case in most parts of the continental U.S. in July and August

Forwarded by the Swensons (some of these are more true than funny)


 .....the birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.

.....the trees are whistling for the dogs.

.....the best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.

.....hot water now comes out of both taps.

.....you can make sun tea instantly.

.....you learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.

.....the temperature drops below 95 F (35 C) and you feel a little chilly.

.....you discover that in July it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car.

.....you discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.

.....you actually burn your hand opening the car door.

.....you break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 a.m.

.....your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?"

.....you realize that asphalt has a liquid state.

.....the potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter.

.....the cows are giving evaporated milk.. .

....farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.



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

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

Three Finance Blogs

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

Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

Also see http://moodlerooms.com/

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

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

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



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