Bear Cubs Making Themselves at Home in a Dumpster.
It's not smart to stand there taking their picture!
I did not take this picture.

From Celine
What a Wonderful World --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/c004/wonderful_celine.html

From Sachmo
What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong) --- http://oldbluewebdesigns.com/wonderfulworld.htm

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 --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Chekhov

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 --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Becker

To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.
Helen Keller --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 wiggly 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 fields.

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 dumpsters.

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 frightening and 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 in their 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.

Actually, dumpster 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 brag about.

 

Tidbits on August 26, 2007
Bob Jensen

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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




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

Four Hands Guitar (amazing) --- http://www.jibjab.com/view/175903

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.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U 
Related Link (Size Matters) --- http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/video/shifthappens

Saddam's Secrets --- http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1sx7x_saddams-secrets_news

Stock Market Report by John Klee (Monty Python, Humor) --- http://youtube.com/watch?v=9ZrCkBJVlm4

The Money Program  (John Klee-like Humor) ---  http://youtube.com/watch?v=DkhOhUkhIFA

Pres. George W. Bush Parody by a kid --- Click Here

From the WSJ:  Bribes in New Orleans (not funny) --- http://online.wsj.com/public/page/8_0004.html?bcpid=86195573&bclid=212338097&bctid=1144206605

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
http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en

Kurzfilme is German for short films and maybe thats interesting for your "Online multimedia" section.
You can find netzwelt Kurzfilme at http://www.netzwelt.de/divxvideo/divxkurzfilme.html

KPMG partners with major league baseball to bring baseball to inner city kids --- http://kpmginfo.com/rbi/


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

Find music and audio books from Akuma --- http://www.akuma.de/

Google Hacks (search for music) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Hacks

Four Hands Guitar (amazing video) --- http://www.jibjab.com/view/175903

I Just Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore  (video) --- http://www.rushfrisby.com/youtubedotnetdemo/GetVideo.aspx?VideoID=Z06vdR8W3VM

Humor Music Links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm#Humor

The Hypnotic Handrum (video) --- http://www.groovygrooves.com/video/the-hypnotic-handrum

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. --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12847242

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 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12840737

Puccini's 'The Girl of the Golden West' --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12819446

Vasectomy Song --- Click Here 

Selected YouTube Music Videos --- Click Here

The Rose (Bette Midler Video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYWAYLZWZBg

Bette Midler - Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (Jumpin')--- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUxUbYUHExs

Elvis Presley - In The Ghetto...(Video)  --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmVFnhO3A98

Elvis Presley - Blue Suede Shoes (Video of Elvis live in 1969) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpYL08wVJUo

Barbra Streisand - Woman in Love (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHqAllSQ_eM

Video: Johnny Cash - Kris Kristofferson - Willie Nelson - Wayloon Jennings - Me and Bobby McGee --- Click Here

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
http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en


Photographs and Art

Driftwood Horses --- http://www.rense.com/general70/drift.htm

National Geographic's Africa Pictures --- http://www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/photos/africa0509/africa_gallery.html?source=G3815

The underwater world of Antarctica --- http://beirutraders.org/

Philip Straub's Concepts (interesting use of light) --- http://www.philipstraub.com/Concepts.htm

National Geographic's Denmark Pictures --- http://www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/photos/denmark0709/denmark_gallery.html

Florence Photo Gallery --- http://www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/photos/florence0607/florence_gallery.html

New Zealand Photo Gallery --- http://www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/photos/newzealand0603/newzealand_gallery.html

Wales Photo Gallery --- http://www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/photos/wales0605/wales_gallery.html

The Arts Along the River --- http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Sachmo

A Walk Through Durham Township in Pennsylvania --- http://www.durhamtownship.com/portfolio/


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

Download the Internet Safety for Kids book --- http://www.packet-level.com/kids/

How to Publish in Top Journals --- http://www.roie.org/how.htm

Writing World --- http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/

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 ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12878560

Tibet Writes (Poetry) --- http://www.tibetwrites.org/

Hebrew Poets in Old Spain --- http://www.commentarymagazine.com/cm/main/viewArticle.html?id=10901

Espresso Stories (about consumerism) --- http://espressostories.com/

Charlie Brown Quotes --- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064107/quotes

Roderick Hudson by Henry James --- Click Here

Watch And Ward by Henry James --- Click Here

Bartleby, The Scrivener by Herman Melville --- Click Here

Tom Sawyer Detective by Mark Twain --- Click Here

"Tanzania Travels" Blog Honored  (African Health Issues) --- http://blogs.webmd.com/tanzania-travel/

Wisdom Quotes --- http://www.wisdomquotes.com/

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 ---
http://www.digital-brilliance.com/necron/necron.htm#What

 




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 to make.
Friedrich Engels --- Click Here

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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118723188037699335.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

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 socialist.”
Michael C. Moynihan, "Hitler's Handouts:  Inside the Nazis' welfare state," Reason Magazine, August/September 2007 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/120941.html 

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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118731987268500669.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.
Edgar Allan Poe --- Click Here

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 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/121947.html

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 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1883675/posts
Jensen Question
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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118729864318700120.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

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 --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6855519,00.html

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, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12841320

Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
Horacio Verbitsky --- Click Here

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 --- http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2007/08/21/new-york-times-twists-data-make-great-personal-income-news-appear-awful 

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 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
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 --- http://apnews.excite.com/article/20070819/D8R475UG0.html

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 --- http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=287543

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 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110010480 

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 --- http://www.commentarymagazine.com/cm/main/viewArticle.html?id=10900 

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 --- http://www.commentarymagazine.com/cm/main/viewArticle.html?id=10902

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 A3 --- Click Here

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, 2007 ---
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/21/BAFARK1GE.DTL
Jensen Comment
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 --- http://www.wsbtv.com/news/13918614/detail.html
Jensen Comment
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) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Hacks

"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 --- Click Here

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 this7-minute demonstration.

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


Question
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 ---
http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2007-08-19-small-cars_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip 

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 to 15.4%.

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)

Jensen Comment
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 the move.

 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 economy.


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 --- http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/08/24/ap4052736.html

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.

Or worse.

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 methods.

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 employees.

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 --- http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/8677417.html 

Bob Jensen has been receiving messages from a Halliburton whistle blower --- at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#WhistleBlowing 

Bob Jensen's threads on whistle blowing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#WhistleBlowing


"How This Year’s Frosh Will Make You Feel Older," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, August 21, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/21/mindset

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.

The list 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 here. Some highlights from this year’s list follow:

The Mindset for the Class of 2011

  • What Berlin wall?
  • They never “rolled down” a car window.
  • They have grown up with bottled water.
  • Nelson Mandela has always been free and a force in South Africa.
  • Pete Rose has never played baseball.
  • Russia 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.
  • When all else fails, the Prozac defense has always been a possibility.
  • They grew up in Wayne’s World.
  • U2 has always been more than a spy plane.
  • Fox has always been a major network.
  • Women’s studies majors have always been offered on campus.
  • Being a latchkey kid has never been a big deal.
  • They learned about JFK from Oliver Stone and Malcolm X from Spike Lee.
  • China has always been more interested in making money than in reeducation.
  • The space program has never really caught their attention except in disasters.
  • They’re always texting 1 n other.
  • They will encounter roughly equal numbers of female and male professors in the classroom.
  • Avatars have nothing to do with Hindu deities.
  • The World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were born.

Jensen Comment
And their grandparents mentioned somebody named Elvis.


Question
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 States?
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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/21/qt

Jensen Comment
There are many other categories at the Princeton Review site --- http://www.princetonreview.com/college/research/rankings/rankings.asp

Check out the categories!
Academics
Professors Get High Marks
Class Discussions Encouraged
More Lists
Demographics
Diverse Student Population
Gay Community Accepted
More Lists
Parties
Major Frat and Sorority Scene
Party Schools
More Lists
Schools by Type
Jock Schools
Dodgeball Targets
More Lists
Politics
Most Politically Active
Election? What Election?
More Lists
Quality of Life
Happiest Students
Most Beautiful Campus
More Lists
Extracurricular
Students Pack the Stadiums
Best College Radio Station
More Lists
Social
Great College Towns
More to Do on Campus
More Lists

 


Question
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 other students.
John Hechinger and Daniel Golden, "Extra Help:  When Special Education Goes Too Easy on Students," The Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2007, Page A1 ---  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118763976794303235.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Assess.htm#GradeInflation

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


"Jane Austen, Yadda, Yadda, Yadda," by Devoney Looser, Inside Higher Ed, August 21, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/08/21/looser

“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


Questions
Why do information technology and computer science careers attract so few women (29%)?
Why are veterinary medicine graduates 89% women in some of the leading universities?

"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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118765128825503463.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

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 2005.

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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/22/qt

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 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102218


"Why Most Web Sites Receive Failing Grades," by Ben Worthen, The Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2007; Page B5 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118765128825503463.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 

Why Most Web Sites Receive Failing Grades

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 privacy policy can actually help sales, Mr. Manning says. Also, a site'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."

Jensen Comment
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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI


Question
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 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19270/ 

Jaideep Singh, cofounder of the new people-search engine Spock, 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 social networks.

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 thinking about.

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.

The social-network component of the website introduces an element of crowd commentary into the search process. George W. Bush is tagged "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.

Singh hopes 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 a MySpace page, a Linked In profile, and a write-up on a company website. Steven Whang, an 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 business-search site Zoominfo, 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 introduced the 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

Jensen Comment
More people finders and other specialized search engines are linked at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm#SpecializedSearchEngines

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


Good Writing Versus Gobbledygook, Drivel, and Tripe

How to Publish in Top Journals, Edited by Kwan Choi, March 7, 2002 --- http://www.roie.org/how.htm

Mike Kearl's guide to writing a research paper --- http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/methods.html#rp

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 unsynthesized manifold."
"Gobbledygook, Drivel, and Tripe," by Erik Deckers, The Irascible Professor, July 10, 2007 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-07-10-07.htm

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 --- http://www.rasmusen.org/GI/reader/writing.pdf

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 --- http://www.ft.com/cms/s/7314e77e-4d05-11dc-a51d-0000779fd2ac.html

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries


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 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/17/education/17rankings.html

Jensen Comment
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 Washington Monthly.

From Inside Higher Ed, by Scott Jaschik, August 20, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/20/ccranking

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.
Monthly Rank University U.S. News Rank
1 Texas A&M 62
2 UCLA 25
3 Berkeley 21
4 UC San Diego 38
5 Penn State 48
6 U of Michigan 25
7 Cornell 12
8 UC Davis 42
9 Stanford 4
10 South Carolina State n/a

 

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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/20/ccranking

Rankings of Universities in Terms of Doctoral Student Placements
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 careers.
Scott Jaschik, "A Ranking That Would Matter," Inside Higher Ed, August 21, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/21/ranking
 

Jensen Comment
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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#DoctoralPrograms

Beyond Research Rankings," by Luis M. Proenza, Inside Higher Ed, May 17, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/05/17/proenza

Controversies in media rankings of colleges are discussed at
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/20/education/20colleges.html

Bob Jensen's threads on college rankings controversies are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#BusinessSchoolRankings


Hurricane Tracking Program --- http://www.hcfcd.org/hurricanetracker.html

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for weather and travel related sites are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Travel


Valuation Resources

August 22, 2007 message from Jerry Peters [jerry.peters@yahoo.com]

Dr. Jensen

Your webpage
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/roi.htm includes an index of resources available at ValuationResources.Com under the heading  "Valuation Resources For Business Appraisers --- http://www.valuationresources.com/This 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 http://www.valuationresources.com/

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
Ph. 812-459-7742

jerry.peters@yahoo.com

Two valuation links of possible interest"

Bob Jensen's site mentioned above --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/roi.htm

Bob Jensen's PowerPoint file on Fair Value Accounting --- see the 10FairValue.ppt file at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/Calgary/CD/FairValue/


Questions
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 employer?

Answer
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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/08/20/gorelick 

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 storage devices.
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 --- Click Here 

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 convenient."


August 24, 2007 message from Ed Scribner [escribne@nmsu.edu]

Bob,

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.

Ed

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

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


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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118712061199497533.html

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 proper.

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 history.

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.

Jensen Comment
This may be more educational than what we teach in class. Try it by clicking on the Discussion tab for the following"

Credit Derivative --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_derivative

Capital Asset Pricing Model --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_asset_pricing_model

Socratic Method --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socratic_Method

Moodle --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moodle

Also note the Wikipedia warning "Options Backdating" --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12823729

Jensen Comment
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 world.

"CIA, FBI Computers Used for Wikipedia Edits," by Randall Mikkelsen, The Washington Post, August 16, 2007 --- Click Here
"CIA and Vatican Edit Wikipedia Entries," TheAge.com, August 18, 2007 --- Click Here

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


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 complaining, The New York Sun reported.
Inside Higher Ed, August 16, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/16/qt

Jensen Comment
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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm

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

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


Question
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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118713571812497899.html


Questions
What is Apple's latest competitor to MS Office?
Is it better or worse than Microsoft's long-standing blockbuster suite of office programs?

"Apple's iWork Package Is Elegant but Wimpy Compared With Office," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2007; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118722332277099111.html

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 Windows.

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 formulas.

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


Question
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 --- http://physorg.com/news106498963.html


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 Department...
Tony Capaccio , "Pentagon Paid $999,798 to Ship Two 19-Cent Washers to Texas," Yahoo News, August 16, 2007 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/20070816/pl_bloomberg/ajkoyhuchw0m 

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.''

Scheme Detected

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.

Guilty Pleas

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 McDonald said.

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 year.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm


MIT's Technology Review Humanitarian of the Year
Tapan Parikh is creating simple, powerful mobile tools for businesses in the developing world ---
http://www.technologyreview.com/tr35/Profile.aspx?Cand=T&TRID=619


"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 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/dhenninger/?id=110010477

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 "hunkering down."

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 diversity.

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 into it.

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 politics
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 --- http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/programs/index.asp?key=25


Question
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 training programs, The Boston Globe reported. The failure rates are 54 percent (black), 52 percent (Latino) and 23 percent (white).
Inside Higher Ed, August 20, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/20/qt

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


Question
Who are the Middlemen of Study Abroad?

With the 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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/20/abroad

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


Questions
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 --- http://www.vnews.com/08182007/4169091.htm 

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 juvenile status.

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 widespread cheating.

“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 question.”

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

Jensen Comment
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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tracey Sutherland
Executive Director
American Accounting Association


You Must Start Reading the Becker-Posner Blog

I'm addicted to the Becker-Posner Blog --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/
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.


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 Freakonomics.

Here's the latest example on a topic that falls more into line with economic theory than war and obesity.

Question
How do a brilliant economists explain the degradation of airline service?

Jensen
Reading the  Becker-Posner Blog sometimes makes me feel like Charlie 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 Charlie on 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 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/
 

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 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/ 

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 system.

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.

QED


Question
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 ground.

Especially problematic are moments in time like now (2007) when the bubble burst on 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 Stephen King 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 10FairValue.ppt at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/Calgary/CD/JensenPowerPoint/

Aside from 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 transactional accounting.

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.

Question
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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118736585456901047.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

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.

Hyman 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 of dollars.

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 office."

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 disaster."

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 arrived.

"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 [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]

Bob,

I thought we could all enjoy the following Keynes quotes:

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 be splendid."

"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."

Jagdish

August 20, 2007 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]

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, perhaps).

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 Christian agape?).

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 morality).

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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#FairValue


"Traders turn to black humour," by David Oakley, Financial Times, August 17, 2007 ---
 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/7314e77e-4d05-11dc-a51d-0000779fd2ac.html 

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 unprecedented volatility.

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 hour?

A. 15,000
B. 22,000
C. 43,000
D. 58,000
 

From The Washington Post on August 17, 2007

What company developed HD-DVD?

A. Panasonic
B. Samsung
C. Sony
D. Toshiba
 

From The Washington Post on August 20, 2007

Where is Skype, the Internet-phone company, based?

A. Denmark
B. Luxembourg
C. Montreal, Canada
D. Sweden
 

 


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

 


Download the Internet Safety for Kids book --- http://www.packet-level.com/kids/

Stay Safe Online --- http://www.staysafeonline.info/ 

Also see Also see http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=parental+control+software

"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 monitoring space 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 kids' safety.

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 blog entry.)

Richard Campbell forwarded a link on some interesting screencasts on Internet security --- http://www.novell.com/connectionmagazine/laurachappell.html 

Bob Jensen's threads on Internet security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection


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 --- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml
Also see http://physorg.com/news106546569.html


Question
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 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/19172/
 


Soda Warning? High-fructose Corn Syrup Linked To Diabetes, New Study Suggests
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 --- http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070823094819.htm


"Out-of-Body Experiences Tested in Lab," by Miranda Hitti, WebMD, August 24, 2007 ---
http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20070823/out-of-body-experiences-tested-in-lab

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 research.

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 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biztech/19275/

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 the way online advertising is made and metered.

Typically, to 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, found that when people view Web advertisements, they store information in two different types of memory: explicit and implicit.

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 Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly.

Donna Hoffman, codirector of the Sloan Center for Internet Retailing at the 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 banner ads may have some impact on perception begs the question, "What are the most effective ways to advertise in the new medium?"

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
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 [rblyston@trinity.edu]

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.

http://www.mattel.com/safety/us/

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.

Bob Blystone




Five Best Books on China

"Looking East Reliable guides to China and its history," by Oliver August, The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110010491

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 persecution.

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 single rogue.

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 Mifflin.

 




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?" "I'm four 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?

You BECOME 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.

But wait!!!
You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH50 and 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 YOUNG
1.
Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them That is why you pay "them."

*2 Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down, this includes family, too.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about thecomputer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

*4 Enjoy the simple things.

*5.Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6.
The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

*7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever Your home is your refuge .

8.
Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

*
9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10.
Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.


Dumb things doctoral students have said --- http://web.missouri.edu/%7Ekleinp/images/cartoon_diss_def_small.gif


 




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

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

Three Finance Blogs

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

Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

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

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

 

 

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