Bear Cubs Making Themselves at Home in a
It's not smart to stand there taking their picture!
I did not take this picture.
Wonderful World ---
What a Wonderful World (Louis
Man has been endowed with reason, with the
power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up
to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep
disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the
climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.
Anton Chekhov, Uncle
Vanya, 1897 ---
When we understand that man is the only
animal who must create meaning, who must open a wedge into neutral
nature, we already understand the essence of love. Love is the
problem of an animal who must find life, create a dialogue with
nature in order to experience his own being.
Ernest Becker ---
To me a lush carpet of pine needles or
spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.
Helen Keller ---
If a man walks in the woods for love of
them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a
loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off
those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed
an industrious and enterprising citizen.
Henry David Thoreau ---
I had a wooden pole
in the barn where I hang heavy old suits that I really should give to charity
since I've not worn a suit for over a year in retirement (nobody close died or
got married this year). To make a long story short, the pole broke and I did not
notice it for several weeks in that part of the barn. When I eventually replaced
the pole with a steel pipe and commenced picking up my fallen clothes, at the
bottom of the pile I found a badly chewed up blue blazer serving as a nest for
about a dozen baby mice. Each
baby with unopened eyes was about the size of a thimble. I didn't have the heart
to hurt the babies or move the nest. In a few months, however, I may put some
mouse baits in the barn with messages that "field mice" are supposed to live in
Once in May I
put out three bird feeders on the back deck. The next morning all three were
torn down. We can't feed birds up here, because the favorite food of White
Mountain black bears is bird seed. If I try again this winter, I will put out a
sign by the bird feeder stating that bears are supposed to dine in fancy hotel
Lon Henderson and
his wife own the
Sunset Hill House
Hotel down the road.
They took their family camping last week. Upon their return , I sent a message
that it was a good thing that the bears concentrated on the hotel's dumpster
rather than their sleeping bags in the woods. Lon wrote back as follows:
I heard the bears peeled our
dumpster lid back like foil (only the middle was chained, not the ends as
the guys working at the inn are supposed to do). No bears where we were
camping, but a mouse ate all of Mary Pearl’s Kit Kat bar .
Unless threatened, our
black bears are not dangerous and aggressive unlike their brown relatives in
other parts of the world. That does not mean that our bears cannot be
obnoxious. Our friends who live outside a nearby village called Easton reported
that, while they were working in the yard in broad daylight, a black bear simply walked past them
driveway and helped herself to the garbage bags inside the garage. We never
leave garbage outdoors up here except when some dumb accounting professor (who
retired from Texas) did so the first night after moving into his cottage. We
heard a commotion in the night and turned on the flood lights. What we then saw
was a furry black butt sticking out from our largest trash can.
Another friend had
family visiting for Thanksgiving. They looked up from the dinner table and saw a
bear inside one of their cars helping itself to some food inadvertently left inside the unlocked car. The bear actually opened
the car door without damaging the car.
Our physician up here is a
woman named Virginia Jeffryes. She reported that her mother put a sack of
garbage temporarily in a back room. When she later opened the door, she saw the
window broken and the screen torn off. In the yard was a black bear dragging
that sack of garbage toward the woods.
I have a friend who is a
professional "bear chaser." This means people hire him and his specially trained
dogs with radio collars to chase a bear into some distant part of the mountains.
Only on very rare occasions is he hired to kill a bear. Most of us prefer to
live and let live as far as all animals are concerned except when they need to
be thinned out for their own good as is the case on occasion with deer in
various parts of the world. In my opinion up here in the White Mountains, paying
somebody to chase bears off is a waste of time and money. Bears easily find
their way back in a very short period of time. But on occasion a bear might
prefer its new habitat, and this can be beneficial to prevent inbreeding. And
there may be some better dumpsters in the bear's new locale.
diving is not the main way bears survive up here. Although they eat most all
kinds of nuts and berries, the staple for them up here is acorns. The supply of
acorns is somewhat weather related and varies from year to year. We see more
bears wandering about if it happens to be a bad acorn year. Otherwise bears are
quite shy and prefer to live deep in the woods. And their hearing and smell
senses are so sensitive that hikers rarely encounter them in the woods. Sadly
our bears are still hunted down and killed by grownups with nothing better to
Tidbits on August 26, 2007
For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
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enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and
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Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures
Bob Jensen's Threads ---
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Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
(Also scroll down to the table at
Set up free conference calls at
World Clock ---
If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops ---
Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Four Hands Guitar (amazing) ---
Link forwarded by Vidya
A great video that captures the essence of the global shift to the knowledge era
and it's implications for us in the education community.
Related Link (Size Matters) ---
Saddam's Secrets ---
Stock Market Report by John Klee (Monty Python, Humor)
The Money Program (John Klee-like Humor) ---
Pres. George W. Bush Parody by a kid
From the WSJ: Bribes in New Orleans (not funny) ---
To find YouTube videos of your favorite singers, use Google.
For example, to find music videos of Bette Midler, enter "Bette Middler" AND "YouTube"
in the search boxes at
Kurzfilme is German for short films and maybe thats
interesting for your "Online multimedia" section.
You can find netzwelt Kurzfilme at
KPMG partners with major league baseball to bring baseball to inner city kids
Free music downloads ---
Find music and audio books from Akuma ---
Google Hacks (search for music) ---
Four Hands Guitar (amazing video) ---
I Just Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore (video) ---
Humor Music Links ---
The Hypnotic Handrum (video) ---
Max Roach was the hottest drummer in New York by
the time he was 20 years old. By the time he died at age 83, he was truly one of
the giants of jazz. ---
Born and raised among the jazz greats of New
Orleans, trumpeter Terence Blanchard honed his skills in the early 80s when he
replaced Wynton Marsalis on trumpet for Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers ---
Puccini's 'The Girl of the Golden West' ---
Vasectomy Song ---
Selected YouTube Music Videos ---
The Rose (Bette Midler
Bette Midler - Boogie
Woogie Bugle Boy (Jumpin')---
Elvis Presley - In The Ghetto...(Video) ---
Elvis Presley - Blue Suede Shoes (Video of Elvis live in 1969)
Barbra Streisand - Woman in Love (video) ---
Video: Johnny Cash - Kris Kristofferson - Willie Nelson -
Wayloon Jennings - Me and Bobby McGee ---
To find YouTube videos of your favorite singers,
use Google. For example, to find music videos of Bette Midler, enter "Bette
Middler" AND "YouTube" in the search boxes at
Photographs and Art
Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various
types electronic literature available free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Download the Internet Safety for Kids book ---
How to Publish in Top Journals ---
Writing World ---
Venice is a seductive city that has bewitched artists from all
over the world. One writer who has settled in "the city on stilts" is the
American author Donna Leon. The sinking Renaissance jewel is the backdrop of her
"Commissario Brunetti" detective stories. Leon recently gave a visiting reporter
a tour of her Venice. The story is part of a series, Crime in the City, about
crime novelists and the places they and their characters inhabit ---
Tibet Writes (Poetry) ---
Hebrew Poets in Old Spain ---
Espresso Stories (about consumerism) ---
Charlie Brown Quotes ---
Roderick Hudson by Henry James
Watch And Ward by Henry James ---
Bartleby, The Scrivener by Herman
Tom Sawyer Detective by Mark Twain ---
"Tanzania Travels" Blog Honored (African Health Issues) ---
Wisdom Quotes ---
The Necronomicon of Alhazred, (literally: "Book of Dead
Names") is not, as is popularly believed, a grimoire, or sorcerer's spell-book.
It was conceived as a history, and hence "a book of things now dead and gone".
An alternative derivation of the word Necronomicon gives as its meaning "the
book of the customs of the dead", but again this is consistent with the book's
original conception as a history, not as a work of necromancy ---
People who boasted that they had made a revolution
have always seen the next day that they had no idea what they were doing, that
the revolution made did not in the least resemble the one they would have liked
Friedrich Engels ---
In the free market, those that made bad credit
decisions must be allowed to pay the price, and only by paying dearly can
lessons truly be learned. Borrowers who were unwitting and took on too much debt
must learn that there are consequences for their actions. Homebuilders that
built too many homes or overpaid for land need to face the consequences. Wall
Street firms that provided credit to all of these activities with too much
laxity must also pay a price. This is all part of a healthy correction. All of
these players reaped benefits during the housing boom that preceded the current
crisis. Certain homeowners were able to temporarily live above their means.
Homebuilder and bank profits have been exorbitant, and shareholders and
executives of these companies have profited mightily in the boom. To not permit
losses now would be a direct violation of the free-market ideals at the
foundation of our economy.
Ethan Penner, "Fannie, Freddie and
the Housing Bust," The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2007; Page A11 ---
Far from being victims of Nazism, Aly argues, the
majority of Germans were indirect war profiteers. Requisitioned Jewish property,
resources stolen from the conquered, and punitive taxes levied on local
businesses insulated citizens from shortages and allowed the regime to create a
“racist-totalitarian welfare state.” The German home front, Aly claims, suffered
less privation than its English and American counterparts. To understand
Hitler’s popularity, Aly proposes, “it is necessary to focus on the socialist
aspect of National Socialism.” While underemphasized by modern historians, this
socialism was stressed in many contemporaneous accounts of fascism, especially
by libertarian thinkers. F.A. Hayek famously dedicated The Road to Serfdom to
“the socialists of all parties”—that is, Labourites, Bolsheviks, and National
Socialists. “It was the union of the anti-capitalist forces of the right and the
left, the fusion of radical and conservative socialism,” Hayek wrote, “which
drove out from Germany everything that was liberal.” Ludwig von Mises agreed,
arguing in 1944 that “both Russia and Germany are right in calling their systems
Michael C. Moynihan, "Hitler's
Handouts: Inside the Nazis' welfare state," Reason Magazine,
August/September 2007 ---
The State Children's Health Insurance Program bill
passed by the House of Representatives protects Medicare by reducing outlandish
overpayments to private plans that threaten the future of the entire Medicare
program ("The Schip Revelation," Review & Outlook, Aug. 9). What little benefit
some beneficiaries gain from these plans comes at the expense of the vast
majority of people with Medicare and with a price tag of $150 billion.
"SCHIP Shoulders Children's Health-Care in U.S.," The Wall
Street Journal, August 17, 2007; Page A11 ---
Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things
which escape those who dream only by night.
Edgar Allan Poe ---
So far this year the Democratic House has approved
spending bills that include some 6,500 earmarks, not quite keeping pace with the
Republicans' record of nearly 16,000 in 2005 but more than twice the whole-year
total of a decade ago. Far from shaming legislators into fiscal restraint, the
Times reports, "the new transparency has raised the value of earmarks as a
measure of members' clout" and "intensified competition for projects by letting
each member see exactly how many everyone else is receiving." Congressional
shamelessness likewise may undermine the goals of the new Senate ban on
anonymous holds. A hold occurs when a senator refuses to let a bill or
nomination proceed by unanimous consent, thereby requiring the measure's
supporters to muster 60 votes to allow consideration of the measure.
Jacob Sullum, "Honest and Open Thievery: The
limits of Congress's ethics reforms," Reason Magazine, August 15, 2007
Obama is walking the same tightrope. He recently
said he would talk with the world's rogue-state leaders without preconditions.
But then he caused a furor by declaring that as president he would order raids
on terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan if there were "actionable intelligence" on
their whereabouts and if the Islamabad regime didn't do the job itself.
Democratic candidate John Edwards made a similar pledge last week in an
interview with U.S. News—to go after Osama bin Laden "wherever
he was." Edwards has been one of the most dovish
presidential candidates, at least on Iraq, but he knows he can't afford to be
seen as wobbly on defense . . . Actually, the party's problem goes back more
than 30 years. Historians say congressional Democrats dug themselves into a deep
hole when they forced the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam and cut off money to the
Saigon government in its struggle against the Communists. Republicans argue that
since then the Democrats have shied away from using military force and have
appeared impotent. President Jimmy Carter hurt the party's image further; he
seemed naive about the intentions of the Soviet Union and was unable to win
freedom for U.S. hostages in Iran in the final year of his presidency. Kevin
Madden, spokesman for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, says too
many Democratic leaders are "liberal, antiwar internationalists" who aren't
willing to "make the tough decisions required to make the country safe." That's
a common view in the GOP—and a note that will be struck repeatedly in next
year's general-election campaign.
Kenneth T. Walsh, "The Dems'
Security Insecurity - New efforts to counter the GOP lead on national defense,"
U.S. News & World Report, August 19, 2007 ---
After President Obama and Vice-President Edwards get the last remaining G.I. out
of Iraq and commence sending the the U.S. Army into Pakistan, where would you
move to if you were the leader of al-Qaeda? No kidding --- Iraq? Will Obama and
Edwards re-invade Iraq?
Estimates vary, but up to 780 people were killed by
East German border guards for trying to flee to the West during the Cold War.
Yet Saturday's revelation of an official 1973 order that Stasi secret-police
agents "stop or liquidate" anyone trying to escape the socialist paradise has
stunned Germany. The story preoccupies the media and politicians alike. Granted,
the order is unique in its explicit inhumanity. "Do not hesitate to use your
firearm, not even when the border is breached in the company of women and
children, which the traitors have often used to their advantage," the document
reads. Like other totalitarian regimes, East Germany's apparatchiks usually
referred to state-sanctioned murder in more ambiguous terms.
"Shoot to Kill," The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2007;
Page A12 ---
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, established
during the 1979 Iranian revolution, has evolved into a powerful and influential
organization that is believed to have custody over most or all of Iran's
chemical, biological and radiological weapons, Anthony H. Cordesman of the
Center for Strategic and International Studies says in a study to be published
in late September. The force has some 125,000 men, and has exported thousands of
rockets to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon and shipped arms to various
Palestinian movements, including the Palestinian Authority, Cordesman writes in
``Iran's Military Forces and Warfighting Capabilities.'' Some 5,000 of the group
are assigned to unconventional warfare missions as well as special Quds, or
Jerusalem, forces for operations overseas. They support the Palestinian militant
group Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and on the West Bank and
Shiites in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Cordesman, a former director of
intelligence assessments at the Pentagon.
Barry Schweid, "Analyst: Iranian
Force Gaining Power," The Guardian, August 17, 2007 ---
As Iran flexes its military and political muscle,
its talk of revolution worries neighbors. The notion that the Imam Mahdi, the
12th Shia imam, will reappear in the world to carry the Islamic Revolution
beyond Iran's borders, worries Iran's neighbors.
Mike Shuster, NPR, August 20,
Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want
us to know; the rest is propaganda.
Horacio Verbitsky ---
The New York Times has to work very hard to make the
performance of the economy during the past few years look bad. This morning,
David Cay Johnston did his part.
Tom Blummer, "NYT Twists Data: Makes
Great Personal Income News Appear Awful (UPDATE: Reporter Responds),"
NewsBusters, August 21, 2007 ---
There was no manger, Christ is not the Messiah, and
the crucifixion never happened. A forthcoming (BBC)
ITV documentary will portray Jesus as Muslims see him.
With the Koran as a main source and drawing on interviews with scholars and
historians, the Muslim Jesus explores how Islam honors Christ as a prophet
(as is Osama Bin Laden) but not as the son of God. …
Tom Gross, "Muslim Jesus” to get
primetime billing on British TV," National Review, August 19, 2007 ---
BBC, on the other hand, would never have the courage these days to air a
documentary or other show critical of Muslim extremists. To do so would be most
unwise in the U.K. Fortunately it is still possible to be critical of
extremists of all religions and sects in the United States (see below).
CNN Explores Religious Fundamentalism:
Christiane Amanpour's work on the documentary series "God's Warriors" took her
directly to intersections of extreme religious and secular thinking. She
watched, fascinated, as demonstrators in San Francisco accused teenagers in the
fundamentalist Christian group BattleCry of intolerance in a clash of two
cultures that will probably never understand each other. Understanding is what
Amanpour is trying to promote in "God's Warriors," which takes up six prime-time
hours on CNN this week. The series on religious fundamentalism among Christians,
Muslims and Jews airs in three parts, . . .
David Bauder, Associated Press,
August 19, 2007 ---
YouTube is the latest propaganda vehicle for Hizb
ut-Tahrir, a hardline Islamic group which has been banned in Europe, China and
most of the Middle East — but not Australia. The group has posted a series of
professionally produced videos, which call for all countries with a majority
Muslim population to be run under Sharia law.
"Extremists unleash YouTube propaganda," Ninemsn, August
20, 2007 ---
The view we show of life to ourselves, and to
whatever lost young men are watching, is not broad and inspiriting. It is
limited and dispiriting. It is every man for himself. We make it too easy for
those who want to hate us to hate us. We make ourselves look bad in our media,
which helps future jihadists think that they must, by hating us, be good. They
hit their figurative garbage bin lids on the ground, and smirk, and promise to
make a racket, and then more than a racket, a boom.
Peggy Noonan, "Hatred Begins at
Home: The NYPD looks at what turns young Westerners into jihadis," The
Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2007 ---
The attacks of 9/11 generated a tide of commentary
on the origins and aims of anti-Western jihadism. Lately, however, events have
shifted attention to another, more long-standing feature of the Muslim world,
raising the question of whether Islamic militancy against the West is now of
lesser geopolitical significance than a stark, increasingly salient divide
within Islam itself. This is the ancient divide between the numerically dominant
Sunnis and a Shiite minority that is finally coming into its own.
Gal Luft and Anne Korin, "Islam's
Divide—and Us," Commentary Magazine, July/August 2007 ---
In war, as in famine and pestilence, one finds the
earthly basis for visions of hell. Wartime agony is immemorial, but the 20th
century brought the military arts of inflicting suffering and death to
diabolical perfection. For many in World War II, terror and death rained from
the skies: one did not have to be a soldier in order to suffer like one. The
bombers carried the war to civilian populations, and the names of cities ravaged
by air attack—London, Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki—figure as
largely in the history of the war as the sites of monumental battles. Indeed,
apart from the Holocaust, it is principally the great bombing episodes that give
World War II its horrific blazing signature.
Algis Valiunas, "Fire from the Sky,
Commentary Magazine, July/August 2007 ---
Earlier this summer, Sheehan sold Camp Casey to Los
Angeles radio host and actress Bree Walker, who wants to continue using it as a
base for protests against Bush administration policies. Last week, the only
full-time residents to be found there were Canadian-born Carl Rising-Moore, 61,
an easygoing Vietnam veteran turned antiwar protester, and his dog, Sunny.
Rising-Moore says that many people drop by the camp to visit, including veterans
haunted by the horrors of war. Rising-Moore, who has studied the nonviolent
protest tactics of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., says he tries to
preach the power of nonviolence.
Michael A. Fletcher. "Keeping a
Lonely Vigil at Camp Casey," The Washington Post, August 20, 2007, Page
Ron Mallia wants to build eight apartments and
condominiums on an empty parking lot next to his Mission District auto shop and
rent some of the apartments to his mechanics. ..."They don't want any
development at all in the Mission because any development makes the area better.
... They don't want that because they believe that by improving the area, the
cost of housing might go up," said Mallia, who has owned gas stations and car
repair shops in the Mission for 25 years.
Robert Selna, "Anti-gentrification
forces stymie housing development," San Francisco Chronicle, August 21,
San Francisco town leaders are unlike most any town leaders in the world.
Is the preference for ugly and uninhabited? This is not green space!
The Atlanta Humane Society said they are receiving
donations from across the country -- and you’ll never guess what people are
sending. More than a dozen Michael Vick jerseys have been sent to AHS, and they
are putting them to good use (cleaning the floors of kennels).
WSBTV Atlanta, August 17, 2007 ---
I don't think you will see too many Michael Vick jerseys tacked to the walls in
the offices of financial planners. Most certainly Michael Vick will not be
inducted into the Financial Planning Hall of Fame. Then again, he's almost a
shoe in for the Financial Planning Hall of Shame.
Search Hacks (learn to search like the geeks search) ---
"Please Do Not Use These Programs for Illegal Purposes:
Powerful new tools let you search for free software and music, zoom in on
landmarks and buildings, and add comments to news stories," by Steve Bass, PC
World via The Washington Post, August 21, 2007 ---
I don't know what Google was thinking
when it allowed Google Hacks to be posted on the Google Code site. But it's
a sure bet most people won't abide by the "Please do not use this program
for illegal uses" disclaimer you'll find on thedownload site.
Google Hacks is a front-end GUI you can use as a
stand-alone app or as a browser toolbar. It performs searches you can
already do--if you know the syntax. For instance, if I wanted to search for
Dave Brubeck, I could pop the following into Google's search field:
But it's obviously a heck of a lot easier to type
into Google Hacks and choose the music category.
Google Hacks lets you search in any one of 12
categories--music, applications, video, books, lyrics, and others. But
there's a catch. The searches are indexes--Web site directories that haven't
been protected. Translation: You have to sort through lists of files and
some, if not most, could be unrelated to what you're searching for.
At the same time, you might hit the jackpot--loads
of files with just the content you're looking for. The showstopper is that
the content belongs to someone else who doesn't know how to hide it from
prying eyes. (And yes, I know, that person may have downloaded the music
illegally as well.)
BTW, credit for this masterpiece goes to Jason
Stallings, the author of Google Hacks. Jason doesn't work for Google, but
his program was released using Google'sfree code hosting service. You can
find more of Jason's code onhis Web site.
Dig This:Microsoft's entryinto the mobile phone
arena is sure to give Apple a run for the money--and promises to take the
nerd world by storm.
Microsoft's Photosynth is awesome--and addictive.
You can travel to Rome, zoom in on St. Peter's Basilica, and see
details--and I mean close, close up--that I guarantee will amaze you. (The
hardware requirements are stringent--more in a sec.) Don't believe me? Watch
But wait a minute: Unless you have a heavy-duty
PC--you need Windows XP and the hardware needs to be Vista ready--save your
time. You just won't be able to use Photosynth. (My wife's out of luck;
she's been playing with Photosynth on my machine.) If you have the system
requirements, you'll also need to download a small ActiveX plug-in available
at the Photosynth site.
Photosynthis now up and running. (My friend Bill
Webb has a good write-up about it.)
Continued in article
How do you decide on a small car (with half the gas mileage and over twice the
death risk for your family) relative to a SUV? This is one of those rock versus
hard place decisions, although more and more people are willing to risk higher
death risks with current fuel and car prices.
From the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
All small cars have driver deaths per million vehicles of 108 versus 70 for
midsize cars, 67 for large cars, and 55 for SUVs. No mention is made for the
ever-popular light trucks, but these probably are as good or better than SUVs in
terms of driver death rates.
"People buy small cars even though they can be deadly," by James R. Healey,
USA Today, August 20, 2007, Page 1B ---
Americans are buying more small cars to cut fuel
costs, and that might kill them. As a group, occupants of small cars are
more likely to die in crashes than those in bigger, heavier vehicles are,
according to data from the government, the insurance industry and the
National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
The newest small vehicles, of course, meet today's
strict safety standards and can be laden with the latest safety hardware,
such as stability control and side air bags. They are safer than ever. And
differing designs mean some small cars are safer than average. But even the
safest are governed by the laws of physics, which rule in favor of bigger,
heavier vehicles, even in single-vehicle crashes.
Lund was on an NAS panel that examined potential
safety impacts and other consequences of stricter fuel-economy regulations.
The panel's report, published in 2002, noted that there are safe,
cost-effective ways to boost mileage, but cutting the size and weight of
vehicles is not one of them. Years of statistics show that small cars "are
involved in more collisions than larger vehicles," and "Small vehicles have
higher fatality rates than larger ones," the NAS report said.
When the NAS report was published, small-car sales
were 13.7% of the new-vehicle market, and dropping. Today, they have climbed
High fuel prices, which topped $3 a gallon earlier
this year for the third-consecutive year and now average about $2.75, have
whipped up interest in fuel-saving small cars.
"With the price of gasoline, it's a fuel-economy
thing," says Robin Dey, 56, a nurse in Santa Barbara, Calif., who is
shopping for a Honda Civic small car for her daughter in college and drives
a Volkswagen New Beetle herself. She says prices got to $3.89 a gallon in
her area before they began declining.
"Small cars are more economical, which is important
to me because I do a lot of home health care and a lot of driving," she
says, running up nearly 100,000 miles on her 2001 Beetle.
Continued in article (with data graphs)
Decisions such as this depend a great deal on the type of driving intended for
the car and many factors other than death risks. For example, I drive less than
4,000 miles per year which greatly lowers my probability of an accident relative
to drivers who practically live in their cars. I also drive very few miles at
night. I could, in theory, chance a small car but it would not save me much
money since I use so little fuel.
And there is the moose/deer risk up here. A woman who lived less than 10
miles from us was killed in broad daylight when she hit a moose on August 20. A
heavy car greatly improves the odds, ceteris paribus, of living when
hitting moose and deer. It is much less common to hit a bear, although they're
nocturnal, black, and hard to see at night. We've see bears in the road on
occasion, but we do not hear as much about bear-car collisions relative to moose
and deer. Incidentally, the moose risk varies greatly with the time of year. In
the winter, moose conserve on energy by standing like statues 24/7 in the woods
and seldom venture near highways. In other times of the year, the moose are on
I live in deep snow country in a rural environment where the all-wheel
drive dealers nearby only offer SUV sales and service. I want an all-wheel drive
vehicle in the winter since this greatly improves my chances of not getting
stuck in deep snow.
The point is that factors to consider by me when buying a car (I never buy a
new car) differ greatly from things other people must consider for their life
styles and locales. Risk of death is one factor to consider along with fuel
Bob Jensen has been receiving messages from a Halliburton whistle blower
Sadly Persons Blowing the Whistle Do So at Their Own Peril
"Whistleblowers on Fraud Facing Penalties," by Deborah Hastings, Forbes,
August 24, 2007 ---
One after another, the men and women who have
stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq
have been vilified, fired and demoted.
For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy
veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a
security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation
There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary
confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and
interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to
wish he had just kept his mouth shut.
He had thought he was doing a good and noble thing
when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the
rocket-launchers - all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary,
he said. He told a federal agent the buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American
soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry
The seller, he claimed, was the Iraqi-owned company
he worked for, Shield Group Security Co.
"It was a Wal-Mart (nyse: WMT - news - people ) for
guns," he says. "It was all illegal and everyone knew it."
So Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos
and documents and other intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of
Chicago because he didn't know whom to trust in Iraq.
For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in Camp
Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad that once held Saddam
Hussein, and he was classified a security detainee.
Also held was colleague Nathan Ertel, who helped
Vance gather evidence documenting the sales, according to a federal lawsuit
both have filed in Chicago, alleging they were illegally imprisoned and
subjected to physical and mental interrogation tactics "reserved for
terrorists and so-called enemy combatants."
Corruption has long plagued Iraq reconstruction.
Hundreds of projects may never be finished, including repairs to the
country's oil pipelines and electricity system. Congress gave more than $30
billion to rebuild Iraq, and at least $8.8 billion of it has disappeared,
according to a government reconstruction audit.
Despite this staggering mess, there are no noble
outcomes for those who have blown the whistle, according to a review of such
cases by The Associated Press.
"If you do it, you will be destroyed," said William
Weaver, professor of political science at the University of Texas-El Paso
and senior advisor to the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition.
"Reconstruction is so rife with corruption.
Sometimes people ask me, `Should I do this?' And my answer is no. If they're
married, they'll lose their family. They will lose their jobs. They will
lose everything," Weaver said.
They have been fired or demoted, shunned by
colleagues, and denied government support in whistleblower lawsuits filed
against contracting firms.
"The only way we can find out what is going on is
for someone to come forward and let us know," said Beth Daley of the Project
on Government Oversight, an independent, nonprofit group that investigates
corruption. "But when they do, the weight of the government comes down on
them. The message is, 'Don't blow the whistle or we'll make your life hell.'
"It's heartbreaking," Daley said. "There is an even
greater need for whistleblowers now. But they are made into public martyrs.
It's a disgrace. Their lives get ruined."
Continued in article
Shut Up Even in the Case of Terrorist Suspicions
"If you see something suspicious, 'Shut up'," Las Vegas Review-Journal,
July 24, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen has been receiving messages from a Halliburton whistle blower ---
Bob Jensen's threads on whistle blowing are at
"How This Year’s Frosh Will Make You Feel Older," by Scott Jaschik,
Inside Higher Ed, August 21, 2007 ---
The class of 2011 is arriving at campuses all over
— and inspiring plenty of professors to wonder why the new students seem
younger every year. For a decade, Beloit College has been helping out with
its annual Mindset List of gentle reminders of what new students grew up
with and what they never experienced.
is the creation of Tom McBride, Beloit’s Keefer Professor of
the Humanities, and Ron Nief, the public affairs director.
The 2007 list is being released today. The complete list,
along with past years’ lists, may be found
Some highlights from this year’s list follow:
The Mindset for
the Class of 2011
never “rolled down” a car window.
have grown up with bottled water.
Mandela has always been free and a force in South
Rose has never played baseball.
has always had a multi-party political system.
- No one
has ever been able to sit down comfortably to a meal of
“liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
Wal-Mart has always been a larger retailer than Sears
and has always employed more workers than GM.
all else fails, the Prozac defense has always been a
grew up in Wayne’s World.
- U2 has
always been more than a spy plane.
- Fox has
always been a major network.
studies majors have always been offered on campus.
- Being a
latchkey kid has never been a big deal.
learned about JFK from Oliver Stone and Malcolm X from
has always been more interested in making money than in
space program has never really caught their attention
except in disasters.
always texting 1 n other.
will encounter roughly equal numbers of female and male
professors in the classroom.
have nothing to do with Hindu deities.
World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were
And their grandparents mentioned somebody named Elvis.
Where are the most beautiful college campuses in the United States?
Where are the happiest students?
Where are the most politically correct colleges?
What are the 2008 top-ranked party and or jock or weirdo schools in the United
Hint: Chico and North Texas State have fallen from grace.
The No. 1 ranking colleges do not want is Princeton
Review’s annual designation in its college guide of the top party school. This
year’s winner is West Virginia University, followed by the University of
Mississippi, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Florida, and
the University of Georgia. While Princeton Review’s guide is not known for the
quality of its social science research (student surveys are the key tool), it
does win points for creative categories — particularly in playing off of
student’s studious or not-so-studious reputations, and their politics. Clemson
University is named the top jock school. Eugene Lang College of New School
University is named the place that educates “dodgeball targets.” Hampshire
College topped Bard College for the coveted “Birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging,
clove-smoking vegetarians” award. Macalester College was deemed most accepting
of gay students while Hampden-Sydney won for “alternative lifestyles not an
alternative.” Another tradition about these rankings is for the top party
school’s president to question the ranking. Mike Garrison, president elect at
West Virginia, issued this statement: “I’ve talked to thousands of our students
over the weekend and during the first day of classes, and their concerns are
with their education, with their futures, and with the great year we have ahead
at WVU. I’m focused on the way this university changes people’s lives, the
research that we do, and the service we provide to the state of West Virginia.
This is a special place, and the whole state is proud of it.”
Inside Higher Ed, August 21, 2007 ---
There are many other categories at the Princeton Review site ---
|Check out the categories!
Guess which parents most strongly object to grade inflation?
Hint: It's not the parents of the top students
Parents Say Schools Game System, Let Kids Graduate Without Skills
The Bredemeyers represent a new voice in special
education: parents disappointed not because their children are failing, but
because they're passing without learning. These families complain that schools
give their children an easy academic ride through regular-education classes,
undermining a new era of higher expectations for the 14% of U.S. students who
are in special education. Years ago, schools assumed that students with
disabilities would lag behind their non-disabled peers. They often were taught
in separate buildings and left out of standardized testing. But a combination of
two federal laws, adopted a quarter-century apart, have made it national policy
to hold almost all children with disabilities to the same academic standards as
John Hechinger and Daniel Golden, "Extra Help: When Special Education Goes
Too Easy on Students," The Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2007, Page A1
Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation are at
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
"Jane Austen, Yadda, Yadda, Yadda," by Devoney Looser, Inside
Higher Ed, August 21, 2007 ---
“I started Pride and Prejudice last week,” he told
me. “It’s one of those books I know I should have read, but I couldn’t get
past the first few chapters.”
“Really,” I replied, eyebrows raised.
“Yeah, I just lost interest,” he went on. “I kept
thinking to myself, ‘Oh, brother. I think I know where this is going.’”
Was this disarming honesty or throwing down the
gauntlet? Was I being called out? Whatever it was, I shifted nervously as I
listened to the rest of his monologue: “My theory is that the novel can be
pretty much summed up as Elizabeth and Darcy meet, Elizabeth and Darcy hate
each other, Elizabeth and Darcy fall in love, yadda, yadda, yadda.”
Reader, I stared at him blankly. Of course, I spent
hours afterward constructing witty, cynical comebacks, such as “Yeah, I know
what you mean. I have that response to episodes of VH1’s ‘Behind the Music’
and to reading the Bible.” But in the moment, all I managed to spit out was
something clichéd and professorial resembling, “Hmm. That’s interesting. I
think maybe it takes a few readings of Austen to really appreciate her
fiction’s depth, humor, and irony.”
That’s also my stock answer to traditional-aged
undergraduates on the first day of class — 20-year-olds who confess that
they’ve signed up for a literature class on Austen and her contemporaries
because they absolutely love (or absolutely hate) her fiction — or maybe
just the film adaptations. Or Colin Firth or Keira Knightley or Clueless.
The Austen-haters often claim to be taking the course because they want to
understand what in the world is the big deal. A few of them end up seeing it
by the end of the semester, a few more don’t, and that’s fine. But the
yadda-yadda-yadda employee was a well-read, middle-aged guy with no
sophomore excuse for being sophomoric. My gut reaction to his confession
registered somewhere between crestfallen and incensed.
Continued in article
Why do information technology and computer science careers attract so few women
Why are veterinary medicine graduates 89% women in some of the leading
"With Labor Crunch in IT on the Horizon, Why Are Careers Failing to Lure
Women?" by Ben Worthen, The Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2007; Page B5
While women hold 51% of all professional positions
in the work force, they only made up 26% of IT pros in 2006, down from 29%
in 2004, according to the National Center for Women and Information
Technology. Only 13% of corporate officers at Fortune 500 tech companies are
women. And Jenny Slade, communications director for the NCWIT, tells the
Business Technology Blog that women who do pursue IT careers tend to leave
them at a higher rate than men.
"Women feel discrimination in
IT," Ms. Slade says. Indeed, a recent survey of nearly 2,000 female
IT workers by Women in Technology International found that 48% say
that their views aren't as acknowledged or welcomed as those of
their male colleagues, and 44% say that they have fewer
opportunities to participate in or lead large initiatives.
Consequently, women feel they need to leave IT in order to advance,
says Ms. Slade. Over time this becomes self-perpetuating: Women say
that one of the main reasons they leave IT is that there aren't
other women in the field, says Ms. Slade.
It isn't just a
workplace-dynamics issue. Women are also losing interest in computer
science long before they choose a profession. Women only received
21% of computer science undergraduate degrees in 2006, compared with
37% in 1985, says the NCWIT. The number of incoming freshmen women
choosing to major in computer science dropped by 70% between 2000
And teenage girls seem less
interested in computer science than they are in other scientific
fields. Only 12% of the finalists in the 2005 Intel Science and
Engineering Fair, a national competition for high-school students,
were girls, compared with 54% of the finalists in biochemistry.
Similarly, only 15% of the high-school students taking the
advanced-placement computer science test in 2006 were girls,
compared with 48% of the students who took the AP calculus test.
Schools of veterinary medicine are increasingly
struggling to recruit male students.
The Boston Globe reported that women made up 89
percent of last year’s new vet students at Tufts University and that at Michigan
State University and the University of California at Davis, women make up 88
percent and 81 percent, respectively, of incoming students.
Inside Higher Ed, August 22, 2007 ---
Women now make up more than 60 percent of all
accountants and auditors in the United States, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
That is an estimated 843,000 women in the accounting and auditing work force.
AccountingWeb, "Number of Female Accountants Increasing," June 2, 2006
"Why Most Web Sites Receive Failing Grades," by Ben Worthen, The
Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2007; Page B5 ---
Why Most Web Sites Receive Failing
Ninety-seven percent of the
1,000-plus corporate Web sites that Forrester Research Inc. has evaluated
received failing grades. Companies with bad Web sites are turning off
customers and leaving money on the table. And usually, Harley Manning, a
Forrester vice president, says it's due to common mistakes that can be
broken down into four categories.
1. Value. The first mistake
that companies make when they're designing a Web site is copying features
from competitors. Bells and whistles are worthless if they don't help a
customer. Mr. Manning says that too few companies take the time to sit down
with customers and find out what they're using a Web site for and what
information would make a site more helpful. A good example of a site that
does this well is Fidelity.com, the Web site for Fidelity Investments Inc.
There isn't a lot of extraneous information that investors don't need, and
information that investors want, such as ratings from Morningstar Inc., are
easy to find.
2. Navigation. Companies often
opt for cute menus instead of clear menus. For example, Merrill Lynch &
Co.'s site for individual investors has four menu items, including one
called BULLSEYE. That happens to be the name of Merrill Lynch's newsletter,
which contains all sorts of useful information. "But nobody knows that," Mr.
Manning tells this Blog. A Merrill Lynch spokesman declined to comment.
3. Presentation. Web sites
need to be easy to read and understand. Yet the majority of companies still
feel compelled to fit as much information into as small a place as possible.
"Automotive companies are the worst," Mr. Manning tells us. The text on
their sites is almost always too small, as if they're afraid that customers
won't scroll down to see more of the page. People will, provided they're
given visual cues. Mr. Manning cites New York Times Co.'s Web site,
nytimes.com, as a site that's easy to read. Also, avoid unclear icons.
Several of the icons on the booking page for the Hilton hotel in Times
Square are a good example of what not to do. A Hilton Hotels Corp.
spokeswoman says that Forrester conducted a review of Hilton's site and
rated its use of icons "acceptable" and that the company is "constantly
evaluating its overall site design."
4. Trust. People are concerned
about online privacy and security. Calling attention to your company's
speed matters, but not in the way you might expect. Customers don't sense
that a site is slow. Instead they conclude that the content isn't
interesting and that it's less secure.
Mr. Manning says that there's no
perfect Web site on the Internet. Forced to choose one, he picks Adobe.com,
the Web site for Adobe Systems Inc., which he says is easy to read and full
of useful information. More generally, it's easy to improve a site. And Mr.
Manning says that doing so is a no-brainer. "Many of these sites get
millions of visitors a year," he says. "If you can change your conversion
rate just a little you can get a huge payoff."
In my opinion most colleges and universities have terrible Web sites, although
professors within those systems sometimes, not often, have outstanding sites.
The test of a site first and foremost should be content that is easily accessed.
Much interesting content has now moved from open sharing Web servers to
non-sharing Blackboard, WebCT, and other password protected servers. Exceptions
are noted at
What new online people finders are making it easier to find the whereabouts of
people in your past?
Hint: One of the sites has very large and pointed ears.
"Searching for Humans: Various websites are trying to make it easier to
find friends and colleagues online," by Erica Naone, MIT's Technology Review,
August 20, 2007 ---
cofounder of the new people-search
says he wants to build a profile for
every person in the world. To do
this, he plans to combine the power
of search algorithms with online
Singh says he got the idea for Spock
while looking for people with
specific areas of expertise among
his contacts in Microsoft Outlook.
Although he has two or three
thousand people listed, he could
only find people he was already
Spock is designed to solve that
problem by allowing users to search
for tags--such as "saxophonist" or
"venture capitalist"--and then view
a list of people associated with
those tags. Singh could have
manually entered tags for each of
his contacts into Microsoft Outlook,
but capturing every interest of each
particular individual would be
time-consuming. Spock uses a
combination of human and machine
intelligence to automatically come
up with the tags: search algorithms
identify possible tags, and users
can vote on their relevance or add
new tags. Registered users can add
private tags to another person's
profile to organize their contacts
based on information that they don't
want to share. For example, a
contentious associate might be
privately labeled as such.
social-network component of the
website introduces an element of
crowd commentary into the search
George W. Bush
"miserable failure," with a vote of
87 to 31 in favor of the tag's
relevance as of this writing. Users
aren't allowed to vote anonymously,
and the tag links to the profiles of
people who voted.
social networks will also help with
one of the main problems in people
search: teaching the system to
recognize that two separate entries
refer to a single person--a problem
called entity resolution. For
example, a single person might have
profile, and a write-up on a company
entity-resolution researcher at
Stanford University, says that there
are several aspects to the problem:
getting the system to compare two
entries and decide whether they are
related, merging related entries
without repetition, and comparing
information from a myriad of
possible sources online. Finally,
Whang says, there is a risk of
merging two entries that should not
be merged, as in the case of a name
like Robin, which is used by both
men and women.
Many of the
people-search engines try to get
around these problems by encouraging
people to claim and manage their own
profiles, although Whang notes that
this is a labor-intensive approach.
Although there are many sites where
people could claim their profiles,
Singh says he thinks one engine will
eventually dominate, and people will
make the effort to claim profiles
there. Bryan Burdick, chief
operating officer of the
says that 10,000 people a week claim
their profiles on Zoom, in spite of
having to provide their credit-card
numbers to do so.
Singh has also
Spock Challenge, a
competition to design a better
entity-resolution algorithm. He says
that 1,400 researchers have already
downloaded the data set, and they
will compete for a $50,000 prize,
which will be awarded in November.
Continued in article
More people finders and other specialized search engines are linked at
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at
Good Writing Versus
Gobbledygook, Drivel, and Tripe
How to Publish in Top Journals, Edited by Kwan Choi, March 7,
Mike Kearl's guide to writing a research paper ---
Adelberg, A. H. and J. R. Razek, (1984), "The cloze procedure: A methodology
for determining the understandability of accounting textbooks.," The
Accounting Review (January): 109-122 ---
http://maaw.info/TheAccountingReview.htm Click on the "Non USF User Link"
The Plain English Campaign
monitors good and bad language usage. They give out the Golden Bull Awards
-- awards for "the worst examples of written tripe" -- to people who offend
their sense of plainspokenness, as well as several other awards for clear
language usage. This year, they gave out seven Golden Bulls and 20 awards
for clear language. One of this year's seven Golden Bull recipients is
Australian writer and academician Germaine Greer. She won for a recent arts
column in The Guardian (London), in which she said, "The first attribute of
the art object is that it creates a discontinuity between itself and the
"Gobbledygook, Drivel, and Tripe," by Erik Deckers, The Irascible
Professor, July 10, 2007 ---
He whose words are more abundant than his data, to
what is he like? To a tree whose branches are abundant but whose roots are few,
and the wind comes and overturns it, as it is written, For he shall be like the
tamarisk in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit
the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. But he
whose data is more abundant than his words, to what is he like? To a tree whose
branches are few but whose roots are many, so that even if all the words in the
world come and blow against it, it cannot be stirred from its place, as it is
written, He shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her
roots by the river,
and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall
be green; and shall not becareful in the year of drought, neither shall cease
from yielding fruit.
Eleazar ben Azariah,
as quoted on Page 7 of
"Aphorisms on Writing, Speaking, and Listening," by Eric Rasmusen,
September 11, 2006 ---
Another dealer announced in a cheeky e-mail the
creation of a new structured product: a Constant Obligation Leveraged Originated
Structured Oscillating Money Bridged Asset Guarantee, or COLOStOMyBAG. One
trader noted on the product – a parody of the increasingly bizarre acronyms that
have become commonplace in the world of structured finance – “It’s basically
full of shit.”
David Oakley, "Traders turn to black humour," Financial Times,
August 17, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's helpers for writers ---
Some college presidents aren't so honest when rating colleges (including
their own) for the U.S. News Rankings of Colleges
Editors at U.S. News acknowledge anecdotal evidence
that some colleges try to affect the rankings, but they insist it is not
widespread. The editors say they have added myriad safeguards over the years
from specific definitions of what counts as an application to adding questions
that can sniff out fudging. Some colleges used to drop athletes’ SAT scores from
their computation of incoming students’ scores in order to increase their
averages and make their institutions look more selective, Mr. Kelly said. In
response, U.S. News helped to create common definitions with organizations like
the College Board so that data reporting would be standardized and harder to
fudge. Still, critics say that the magazine, which does not verify information
submitted by the colleges, bears some responsibility for the litany of tactics
that colleges employ.
Alan Finder, "College Ratings Race Roars On Despite Concerns," The New York
Times, August 17, 2007 ---
Dropping out is the way some college presidents hope to eliminate the heat to
raise their rankings. Biased reporting is another way. The heat comes from alumni and faculty wanting a higher
quality pool of student applicants. Lower rankings becomes very stressful to
colleges that think they are in the Top 10 in their classification (particularly
national liberal arts colleges) who find themselves ranked much lower.
The Washington Monthly rankings of the top national universities
differs drastically from the US News rankings (which are based upon opinions of
college presidents rather than self-selected statistical criteria used by The
From Inside Higher Ed, by Scott Jaschik, August 20, 2007 ---
Washington Monthly is known as a
liberal-leaning magazine, so the No. 1 national university, Texas A&M
University, may surprise some. But the magazine has a long history pushing
for national service by college students. The magazine’s use of ROTC in its
formula was a big part of Texas A&M’s top rating (and also helped Virginia
Military Institute gain the No. 5 slot among liberal arts colleges).
In the national universities category, the U.S.
News rankings yield a largely private group at the top and Washington
Monthly tilts public. Among privates, the Washington Monthly priorities also
tend to upset standard hierarchies. Here for example is the Monthly’s take
on the Ivies: “Harvard, Yale, and Princeton may make up the top three
finishers on this year’s U.S. News list, but by our measures they don’t
perform nearly as well. The alma maters of John F. Kennedy, George W. Bush,
and Brooke Shields come in at, respectively, 27th, 38th, and (yikes!) 78th
place. Our top Ivy? Humble Cornell, which places seventh, thanks to the
large number of its graduates who earn Ph.D.’s or join the Peace Corps.”
Here is the Washington Monthly’s
top 10 national universities, with their U.S. News
scores as well.
U.S. News Rank
South Carolina State
The Washington Times rankings of the top 30 community colleges are
causing even more of a stir in academe
The annual rankings frenzy each fall features rankings of
top colleges, party schools and everything in between. But the sector of higher
education where more than 40 percent of freshmen start — community colleges —
has been notably absent. The magazine ranked colleges using data in different
categories of the
Community College Survey of Student Engagement
(worth a total of 85 percent) and graduation rates (15 percent). While community
college leaders frequently complain that reporters ignore their sector, many are
not at all pleased with the new attention from Washington Monthly — even though
the magazine is full of praise for two-year institutions and features a cover
line that says “Community colleges that beat your alma mater.”
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, August 20, 2007 ---
Rankings of Universities in Terms of Doctoral Student
The journal PS: Political Science & Politics has just published
an analysis that suggests that there is not
a direct relationship between the general reputation of a department and its
success at placing new Ph.D.’s; some programs far exceed their reputation when
it comes to placing new Ph.D.’s while others lag. The analysis may provide new
evidence for the “halo effect” in which many experts worry that general (and
sometimes outdated) institutional reputations cloud the judgment of those asked
to fill out surveys on departmental quality. And while the analysis was prepared
about political science, its authors believe the same approach could be used in
other fields in the humanities and social sciences, with the method more
problematic in other areas because fewer Ph.D. students aspire to academic
Scott Jaschik, "A Ranking That Would Matter," Inside Higher Ed, August
21, 2007 ---
The big problem here is defining what constitutes "a top job" or a "a good job."
There are so many elements in job satisfaction, many of which are intangible and
cannot be quantified, that I'm suspect of any study that purports to identify
top jobs. Obviously prestigious universities have a bias for hiring prestigious
university graduates. But this is often due to the reputations of the graduate
student's teachers and thesis advisors. And the quality of the dissertation may
have a great deal of impact on hiring even if the degree is from No-name
University. Also prestigious universities tend to have the highest GMAT
applicants, but this is not always the case. Often the highest GMAT applicants
are really tremendous graduates.
In disciplines having great
shortages of doctoral graduates, especially doctoral graduates in accounting and
finance, findings from political science do not necessarily extrapolate.
Be that as it may, the findings of the above study come as
no surprise to me. Particularly in accounting, some prestigious universities
have taken a nose dive in terms of reputations of faculty supervising
dissertations. And students may not have access to the most reputable faculty,
especially faculty who are too busy with consulting and world travel. For
example, a few years ago I encountered a doctoral student in accounting at the
University of Chicago who claimed that it was very difficult to even find a
faculty member who would supervise a dissertation. But if he ever graduates from
Chicago, he will have the Chicago halo around his head. In fairness, I've not
had recent information regarding what is happening with doctoral students in
accounting at the University of Chicago. Certainly it is still a very reputable
university in terms of its business studies and research programs.
Also there is a problem in accountancy that
mathematics-educated accountancy doctoral graduates from prestigious
universities may know very little about accountancy and additionally have
troubles with the English language. On occasion prestige-university graduates do
not get the "top jobs" where accountancy is spoken ---
Beyond Research Rankings," by Luis M. Proenza,
Inside Higher Ed, May 17, 2007 ---
Controversies in media rankings of colleges are discussed at
Bob Jensen's threads on college rankings controversies are at
Hurricane Tracking Program ---
Bob Jensen's bookmarks for weather and travel related sites are at
August 22, 2007 message from Jerry Peters
includes an index of resources available at ValuationResources.Com
under the heading "Valuation Resources For Business Appraisers ---
index has been signficantly updated since you listed it on your
site--for example, the number of specific industries covered has
expanded from over 200 then to almost 400 now--and we encourage you
to include the latest index on your webpage. You will find the
latest index at
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
We appreciate your link to our site.
Jerry Peters, CPA, ASA, ABV
Valuation Resources, LLC
P.O. Box 5325
Evansville, Indiana 47716
Two valuation links of possible interest"
Bob Jensen's site mentioned above ---
Bob Jensen's PowerPoint file on Fair Value
Accounting --- see the 10FairValue.ppt file at
How can you protect your work in progress and finished works on your computer?
Why are some of these alternatives problematic for your college and/or your
One popular solution is to save the data on an external CD, DVD, or hard/flash
drive. To prevent theft loss, however, backups should be kept in a very secure
place and/or have multiple backups in different places. I generally store
important files on a backup computer and on CDs. I also store files on hard
drives in my university's system. My university, in turn, backs up all files in
the system, so chances of losing files are minimal.
It is generally
not a good idea to store files on a Web server unless you don't mind if Web
crawlers read your files. Most universities provide faculty and students with
space on both Web servers and password-protected servers. And universities
continuously back up both kinds of servers. The problem is that it's a pain in
the tail to constantly back up updated files. But it's important! Fire, theft,
and lost computers and flash drives are risks, but there's an even greater risk
that you will screw up a file, inadvertently delete a file, or have a computer
crash that makes it necessary to seek out your latest backup
"Gone With Two Flashes" by Risa P. Gorelick, Inside Higher Ed, August
20, 2007 ---
But then it happened — in a flash, so to speak —
and I couldn’t have been more wrong. I returned home from a night at my
boyfriend’s place and noticed a light left on and an interior door left
open. At first, I didn’t think much of it. I turned off the light and shut
the door. Then there were some items knocked over in the bathroom that I
picked up and wondered for a minute how it happened, but didn’t really stop
to think too long about it. Instead, I returned some phone calls, made some
strong coffee, and then decided it was time to get to some writing done. I
walked into my home office to turn on my computer and stopped short.
Where’s my laptop??? While it was a functioning
laptop, I hardly ever unplugged it from the wall and the DSL modem — I used
it mostly as a desktop, as it was much newer and faster than my dissertation
desktop that runs at a dinosaur’s pace. I had sent an e-mail right before
leaving the night before, so I know it was there on my desk when I left. But
it wasn’t there now. And I stood there dumbfounded.
I grabbed the phone but wasn’t sure who to call. I
finally managed to remember 911 and got a dispatcher, to whom I told what
had happened. The dispatcher connected me to the local police, who asked a
number of questions and then wanted to know if I was in the house. “Yes, I’m
in the house,” I said— “Should I not be?” I was told I may wish to wait
outside for the police to arrive. Given that I’d been in there an hour, if
someone was still in the house, I think I would have noticed. Still, I
opened up my front door and waited in front of my house for a few minutes
until they got there. The two officers went through my house and thought it
was odd that someone would come in only to take a laptop that was two years
old. My two back-up flash drives were also missing as was the power supply
to the laptop. But the person(s) who took my computer were kind to leave me
the DSL and printer connections and the other items in my office.
I told the cops that I am an academic and that all
of my research was on the computer and flash drives. They asked if someone
in the office was “out to get me” or if I had a disgruntled co-worker or
student. I had finished teaching two summer classes the week before and all
of the students had passed, so I didn’t think a student would attempt to rob
me. And if a colleague really wanted to get me, s/he would have his/her
chance as I was up for my fourth-year tenure review in a few weeks. As one
of two compositionists in my department, I doubt any of my colleagues would
want to sabotage my research or career. They’re mostly concerned that I
publish in blind peer-reviewed journals.
Upon further examination of my house, the robber(s)
stole my checkbook, cash, traveler’s cheques, some small electronics, a
majority of my jewelry and watches — and a pillow case off of my bed to put
the loot in as they left. What they didn’t take, they returned to the
drawers and closets, so I guess I’m fortunate that I had relatively
thoughtful and neat robbers. The police haven’t been very helpful, but I’ve
learned that there had been more than 20 robberies in my neighborhood in the
previous week or so. The police also told me that fewer than 13 percent of
robbery victims ever get any items recovered. While I was devastated that my
grandmother’s jewelry was gone, I was sickened that my scholarly research
had disappeared without a trace.
In the sleepless weeks following the robbery, I
have met more of my neighbors than I had in the previous three years of
living here. Some are nice; some seem rather odd; all are scared about
becoming the next victim of a burglary. My passport, Social Security card,
and birth certificate are locked in a safety deposit box at a nearby bank,
which means I can’t decide on a moment’s notice to grab a flight to Paris,
but I can live with that. I’ve also had an alarm system installed and no
longer think of opening up a window to let in some fresh air. I haven’t been
able to sleep more than two or three hours a night—even after the alarm
system was installed. I feel violated and angry, and wonder how much therapy
it will take before I am able to sleep through the night at home.
It’s hard to go back to the drawing board, so to
speak, and start working on the book project and revisions again — as much
of what I did is gone and would have to be started anew. Looming deadlines
float over my clouded head.
Perhaps those professors who put their
dissertations in the freezer were on to something, though the police said
that most thieves look in freezers and refrigerators for valuables. As a
writing specialist, I have spent much time dealing with plagiarism. I never
really considered someone physically stealing my computer, files — my work —
as an act of plagiarism, but it is. I’m not sure where it’s safe to put
one’s intellectual property. Laptops and flash drives are easy to steal.
Thieves look in freezers for cash, jewelry and other valuables. Most
non-college educated thieves would probably laugh at seeing an ABD’s
dissertation chapters or an assistant professor’s articles under ice. If one
can leave it on the university server, that is an option, but our server
limits the amount of space available so large texts may not fit there. One
can e-mail files to oneself, as I’ve done in the past, but then one must
keep track of various drafts, e-mail accounts, and files, and deal with the
limited space issue as well.
I’m not sure I have a better answer. I can honestly
say that it never occurred to me that someone would think to break into my
house and rob me. (After all, I was in grad school for nine and a half
years; what could I possibly have that someone would want?) The laptop and
flash drives are long gone, I’m sure. I just hope whomever took them wiped
out the drives, as there’s also a concern now not only of intellectual
property loss but of identity theft. I will never attempt to do my own taxes
online, as I did on my laptop this year. Credit bureaus have been notified
and watches were issued to my accounts; new credit card numbers and bank
accounts were also issued, too. There’s a lot of paperwork victims of
robberies must muddle through. Trying to remember PINS and passwords to
reset bills to internet services and EZ-PASS was a nightmare.
Continued in article
Increasingly universities are faced with lost or stolen flash memory and
Bowling Green University recently fined a tenured professor $10,000 for losing
his personal flash drive containing grades (he contends it was stolen from his
classroom when he was distracted.)
Link forwarded by Glen Gray
"Colleges struggle with mandates to prohibit portable storage: UConn
has had success scanning network traffic for viruses and malware," by Brian
Fonseca, Computer World, August 17, 2007 ---
IT managers at colleges and universities are
grappling with the problem of finding ways to better secure removable
storage media in an environment that encourages information sharing.
Jason Pufahl, information security team lead for IT
services at the University of Connecticut, said that the needs of students
and faculty prevent universities from implementing mandates that prohibit
the use of unapproved portable storage media.
Such mandates may be common in the corporate world,
but "we don't have the flexibility to simply say all inbound traffic is
locked down or we're going to allow outbound traffic on only specific
ports," Pufahl said. "We just can't do that. We have to try to provide
security when leaving things open, which is really difficult."
UConn has had success scanning network traffic for
viruses and malware using Fortigate-5000 technology from Sunnyvale,
Calif.-based Fortinet Inc., though Pufahl acknowledges that it has proven
ineffective against devices such as USB drives, iPods or iPhones.
In recent months, some universities have been hit
by incidents of lost or stolen flash memory and storage devices.
In June, for example, Grand Valley State University
was forced to notify 3,000 students of a stolen Zip drive.
The university is currently examining password- and
encryption-protected USB drives from SanDisk Corp. and Kingston Technology
Co., said John Klein, associate director of academic services at the
Allendale, Mich., school.
Klein said schools must educate students about the
dangers of using unprotected storage devices and the associated risks of
losing confidential data.
"It's not their home network anymore, where they
are safe and cozy and warm," he said. "It's a campus network, where
virtually any computer via a hacker is viewable and can be attacked."
In May, a professor at Bowling Green State
University in Ohio lost a flash drive containing Social Security numbers of
199 former students.
The university is currently engaged in an
encryption project designed to safeguard computers across campus, said a
spokeswoman. "Policies are being looked at again to see what else we could
be doing," she added. "These portable storage devices are just so
August 24, 2007 message from Ed Scribner
The New Mexico State University Library is hosting
a new website on plagiarism issues. The site, available at
http://lib.nmsu.edu/plagiarism , contains both
faculty and student resources.
Comparison of Plagiarism Detection Tools ---
"Plagiarism Detection: Is Technology the Answer?" at the 2007 EDUCAUSE
Southeast Regional Conference, Liz Johnson, Board of Regents of the University
System of Georgia, provided a chart comparing seven plagiarism detection tools:
Turnitin, MyDropBox, PAIRwise, EVE2, WCopyFind, CopyCatch, and GLATT.
Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism and cheating are at
Since virtually all students and most faculty are now using Wikipedia, it
might be a good idea to tell them about this.
"Forget the Articles, Best Wikipedia Read Is Its Discussions," by Lee
Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2007; Page B1 ---
You already know about Wikipedia -- or think you
do. It's the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, the one that by dint
of its 1.9 million English-language entries has become the Internet's main
information source and the 17th busiest U.S. Web site.
But that's just the half of it.
Most people are familiar with Wikipedia's
collection of articles. Less well-known, unfortunately, are the discussions
about these articles. You can find these at the top of a Wikipedia page
under a separate tab for "Discussion."
Reading these discussion pages is a vastly
rewarding, slightly addictive, experience -- so much so that it has become
my habit to first check out the discussion before going to the article
At Wikipedia, anyone can be an editor and all but
600 or so articles can be freely altered. The discussion pages exist so the
people working on an article can talk about what they're doing to it. Part
of the discussion pages, the least interesting part, involves simple
housekeeping; -- editors noting how they moved around the sections of an
article or eliminated duplications. And sometimes readers seek answers to
homework-style questions, though that practice is discouraged.
But discussion pages are also where Wikipedians
discuss and debate what an article should or shouldn't say.
This is where the fun begins. You'd be astonished
at the sorts of things editors argue about, and the prolix vehemence they
bring to stating their cases. The 9,500-word article "Ireland," for example,
spawned a 10,000-word discussion about whether "Republic of Ireland" would
be a better name for the piece. "I know full well that many Unionist editors
would object completely to my stance on this subject," wrote one person.
A ferocious back and forth ensued over whether
Antonio Meucci or Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. One person
from the Meucci camp taunted the Bell side by saying, "'Nationalistic pride'
stop you and people like you to accept the truth. Bell was a liar and thief.
He invented nothing."
As for the age-old philosophical question, "What is
truth," it's an issue Wikipedia editors have spent 242,000 words trying to
settle, an impressive feat considering how Plato needed only 118,000 words
to write "The Republic."
These debates extend to topics most people wouldn't
consider remotely controversial. The article on calculus, for instance, was
host to some sparring over whether the concept of "limit," central to
calculus, should be better explained as an "average."
Wikipedia editors are always on the prowl for
passages in articles that violate Wikipedia policy, such as its ban on bias.
Editors use the discussion pages to report these sightings, and reading the
back and forth makes it clear that editors take this task very seriously.
On one discussion page is the comment: "I am not
sure that it does not present an entirely Eurocentric view, nor can I see
that it is sourced sufficiently well so as to be reliable."
Does it address a polarizing topic from politics or
religion? Hardly. The article was about kittens. The editor was objecting to
the statement that most people think kittens are cute.
These debates are not the only treasures in the
discussion pages. You can learn a lot of stray facts, facts that an editor
didn't think were important enough for the main article. For example, in the
discussion accompanying the article about diets, it's noted that potatoes,
eaten raw, can be poisonous. The National Potato Council didn't believe this
when asked about it last week, but later called back to say that it was
true, on account of the solanine in potatoes. Of course, you'd have to eat
many sackfuls of raw potatoes to be done in by them.
The discussion about "biography" included random
facts from sundry biographies, including that Marshall McLuhan believed his
ideas about mass media and the rest to have been inspired by the Virgin
Mary. This is true, said McLuhan biographer Philip Marchand. (Mr. Marchand
also said McLuhan believed that a global conspiracy of Freemasons was
seeking to hinder his career.)
Remember, though, this is Wikipedia, and while it
tends to get things right in the long run, it can goof up along the way. A
"tomato" article contained a lyrical description of the Carolina breed, said
to be "first noted by Italian monk Giacomo Tiramisunelli" and "considered a
rare delicacy amongst tomato-connoisseurs."
That's all a complete fabrication, said Roger
Chetelat, tomato expert at the University of California, Davis. While now
gone from Wikipedia, the passage was there long enough for "Giacomo
Tiramisunelli" to turn up now in search engines as a key figure in tomato
Wikipedia is very self-aware. It has a Wikipedia
article about Wikipedia. But this meta-analysis doesn't extend to "Wikipedia
discussions." No article on the topic exists. Search for "discussion," and
you are sent to "debate."
But, naturally, that's controversial. The
discussion page about debate includes a debate over whether "discussion" and
"debate" are synonymous. Emotions run high; the inability to distinguish the
two, said one participant, is "one of the problems with Western Society."
Maybe I have been reading too many Wikipedia
discussion pages, but I can see the point.
This may be more educational than what we teach in class. Try it by clicking on
the Discussion tab for the following"
Credit Derivative ---
Capital Asset Pricing Model ---
Socratic Method ---
Also note the Wikipedia warning "Options Backdating" ---
The purpose here is to note that Wikipedia does try to warn about sub-standard
entries and appeals to experts to revise the entry.
Wikipedia is one of the Internet's most popular
fact-checking sites. But a new tool shows how the online encyclopedia, which is
maintained by its users, is often manipulated by the companies and individuals
who are the subjects of its entries.
"Scanner Tracks Who's Changing What on Wikipedia," NPR, August 16, 2007
One indicator of how important Wikipedia has become in the world is the
concerted efforts being taken by organizations to enter and edit modules,
including costly efforts of the Roman Catholic Church, the FBI, the CIA, and the Muslim
"CIA, FBI Computers Used for Wikipedia Edits," by Randall Mikkelsen,
Washington Post, August 16, 2007 ---
"CIA and Vatican Edit Wikipedia Entries," TheAge.com, August 18, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at
Moral Hazard: Clever Ways to Turn
a Good Thing Into Cheating
Not So Special Needs Students That Are Street Smart
At elite private high schools, such large percentages
of students are receiving diagnoses of disorders that entitle them to extra time
on the SAT and other tests that students without disorder diagnoses are
The New York Sun reported.
Inside Higher Ed, August 16, 2007 ---
But if you really want your kid to have a cheating edge, it's best by age 10 to
get a medical record from a quack for treatment of qualifying ailment. Students
with a longer medial record stand a better chance of getting away with it.
Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at
Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are
What is the new "skimming feature" in iPhoto and iMovie Mac Upgrades?
Both iPhoto and iMovie now use "skimming," a rich
feature that lets you scan through photos or videos just by passing your cursor
over a thumbnail. And if you have an account on Apple's online .Mac service
($100 annually), both programs offer effortless one-click photo or video
uploading to a "Web Gallery," where you can share your content. Videos can also
be uploaded directly to YouTube without a .Mac account.
Katherine Boehret, "The New iLife: We Test Upgrade Of Apple Suite," The Wall
Street Journal, August 15, 2007; Page D1 ---
What is Apple's latest competitor to MS Office?
Is it better or worse than Microsoft's long-standing blockbuster suite of office
"Apple's iWork Package Is Elegant but Wimpy Compared With Office," by Walter
S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2007; Page B1 ---
In the past 10 years, Apple has out-designed
Microsoft and its hardware partners in a number of key areas. But can Apple
really take on Microsoft in the category of productivity software, where
Office rules on both Windows and the Mac? To find out, I've been testing the
new iWork, which runs only on the Mac, against the Mac version of Office.
My verdict: iWork '08 is a nice product, capable of
turning out sophisticated and attractive word-processing, presentation and
spreadsheet documents. It can even read Microsoft Office documents, whether
created on the Mac or on Windows computers, and can save documents in
Microsoft Office formats so they can be opened in Office on the Mac or on
But iWork simply isn't as powerful or versatile as
Microsoft Office, especially when it comes to word processing and
spreadsheets. And it suffers from a design that places far more emphasis on
making documents look beautiful than on the nuts and bolts of the actual
process of writing and number-crunching.
There's one big omission in iWork: It has no
integrated email, contacts and calendar module comparable to Outlook in
Windows or to Entourage, the Outlook equivalent that's a part of the Mac
version of Microsoft Office. Apple decided to rely on the very good email,
calendar and address book programs that it builds into every Mac.
But iWork has one big plus: It's the first Mac
office suite that can open (though not create) files in the new formats
Microsoft introduced in the Windows version of Office earlier this year. The
Mac version of Office won't do that until Office 2008 is out in January.
The new Numbers spreadsheet has some refreshing
innovation that makes it far more approachable for casual spreadsheet users
than Microsoft Excel often is. Numbers allows you to place multiple
spreadsheet tables, plus charts and graphics, on a blank canvas that you can
arrange any way you want. Each of the spreadsheet tables functions like an
Excel spreadsheet with individual cells able to hold numbers, text or
Numbers has some other nice features to make things
simpler. Any cell meant to contain a value you type in can be controlled
with a slider or up-and-down arrows, so you can rapidly see how different
numeric values would alter calculations without a lot of retyping.
I also found that Numbers made it easier than Excel
to sort columns, and to add or move columns and rows. It's also easier to
create formulas using the actual names of columns and rows rather than their
number/letter coordinates. And Numbers lets you drag and drop common
formulas, such as Sum and Average, to the bottom of a column of numbers.
Continued in article
What two companies partnered to develop the CD 25 years ago?
Hint: They weren't U.S. companies!
"Compact Disc Celebrates 25th Anniversary," PhysOrg, August 17, 2007
A Cynical Example of Terrible Internal Control
A small South Carolina parts supplier collected
about $20.5 million over six years from the Pentagon for fraudulent shipping
costs, including $998,798 for sending two 19-cent washers to a Texas base, U.S.
officials said. The company also billed and was paid $455,009 to ship three
machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq, and $293,451
to ship an 89-cent split washer to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral,
Florida, Pentagon records show. The owners of C&D Distributors in Lexington,
South Carolina -- twin sisters -- exploited a flaw in an automated Defense
Tony Capaccio , "Pentagon Paid $999,798 to Ship Two 19-Cent Washers
to Texas," Yahoo News, August 16, 2007 ---
The company also billed and was paid $455,009 to
ship three machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq,
and $293,451 to ship an 89-cent split washer to Patrick Air Force Base in
Cape Canaveral, Florida, Pentagon records show.
The owners of C&D Distributors in Lexington, South
Carolina -- twin sisters -- exploited a flaw in an automated Defense
Department purchasing system: bills for shipping to combat areas or U.S.
bases that were labeled ``priority'' were usually paid automatically, said
Cynthia Stroot, a Pentagon investigator.
C&D's fraudulent billing started in 2000, Stroot,
the Defense Criminal Investigative Service's chief agent in Raleigh, North
Carolina, said in an interview. ``As time went on they got more aggressive
in the amounts they put in.''
The price the military paid for each item shipped
rarely reached $100 and totaled just $68,000 over the six years in contrast
to the $20.5 million paid for shipping, she said.
``The majority, if not all of these parts, were
going to high-priority, conflict areas -- that's why they got paid,'' Stroot
said. If the item was earmarked ``priority,'' destined for the military in
Iraq, Afghanistan or certain other locations, ``there was no oversight.''
The scheme unraveled in September after a
purchasing agent noticed a bill for shipping two more 19-cent washers:
$969,000. That order was rejected and a review turned up the $998,798
payment earlier that month for shipping two 19-cent washers to Fort Bliss,
Texas, Stroot said.
The Pentagon Defense Logistics Agency orders
millions of parts a year. Stroot said the agency and the Defense Finance and
Accounting Service, which pays contractors, have made major changes,
including thorough evaluations of the priciest shipping charges.
A review of paid shipping invoices showed that
fraudulent billing is ``is not a widespread problem,'' she said.
``C&D was a rogue contractor,'' Stroot said. While
other questionable billing has been uncovered, nothing came close to C&D's,
she said. The next-highest contractor billed $2 million in questionable
transport costs, she said.
C&D and two of its officials were barred in
December from receiving federal contracts. A federal judge in Columbia,
South Carolina, today accepted the guilty plea of the company and one
sister, Charlene Corley, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and
one count of conspiracy to launder money, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin
Corley, 46, faces a maximum prison sentence of 20
years on each count and will be sentenced in the near future, McDonald said
in a telephone interview from Columbia. Stroot said her sibling died last
Continued in article
I would certainly verify that purported "death." She might just be living it up
on some island paradise. For the past several years. the GAO has declared
auditing of the Pentagon a literal impossibility.
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
MIT's Technology Review Humanitarian of the Year
Tapan Parikh is creating simple, powerful mobile tools for businesses in the
developing world ---
"The Death of Diversity: People in ethnically diverse settings don't
care about each other," by Daniel Henninger, The Wall Street Journal,
August 16, 2007 ---
Now comes word that diversity as an ideology may be
dead, or not worth saving. Robert Putnam, the Harvard don who in the
controversial bestseller "Bowling Alone" announced the decline of
communal-mindedness amid the rise of home-alone couch potatoes, has
completed a mammoth study of the effects of ethnic diversity on communities.
His researchers did 30,000 interviews in 41 U.S. communities. Short version:
People in ethnically diverse settings don't want to have much of anything to
do with each other. "Social capital" erodes. Diversity has a downside.
Prof. Putnam isn't exactly hiding these volatile
conclusions, though he did introduce them in a journal called Scandinavian
Political Studies. A great believer in the efficacy of what social
scientists call "reciprocity," he wasn't happy with what he found but didn't
mince words describing the results:
"Inhabitants of diverse communities tend to
withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbors, regardless of
the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the
worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to
charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less,
to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can
actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the
television." The diversity nightmare gets worse: They have little confidence
in the "local news media." This after all we've done for them.
Colleagues and diversity advocates, disturbed at
what was emerging from the study, suggested alternative explanations. Prof.
Putnam and his team re-ran the data every which way from Sunday and the
result was always the same: Diverse communities may be yeasty and even
creative, but trust, altruism and community cooperation fall. He calls it
Give me a break! you scream. What about New York
City or L.A.? From the time of Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio" through
"Peyton Place" and beyond, people have fled the flat-lined, gossip-driven
homogeneity of small American "communities" for the welcome anonymity of
big-city apartment building--so long as your name wasn't Kitty Genovese, the
famous New York woman who bled to death crying for help. It's a wonderfully
thought-provoking study, suitable for arguing the length of a long August
weekend and available as a lecture on Prof. Putnam's Harvard Web site, the
"Saguaro Seminar." Astute readers, however, have already guessed who's
thrilled with the results.
Pat Buchanan, reflecting an array of commentaries
on the study from the American right, says, "Putnam provides supporting fire
from Harvard Yard for those who say America needs a time-out from mass
immigration, be it legal or illegal." The "antis" believe the Putnam study
hammers the final intellectual nail in the coffin of immigration and
The diversity ideologues deserve whatever ill
tidings they get. They're the ones who weren't willing to persuade the
public of diversity's merits, preferring to turn "diversity" into a
political and legal hammer to compel compliance. The conversions were forced
conversions. As always, with politics comes pushback. And it never stops.
The harvest of bitter fruit from the diversity wars
begun three decades ago across campuses, corporations and newsrooms has made
the immigration debate significantly worse. Diversity's advocates gave short
shrift to assimilation, indeed arguing that assimilation into the American
mainstream was oppressive and coercive. So they demoted assimilation and
elevated "differences." Then they took the nation to court. Little wonder
the immigration debate is riven with distrust.
The diversity ideologues ruined a good word and,
properly understood, a decent notion. What's needed now is for a younger
black, brown or polka-dot writer to recast the idea in a way that restores
the worth and utility of assimilation. Somebody had better do it soon; the
first chart offered in the Putnam study depicts inexorably rising rates of
immigration in many nations. The idea that the U.S. can wave into effect a
10-year "time out" on immigration flows is as likely as King Canute
commanding the tides to recede.
Here, too, Robert Putnam has a possible
assimilation model. Hold onto your hat. It's Christian evangelical
megachurches. "In many large evangelical congregations," he writes, "the
participants constituted the largest thoroughly integrated gatherings we
have ever witnessed." This, too, is an inconvenient truth. They do it with
low entry barriers to the church and by offering lots of little groups to
join inside the larger "shared identity" of the church. A Harvard prof finds
good in evangelical megachurches. Send this man a suit of body armor!
My own model for the way forward in a 21st century
American society of unavoidable ethnic multitudes is an old one, a phrase
found nowhere in the Putnam study or any commentary on it: the middle class.
Its assimilating virtues may be boring, but it works, if you work at getting
Of course Hillary Clinton believes this can't
happen here because the middle class has been "invisible" to George Bush. As
with diversity, progress is always just beyond the horizon.
From the Carnegie Foundation: How to engage students more in
The Political Engagement Project (PEP) addresses the serious problem of
political disengagement in young people and advocates a dramatic increase in
college and university efforts to strengthen student interest in politics. The
project documents the goals and pedagogies of 21 participating courses and
programs, student perspectives on their experiences in them, and the impact of
these experiences on key dimensions of political development such as knowledge
and understanding, active involvement, sense of political efficacy and identity,
and skills of democratic participation. Based on their work in the project, the
leaders of PEP are finishing a book entitled, "Educating for Democracy:
Preparing Undergraduates for Political Engagement," which will be published in
2007 by Jossey-Bass.
The Carnegie Foundation for Advancement in Teaching ---
What are blacks and latinos avoiding teacher education majors?
More than half of the black and Latino students who
take the state teacher licensing exam in Massachusetts fail, at rates that are
high enough that many minority college students are starting to avoid teacher
The Boston Globe reported. The failure rates
are 54 percent (black), 52 percent (Latino) and 23 percent (white).
Inside Higher Ed, August 20, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education
controversies are at
Who are the Middlemen of Study Abroad?
newfound scrutiny on the ties binding college study
abroad offices and outside organizations, and whether these relationships are
ethical or even legal, a broader question has also emerged: Leaving aside
questions of monetary incentives and junkets, why do colleges use these entities
in the first place? “The phenomenon is not very well-understood,” says Robert A.
Pastor, vice president of international affairs at American University. “A lot
of universities turn to them because they don’t have the capacity internally,
nor the desire to invest in creating their own study abroad programs.” “So they
use these third-party providers to give their students the option.”
Elizabeth Redden, "The Middlemen of Study Abroad," Inside Higher
Education, August 20, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education
controversies are at
Are the rise in examination cheatings rooted in the rise of importance of
examinations to success or failure in life?
When does examination cheating lead to handcuffs and jail?
Nine Charged in Hanover Test Thefts Hanover (home of Dartmouth College)
Nine Hanover High School students have been charged
with misdemeanors stemming from the alleged thefts of several final exams from
the school in June, following an investigation prompted by school administration
reports of alleged widespread cheating by members of the class of 2008.
"Nine Charged in Hanover Test Thefts," by Susan J. Boutwell, Valley News,
August 18, 2007 ---
Hanover -- Nine Hanover High School students have
been charged with misdemeanors stemming from the alleged thefts of several
final exams from the school in June, following an investigation prompted by
school administration reports of alleged widespread cheating by members of
the class of 2008.
Eight of the students have been arrested and
released and are to be arraigned in Lebanon District Court on Aug. 28.
Police have a warrant for the arrest of a ninth student. An underage male
student was also implicated, but police did not identify him because of his
The students charged include the sons of Valley
News columnist Jim Kenyon and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
Co-President Nancy Formella. Kenyon was the only parent reached yesterday
who was willing to comment on the charges.
He said Hanover High School's “high-pressured academic culture” leads to
“The problem can't be solved by attempting to
saddle 10 kids with criminal records for the rest of their lives. The entire
community must be willing to take a hard look at how it might have
unwittingly contributed to this problem and work together to find
solutions,” Kenyon wrote in a statement to the Valley News. Kenyon said the
school's cheating problems “do not begin or end with the final exams now in
Typically, school administrators deal internally
with cheating allegations, Superintendent Wayne Gersen said earlier this
month. But earlier this summer, Hanover High Principal Deborah Gillespie
defended the decision to hand this case over to police.
“What we're here to do is to teach young people how
to become responsible adults,” she said at the time. “Not confronting this
would not do that.”
School administrators and School Board members were
mum on the matter yesterday. Members of the Dresden School Board, who
oversee Hanover High School, referred all questions to Gersen, who couldn't
be reached for comment yesterday.
“We all agreed that (comments) will all be done
through the superintendent,” said board member John Chamberlin of Hanover.
Hanover Police Chief Nicholas Giaccone defended the
decision to charge the teenagers in the case, saying school authorities were
bound by law to report the incidents to police and that police were
obligated to investigate the complaint.
Hanover Police Capt. Francis Moran has been
investigating the case for seven weeks, and late in the day Thursday, arrest
warrants and supporting affidavits were filed in Lebanon District Court. All
but one of the arrests took place between Monday and Thursday of this week,
according to the affidavits.
Hanover police have also charged three students
with misdemeanor vandalism charges for allegedly defacing and damaging
construction equipment at the high school on May 25. Police say that
incident is not connected to the test thefts. However, two of the students
charged in that matter have also been charged in the vandalism case. A third
student charged in the vandalism case is to be arraigned Sept. 11.
Police began investigating the theft of tests in
June after talking with Ron Eberhardt, Hanover High dean of students, who
contacted police on June 19 to discuss “security issues” at the school,
according to police affidavits. Eberhardt told police that
“widescale cheating on chemistry final exams may have
occurred by members of the junior class,” the affidavits said.
According to affidavits, students interviews by
police gave details about incidents on June 13 and June 18.
Four of the teenagers are charged with criminal
trespass for their alleged roles in taking tests from the school's Science
Resource Center on June 18. They are Jeffrey Fairbrothers, 17, of Hanover;
Jason Hadley, 17, of Norwich; Stephen Hadley, 17, of Norwich; and Hiroki
Podjuban, 17, of Hanover.
Stephen Hadley told police that he and his brother
Jason and two other students had a key to a cabinet in the Science Resource
Center and that they “unlocked the cabinet and stole the chemistry exam” on
June 18, according to an affidavit. Podjuban told police that “he was
involved in the theft of the chemistry exams” and that two entries had been
made “before the exams were located and stolen,” according to the affidavit.
Fairbrothers told police that he acted as a lookout
while the Hadley brothers went into an office to take the exam that night,
according to an affidavit. Fairbrothers also told police that “others had
determined where the exam was sometime prior” to the alleged June 18 theft.
Jason Hadley told police others stole the exam and that he “occasionally”
entered the room but was “primarily” acting as a lookout.
Five others have been charged with “criminal
liability for conduct of another” for their alleged roles as “lookouts”
during the June 13 theft of exams from the school's Math Resource Center.
They are John Arbogast, 17, of Norwich; Colin Gormley, 17, who has a White
River Junction address; Nicholas Kenyon, 17, of Norwich; and Peter Miller,
17, of Hanover. Those boys told police they waited in hallways while others
went into the resource center to find exams.
Continued in article
Why cheating in chemistry especially?
In a college town like Hanover, over half the students are probably trying to
get into an Ivy League university and intending to major in PreMed where
chemistry grades are all important while, instead of sugar plums, visions of
BMW's and country clubs dance in their heads. The students cheating in economics
want to be CEOs and investment bankers riding in chauffeured limousines up to
their mountain top castles.
Are college students good surrogates for real life studies?
The majority of behavioral experiments in accounting have used students as
"Too Many Studies Use College Students As Their Guinea Pigs," by Carl Bialik,
The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2007; Page B1---
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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:
American Accounting Association
You Must Start Reading the Becker-Posner Blog
I'm addicted to the Becker-Posner Blog ---
Gary Becker is a Nobel Laureate and
Richard Posner should've shared that same honor and prize before now.
Becker and Posner can turn almost any major issue into economic theory,
including the war in Iraq and the rise in obesity.
Here's the latest
example on a topic that falls more into line with economic theory than war and
The Becker-Posner Blog illustrates what dedicated academics can really do with
the newer technology of a blog. Pompous academics who brag they do not read
blogs because blogs are beneath them probably have never sought out the best of
the blogs in academia. The Becker-Posner blog is one of the best in the academy.
What's amazing to me is how Professors Becker and Posner pull out arguments
weekly that most economists would take months or years to develop while
preparing for a paper or a book. And the results sometimes have the surprise
element similar to
How do a brilliant economists explain the degradation of airline service?
Reading the Becker-Posner Blog sometimes makes me feel like
Brown interpreting the shapes of clouds in the sky. Aside from weather and
some air controller issues, I thought airline degradation was about cost
reduction by cutting crews, fuel, and flights in order to have planes nearly
fully booked for virtually every flight. Then when a flight is cancelled by
weather or whatever, there's no slack in the system to provide all delayed
passengers with later flights. Like the Kinston Trio's
the MTA passengers may "abide forever" in an airport. My dentist told me
yesterday that he sat in the Baltimore airport for ten hours trying to get on
repeated flights to Manchester, NH that in all cases were fully booked days
before his reserved flight was cancelled.
A brilliant economist has a more complex theory for the degradation of
airline service on what has to be one of the best blogs in history.
"Air Transportation Delay," by Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog,
August 12, 2007 ---
My guess (and that's all it is) is that the
principal culprit is the difference between marginal and inframarginal
consumers of a product or service that has heavy fixed costs (lumpiness).
Let me explain what is actually a simple point. Competition compresses price
to the intersection between demand and supply; think of the standard, simple
demand-supply graph in which a falling demand curve intersects a rising
supply curve. To the left of the intersection, the demand curve is above the
price,. The space between the price and the demand curve denotes the
existence of inframarginal customers (or quantities, but I'll disregard that
detail), which is to say customers who would continue to buy the product or
service even if its price were higher. They would do that because they value
it more than the marginal purchaser does--the purchaser who would not buy
the product if the price were any higher than competition has constrained it
to be, because the marginal purchaser purchases at a price just equal to his
demand, that is, to the value he attaches to having the product.
The difference between what the inframarginal
purchasers pay (the market price, the same price paid by the marginal
purchaser) and what they would pay (the schedule of prices traced by the
demand curve above its intersection with the price) is referred to as
"consumer surplus". In effect, it is value given away by the sellers to the
purchasers. The sellers derive no profit from it. The only way they can
increase their profits is to reduce their price, as that will attract more
marginal customers; specifically, they will be customers for whom the value
of the product is less than its current price but for whom the value of the
product would exceed price if the price fell.
When price is at its competitive level, the sellers
(unless they collude, and barring government intervention) can reduce price
further only by increasing the quality of their product or reducing its
cost. Reducing cost may require reducing quality, which will reduce consumer
surplus. But the sellers' object is not to maximize consumer surplus,
because they do not profit from it. So if reducing price by reducing cost
(and therefore quality) attracts new customers because they are not as
concerned with quality as the inframarginal customers are, the sellers may
be better off even though their customers as a whole may be worse off.
What makes this a particularly attractive strategy
for airlines to follow is that a large proportion of their costs are fixed,
that is, are invariant to quantity of output. If a plane can carry 100
passengers, the cost savings from carrying a smaller number is trivial,
unlike the cost savings to a retailer from selling fewer toothbrushes. (The
analogy to the airplane is to intellectual property--a book, say. The fixed
costs of the book will be very high relative to the cost of printing and
distributing an additional copy, i.e., its marginal cost.) Even a very low
price to passengers, if it fills the plane, may be profitable, because
almost all the revenue goes to pay the heavy fixed costs of the plane, as in
the case of the book but not the toothbrush. To the extent that an airline
can price discriminate, it will, offering better service to the customers
that are willing to pay for it. Hence first class and business class versus
coach. (The analogy in intellectual property is to hardback versus paperback
books, or to first-run versus subsequent-run movies.) However, there are
limitations. If flights are canceled or delayed, all the passengers are
harmed; if first-class seats are filled (for they are especially profitable
to the airlines), it will be harder for first-class passengers to find a
first-class seat on the next flight if their original flight is canceled;
and so forth.
The inframarginal customers (I am one of them) are
furious. Some of them are substituting other modes of transportation, such
as car or train, for short flights, but that substitution is limited by the
fact that fuel costs per mile, an increasingly high cost of driving, are
actually lower for planes than for cars. At the top end of the income
distribution, some airline customers are buying shares in private planes. In
the middle, many are complaining to their Congressmen. In a curious way,
this last response could be thought an effort to obtain legislative
rectification of a market failure. For it is possible, if my analysis is
correct, that aggregate economic welfare, in the form of the total combined
consumer and producer surplus of airline transportation, has declined as a
result of the airlines' competition for the marginal customer. However, it
is extremely unlikely that such a market failure could be rectified by
legislation at a cost equal to or greater than the benefits.
It might be asked why the quality of airline
service has been falling recently, rather than having always been low (at
least since deregulation, which by limiting entry and price competition
encouraged airlines to compete by providing better service). The answer is
that the costs of air transportation have been rising recently as a result
of sharply higher fuel costs. So it is not that the airlines are actually
reducing fares, as I assumed for purposes of simplifying my analysis--in
fact they are raising them. But they are not raising them to the level
necessary to maintain the previous quality of service, because if they did
that they would lose their marginal customers.
Most markets adapt to differences in consumer
preference by offering different qualities of product at different prices.
But except at the very high end, where as I said some airline customers are
switching to private planes and private charter services, this is not
happening in the airline industry. The impediments include the network
character of the industry, the fixed costs of airplane transportation, and
the spillover effects of airline delay--the inability of airlines to adhere
to their schedules complicates air traffic control.
Speaking of which, the airlines argue that the air
traffic control system is antiquated and that this is contributing to
air-traffic delay. I find this implausible, because the the system, though
operated by the government, is 90 percent financed by taxes on aviation
fuel. If the airlines want a better system, they should support rather than
oppose higher taxes.
Posner's equally brilliant Nobel Laureate partner Gary Becker takes a
somewhat different side in this debate:
"Air Transportation Delay," by Gary Becker, The Becker-Posner Blog,
August 12, 2007 ---
It is no surprise that the quality of airline
services declined after deregulation of air travel took hold in the 1980's.
The Civil Aeronautics Board that controlled the airline industry prior to
deregulation severely restricted the degree of price competition among
airlines. So the main way available to airlines to attract customers from
competitors was to offer higher quality services, such as better food,
shorter check-in lines, more empty seats on a typical flight, and the like.
After open competition on ticket prices became common due to deregulation,
airlines naturally cut back on most of the services that had been provided
because they could not compete on price. Of course, lower prices and greater
competition made air travel available to millions of men, women, and
children that would have been financially out of their reach under the old
That is, the greater price competition brought in
the marginal customers that Posner considers who have lower incomes, and who
are much less willing to pay for better services. To some extent, special
airlines, such as the now defunct Peoples Airline and Southwest, began to
cater to younger and lower income customers by having only cheaper economy
seats, longer delays at check-in, simpler (if any) food, and more crowded
flights. The major airlines, like American and United, tried to meet this
competition while at the same time offering superior service to first class
and business travelers. Indeed, under competitive pressure, they even
improved some of their services to premier customers, including faster lines
for them to get through security checks, special rooms where they could be
more comfortable while waiting for flights, and faster baggage delivery. But
even first class passengers could not avoid flight delays, break downs of
air conditioning on planes, and other recurring problems in air travel.
One obviously important factor in the especially
rapid deterioration of airline services during the past few years is the
awful financial situation of practically all airlines- there are a few
exceptions, such as Southwest. As bankrupt and other financially weak
airlines struggled to stem their losses in the face of steep rises in the
cost of fuel, they cut the number of employees serving customers either
directly or indirectly, reduced the number of their flights, eliminated food
on most of their domestic flights, and made multiple other reductions in
services to reduce costs.
Another factor behind the deterioration in services
during the past couple of years is the large increase in occupancy rates on
planes. When planes are running at or near capacity, even small weather,
security, or other shocks to the system can create major headaches. With
high occupancy rates, it becomes difficult to rebook on other planes when
flights are cancelled, baggage delivery is slowed and more baggage gets
misplaced, the limited number of toilets on flights are more intensively
used, and have become dirtier and more likely to clogg up, overbooking grows
to a much bigger problem, and delays get longer even when the number of
flights do not increase because some passengers and baggage are late for
connecting flight. In many other ways as well, flights are just much more
uncomfortable when all or almost all seats are occupied.
The inconvenience to customers of high occupancy
rates is made worse by inflexible prices charged to airlines that gives them
various rights at airports. For example, take off and landing fees for
commercial and private planes are largely determined by the weight of an
aircraft, are fixed in advance, and they are not sensitive to variations in
the cost of using airports at different times. Weight-based fees encourage
smaller planes to clog runways during peak periods whereas they should be
encouraged to use off-peak times. If airports charged higher fees during
busier times of the day and on busier days, and if they made some
adjustments of fees when there is bad weather and other causes of delays,
airlines would be induced to stagger their flights more than at present over
a day and during the week, and perhaps even to adjust their schedules to
expected to weather conditions. More flexible prices in turn would
particularly help flights with the largest number of total passengers and
more first class and business passengers since airlines would be willing to
pay more for these flights in order to get them priority positions on take
offs and landings.
Will “Minsky Moments” become “Minsky Accounting?”
As both the FASB in the U.S. and the IASB international standards boards
march ever onward toward "fair value" accounting by replacing historical costs
with current values (mark-to-market accounting), it will plunge corporate
accountants and their CPA auditors ever deeper into current value estimation.
Financial statements will become increasingly volatile and fictional with market
movements. It is becoming clear that the efficient markets hypothesis that
drives much of the theory behind fair value accounting is increasingly on shaky
Especially problematic are moments in time like now (2007) when the bubble
subprime mortgage borrowing and investing that has caused tremors throughout
the world of banking and investing and risk sharing. And once again, the ghost
of long departed John Maynard Keynes seems to have risen from the grave. There's
material for a great
horror novel here.
It is time for accounting standard setters who set such new standards as FAS
157 and FAS 159 to dust off some old economics books and seriously consider
whether they understand the theoretical underpinnings of new and pending fair
value standards moving closer to show time. You can read more fair value
accounting controversies in my work-in-process PowerPoint file called
badly mixing my metaphors here, the fundamental problem is that unrealized fair
values painting rosy financial performance (as the speculative roller coaster
rises with breath taking thrill toward the crest) become unrealized losses as
the roller coaster swoops downward toward “Minsky Moments.” It's a fundamental
problem in fair value accounting because an enormous portion of reported
earnings on the way up become sheer Minsky mincemeat (before investments are
sold and liabilities are not settled) and diabolical garbage on the way down. In
other words in these boom/bust market cycles, financial statements (certified by
independent auditors under new fair value accounting standards) become
increasingly hypothetical fantasy replacing accustomed facts rooted in
Fair value standard setters are plunging accounting into the realm of
economic theory that is itself less uncertain than astrology. It's time to
rethink some of that Chicago School economic theory that we've taken for granted
because of all the Nobel Prizes awarded to Chicago School economists.
Did John Maynard
Keynes rise from the grave?
"In Time of Tumult, Obscure Economist Gains Currency: Mr. Minsky Long
Argued Markets Were Crisis Prone; His 'Moment' Has Arrived," by Justin Lahart,
The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2007; Page A1 ---
The recent market turmoil is rocking investors
around the globe. But it is raising the stock of one person: a little-known
economist whose views have suddenly become very popular.
Minsky, who died more than a decade ago, spent much of his career
advancing the idea that financial systems are inherently susceptible to
bouts of speculation that, if they last long enough, end in crises. At a
time when many economists were coming to believe in the efficiency of
markets, Mr. Minsky was considered somewhat of a radical for his stress on
their tendency toward excess and upheaval.
Today, his views are reverberating from New York to
Hong Kong as economists and traders try to understand what's happening in
the markets. The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, where Mr. Minsky
worked for the last six years of his life, is planning to reprint two books
by the economist -- one on John Maynard Keynes, the other on unstable
economies. The latter book was being offered on the Internet for thousands
Christopher Wood, a widely read Hong Kong-based
analyst for CLSA Group, told his clients that recent cash injections by
central banks designed "to prevent, or at least delay, a 'Minsky moment,' is
evidence of market failure."
Indeed, the Minsky moment has become a fashionable
catch phrase on Wall Street. It refers to the time when over-indebted
investors are forced to sell even their solid investments to make good on
their loans, sparking sharp declines in financial markets and demand for
cash that can force central bankers to lend a hand.
Mr. Minsky, who died in 1996 at the age of 77, was
a tall man with unruly hair who wore unpressed suits. He approached the
world as "one big research tank," says Diana Minsky, his daughter, an art
history professor at Bard. "Economics was an integrated part of his life. It
wasn't isolated. There wasn't a sense that work was something he did at the
She recalls how, on a trip to a village in Italy to
meet friends, Mr. Minsky ended up interviewing workers at a glove maker to
understand how small-scale capitalism worked in the local economy.
Although he was born in Chicago, Mr. Minsky didn't
have many fans in the "Chicago School" of economists, who believed that
markets were efficient. A follower of the economist John Maynard Keynes, he
died just before a decade of financial crises in Asia, Russia, tech stocks,
corporate credit and now mortgage debt, began to lend credence to his ideas.
Following those periods of tumult, more investors
turned to the investment classic "Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of
Financial Crises," by
Charles Kindleberger, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology who leaned heavily on Mr. Minsky's work.
Mr. Kindleberger showed that financial crises
unfolded the way that Mr. Minsky said they would. Though a loyal follower,
Mr. Kindleberger described Mr. Minsky as "a man with a reputation among
monetary theorists for being particularly pessimistic, even lugubrious, in
his emphasis on the fragility of the monetary system and its propensity to
At its core, the Minsky view was straightforward:
When times are good, investors take on risk; the longer times stay good, the
more risk they take on, until they've taken on too much. Eventually, they
reach a point where the cash generated by their assets no longer is
sufficient to pay off the mountains of debt they took on to acquire them.
Losses on such speculative assets prompt lenders to call in their loans.
"This is likely to lead to a collapse of asset values," Mr. Minsky wrote.
When investors are forced to sell even their
less-speculative positions to make good on their loans, markets spiral lower
and create a severe demand for cash. At that point, the Minsky moment has
"We are in the midst of a Minsky moment, bordering
on a Minsky meltdown," says Paul McCulley, an economist and fund manager at
Pacific Investment Management Co., the world's largest bond-fund manager, in
an email exchange.
The housing market is a case in point, says
Investment Technology Group Inc. economist Robert Barbera, who first met Mr.
Minsky in the late 1980s. When home buyers were expected to have a down
payment of 10% or 20% to qualify for a mortgage, and to provide income
documentation that showed they'd be able to make payments, there was minimal
risk. But as home prices rose, and speculators entered the market, lenders
relaxed their guard and began offering loans with no money down and little
or no documentation.
Once home prices stalled and, in many of the
more-speculative markets, fell, there was a big problem.
"If you're lending to home buyers with 20% down and
house prices fall by 2%, so what?" Mr. Barbera says. If most of a lender's
portfolio is tied up in loans to buyers who "don't put anything down and
house prices fall by 2%, you're bankrupt," he says.
Several money managers are laying claim to spotting
the Minsky moment first. "I featured him about 18 months ago," says Jeremy
Grantham, chairman of GMO LLC, which manages $150 billion in assets. He
pointed to a note in early 2006 when he wrote that investors had become too
comfortable that financial markets were safe, and consequently were taking
on too much risk, just as Mr. Minsky predicted. "Guinea pigs of the world
unite. We have nothing to lose but our shirts," he concluded.
It was Mr. McCulley at Pacific Investment, though,
who coined the phrase "Minsky moment"
during the Russian debt crisis in 1998.
Continued in article
August 18, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly
I thought we could all enjoy the following Keynes
1. "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the
most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest
good of everyone."
2. How prophetic he was:
"The day is not far off when the economic problem
will take the back seat where it belongs, and the arena of the heart and the
head will be occupied or reoccupied, by our real problems / the problems of
life and of human relations, of creation and behavior and religion."
3. How wonderfully Keynes anticipated stuff in
games played by Bayesian players and stuff in self-fulfilling equilibria
(which yielded three "Nobel" prizes), all without introducing any
mathematics or economic mumbo jumbo:
"Successful investing is anticipating the
anticipations of others."
4. The accountics folks might enjoy the following:
"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new
ideas as in escaping from old ones."
"If economists could manage to get themselves
thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would
"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do
you do, sir?"
5. This should thrill tax folks:
"The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual
pursuit that still carries any reward."
August 20, 2007 reply from Paul Williams
Apparently no economist ever dies -- they just come
in and out of fashion. In George Akerlof's presidential address to the AEA
in January 2006 ("The Missing Motivation in Macroeconomics") he concludes:
"This lecture has shown that the early Keynesians got a great deal of the
working of the economic system right in ways that are denied by the five
neutralities (assumptions of the positivists).
As quoted from Keynes earlier, they based their
models on "our knowledge of human nature and from the detailed facts of
experience."" Thus the recent interest in "norms" by Shyam Sunder and the
urgency to provide "econonmic" explanations for "norms." So the very FIRST
plenary speaker at the, Joe Henrich, at the Chicago 2007 AAA meeting,
regaled us with his "evidence" that market integrated societies produce
people who are more trusting and fair- minded because people from Missouri
divide the spoils in a game that no one ever plays in their real lives more
equitably than a hunter- gatherer from New Guinea for whom the game may have
an entirely different meaning than someone from St.Louis (a synchresis,
Given that the integration of societies by
"markets" represents the blink of an eye in evolutionary time (even for
humans) one might consider that perhaps what makes Missourians different
from hunter- gatherers is that they come from a Christian tradition that
predates market integration by a couple thousand years (a tradition of
Linguists have long remarked that language is
impossible without trust (how else can I believe that words mean what I am
told they mean or how do I avoid starvation at birth unless I "trust" my
mother? We are born trusting). Yet we get this facile rendering with
regression equations of Adam Smith's argument stood completely on its head.
For Smith markets were a possibility only within a society that was already
integrated (in Smith's case by the kirk's dispositon of a stern Calvanist
Mike Royko (the columnist for the Chicago Tribune)
once opined that he had finally figured out economic theory, to wit,
"Economics says that almost anything can happen, and it usually does." The
end of history? I bet not.
Bob Jensen's threads on fair value accounting are at
"Traders turn to black humour," by David Oakley, Financial Times,
August 17, 2007 ---
In one of the most turbulent weeks in the financial
markets this year, there have been not only tears but also laughter as black
humour have helped some of the world’s biggest banks and institutions come
to terms with the prospect of huge losses.
As the FTSE 100 shed 4.1 per cent on Thursday – the
biggest daily loss in more than four years – traders let rip with expletives
and gallows humour in equal proportions as they grappled with the
One joke likened the crisis in subprime assets –
responsible for triggering the implosion of some hedge funds as they totted
up billions of dollars in losses – to the Titanic disaster: as with the
Titanic, the downside was not immediately apparent and only a few wealthy
people got out in time.
Another dealer announced in a cheeky e-mail the
creation of a new structured product: a Constant Obligation Leveraged
Originated Structured Oscillating Money Bridged Asset Guarantee, or
COLOStOMyBAG. One trader noted on the product – a parody of the increasingly
bizarre acronyms that have become commonplace in the world of structured
finance – “It’s basically full of shit.”
Other traders described a new quantitative trading
method – one of the complex mathematical models de-signed to profit from
pricing inefficiencies in the markets – otherwise known as a “dartboard”.
One leading credit strategist said: “If you’re a
trader who has lost a lot of money, there is a temptation to give up and
turn to jokes, even go to the pub. I would agree that, in the money markets
in particular where credit lines have just dried up, there has been a real
sense of panic. This week has been a bad one. It started on Tuesday when
Wall Street saw big losses and it just got worse and worse although
yesterday the markets did pep up a bit.”
Gary Jenkins, a portfolio manager at Synapse
Investment Management, a hedge fund, said: “This has been one incredible
week. We have seen markets swing wildly. In the money markets, there has
been a real sense of panic. Some people may have turned to jokes to keep
their spirits up but others are really crying.
“There is a palpable sense of fear out there and
that’s not just judging by the Vix” – the market index that measures implied
volatility and is otherwise known as the fear gauge, which hit a five-year
high this week. “It’s real. There are people out there who are very scared.
“I’m actually quite glad I’m about to go on
holiday, although I’m going to Yellowstone Park. People keep asking me, ‘So
why do you want to go there? You can see more bears in the City’.”
From The Washington Post on August 10, 2007
How many new blog posts are created each
From The Washington Post on August 17, 2007
What company developed HD-DVD?
From The Washington Post on August 20, 2007
Where is Skype, the Internet-phone company,
Updates from WebMD ---
Download the Internet Safety for Kids book ---
Stay Safe Online ---
Also see Also see
"Keeping Kids Safe Online," by Johanna Ambrosio, InformationWeek
Newsletter, March 15, 2006
I'm no expert, but I am a parent of three teenagers who, thankfully, have
been safe so far. My reaction to the news about Microsoft jumping into the
with a free tool to
be available this summer is that it sounds great, but I hope parents realize
that the use of any monitoring software isn't by itself enough to guarantee
I think anyone in the computer industry already knows this and certainly
understands the dangers that lurk. But I worry there may be some parents who
too readily trust a tool to take the place of their (human) care and
concern. Parents must still be parents, and older teens especially must be
made aware of their responsibility in this, too. With great freedom comes
great personal responsibility, both online and offline, and kids need the
adults in their lives to both explain and model this.
We've certainly been lucky, and we've done some things to help. (For the
fuller story, please check out my
Richard Campbell forwarded a link on some interesting screencasts on Internet
Bob Jensen's threads on Internet security are at
Doctors are diagnosing too many people with depression when all they are
is unhappy, an expert has claimed
Writing in the British Medical Journal, Professor
Gordon Parker, a psychiatrist from Australia, says that the current threshold
for what is considered to be clinical depression is too low. Prescriptions for
anti-depressants have soared to an all time high in Britain with more than
31million written last year alone, a six per cent rise on 2005. This spectre of
a pill-popping nation has led to calls for more doctors to prescribe exercise as
an alternative to medication. Prof Parker, of the Black Dog Institute in New
South Wales, carried out a study of 242 teachers and followed them up
for 15 years. During that time more than three-quarters of the teachers met the
current criteria for depression.
Rebecca Smith, London Telegraph, August 17, 2007 ---
What Harvard University Professor of Pathology claims to have discovered the
fountain of youth?
What chemical is in the fountain?
Hint: You probably cannot pronounce the name of the chemical, but you will
probably drink to its source.
David Sinclair is very good at persuading people.
The catch, says a longtime colleague and scientific rival, is that he is
sometimes overly optimistic about his results. "David is brilliant, but
sometimes he is too passionate and impatient for a scientist," says another
colleague. "So far, he is fortunate that his claims have turned out to be mostly
true." Sinclair's basic claim is simple, if seemingly improbable: he has found
an elixir of youth. In his Australian drawl, the 38-year-old Harvard University
professor of pathology explains how he discovered that resveratrol, a chemical
found in red wine, extends life span in mice by up to 24 percent and in other
animals, including flies and worms, by as much as 59 percent. Sinclair hopes
that resveratrol will bump up the life span of people, too. "The system at work
in the mice and other organisms is evolutionarily very old, so I suspect that
what works in mice will work in humans," he says.
David Ewing Duncan, "The Enthusiast A controversial biologist at Harvard claims
he can extend life span and treat diseases of aging. He may be right," MIT's
Technology Review (now with an audio listening option), September/October
Soda Warning? High-fructose Corn Syrup Linked To Diabetes, New Study
Researchers have found new evidence that soft
drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may contribute to the
development of diabetes, particularly in children. In a laboratory study of
commonly consumed carbonated beverages, the scientists found that drinks
containing the syrup had high levels of reactive compounds that have been shown
by others to have the potential to trigger cell and tissue damage that could
cause the disease, which is at epidemic levels. HFCS is a sweetener found in
many foods and beverages, including non-diet soda pop, baked goods, and
condiments. It is has become the sweetener of choice for many food manufacturers
because it is considered more economical, sweeter and more easy to blend into
beverages than table sugar. Some researchers have suggested that high-fructose
corn syrup may contribute to an increased risk of diabetes as well as obesity, a
claim which the food industry disputes. Until now, little laboratory evidence
has been available on the topic.
Scientific Daily, August 7, 2004 ---
"Out-of-Body Experiences Tested in Lab," by Miranda Hitti, WebMD,
August 24, 2007 ---
Ever had an out-of-body experience, where you were
wide awake and "saw" your body as if you were a bystander?
Scientists may have figured out how out-of-body
experiences happen. Turns out, it's all about the eyes.
Two new studies -- both published in tomorrow's
edition of the journal Science -- put a state-of-the-art spin on out-of-body
In one experiment, 14 healthy, young adults wore
virtual-reality goggles as they stood in the researchers' lab. A few feet
behind them, a video camera filmed their backs and projected that image, in
real time, into a hologram a few feet in front of the participants.
The researchers stroked the participants' real and
virtual back at the same time. Afterward, they only stroked the
participants' virtual back -- but even so, participants said they had the
sensation that their real backs were being touched.
Participants didn't lose all sense of themselves.
They didn't report feeling like they had left their bodies.
But they did describe the sensation as weird or
strange, according to Olaf Blanke, MD, PhD, and colleagues. Blanke directs
the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale
de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Blanke's team did similar tests on 14 other
participants to confirm the findings.
The other study also used virtual reality and video
cameras to simulate out-of-body experiences. But neuroscientist H. Henrik
Ehrsson, MD, PhD, pushed the envelope a little farther.
Continued in article
"How Ads Affect Our Memory New research could help advertisers make a
better impression," by Brian Schrock, MIT's Technology Review, August
21, 2007 ---
A new study
suggests that marketers shouldn't
fixate on the number of people who
click on ads. According to the
research, just seeing an ad on a Web
page can impact memory. The findings
could have a significant impact on
is made and
be considered effective, an online
advertisement has to elicit a
response--usually a click of the
mouse--from a potential customer.
But Chan Yun Yoo, an assistant
professor at the
University of Kentucky's School of
Journalism and Telecommunications,
when people view Web advertisements,
they store information in two
different types of memory: explicit
Explicit memory involves facts
learned through conscious
interaction, while implicit memory
involves unconscious retention.
Explicitly remembered information
includes ad slogans, product
benefits, and website addresses. In
contrast, implicit memory might only
come into play when external stimuli
trigger concepts. For instance, a
consumer might only recall a brand
of toothpaste from a television ad
when he or she discovers it while
browsing in a store. Or the consumer
might develop an unconscious
affinity for a certain brand despite
not knowing specific facts about it.
Subjects who paid attention to a
banner advertisement were more
likely than those who didn't to
recall whole words and facts from
the ad--facts stored in explicit
memory. All ads had the same level
of impact in the unconscious
explicit memory, however, whether or
not they'd been clicked. Yoo's
findings are relevant because they
challenge the assumption that online
advertising is only effective when
it gets a direct response from the
viewer. His study was published in
the spring 2007 edition of
and Mass Communication Quarterly.
codirector of the
Sloan Center for Internet Retailing
University of California, Riverside,
says that Yoo's research applies
traditional ideas about media impact
to the Internet. In other mediums,
such as television, advertisers do
not typically assume that audience
members will interact with the ad.
Hoffman says the notion that
may have some
impact on perception begs the
question, "What are the most
effective ways to advertise in the
Continued in article
This suggests that bullet points in a PowerPoint lecture might have more impact
on memory if students are required to do something when instructors display a
bullet point. For example, perhaps they should be required to click on a
response pad, write down the bullet point, or whatever.
Lead Paint in Toys
Barbie works for Mattel. Her supervisor is now screaming for her to get the lead
out of her pants
August 18, 2007 from biology professor Robert Blystone
As a grandparent of a four-year old and a house
full of Thomas Trains I was concerned with the first recall of Thomas
products and now of the much larger Mattel recall of children's toys.
You may wish to visit the Mattel site where the
recall is explained.
I have also discovered a brief discussion of the
subject from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, which is attached.
And finally an interesting piece from the Chinese
Medical Journal, 2002. In this article, seven years ago it was described
that blood lead levels in Chinese kids that immigrated from mainland China
to Hong Kong were high in 1 out of 5 children. The article suggests that
lead levels are generally high in the Chinese environment. It should come as
no surprise that toys produced in China might have higher levels of lead
than would be customary if the toys were produced in countries with more
stringent regulations in place.
Five Best Books on China
"Looking East Reliable guides to China and its history," by Oliver August,
The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2007 ---
1. "The Bridegroom" by Ha
Jin (Pantheon, 2000).
Ha Jin is the master storyteller of modern China, and this is his
best book. In the dozen stories collected in "The Bridegroom," he
portrays his homeland in exceptionally dark colors. It is a place
where anarchic privateering and lawlessness flourish below a surface
of authoritarian control. Freebooters and corrupt officials inflict
cruelties on the less fortunate, who then turn on one another rather
than banding together. Still, Ha Jin's view of his countrymen is
intensely affectionate. For three decades, they have faced immense
social change, and yet even as their lives are repeatedly upended
most people have responded with remarkable good grace. An exception
is the man in one of the stories who wants to poison an entire town
after being freed from false arrest. For the most part, though, Ha
Jin traces the continuing toxic effects of the Cultural Revolution
that began under Mao Zedong in the 1960s, when children informed on
parents and even the most harmless comment could trigger
2. "Please Don't Call Me Human" by Wang Shuo (Hyperion, 2000).
Wang Shuo has claimed his own Chinese fiction genre: "hooligan
literature," which revels in vulgarity and the rude contempt for
authority shown by disaffected Chinese youth. In the novel "Please
Don't Call Me Human" (translated by Howard Goldblatt), he describes
an alternative Olympics in which nations compete for medals by
humiliating themselves and their athletes. The protagonist is a
bicycle-rickshaw driver and martial-arts aficionado who is recruited
as a wrestling competitor and then put through an ordeal that
culminates in his castration. But the plot is almost beside the
point in this surreal tale. It was written long before Beijing won
the right to stage the 2008 Games but would be an excellent
counterweight to next summer's festivities.
3. "Hermit of Peking" by Hugh Trevor-Roper (Knopf, 1977).
If proof were needed that foreigners in China can behave as
dubiously as any Chinese, then British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper
supplies the evidence with "Hermit of Peking," his investigation
into the "hidden life" of Sinologist Sir Edmund Backhouse
(1873-1944). Backhouse, who lived in Beijing, helped shape Western
understanding of the inner workings of the Chinese court when, in
1910, he published "China Under the Empress Dowager." But as
Trevor-Roper discovered, Backhouse's depiction of the Empress
Dowager Cixi--China's de facto ruler at the turn of the last
century--was based on fabricated sources. It is delicious to watch
Trevor-Roper's mounting incredulity over the fibs and outright
fantasy he uncovers, including Backhouse's claim in his unpublished
memoirs that he had affairs with both the Empress Dowager herself
and Oscar Wilde.
4. "God's Chinese Son" by Jonathan Spence (Norton, 1996).
Historian Jonathan Spence has spent decades explaining how the
Middle Kingdom got to where we find it today. But none of his books
captures the sheer madness of China's past quite like the story of
Hong Xiuquan, a farmer's son born in a hard-up village near Canton
in southern China in 1814. After encountering Western missionaries
who gave him religious tracts, he became convinced that he was God's
second son--Jesus' younger brother--and had been sent to China to
save it from unjust rulers. He reinvented himself as the leader of
the "God worshippers," and in fierce sermons he rallied armed
followers to his cause. They included bandits like "Big Head Yang,"
a pirate queen from Macao fleeing government forces. Hong named his
troops--more than 100,000--the Taiping Heavenly Army and led them
north, conquering territory with unexpected speed. In 1853, he
controlled an area bigger than France. Taking the city of Nanjing,
he set up a Christian capital, or "earthly paradise." In 1864, as
Hong appeared close to toppling the Qing Dynasty, he mysteriously
died from poisoning, and Beijing reasserted its authority. Never
again would it underestimate the potentially major effects of a
5. "River Town" by Peter Hessler (HarperCollins, 2001).
Peter Hessler was on occasion called a "foreign devil" on the
streets of Fuling, the town along the Yangtse River where he taught
English for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the mid-1990s.
But in his fascinating and touching account of the experience he
doesn't come across as very foreign, much less a Mephisto intent on
leading his students astray. He sketches the gentle rhythms of life
along the Yangtse--under the shadow of the looming Three Gorges dam
project--with the sureness of someone who might have lived by the
river all his life. In a telling moment, he asks his students what
would happen if Robin Hood came to China today. "A few followed the
Party line," claiming that in the economic paradise of the People's
Republic, Robin Hood would have nothing to do. "But most of them
kept Robin Hood busy stealing from corrupt cadres and greedy
businessmen," Mr. Hessler writes. Even in the upper valleys of the
Yangtse, it seems, Chinese now prefer wanted men to Party men.
Mr. August is the author of "Inside the Red Mansion: On the
Trail of China's Most Wanted Man," just published by Houghton
Forwarded by Auntie Bev
George Carlin's Views on Aging
Do you realize that the only time in our lives
when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old,
you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.
"How old are you?"
and a half!" You're never thirty-six
and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key
You get into your teens, now they can't hold you
back You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.
"How old are you?" "I'm
gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but
hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . you
become 21. Even the words sound like
a ceremony . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!
But then you
turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk!
He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a
sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?
21, you TURN 30, then
you'rePUSHING 40 Whoa! Put on the
brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you
REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.
You MAKE it
to 60. You didn't think you would!
So you BECOME
21, TURN 30,
MAKE it to 60
You've built up so much speed that you
HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day
thing; you HIT Wednesday!
You get into
your 80's and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN
4:30 ; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you start
going backwards; "I Was JUST 92."
Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over
100, you become a little kid again. "I 'm 100 and a half!"
May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!
HOW TO STAY
age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them That is why you pay
pull you down,
this includes family, too.
Learn more about
crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the
And the devil's
name is Alzheimer's.
Enjoy the simple
and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is
ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
yourself with what you love
, whether it's
keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever Your home is your refuge
If it is good,
preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can
improve, get help.
Don't take guilt
Take a trip to
the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the
the people you love that you love them,
at every opportunity.
Dumb things doctoral students have said ---
Tidbits Archives ---
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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
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Current and past editions of my newsletter called New
Current and past editions of my newsletter called
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Online Books, Poems, References,
and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Shared Open Courseware
(OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing
Free Textbooks and Cases ---
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National Library of Virtual Manipulatives ---
The word moodle is an acronym for "modular
object-oriented dynamic learning environment", which is quite a mouthful.
The Scout Report stated the following about Moodle 1.7. It is a
tremendously helpful opens-source e-learning platform. With Moodle,
educators can create a wide range of online courses with features that
include forums, quizzes, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, and surveys. On the
Moodle website, visitors can also learn about other features and read about
recent updates to the program. This application is compatible with computers
running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and newer.
Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials
Accountancy Discussion ListServs:
For an elaboration on the reasons you should join a
ListServ (usually for free) go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
AECM is an email Listserv list which
provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software
which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the
college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and
peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets,
multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base
programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc
Roles of a ListServ ---
CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of
all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an
unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments,
ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed.
Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L
or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for
a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional
accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or
education. Others will be denied access.
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA.
This can be anything from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ
initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as
accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed
assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586