October 2007 Update on Erika --- She can now drive herself!
In January 2007, surgeons broke Erika's back in three places and reconstructed her spine with an extraordinary amount of titanium. I'm pleased to say that on October 3 she drove the Jeep Cherokee all by herself. This 1999 Jeep is our winter car with all-wheel drive for deep snow. Our summer car is a 1989 Cadillac that I inherited from my father in 2001.Because the summer car has lower seats, Erika still cannot get out of that car without help. However, she can get in and out of the Jeep by herself and drive to and from town by herself. She's contended over the years that the Jeep is a more comfortable car, at least for her, than our old Cadillac. Since the Jeep's snow tires make a rather loud whine on the highway, I tend to prefer the summer car in the summer.

You can read about Erika's surgeries and see her pictures at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Erika2007.htm

Other pictures are at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/PictureHistory/

 

Ann Margaret in Viet Nam in 1966

Ann Margaret Videos

The Early Years --- http://www.ann-margret.com/1961_1969.htm
Updates --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Margaret
     In March 1966, Ann-Margret and entertainers Chuck Day and Mickey Jones teamed up for a USO tour to entertain U.S. servicemen
     in remote parts of Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia. She still has great affection for the veterans and refers to them as "my gentlemen."
     Ann-Margret, Day and Jones reunited in November 2005 for an encore of this tour for veterans and troops at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Forwarded by a Very Good Friend
Also see http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/margret.asp

Richard , (my husband), never really talked a lot about his time in Viet Nam other than he had been shot by a sniper. However, he had a rather grainy, 8 x 10 black and white photo he had taken at a USO show of Ann Margaret with Bob Hope in the background that was one of his treasures.

A few years ago, Ann Margaret was doing a book signing at a local bookstore. Richard wanted to see if he could get h er to sign the treasured photo so he arrived at the bookstore at 12 o'clock for the 7:30 signing.

When I got there after work, the line went all the way around the bookstore, circled the parking lot and disappeared behind a parking garage. Before her appearance, bookstore employees announced that she would sign only her book and no memorabilia would be permitted.

Richard was disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and let her know how much those shows meant to lonely GI's so far from home. Ann Margaret came out looking as beautiful as ever and, as second in line, it was soon Richard 's turn.

He presented the book for her signature and then took out the photo. When he did, there were many shout s from the employees that she would not sign it. Richard said, "I understand. I just wanted her to see it."

She took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her eyes and she said, "This is one of my gentlemen from Viet Nam and I most certainly will sign his photo. I know what these men did for their country and I always have time for 'my gentlemen.'"

With that, she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss on him. She then made quite a to-do about the bravery of the young men she met over the years, how much she admired them, and how much she appreciated them. There weren't too many dry eyes among those close enough to hear She then posed for pictures and acted as if he were the only one there

Later at dinner, Richard was very quiet. When I asked if he'd like to talk about it, my big strong husband broke down in tears. "That's the first time anyone ever thanked me for my time in the Army," he said

That night was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter and, for the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet. I'll never forget Ann Margaret for her graciousness and how much that small act of kindness meant to my husband.

I now make it a point to say "Thank you" to every person I come across who served in our Armed Forces. Freedom does not come cheap and I am grateful for all those who have served their country.

If you'd like to pass on this story, feel free to do so. Perhaps it will help others to become aware of how important it is to acknowledge the contribution our service people make.

On behalf of those who DO appreciate all that you did for us, thank you to each of you who receive this message who have served or are serving our country in the armed services or any other service.

 

The sad and often unspoken truth of the matter is this: Americans have been conditioned less to understand Iraq's complex military reality than to feel sorry for those who are part of it. The media struggles in good faith to respect our troops, but too often it merely pities them. I am generalizing, of course. Indeed, there are regular, stellar exceptions, quite often in the most prominent liberal publications, from our best military correspondents. But exceptions don't quite cut it amidst the barrage of "news," which too often descends into therapy for those who are not fighting, rather than matter-of-fact stories related by those who are. As one battalion commander complained to me, in words repeated by other soldiers and marines: "Has anyone noticed that we now have a volunteer Army? I'm a warrior. It's my job to fight." Every journalist has a different network of military contacts. Mine come at me with the following theme: We want to be admired for our technical proficiency--for what we do, not for what we suffer. We are not victims. We are privileged . . . The media is but one example of the slow crumbling of the nation-state at the upper layers of the social crust--a process that because it is so gradual, is also deniable by those in the midst of it. It will take another event on the order of 9/11 or greater to change the direction we are headed. Contrary to popular belief, the events of 9/11--which are perceived as an isolated incident--did not fundamentally change our nation. They merely interrupted an ongoing trend toward the decay of nationalism and the devaluation of heroism.
Robert E. Kaplan, "Modern Heroes Our soldiers like what they do. They want our respect, not pity," The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010686  

Experiencing the War: Stories from the Veterans History Project (Ken Burns) ---  http://www.loc.gov/vets/stories/thewar/

MASH in Action --- This one is unbelievable but true!
How to treat a wounded soldier with an embedded live RPG --- http://www.militarytimes.com/multimedia/video/rpg_surgery

Bravo America --- http://www.newmediajournal.us/staff/huston/10082007.htm
Bravo America --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/BravoAmerica.asf 

 

 

Tidbits on October 10, 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/  

Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons --- http://zipskinny.com/

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

Rob Sutton on how to deal with jerks (assholes) at work:  Should you hire at least one in your department?
Rob Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, talks about his "No Asshole Rule" and why he is trying to perfect indifference (Video) --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/career_and_jobs/article2393769.ece
In his literal last lecture at Carnegie-Mellon, Randy Pausch said something to the effect that if there’s a jerk you really don’t like, be patient and wait long enough and the jerk will most likely do something that you really like (other than dropping dead). That's truly been my experience, although jerks typically go back to being jerks.

Watch Randy’s entire last lecture (streaming video or Google video for 1 hour plus 45 minutes) --- http://cmu.edu/uls/journeys/

YouTube has formally announced a new, official channel of political videos called CitizenTube. Edited by Steve Grove, YouTube’s News & Politics Editor, the channel appears intended to aggregate select political videos already appearing on the rest of the site. --- http://sunsite3.berkeley.edu/govblog/?p=269

Winners of KPMG's Integrity/Ethics Videos Contest --- http://www.kpmgcampus.com/whoweare/ethics.shtml

I linked to this several months ago, but it's worth a second look.
How NOT To Use Powerpoint By Comedian Don McMillan --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLpjrHzgSRM

Garfield - The Record Breaker Russian subs --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzNgUdDxHVI

Homemade video tutorial on streaming media --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNDZg-YtE48

Homemade video tutorial (very basic) on how to record streaming audio on your PC --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPHSDOyj5f8
Note the passing reference to a free sound recorder called Audacity --- http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
Note that if you are watching a lecture video that's pretty much a talking head, it saves a lot, I mean a LOT, of file space to only capture the audio.
This might, for example, work very well when capturing parts of  the many UC Berkeley, YouTube, Yale, or Harvard video lectures --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI
Just in case source streams disappear from the Internet, I suggest capturing what's important to you and saving to external media such as a CD or DVD disk.
Capturing also allows you to only capture what is relevant to you or your students without having to spend a lot of time waiting for the good parts.

Audio interview with one of the eleven openly-gay college presidents in the U.S.  Roosevelt University's Charles R. Middleton discusses sexual orientation discrimination among college presidents, contrary to the mission statements of most colleges --- http://chronicle.com/media/audio/v54/i07/middleton/

WSJ Video of the World Bank's Ranking of the Best and Worst Places to Do Business --- Click Here

Top Nations out of 178 Countries That Welcome Foreign Operations:

Low Ranking Countries Highlighted in the Videos:

"Doing Business 2008: Making a Difference," International Finance Corporation --- http://ifc.org/ifcext/media.nsf/Content/Doing_Business_2008   

MASH in Action --- This one is unbelievable but true!
How to treat a wounded soldier with an embedded live RPG --- http://www.militarytimes.com/multimedia/video/rpg_surgery


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

Born in Baltimore, Md., on April 7, 1915, Holiday had an affinity for jazz from childhood. Her father, Clarence, was a rhythm guitarist for Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, and Holiday recalls "many a wonderful hour" spent listening and singing along to Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith on the Victrola at a local whorehouse. Holiday ran errands for Alice, the brothel's proprietor, and gladly accepted hours of listening time in place of payment.
Billie Holiday: 'Lady Sings the Blues' (Full Concert) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14894620
The Life of Billie Holiday --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billie_Holiday

Gaetano Donizetti is a composer who seems to defy categorization. He wrote more than five dozen operas, and his works are nearly impossible to cubbyhole. He became a master of dark, historical dramas, with works like Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda, and his Lucia di Lammermoor is among the finest examples of romantic tragedy.
Donizetti's 'The Daughter of the Regiment' (Acts 1 and 2) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14776446

Baltimore's Confident New Conductor Marin Alsop Ushers in New Era for the Baltimore Symphony --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14732880

Tater People --- http://www.frontiernet.net/%7Ejimdandy/specials/sweettators/

Link Forwarded by Richard Reams, [rreams@trinity.edu]
Leonard Bernstein, one of the greatest American composers who wrote the scores to classic shows like "West Side Story" and "Candide," is the first of 31 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Icons featured throughout October.
Each day, a new Icon's video, biography and bibliography becomes available at www.glbtHistoryMonth.com.

Leonard Bernstein


Photographs and Art

Autumn PowerPoint Show (use the arrow keys for picture transitions) --- Click Here

Billie Holiday (Moonlight in Vermont) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StNAmz7kpe4

Painted with Words: Vincent van Gogh's Letters to Emile Bernard --- http://www.themorgan.org/collections/swf/exhibOnline.asp?id=600
Also see Van Gogh's Letters --- http://webexhibits.org/vangogh/

Butterflies and Moths of North America --- http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/

Tom Robinson Photographs --- http://www.tomrobinsonphotography.com/

Virtual Landscapes of Texas --- http://www.lib.utexas.edu/books/landscapes/index.html

Recently formed Canyon in Texas --- Click Here

 


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

Experiencing the War: Stories from the Veterans History Project (Ken Burns) ---  http://www.loc.gov/vets/stories/thewar/

The "Mahdiyya" Qur'an --- http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/mahdiyya-quran/index.shtml

Vagabox Quotations --- http://www.vagabox.com/vagabox03.html

Painted with Words: Vincent van Gogh's Letters to Emile Bernard --- http://www.themorgan.org/collections/swf/exhibOnline.asp?id=600
Also see Van Gogh's Letters --- http://webexhibits.org/vangogh/

The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle --- Click Here

The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson --- Click Here

A Tale Of A Tub by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) --- Click Here

My good neighbors forwarded this link.
"What Ails the Short Story, by Stephen King, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, September 30, 2007 ---
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/books/review/King2-t.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

. . . We could argue all day about the reasons for fiction’s out-migration from the eye-level shelves — people have. We could marvel over the fact that Britney Spears is available at every checkout, while an American talent like William Gay or Randy DeVita or Eileen Pollack or Aryn Kyle (all of whom were among my final picks) labors in relative obscurity. We could, but let’s not. It’s almost beside the point, and besides — it hurts.

Instead, let us consider what the bottom shelf does to writers who still care, sometimes passionately, about the short story. What happens when he or she realizes that his or her audience is shrinking almost daily? Well, if the writer is worth his or her salt, he or she continues on nevertheless, because it’s what God or genetics (possibly they are the same) has decreed, or out of sheer stubbornness, or maybe because it’s such a kick to spin tales. Possibly a combination. And all that’s good.

What’s not so good is that writers write for whatever audience is left. In too many cases, that audience happens to consist of other writers and would-be writers who are reading the various literary magazines (and The New Yorker, of course, the holy grail of the young fiction writer) not to be entertained but to get an idea of what sells there. And this kind of reading isn’t real reading, the kind where you just can’t wait to find out what happens next (think “Youth,” by Joseph Conrad, or “Big Blonde,” by Dorothy Parker). It’s more like copping-a-feel reading. There’s something yucky about it.

Last year, I read scores of stories that felt ... not quite dead on the page, I won’t go that far, but airless, somehow, and self-referring. These stories felt show-offy rather than entertaining, self-important rather than interesting, guarded and self-conscious rather than gloriously open, and worst of all, written for editors and teachers rather than for readers. The chief reason for all this, I think, is that bottom shelf. It’s tough for writers to write (and editors to edit) when faced with a shrinking audience. Once, in the days of the old Saturday Evening Post, short fiction was a stadium act; now it can barely fill a coffeehouse and often performs in the company of nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a mouth organ. If the stories felt airless, why not? When circulation falters, the air in the room gets stale.

And yet. I read plenty of great stories this year. There isn’t a single one in this book that didn’t delight me, that didn’t make me want to crow, “Oh, man, you gotta read this!” I think of such disparate stories as Karen Russell’s “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves,” John Barth’s “Toga Party” and “Wake,” by Beverly Jensen, now deceased, and I think — marvel, really — they paid me to read these! Are you kiddin’ me???

Talent can’t help itself; it roars along in fair weather or foul, not sparing the fireworks. It gets emotional. It struts its stuff. If these stories have anything in common, it’s that sense of emotional involvement, of flipped-out amazement. I look for stories that care about my feelings as well as my intellect, and when I find one that is all-out emotionally assaultive — like “Sans Farine,” by Jim Shepard — I grab that baby and hold on tight. Do I want something that appeals to my critical nose? Maybe later (and, I admit it, maybe never). What I want to start with is something that comes at me full-bore, like a big, hot meteor screaming down from the Kansas sky. I want the ancient pleasure that probably goes back to the cave: to be blown clean out of myself for a while, as violently as a fighter pilot who pushes the eject button in his F-111. I certainly don’t want some fraidy-cat’s writing school imitation of Faulkner, or some stream-of-consciousness about what Bob Dylan once called “the true meaning of a pear.”

So — American short story alive? Check. American short story well? Sorry, no, can’t say so. Current condition stable, but apt to deteriorate in the years ahead. Measures to be taken? I would suggest you start by reading this year’s “Best American Short Stories.” They show how vital short stories can be when they are done with heart, mind and soul by people who care about them and think they still matter. They do still matter, and here they are, liberated from the bottom shelf.

Stephen King is the author of 60 books, as well as nearly 400 short stories, including “The Man in the Black Suit,” which won the O. Henry Prize in 1996.

 

 




I am strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes. The moral effect should be good and it would spread a lively terror.
Winston Churchill commenting on the British use of poison gas against the Iraqis after World War I
The Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in the war, the secret Ottoman-German Alliance having been signed in August 1914. It threatened Russia’s Caucasian territories and Britain’s communications with India via the Suez Canal. The British and French opened overseas fronts with the Gallipoli (1915) and Mesopotamian campaigns --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I#Ottoman_Empire
Poison Gas in World War I --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poison_gas_in_World_War_I
the British Army embraced gas with enthusiasm and mounted more gas attacks than any other combatant.[citation needed] This was due partly to the British spending most of the latter years of the war on the offensive --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poison_gas_in_World_War_I#British_gas_attacks
The British used adamsite against Russian revolutionary troops in 1919 and mustard against Iraqi insurgents in the 1920s; Spain used chemical weapons in Morocco against Rif tribesmen throughout the 1920s] and Italy used mustard gas in Libya in 1930 and again during its invasion of Ethiopia in 1936.[19] In 1925, a Chinese warlord, Zhang Zuolin, contracted a German company to build him a mustard gas plant in Shenyang, which was completed in 1927 --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poison_gas_in_World_War_I#British_gas_attacks

I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.
Oscar Wilde --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde

I hit him to get his attention. I shot him to calm him down. I killed him to reason with him.
Henry Rollins --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Rollins

It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
Thomas Jefferson --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson

A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.
Carl Sagan --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan

If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for them Mexican immigrants.
Texas politician

If you speak the truth, have one foot in the stirrup.
Turkish proverb

Facts are always popping up to confuse the theories.
Carlo Dossi --- Click Here

In response to a warning letter sent by Shurat HaDin to the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) more than 9 months ago, GPO Director Danny Seaman has written a formal acknowledgment that FRANCE 2 Television staged the infamous news footage depicting a Palestinian child being shot to death by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in September 2000. This is the first time in the seven years since the footage broadcast that the Prime Minister's Office has confirmed that a journalistic fraud had been perpetrated against the IDF by government owned FRANCE 2 television. Shurat HaDin had written Seaman contending that mounting evidence proved that cameramen and news editors from FRANCE 2 had deliberately staged and then misleadingly edited the footage aired by the French government television on in September 2000. The emotional footage, repeatedly broadcast around the world on CNN and other cable stations, ignited anti-Israeli violence in the Palestinian Authority and Israeli Arab communities and spurred international condemnation of the IDF. The Palestinian youth Muhammad al-Dura, allegedly seen being killed in the video footage, became the poster child in the Arab world for the current intifada violence and fueled hundreds of terror attacks against Israeli citizens and Jewish communities worldwide. Thousands of Jews and Arabs have been killed in the ensuing violence following the broadcast. The Shurat HaDin letter demanded that, in light of the fraudulent broadcast and the grievous harm that it unleashed against Israel as well as the massive numbers of victims attributable to the fake footage, Seaman must strip FRANCE 2 of its press credentials.
October 1, 2007 email from Naomi Ragen [nragen@netvision.net.il]  and http://www.israellawcenter.org/
Jensen Comment
But the biased media has already done its irreparable damage for the past seven years.

So what's wrong about Canada's health care system?
Canada's Health Care Plan:  A Personal Sicko Experience --- Click Here

Sixty-seven percent of American employees are living paycheck to paycheck, according to results released this week from the 2007 "Getting Paid In America" survey. The online survey by the American Payroll Association asked respondents how difficult it would be to meet their current financial obligations if their paycheck were delayed for a week. An overwhelming 31,640 of more than 47,000 respondents said they'd find it difficult to meet their financial obligations if their paycheck were delayed. This is a 2 percent increase from 2006 . . .
AccountingWeb, September October 2006, 2007 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=104038

Faculty members identify as liberals and vote Democratic in far greater proportions than found in the American public at large. That finding by itself won’t shock many, but the national study released Saturday at a Harvard University symposium may be notable both for its methodology and other, more surprising findings. The 72-page study — “The Social and Political Views of American Professors” — was produced with the goal of moving analysis of the political views of faculty members out of the culture wars and back to social science. The study offers at times harsh criticism of many of the analyses of these issues in recent years (both from those hoping to tag the professoriate as foolishly radical and those seeking to rebut those charges). The study included community college professors along with four-year institutions, and featured analysis of non-responders to the survey (two features missing from many recent reports). The results of the study find a professoriate that may be less liberal than is widely assumed, even if conservatives are correctly assumed to be in a distinct minority. The authors present evidence that there are more faculty members who identify as moderates than as liberals. The authors of the study also found evidence of a significant decline by age group in faculty radicalism, with younger faculty members less likely than their older counterparts to identify as radical or activist. And while the study found that faculty members generally hold what are thought to be liberal positions on social issues, professors are divided on affirmative action in college admissions.
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, October 8, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/08/politics 
Also see
"Political Shocker: Faculty Moderates," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 19, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/19/politics
Also see "The Politically Correctness Fracture of Academe" at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#PoliticalCorrectnessFracture

Thousands of protesters are dead and the bodies of hundreds of executed monks have been dumped in the jungle, a former intelligence officer for Burma's ruling junta has revealed. The most senior official to defect so far, Hla Win, said: "Many more people have been killed in recent days than you've heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand." Mr Win, who spoke out as a Swedish diplomat predicted that the revolt has failed, said he fled when he was ordered to take part in a massacre of holy men.
Marcus Oscarsso, "Burma: Thousands dead in massacre of the monks dumped in the jungle," London Daily Mail, October 10, 2007 --- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=484903

A public access television station in Aspen, which boasts of being the first such station in the nation, for the first time in remembrance has decided to squash a movie – at least for now – targeting an Australian production that denies the Holocaust happened and affirms the gas chambers saved lives by disinfecting prisoners. The controversy has stirred up the trendy Aspen, where the local public access television station, after 35 years of service, rarely creates turmoil and more often features the heart-pounding action of the local high school football team, or local school theatrical productions. But in this case, the words have been strong. The video is "very offensive," GrassRoots TV board president Alan Feldman told the local Aspen Daily News. "Especially with my background. I'm Jewish. My family was murdered in the Holocaust."
WorldNetDaily, October 9, 2007 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=58048

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's Nobel Peace Prize laureate, described the lessons she had learned from her country's Hsayadaws, its Buddhist holy teachers, in an article for a Japanese newspaper in 1996. One of them told her what it would be like to fight for democracy in Burma: "You will be attacked and reviled for engaging in honest politics, but you must persevere. Lay down an investment in dukkha [suffering] and you will gain sukha [bliss]."
Philip Delves, Broughton, The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2007 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119144623100748099.html

Two Saudi men were to receive 7,000 lashes each for committing ``homosexual acts,'' Saudi Okaz newspaper reported Thursday. Saudi authorities started executing the court order Tuesday, which had been divided into separate phases, the report added. Another Saudi man, meanwhile, was to receive 470 lashes separately for doing drugs and resisting the security forces. The Saudi judiciary system is based on the strict principles of Islamic sharia law.
Deutsche Presse via email, no url, October 4, 2007 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1906428/posts

This story is about a two-part process that led to unbelievable decisions. First, the Veterans' Committee took away benefits from some very deserving American veterans. Second, the committee gave benefits to veterans of another country who don't live in the United States, and never have lived in this country or been American citizens. I opposed both actions.
Representative Mike Turner (Republican from Ohio's Third Congressional District) , "Democrats give away veterans' benefits," The Times-Gazette, October 4, 2007 ---  http://www.timesgazette.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=147067&SectionID=1&SubSectionID=&S=1

Richard H. Brodhead, Duke University’s president, gave a speech Saturday in which he apologized for several decisions and inactions taken by the institution in responding to rape allegations against four of its lacrosse players — allegations that have since been discredited. Brodhead defended Duke’s basic approach of saying that the alleged crime would have been terrible, but that the accused students needed to be presumed innocent. But he also expressed regrets, for which he apologized. “First and foremost, I regret our failure to reach out to the lacrosse players and their families in this time of extraordinary peril,” he said. He also said that some professors and that some of their comments were “ill-judged and divisive.” While the professors “had the right to express their views,” he said. “the public as well as the accused students and their families could have thought that those were expressions of the university as a whole. They were not, and we could have done more to underscore that.” In addition, Brodhead said that “by deferring to the criminal justice system to the extent we did and not repeating the need for the presumption of innocence equally vigorously at all the key moments, we may have helped create the impression that we did not care about our students. This was not the case, and I regret it as well.”
Inside Higher Ed, October 1, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/01/qt

Russia is again flexing its aviation muscles, resuming Cold War-like global operations in ways that create new complications for the United States Air Force. On Aug. 17, Russian bombers flying long-range missions fanned out from the North Pole over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, inaugurating what Russian President Vladimir V. Putin called a permanent return to strategic aviation operations.
John A. Tirp, "Bear in the Air, Air Force Magazine, October 2007 --- http://www.afa.org/magazine/oct2007/1007watch.asp

Then there's the not-so-little matter of North Korea's continuing missile proliferation. Last week the State Department's Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation announced new sanctions against a North Korean company for spreading missile technology. The company -- Korean Mining and Development Corp., or Komid -- is a long-time offender. The U.S. Treasury last year called it "Pyongyang's premier arms dealer and main exporter of goods and weapons related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons." The new State Department finding reads: "A determination has been made that a North Korean entity has engaged in activities that require the imposition of measures pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act, as amended, and the Export Administration Act of 1979 . . ." Since little happens in North Korea without the regime knowing, this is evidence that Kim is still in the proliferation business.
"Nuclear Secrets," The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2007; Page A16 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119128934994945989.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

The sad and often unspoken truth of the matter is this: Americans have been conditioned less to understand Iraq's complex military reality than to feel sorry for those who are part of it. The media struggles in good faith to respect our troops, but too often it merely pities them. I am generalizing, of course. Indeed, there are regular, stellar exceptions, quite often in the most prominent liberal publications, from our best military correspondents. But exceptions don't quite cut it amidst the barrage of "news," which too often descends into therapy for those who are not fighting, rather than matter-of-fact stories related by those who are. As one battalion commander complained to me, in words repeated by other soldiers and marines: "Has anyone noticed that we now have a volunteer Army? I'm a warrior. It's my job to fight." Every journalist has a different network of military contacts. Mine come at me with the following theme: We want to be admired for our technical proficiency--for what we do, not for what we suffer. We are not victims. We are privileged . . . The media is but one example of the slow crumbling of the nation-state at the upper layers of the social crust--a process that because it is so gradual, is also deniable by those in the midst of it. It will take another event on the order of 9/11 or greater to change the direction we are headed. Contrary to popular belief, the events of 9/11--which are perceived as an isolated incident--did not fundamentally change our nation. They merely interrupted an ongoing trend toward the decay of nationalism and the devaluation of heroism.
Robert E. Kaplan, "Modern Heroes Our soldiers like what they do. They want our respect, not pity," The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010686  

Officials said several leading aides to Al Qaida network chief Abu Ayoub Al Masri have been killed by the U.S.-led coalition. They said two out of the four foreign aides of Al Masri remain alive. On Sept. 25, the U.S. military killed an Al Qaida chief deemed responsible for transporting foreign operatives to Iraq. The Al Qaida commander, identified as Abu Osama Al Tunisi, was killed in a U.S. air strike as he met his colleagues in Musayib, about 60 kilometers south of Baghdad. Shortly before he died, Al Tunisi wrote a letter that warned of a threat to Al Qaida operations in Karkh. The lettter, found by the U.S. military, sought guidance from Al Qaida leaders amid coalition operations that hampered Al Tunisi's network.
"Last letter from doomed Al Qaida chief: 'We are so desperate for your help'," World Tribune, October 1, 2007 --- http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2007/ss_iraq_09_30.asp

Muslim jihadist leaders interviewed for a new book were ecstatic about statements from television talk host Rosie O'Donnell about the war in Iraq and the global war on terror, agreeing with her outspoken views. Some even invited her on a "fact finding mission" to the Middle East. "I agree with what this O'Donnell says. ...We welcome Rosie O'Donnell to stay among us and to get to know the truth from being here, like many American peace activists are doing," said Ala Senakreh, West Bank chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist organization.
"Oh, Rosie! Terrorists invite her to Mideast," WorldNetDaily, September 26, 2007 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=57860
Sadly, Rosie declined the invitation (possibly because terrorist intolerance for gays and lesbians) ---
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=57954
Watch a video of Rosie calling for impeachment --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se8O2qLwJhI 
Rosie Accuses Bush of 9/11 Conspiracy --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPeAGZt2BCA
Rosie needs more fact finding. Scientific evidence now supports the counter theories that debunk the 9/11conspiracy theories --- http://www.jod911.com/ 

This regnant campus culture helps to explain why Columbia University, which bars ROTC from campus on the ground that the military bars open homosexuals from service, welcomed Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose government publicly executes homosexuals. It explains why Hofstra's law school invites to speak on legal ethics Lynn Stewart, a lawyer convicted of aiding and abetting a terrorist client and sentenced to 28 months in jail.
Michael Barone, "Ivory Tower Decay," RealClearPolitics, October 8, 2007 --- http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/10/ivory_tower_decay.html

The U.S. military commander alleges that Iran's ambassador to Iraq belongs to an elite force of the Iranian revolutionary guard that has targeted U.S. forces.
Anne Garrels, "Petraeus Steps Up Accusations Against Iran," NPR, October 8, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15084571
Also see "Petraeus Steps Up Accusations Against Iran" --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15080765

In his address at the UN, Ahmadinejad laid out his case for Islamic supremacy. He claimed that all of the world's problems are the consequence of two things. First, by his reading of history, after the Second World War, "The victors of the war drew the road map for global domination and formulated their policies not on the basis of justice but for ensuring the interests of the victors over the vanquished nations." The second cause for the world's woes is the world powers' rejection of Islam. As he put it, "The second and more important factor is some big powers' disregard of morals, divine values, the teachings of prophets and instructions by the Almighty God... Unfortunately, they have put themselves in the position of God!" Thankfully for Ahmadinejad, this "corrupted" world order will soon be swept away. Either the "corrupted" powers will "return from the path of arrogance and obedience to Satan to the path of faith in God," or "the same calamities that befell the people of the distant past will befall them as well." Concluding his UN remarks Ahmadinejad pledged, "Without any doubt, the Promised One who is the ultimate Savior… will come. In the company of all believers, justice-seekers and benefactors, he will establish a bright future and fill the world with justice and beauty. This is the promise of God; therefore it will be fulfilled."
Caroline Glick, "Column One: Ahmadinejad's overlooked message," Jerusalem Post, October 1, 2007 ---
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1189411504466&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter
Who is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? --- http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/09/who_is_mahmoud_ahmadinejad_1.html

At Columbia University, Ahmadinejad devoted the majority of his speech to a discussion of the role of science in human affairs. While most coverage surrounded his refusal to renounce his call to annihilate Israel, his central message, that he rejects the right of people to be free to choose their paths in life, was ignored. His remarks on the issue were dismissed as "weird" or "unintelligible." Yet they were neither. Speaking as "an academic," Ahmadinejad said that from his perspective, the role of science is to serve Islam and that any science that does not serve Islamic goals is corrupt. As he put it, "Science is the light, and scientists must be pure and pious. If humanity achieves the highest level of physical and spiritual knowledge but its scholars and scientists are not pure, then this knowledge cannot serve the interests of humanity." Elaborating on this notion, he argued that Western scientists serve corrupt governments who reject the pure and pious path of Islam and therefore are used as agents for corruption. Tellingly, Ahmadinejad moved directly from his assault on non-Islamic scientists and regimes to a defense of Iran's nuclear program. The message was clear: Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is done in the name of Islam and therefore it is inherently legitimate. As far as he is concerned, refusing to allow Iran to pursue nuclear weapons is tantamount to an assault on God.
Caroline Glick, "Column One: Ahmadinejad's overlooked message," Jerusalem Post, October 1, 2007 ---
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1189411504466&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

While interviewing Todd Gitlin recently for an Inside Higher Ed podcast, I was tempted to ask if he had deliberately avoided using Gramsci’s line in his new book, The Bulldozer and the Big Tent: Blind Republicans, Lame Democrats, and the Recovery of American Ideals, just published by John Wiley and Sons. And even were the Democrats in control of the executive and legislative branches, the fact is that the Republican Party will still be able to rely on its organizational “bulldozer” — capable of staying relentlessly on message, even (and especially) when reality gets in the way. It is “a focused coalition with two, and only two, major components,” writes Gitlin, “the low-tax, love-business, hate-government enthusiasts and the God-save-us moral crusaders.” In contrast, the Democrats subsume “roughly eight” constituencies, by Gitlin’s reckoning: “labor, African Americans, Hispanics, feminists, gays, environmentalists, members of the helping professions (teachers, social workers, nurses), and the militantly liberal, especially antiwar denizens of avant-garde cultural zones such as university towns, the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and so on.” This is not the place to rehearse Gitlin’s whole analysis. He gave an overview of the book at TPM Cafe recently, and our podcast discussion covers some of the major points. But it seems worth noting that Gitlin’s earlier complaints about “identity” and the jargonizing folkways of the academic left, while not entirely absent from The Bulldozer and the Big Tent, are much less prominent here than in some of his other writings. He appears to recognize that said cohorts do indeed have a place under the big tent — over in the section for “the militantly liberal” and “antiwar denizens of avant-garde cultural zones.”
Scott McLemee, "The Bulldozer and the Big Tent," Inside Higher Ed, October 3, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/10/03/mclemee

In the North American Review in 1934, the progressive writer Roger Shaw described the New Deal as “Fascist means to gain liberal ends.” He wasn’t hallucinating. FDR’s adviser Rexford Tugwell wrote in his diary that Mussolini had done “many of the things which seem to me necessary.” Lorena Hickok, a close confidante of Eleanor Roosevelt who lived in the White House for a spell, wrote approvingly of a local official who had said, “If [President] Roosevelt were actually a dictator, we might get somewhere.” She added that if she were younger, she’d like to lead “the Fascist Movement in the United States.” At the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the cartel-creating agency at the heart of the early New Deal, one report declared forthrightly, “The Fascist Principles are very similar to those we have been evolving here in America.” Roosevelt himself called Mussolini “admirable” and professed that he was “deeply impressed by what he has accomplished.” The admiration was mutual. In a laudatory review of Roosevelt’s 1933 book Looking Forward, Mussolini wrote, “Reminiscent of Fascism is the principle that the state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices.…Without question, the mood accompanying this sea change resembles that of Fascism.” The chief Nazi newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter, repeatedly praised “Roosevelt’s adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies” and “the development toward an authoritarian state” based on the “demand that collective good be put before individual self-interest.”
David Boaz, "Hitler, Mussolini, Roosevelt:  What FDR had in common with the other charismatic collectivists of the 30s," Reason Magazine, October 2007 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/122026.html

Rampaging Muslims have killed 10 Christians, injured 61 others, destroyed nine churches and displaced more than 500 people in northern Nigeria, according to eyewitnesses – all because Muslim high school students claimed a Christian student had drawn a cartoon of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, on the wall of the school’s mosque. The rampage occurred Sept. 28 in the town of Tudun Wada Dankadai, in Nigeria's northern state of Kano.
"Again! 10 Christians slaughtered over alleged Muhammad cartoon 61 injured, 9 churches burned, hundreds displaced after rumored 'insult' to Islam,"
WorldNetDaily, October 5, 2007 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=58015 

A spokeswoman for Mr. Andrews said there were some signs to suggest Africans were having more difficulty settling into Australia than those from other parts of the world. "It's more anecdotal (evidence)," she said, citing media reports of some serious crimes involving Sudanese. "The African intake was up to about 70 per cent and obviously there are some issues that have become apparent ... just difficulties in terms of settling in to the community." Many Sudanese, through no fault of their own, had lived through years of violence and conflict and lacked education, she said. "A lot of people from African regions need extensive trauma and torture counselling," she said.
David Crawshaw, "Africans have 'trouble settling here'," The Australian, October 2, 2007 --- Click Here

Two months after insisting that they would roll back broad eavesdropping powers won by the Bush administration, Democrats in Congress appear ready to make concessions that could extend some crucial powers given to the National Security Agency.
Eric Lightbough and Carl Hulse, "Democrats Seem Ready to Extend Wiretap Powers, The New York Times, October 9, 2007 --- Click Here

Men's room misdemeanant Larry Craig said he would retire Sept. 30 as Idaho's senior U.S. senator. Then he said he'd wait until a judge considered his motion to withdraw his guilty plea to disorderly conduct. Yesterday, as the Associated Press reports, a judge told him to go fly a kite, but he announced that he plans to linger in the Senate anyhow. We have just six words to say to Sen. Craig. Five of them are "or get off the pot."
Carol Muller, Opinion Journal, October 5, 2007

Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.
Paul Gauguin (Artist, 1848 - 1903) --- Click Here

Democracy is four wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Ambrose Bierce --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrose_Bierce

Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain't that a big enough majority in any town?
Mark Twain --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain

We are being fed false and misleading information, in matters big and small. It has come from trusted sources such as established newspapers, experienced journalists, Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel Peace Prize winners. It has been going on for a long time, sometimes by carelessness and sometimes by deliberate lying. I have compiled a list of 101 such incidents.
Randall Hoven, Media Dishonesty Matters, American Thinker, October 8, 2007 --- http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/10/media_dishonesty_matters.html

"The 4 Boneheaded Biases of Stupid Voters (And we're all stupid voters.)," by Bryan Caplan, Reason Magazine, October 2007 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/122019.html

Here's a quiz to help stupid voters find the optimal candidate for them --- http://www.wqad.com/Global/link.asp?L=259460
But then again, politicians often do not keep campaign promises and seldom have the power on their own to do so anyway.

North Dakota:  Ernie Fischer said it was difficult to get the young bull moose away from the cattle, and workers put it in a separate corral until it could be released. The moose also broke fences on the ranch 20 miles south of Mandan. It's not the only such incident in south central North Dakota this year. Emmons County rancher Sam Gross recently reported a lone bull moose in his cattle herd, and a moose also was spotted in a cattle herd in McIntosh County.
"Confused Moose Thinks He's a Cow," Philadelphia Examiner, October 4, 2007 ---
 http://www.examiner.com/a-972109%7EConfused_Moose_Thinks_He_s_a_Cow.html
Jensen Comment
There's precedent for this. I recall many years ago when a moose would not leave a cow's pasture. That cow had zero interest in her horny suitor and completely ignored him.

A few weeks ago, a new edition of the selected works of Edmund Wilson appeared. Another monumental book this season is David Michaelis’s Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography (HarperCollins). The critic and the cartoonist never crossed paths, so far as anyone knows. But there is some overlap between these publications, it seems to me. The biography of Charles M. Schulz, who died in 2000, calls to mind Wilson’s The Wound and the Bow, a collection of essays published in 1941 and reprinted in the second of the two Library of America volumes . . . The sophisticated part of Eco’s sensibility can recognize in Schulz’s art a depth that is full of shadows: “These children (e.g., Charlie Brown and Lucy) affect us because in a certain sense they are monsters: they are the monstrous infantile reductions of all the neuroses of a modern citizen of industrial civilization.” But the depths aren’t an abyss. The little monsters, while sometimes cruel, never become unspeakable. They “are capable suddenly of an innocence and a sincerity which calls everything into question....” Charles Schulz was a neurotic, no doubt; but most neurotics aren’t Charles Schulz. He was something else. And it may be that we need an Italian semiotician to remind us just what: “If poetry means the capacity of carrying tenderness, pity, [and] wickedness to moments of extreme transparence, as if things passed through a light and there were no telling any more what substance they are made of,” as Eco wrote, “then Schulz is a poet.”
Scott McLeMee, "Good Grief," Inside Higher Ed, October 10, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/10/10/mclemee
 



Five Best Books Providing Insight Into Iran


Persian Gulf
Insights into Iran can be gleaned from these masterly works.

BY MICHAEL LEDEEN
The Wall Street Journal
Saturday, October 6, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

1. "The Strangling of Persia" by W. Morgan Shuster (Century, 1912).

Iranians tend to believe that their destinies are shaped by powerful forces beyond their reach--and it's not just a collective fantasy. In the early 20th century, control over Persia was brutally exercised by Russia and Britain. Desperate Persian rulers of the time turned to the U.S. to find an expert who could sort out the kingdom's ransacked treasury. The man they chose, W. Morgan Shuster, fell in love with Iran and worked feverishly to introduce virtuous financial practices. He never had a chance; the Russians and Brits sent him packing. "The Strangling of Persia" is a remarkable account of life in a failed, corrupt state and a tale of heartbreak for an American who foolishly believes that he can prevail by force of will and hard work. Lessons for strategists abound.

2. "Know Thine Enemy" by Edward Shirley (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997).

When Reuel Marc Gerecht worked for the CIA as a Middle Eastern specialist (1985-94), the agency would not allow him to venture into Iran. But when he left the CIA to become a scholar (he is a colleague of mine at the American Enterprise Institute), he decided to sneak into the country by hiring a driver and hiding in a padded box on the floor of a truck. In "Know Thine Enemy," written under the pen name Edward Shirley, Mr. Gerecht describes the trip and what he found. "An Iranian can scream 'Death to America!' one moment and ask you sincerely a minute later to help his sister get a visa to the States, a land they both adore," he writes. "Those feelings are not contradictory; they are sequential. Commitments come and go, then return." Given Iranians' similar love-hate feelings about the mullahs who rule them and the West's decadence, he asks: "How do you know when Iranians aren't lying to themselves?" Mr. Gerecht doesn't know. How could he? They themselves don't.

3. "The Adventures of Haji Baba of Ispahan" by James Morier (1824).

James Morier, a British diplomat in Persia in the early 19th century, published "The Adventures of Haji Baba of Ispahan" to great success in 1824. Morier's tale, about a barber's son who seeks his fortune, is a delightful series of encounters that cut to the heart of Iranian society. We see the Chief Executioner explaining to Haji: "Do not suppose that the salary which the Shah gives his servants is a matter of much consideration with them: no, the value of their places depends upon the range of extortion which circumstances may afford, and upon their ingenuity in taking advantage of it." The culture of corruption is little changed in contemporary Iran. And the religious fanaticism that Morier tweaked also echoes down the years: A character named Nadan who wants to become Tehran's religious leader, Morier writes, has no peer "either as a zealous practiser of the ordinances of his religion, or a persecutor of those who might be its enemies."

4. "The Persian Puzzle" by Kenneth M. Pollack (Random House, 2004).

Kenneth M. Pollack spent years at the CIA, then migrated to the National Security Council during Bill Clinton's presidency. Like every other government official who has tried to normalize relations between Iran and the U.S., he came to grief. And like most such failed dreamers, he continued to believe that there must be a way. His odyssey is the best account we have of recent Iranian history and U.S.-Iranian relations. "The Persian Puzzle" is remarkably candid about the illusions and failures of the men and women for whom Mr. Pollack worked--people he often admired.

5. "Prisoner of Tehran" by Marina Nemat (Free Press, 2007).

Marina Nemat was arrested at age 16 in 1982 and held in Tehran's infamous Evin Prison for more than two years, accused of antiregime activity. She was not an activist but a friend of leftists and a Christian. In prison, she was interrogated and tortured, then sentenced to death. But a guard named Ali had fallen in love with her and saved her from execution. She remained in prison, though, and Ali became her husband--as well as a new source of menace when he forced her to convert to Islam by threatening her family. In "Prisoner of Tehran," her gripping, elegantly written memoir, Ms. Nemat, who now lives in Canada, reminds us that it is through the details of daily life that the evils of a regime such as the Islamic Republic are best understood.

Mr. Ledeen is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. His latest book, "The Iranian Time Bomb" (St. Martin's), has just been published.


Forwarded by Dr. Wolff on October 10, 2007

Matthew Todd Lauer is an American television personality,
best known as a co-host of NBC's The Today Show since 
1994.

 
He has recently travelled to Iran and sent these reports from
Tehran (Video):
 

 




Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons --- http://zipskinny.com/

And don't forget some links I carry permanently on my homepage:

World Clock --- http://www.peterussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php
Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/

Interesting Online Clock and Calendar --- http://home.tiscali.nl/annejan/swf/timeline.swf
Time by Time Zones --- http://timeticker.com/
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) --- http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm
         Also see http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Populations.html
Projected U.S. Population Growth --- http://www.carryingcapacity.org/projections75.html
Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

Bob Jensen's links to economic and social data are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (interesting facts I did not know) --- http://www.snopes.com/military/unknown.asp


Tomb of the Unknown Bugs in MS Office 2007
Errors in Excel, Access, Word, etc.

October 7, 2007 message from James Peters [jpeters@NMHU.EDU]

Our faculty at New Mexico Highlands University use the solver in similar ways and we have been forced to reinstall 2003 to effectively teach the class because of the bugs in Excel 2007's solver, there are several. Microsoft says they are working on it.

Personal comment - Office 2007 in general is a major disaster and I would highly discourage anyone from "upgrading" to it. So far, in addition to the bugs in Excel mentioned above, I have found two or three bugs in Access and would like my toolbars back on Word.

Jim

October 7, 2007 message from Joseph Brady [bradyj@LERNER.UDEL.EDU

We use the Excel Solver in an undergraduate MIS class. We have found that it is one good way to get students to think about some kinds of DSS problems.

We have shifted over to Office 2007 this year, including Excel 2007. We did not shift to Vista – we are still running under MS XP.

We are often running into a problem with Solver. When the solver tries to find a solution, it runs out of RAM. This happens even with a small tutorial problem.

Have other people using Excel 2007 seen this problem? If so, do you know the solution?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Joe Brady
Accounting & MIS
Lerner College of Business & Economics
University of Delaware

Bob Jensen's video on how to use solver in Excel is the ExcelSolver.wmv file at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/acct5342/

Math Error Bug in Excel 2007
Microsoft has confirmed the existence of a serious bug in Excel 2007 that can cause an incorrect amount to appear in a cell. Programmers at Microsoft are aware of the problem and are working on a fix. No date for a correcting update has been projected yet . . . It should be noted that, although the spreadsheet displays 100000, the value of the cell is correct at 65535. So if you use the cell in another formula (for example, if the mistakenly displayed presentation of 100000 appears in cell A1 and you enter the formula =A1*2 in another cell, you will see the correct result of 131070. The problem is manifesting itself in many, but not all, calculations that should produce a result of 65535.
AccountingWeb, September 2007 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=104050


Banking Online Safer Than Checks:  Why you need a Uni-Ball pen!
Phoenix is the city most at risk for identity fraud, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Their new survey shows writing a check is not safer than banking online because of a scam called "check washing." The thief erases the ink on a check, fills in whatever he wants, and cleans out your bank account. But never fear. Where there's a scam like check fraud, there's sure to be a company with a profitable solution. Uni-Ball makes a pen filled with a specially formulated ink that can't be washed off. It comes in several elegant designs, for the sophisticated check-writer.
"Banking Online Safer Than Checks," NPR, October 5, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15027414
Jensen Comment
It might be a good idea to simply carry a Uni-Ball or similar "unwashable" ink pen with your check book.

The Uni-Ball home page is at http://www.uniball-na.com/
I think these pens or comparable pens are now carried in most office supply stores.

May 8, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]

Bob,

This brought back fond memories of my childhood. Then, we used "indelible pencils" which have all but disappeared.

See http://aic.stanford.edu/sg/bpg/annual/v17/bp17-05.html 

Those days in India, ball pen use in legal documents was not acceptable; it had to be indelible ink or pencil. Checks had to be signed in fountain pens or quill pens (ballpoint pen inks contain oils which separate from the ink years after use; I still have some of my class notes at Pitt, the only time I had to use ballpoint pen since I could not afford a fountain pen, and they now are all smudged, and I can barely read the notes).

Nowadays, indelible ink is used to mark (on their fingers) voters to prevent voter fraud.

Pilot, my favourite fountain pen maker (I love their Namikis) makes indelible pens. See http://www.epromos.com/product/8822269.html

Not all Uni-ball pens have indelible ink. Only premium quality ones have it. An examole is Uniball gel pen premium 207 (costing $6+):

http://www.officeworld.com/Worlds-Biggest-Selection/SAN61392/07Q3/ 

Jagdish

May 8, 2007 reply from Ravenscroft, Sue P [ACCT] [sueraven@IASTATE.EDU]

Hi Jagdish,

Do you have a retractable Namiki? I do and I love it!

Best,

Sue Ravenscroft

May 8, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]

Sue,

Yes, I have a Namiki retractable. Its price is midrange, but the writing experience is heavenly. . Since I bought it, I have hardly used my old Pelikan fountain pen. Neither have I used my old cross fountain pen.

Regards,

Jagdish


Because communications between students and faculty are often quite extensive and intense, I've contended, with some anecdotal evidence for support, that faculty burnout is higher for online versus onsite courses. Various faculty who stopped teaching online told me that this was a huge problem for them. Also there are complaints that workloads are higher with online teaching.

How significant is online instructor burnout?
Is there a gender difference in burnout?

"Exploring Burnout among University Online Instructors: An Initial Investigation, " by R. Lance Hogan and Mark A. McNight, The Internet and Higher Education,  vol. 10, no. 2, 2007). The paper is available on the Web at http://www.usi.edu/business/mamcknight/publications/INTHIG281.pdf .

Jensen Comment
If you're interested in the above research paper, I suggest you download it now. There is a possibility that it will not be served up free for very long.

I've also contended over the years that one way to reduce the risk of burnout is to make more use of video to explain technical things that online students are especially more apt to raise questions about repeatedly. If the videos adequately explain these things then this should cut down of the number of inquiries from confused students. See my PowerPoint illustrative Camtasia videos at the following two sites:

Also see

147 Practical Tips for Synchronous and Blended Technology Teaching and Learning, by Rosemary M. Lehman and Richard A. Berg (Madison, WI: Atwood Publishing, 2007, ISBN: 978-1-891859-69-4)

Bob Jensen's threads on online faculty burnout are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm#Workloads

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of online learning and teaching are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm


Question
What do students think about education technology?

October 5, 2007 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

STUDIES OF STUDENTS AND IT

Since 2004, the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) has conducted longitudinal studies of students and information technology.

The latest report, "The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2007," presents data from a spring 2007 survey and interviews with nearly 28,000 freshman, senior, and community college students at 103 higher education institutions. Some of the findings from this year's study include:

-- "Today's students spend a lot of time online. Respondents report spending an average of 18 hours per week actively doing online activities for work, school, or recreation, and 6.6 percent (more often

male) spend more than 40 hours per week."

-- Students surveyed "overwhelmingly (85.1 percent) favor e-mail for official college and university communications. . . . A resounding 82.5 percent say they prefer a university account" rather than a commercial account for these communications.

-- "While most respondents are enthusiastic IT users and use it to support many aspects of their academic lives, most prefer only a 'moderate' amount of IT in their courses (59.3 percent)."

The research bulletin is available online at http://www.educause.edu/ers0706.

ECAR "provides timely research and analysis to help higher education leaders make better decisions about information technology. ECAR assembles leading scholars, practitioners, researchers, and analysts to focus on issues of critical importance to higher education, many of which carry increasingly complicated and consequential implications."

For more information go to

http://www.educause.edu/content.asp?SECTION_ID=4.

Other Related Studies:

"Faculty Integration of Technology into Instruction and Students'

Perceptions of Computer Technology to Improve Student Learning"

By Jared Keengwe

JOURNAL OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION, vol. 6, 2007 http://jite.org/documents/Vol6/JITEv6p169-180Keengwe218.pdf

"[R]eports indicate that faculty members are not integrating technology into instruction in ways that make a difference in student learning. To help faculty make informed decisions on student learning, there is need for current knowledge of faculty integration practices. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the nature of the relationship between faculty integration of technology into classroom instruction and students' perceptions of the effect of computer technology to improve their learning."

Current and back issues of the Journal of Information Technology Education (JITE) [ISSN 1539-3585 (online) 1547-9714 (print)] are available free of charge at http://jite.org/. The peer-reviewed journal is published annually by the Informing Science Institute. For more information contact: Informing Science Institute, 131 Brookhill Court, Santa Rosa, California 95409 USA; tel: 707-531-4925; fax: 480-247-5724;

Web: http://informingscience.org/.

"Student Expectations Study: Key Findings from Online Research and

Discussion Evenings Help in June 2007 for the Joint Information

Systems Committee"

July 2007

http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/studentexpectations.pdf

The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) is a strategic advisory committee working on behalf of the funding bodies for further and higher education in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. For more information on JISC, see http://www.jisc.ac.uk/.

 


"UC Berkeley university puts course videos (but not for credit) on YouTube," PhysOrg, October 3, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news110638174.html

University offerings at the dedicated YouTube channel include peace and conflict studies, bioengineering courses, and a science class titled "Physics for Future Presidents."

"UC Berkeley on YouTube will provide a public window into university life: academics, events and athletics," said vice provost for undergraduate education Christina Maslach.

The University plans to continually add videos to the channel, which officially launched Wednesday with about nine full courses consisting of approximately 40 lectures each.

Berkeley lays claim to being the first university to offer full courses on popular video-sharing website YouTube, which is based in Northern California.

The university began online broadcasts, called "webcasts," of its own in 2001 and last year began making audio "podcasts" available for download at Apple's iTunes online store.

"We are excited to make UC Berkeley videos available to the world on YouTube," said Ben Hubbard, who co-manages the university's webcast program.

"I think the whole open content movement is in keeping with what we are as a public institution, we really believe at our core that making this available to the public is truly important."
 

UC Berkeley is the first university to make videos of full courses available through YouTube. Visitors to the site at youtube.com/ucberkeley can view more than 300 hours of videotaped courses and events. Topics range from bioengineering, to peace and conflict studies, to "Physics for Future Presidents," the title of a popular campus course. Building on its initial offerings, UC Berkeley will continue to expand the catalog of videos available on YouTube.
View the Playlist Here --- http://www.youtube.com/ucberkeley 
There is a link to the most viewed videos (with star ratings) at the above page.

Examples include Integrative Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, etc.
Links to 201 videos --- http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=ucberkeley&p=r
You can search by topic in the search box at the above page.

On October 4, 2007 I could not find any accounting, finance, or economics videos at the UC Berkeley site. There were six courses that popped up for "Business."

Here's a student, who created a RealPlayer playlist, explaining how to record the audio of these videos --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUfKoXtwEu0

Also see Webcast.Berkeley [iTunes, Real Player] http://webcast.berkeley.edu/ 

UC Berkeley also has XLab --- http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/07/13_xlab.shtml

Nearly all prestigious universities now offer some form of open sharing of course materials, the most noteworthy of which is MIT. Yale, however, has some of the finest lectures on video --- http://www.yale.edu/opa/download/VLP_QuestionsAnswers.pdf

From Princeton
University Channel (video and audio) ---  http://uc.princeton.edu/main/

From the University of Texas
Take Five from the University of Texas http://www.utexas.edu/inside_ut/take5/

From Harvard
Introduction --- http://athome.harvard.edu/about/about.htm
Program List --- http://athome.harvard.edu/archive/archive.asp

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

Science Videos --- http://www.scivee.tv/

Video Lecture Search
Type in "Video Lectures" with quotation marks at http://megite.com/discover.php?q=learning
Example:  David Deutsch Quantum Computation Lectures --- http://www.quiprocone.org/quipmain.htm  

Educause Live --- http://www.educause.edu/content.asp?SECTION_ID=34&bhcp=1

You can read about these and other examples of open sharing at major universities at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI


Copyright Restrictions on Open Sharing/Source/Courseware Learning Materials

These are only my opinions, and they should not be taken as legal advice.
Just because something can be accessed online does not mean it is an open sharing item. Generally online items are like library books that can be accessed by the public but have copyright restrictions about copying and uses other than personal reading. If online learning materials are billed as "open sharing," or "open source" (as in the case of OCW materials at MIT) chances are that they can be used in total or in part for educational purposes in other open sharing materials if proper credits are given. In commercial materials such as books and course videos, there is vulnerability for lawsuit by the copyright owners. In my personal opinion, I think a lot depends upon how central the copyrighted material is to the purchased material. If use is incidental and credits are fully proper, then the risks of lawsuit are less than when the copyrighted material becomes more featured in the material. In any case, it is good advice to seek permission from copyright owners if the use is for some for-profit purpose. This probably includes online or onsite courses for which fees are charged to take the course. The dreaded DMCA is somewhat vague on open sharing materials, but open sharing does not mean that copyright owners have abandoned all rights. You can read more about the dreaded DMCA at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm

This is Very Important --- http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/help/faq3/index.htm
MIT is the most open sharing major university in terms of course materials --- http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm
It's statement on intellectual property sets, in my opinion, precedent for most other open sharing colleges --- http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/help/faq3/index.htm

YouTube has a statement about use of YouTube videos at http://www.youtube.com/t/howto_copyright
Also see http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/topic.py?topic=10550&hl=en_US

Since the term "open source" is rooted in computer software, the term is a bit cloudy when it comes to text and multimedia learning materials. You can read more about open sharing and copyrights at the following sites:


How to Excerpt Open Courseware Video, Compress It, and Serve it Up to Students

Suppose that a very long video lecture is available as open courseware for proper use in other learning materials. An instructor may only want to use parts of this lecture in another course or supplemental tutorials for a course. Searching a long video is tedious and time consuming. A better approach is to make audio or video excerpts of portions of the long lecture.

Homemade video tutorial (very basic) on how to record streaming audio on your PC --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPHSDOyj5f8
Note the passing reference to a free sound recorder called Audacity --- http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
Note that if you are watching a lecture video that's pretty much a talking head, it saves a lot, I mean a LOT, of file space to only capture the audio.
This might, for example, work very well when capturing parts of  the many UC Berkeley, YouTube, Yale, or Harvard video lectures --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI
Just in case source streams disappear from the Internet, I suggest capturing what's important to you and saving to external media such as a CD or DVD disk.
Capturing also allows you to only capture what is relevant to you or your students without having to spend a lot of time waiting for the good parts.

If the video open sharing video is a file, you might be able to download the video file and then edit the file using something like the Producer Module in Camtasia Studio --- http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia/enhance.asp

However, in most instances open sharing videos are streaming (using the term loosely here) videos for which there is no file to download. In that case the video must be captured in total or in part by software designed for such purposes. The software I like for video capturing is called Camtasia Recorder --- http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia/record.asp
Also see http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia/education.asp
This is cheaper alternative than many more specialized products for streaming video capture. You can download my PowerPoint file about Camtasia at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/EdTech/PowerPoint/
Links to examples are given in this slide show.

You can read about other alternatives for streaming video capture at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#StreamingMedia

When you capture streaming media as an avi file it has the advantage in that you can edit the movie and delete parts you do not want using software like Camtasia Producer  --- http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia/enhance.asp
You can also add interaction "skip to" buttons, quiz questions/answers, survey questions, etc.

But captured avi files are generally enormous and cannot be stored efficiently anywhere. After you've excerpted and edited the captured video as an avi file it is almost always necessary to compress it into a wmv, mov, rm, scf, flv, or some related option such as the compression options available in Camtasia Producer. There is not generally a noticeable quality degradation in the compressed versions. However, it is not possible, at least in Camtasia, to alter the compressed version without recapturing it as an avi file.

After you have your compressed file such as a wmv you will need to get it to your students. Chances are that your Blackboard, WebCT, or Web server does not give you enough capacity to serve up a lot of video, including space-saving compressed video. The next best thing is to either distribute your video to students on CD or DVD disks or to send it to them over the Internet.

It is not generally possible to attach large video files to email messages. However there are very good free alternatives for sending files to students over the Internet --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm#SendingLargeFiles

Bob Jensen's threads on free online textbooks and other electronic literature --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm 


Camtasia Studio + iPods = Videos to Go --- http://visuallounge.techsmith.com/2006/02/camtasia_studio__ipod__videos_to_go.html


Twiki wiki Tutorial by Michael Lougee at the University of Minnesota ---  https://wiki.umn.edu/view/Main/MichaelLougee


Yet Another Way to Send Large Files Across the Internet
This is important as we enter the era of sending students our Camtasia videos --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm
My PowerPoint file on Camtasia is at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/EdTech/PowerPoint/

 

"Sending Large Files Down the Tubes:  Sharing Content Is Just a Drag And Drop Away," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal,  October 3, 2007; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119137101138247131.html

 

Too many times, I've shared a large batch of digital files with friends or family members only to realize that I included an unwanted photo or shared with someone accidentally. But once these documents are sent, they're out of my control and on a server somewhere being distributed via email or through a photo-sharing service. Making certain files private or changing who has access to those files is a complicated, time-consuming process.

 

This week, I tested another product in the long line of programs that uses automatic synchronization to simplify the process of sharing large files by giving you the ability to change files and privacy options at any time. It's called Tubes (www.tubesnow.com) from Tubes Networks and it takes its name from the pneumatic vacuum-tube system commonly used in bank drive-throughs that motivated me to join my Mom on visits to the bank as a kid. Mom would pull up and a container would whoosh over through a tube to arrive beside the car window; after a quick exchange it returned with her deposit slip and a lollipop for me.

Tubes aims to work with the same sort of magic. Once installed, its desktop application stays opened on your computer as a place where "tubes" are made for sending files. Any type of file can be dragged, dropped and sent off to share with other people using these virtual tubes. As soon as you release data into a tube, a whoosh sounds (like that of the vacuum tube) and your files are encrypted and uploaded to the Tubes server.

Invited guests view your tube's data in its full, uncompressed format. The owner of the tube always has the final say on what is shared with whom, and changes made to tubes on your hard drive are detected instantly via automatic synchronization, guaranteeing viewers will always see the latest version of the tube. Shared tubes are also accessible via the Web, saving viewers from downloading the Tubes desktop program.

Other products like Sharpcast (www.sharpcast.com) and Pando (www.pando.com) also offer ways to share large digital files; Sharpcast uses synchronization similar to that of Tubes -- it all happens behind the scenes without any work on the user's part.

Tubes is available in a free version that provides a gigabyte of storage, or in paid versions with five, 10 and 20 gigabytes of storage for $6, $11 or $21, respectively.

Most of the time, Tubes worked well for me when I installed it on two Windows machines, one running XP and one running Vista. Tubes' smart use of an already familiar process -- dragging and dropping -- gives you the impression that you already know how to use it and makes sharing files seem easy. I started dragging all sorts of files into tubes that I created, naming them and labeling them with a representative icon (one of 10 offered by Tubes or one of my own images).

For all its usefulness, Tubes certainly has room for improvement. For now, there isn't a Mac version of the program, and when friends and I tried accessing shared tubes using a Mac Web browser, the results were inconsistent and sometimes didn't work at all. Windows Vista had its own issues. After installing Tubes on my Vista laptop, an error message labeled "invalid argument" made me feel like a member of the debate team. And I couldn't see thumbnail images of photos in my tubes using Vista, though I could on Windows XP.

Today, Tubes is releasing an updated version of its program that aims to improve the usability and look of the product, including refining the processes of sharing tubes and looking at tubes via the Web.

Before sharing tubes, I adjusted the permissions granted to each guest by labeling them as a Reader, Author or Editor; only the Owner can invite others to view a tube. But these labels can get confusing. More than once, I granted guests the highest level of permission, which is Editor, allowing them to make changes to the files in my tube, only for the guest to be asked for his registered Tubes email and password, which an invited guest shouldn't need.

The Tubes experience was best when the recipient of my Tubes invitations had the application installed on his or her desktop.

After installing Tubes on a computer at work, I installed it on my home PC and easily auto-synched tubes that I created at work onto my home PC -- a big plus.

Tubes incorporates the Web by assigning a unique URL to every file in every tube, and every tube automatically generates its own Web site, or "tubeSite," as it's called. Individual URLs for each file can be found by right clicking on a file and selecting an option to copy the URL into an email or browser. I copied the URL of a shared MP3 audio file and pasted it into my browser; it played a Fountains of Wayne song with no problem. But sharing these URLs with others is only possible if the owner gives permission.

Comments about tubes can be made in the "tubeBlog" -- accessible through any tube in the application or online. I created a tubeBlog for a tube with photos from one of my vacations, adding descriptions and comments to specific photos. Others, with my permission, could do the same, using the photos from the tube or just leaving comments.

A friend used Tubes to share photos with me while vacationing in Italy and Amsterdam. I added my own travel photos and an itinerary made in Microsoft Word to his tube and changed the tube's title; these alterations synched instantly.

Even if you aren't online, you can access tubes or make changes to them by dragging files in or taking them out; updates are made automatically the next time your computer connects to the Web.

Tubes is off to a good start, but it needs to improve its system to make permission levels more understandable for tube owners and those invited to see a shared tube. With a few improvements, Tubes could be a product that I'll continue using on Windows computers long after this column.

Continued in article

 

Bob Jensen's threads on competing alternatives for sending huge files (many of them free) are at
 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm#SendingLargeFiles

 

 

 



Alternatives to Blackboard (Bb)

October 8, 2007 message from Allen M. Ford, MBA, MSSE, MFA [amfnbt@RIT.EDU]

My two cents: The Business Studies Department at NTID offers a variety of courses through the moodle platform set up on a local server. I find it a very attractive alternative to Bb and Desire2Learn (current RIT standard) in that it handles larger files (think DB) and is extremely instructor friendly. While I do "train" and help faculty set up courses, I find that once they learn how easy and intuitive it is, they require minimal hand-holding. In the past five years we have had no server related issues...upgrades require minimal techie intervention. In comparison with my experience teaching COB DL courses using Desire2Learn, if it were my decision, I would use moodle.

That said, I would encourage faculty to investigate what online resources are available from publishers. During a current textbook process, Wiley's EZ-Plus impressed the committee with its CMS that are content specific and ready to roll. Check it out at: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Brand/id-31.html

Bob Jensen's threads on alternatives to Blackboard are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Blackboard.htm

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


Work at Home Scams

The general pitch may be built around a sob story, a promise of lottery winnings, a foreign business offer or a work-at-home opportunity. But the bottom-line offer is the same: We'll send you a check, you cash it at your bank, and you keep a portion and send the rest back to us. Americans appear to be increasingly susceptible to such scams, according to U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigators, who yesterday announced a crackdown. They said they intercepted 540,000 checks worth more than $2.1 billion mailed to U.S. residents in the first eight months of the year. They said 77 people had been arrested in connection with the schemes -- 60 in the Netherlands, 16 in Nigeria and one in Canada. Aided by authorities in those countries and in Britain, investigators said, they had traced many of the come-ons to a shifting network of Nigerians who, with a few computers, cellphones and bank routing numbers, have been cashing in on the naivete, goodwill or complicity of Internet users.
Anita Huslin, "Crackdown Takes Aim At Check-Cashing Scams," The Washington Post, October 4, 2007, Page D02 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on Nigerian frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#NigerianFraud


Work at School Scams

President George W. Bush's signature education reform -- the No Child Left Behind Act -- is coming in for a close inspection in Congress. And, it seems, members on both sides of the aisle have plenty of ideas of how to tinker with NCLB. But almost nobody is talking about the law's central flaw: Its mandate that every American schoolchild must become "proficient" in reading and math while not defining what "proficiency" is. The result of this flaw is that we now have a patchwork of discrepant standards and expectations that will, in fact, leave millions of kids behind, foster new (state-to-state) inequities in education quality, and fail to give the United States the schools it needs to compete globally in the 21st century . . . Meanwhile, the federal mandate to produce 100% proficiency fosters low standards, game-playing by states and districts, and cynicism and rear-end-covering by educators. Tinkering with NCLB, as today's bills and plans would do, may ease some of the current law's other problems. But until lawmakers muster the intestinal fortitude to go after its central illusions, America's needed education makeover is not going to occur.
Chester E. Finn Jr., "Dumbing Education Down, The Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2007; Page A16 --- Click Here
Mr. Finn is a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.


New Scam on eBay and Craig's List:  Overpayments
When is a “cleared check” not necessarily a good check?

"eBay, Craig's List Users Targeted in New Scam," by Brian Ross, The Blotter-ABC, October 2, 2007 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1906412/posts

Selling something on eBay or Craig's List? Watch out for who's signing the check to buy it.

Tens of thousands of Americans are being targeted by the latest scam sweeping America, many of them targeted online through Craig's List and eBay.

Scammers overpay with counterfeit checks that look so good most banks accept them. It's only after victims have sent the overpayment amount back to the scammers that they learn the checks are no good, and they are out the money.

U.S. Postal Service officials say they have seized more than $2 billion worth of high-quality counterfeit checks coming from Nigeria, England, the Netherlands and Canada.

But, they say, many more phonies are still getting through. . That's the kind of check Jill Parker, a pharmaceutical company manager in Richmond, Va., got in the mail.

Using Craig's List to rent an apartment she owned in Chicago, she was contacted by someone moving from London.

"He was going to send me a check for $25,000," she told ABC News. "I was to deduct what he owned me for the first month's rent and the security deposit, and I was to wire the balance back to his agent, who was handling his furnishing."

She took the check to her bank and called a few days later to see if it had cleared. Told that it had, Jill, as agreed upon, wired the remaining $21,000, thinking she was ahead $4,000.

"Everything looked great; everything went fine until about a week later," she said.

The bank informed her that the check was no good and had been returned not paid. And Jill, not the bank, was out the money.

American banks say they are required by law to make the money available well before a final determination is made as to whether the check is good.

"Certain funds, for example, have to be available on the day after deposit," Nedda Feddis, senior federal counsel for the American Bankers Association, told ABC News. "And the fraudsters are taking advantage of that rule."

Good Morning America Video: Phony Check Scam Hitting America There have been tragic consequences.

Chris Soens, suffering from health problems, thought she got a dose of good news in the mail when she won $90,000 in a supposed European lottery.

Once the check had been deposited and posted to her account, Chris wired back $40,000 for what she was told were fees and taxes.

When the check was discovered to be a phony, the bank told Chris she had to repay the entire amount.

Her sister, Rebecca Woodworth, says it led to suicide.

"I think she was devastated," she said. "I think she was plunged into depths of despair knowing that everything she had was gone."

The problem has grown so large that the U.S. Postal Service is launching a nationwide TV campaign starting tomorrow to warn Americans about the dangers of the bad check scam. The Postal Service has also set up a new Web site to educate the public on check fraud: www.fakechecks.org  .

Bob Jensen's threads on how not to get taken on eBay are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#eBay

Bob Jensen's threads on Nigerian frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#NigerianFraud


Lack of embedded microchip security in the US encourages thieves of UK credit cards to cash in

The U.S. has overtaken France as the number one place where fraudsters can convert U.K. credit and debit card details into cash, according to a U.K. banking trade group. To blame is the absence in the U.S. of "chip-and-pin" technology, where credit and debit cards with an embedded microchip are authenticated with a PIN (personal identification number) during purchases and cash-machine withdrawals, said Jemma Smith, spokeswoman for the Association of Payment Clearing Services (APACS). As a result, fraud involving U.K. cards overseas jumped a staggering 126 percent for the first six months of this year over the same period last year, according to the latest figures from APACS, released on Wednesday. On a brighter note, domestic fraud conducted during face-to-face transactions fell 11 percent, the group said.
Jeremy Kir, "Fraudsters jump to US to cash out on UK cards, The Washington Post, October 4, 2007 --- Click Here


Question
What free browser is safer for kids than Internet Explorer and Firefox?

"New, free Miss America browser aims to keep kids safe on the Internet," MIT's Technology Review, October 4, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Wire/19480/?nlid=581

IIn an effort that traces its roots back to when she was 13, the reigning Miss America is the centerpiece of a new child-friendly Internet browser desgined to keep children away from dangerous online sites and contacts.

Lauren Nelson learned the dangers of the Internet during a sleepover with some of her friends about seven years ago. The teens had entered an Internet chat room during a sleepover. Within a week, an online predator was e-mailing one of them lurid photos.

''We were chatting with people we didn't know, which was our first mistake, and someone asked for our personal information,'' Nelson said.

The Miss America Kid-Safe Web Browser is to debut on Thursday. The free download includes blocking mechanisms that have existed for years. But it also features an animated Nelson who walks kids through their online experience, advising them about Internet safety and spouting random trivia: ''There are twice as many kangaroos as people in Australia!''

She will read their e-mail out loud and can be programmed by Mom or Dad to remind children to do their homework, feed the fish or clean their room.

Nelson, a 20-year-old from Oklahoma, made children's Internet security her main issue during the most recent pageant because of the disturbing online encounter she and her friends had as 13-year-olds.

''That was definitely an eye-opening experience,'' she said. ''We never knew the Internet or chatting could get to that point.''

The browser permits access to 10,318 Web sites, all of which were prescreened and determined to be kid-friendly by the Miss America Organization and the Children's Educational Network, which developed the software for it. It has a feature enabling parents to lock the computer and prohibit Internet access with any other browser, and it lets parents add sites to the approved list.

When a surfing session begins, the theme song ''There she is, Miss America'' plays as an animated version of Nelson walks forward on the screen in a gown, complete with a tiara that glistens every few seconds. The image floats around the screen as her arm and hand do the sweeping pageant wave.

''Hi, it's your Miss America, Lauren Nelson,'' the image says. ''Let's hang out and surf the Web!''

Try going to an unapproved site, and the animated Nelson gently rebukes, ''This Web site is not on the master list. Please ask Mom or Dad to add this site for you.''

She also offers reminders like ''Don't forget to e-mail your parents now and then!'' She also gushes, ''I love getting e-mail!'' or ''Great! No spam!'' when the e-mail icon is clicked.

When the ''Exit'' icon is clicked, Miss America coos, ''Buh-BYE!''

Greg Writer, chief executive officer of the Escondido, California-based Children's Educational Network and a former investment banker, started the kid-friendly software company after his own online nightmare.

''When my daughter was 7 years old, she typed her name into a search engine online. Her name is Candace, and she clicked on it and got taken to a porn site,'' he said. ''She was sitting right next to my wife at the computer, and she said, 'Mommy, why are all these people showing off their naked butts?'''

Continued in article

 

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

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm 


"Learning Languages in Context:  Startup Live Mocha leverages social networking to teach foreign languages," by Erica Naone, MIT's Technology Review, October 5, 2007 --- 

A startup called Live Mocha, based in Bellevue, WA, aims to harness the power of online social networking to help language students learn and stay motivated. The site, launched in late September at this year's DEMO conference, combines immersive language lessons with an international community of native speakers.

CEO Shirish Nadkarni says that the economic opportunities he gained by learning English, which is a second language for him, taught him the importance of language instruction. However, it was his personal frustration with his kids' experience learning Spanish in school that inspired him to found Live Mocha. "My kids have good vocabulary and so forth," he says, "but they cannot carry out a conversation in Spanish, and that's the real goal that we're all after."

Live Mocha is designed to emphasize conversation with partners found through the site's social network. All its functions are browser based, requiring no downloads. While users can study a language solo through the type of lessons typically found on instructional CD-ROM programs, they are encouraged to use the site's search function to identify and contact native speakers of their target language. The site provides canned conversational scripts as guidelines for pronunciation practice, as well as prompts for writing and dialogue. Users can chat with each other through a text-based interface, or through voice or webcam. "We expect the community to come in and use their native-language proficiencies to provide more explanation--grammar tips, alternate phrases, or colloquialisms--allowing people to build a much better understanding of the language and how it might be spoken in different parts of the world," Nadkarni says. "This is a lot more instructive and more dynamic than a static CD-ROM."

In addition to providing real-world perspective on how a language is spoken by natives, Nadkarni says that the social-network aspect of the site will keep users motivated as they form friendships with native speakers. "I can look at people's profiles, see how engaged they are in the process, where they are in the lesson plan, and how active they are in the community," he says. "From there, I can truly build a list of study partners that are as motivated as I am to learn."

Gail Keech, who tested the site in its early stages of development, says that its social network pushed her to study languages beyond the German she set out to learn. "I started Chinese because so many native Chinese speakers were contacting me via chat and text messaging [to practice their English], and I thought it was a great opportunity to interact and experience Chinese," she says. Keech adds that she likes being part of a social network that isn't focused on dating, and she enjoys practicing a foreign language in a way that gives cultural perspective. "Topics of discussion have ranged from the one-child policy in China to international football (our soccer), school curriculums and foreign-exchange programs, and what the proper term for 'ice cream' is in German," she says.

Bob Jensen's links to language learning tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Languages



Question
What is the hottest new iPhone on the market?

In time for the holidays, Verizon Wireless is launching a cell phone that looks a lot like the hottest phone so far this year: Apple Inc.'s iPhone. Like the iPhone, the LG Voyager features a large touch screen, a camera and extensive multimedia, Web browsing and e-mail capabilities. However, it one-ups the iPhone by folding open lengthwise to reveal a QWERTY keyboard and a second, non-touch sensitive screen. The lack of a hardware keyboard has been one of the main complaints about the iPhone. The Voyager will connect to Verizon Wireless' latest data network, providing speeds much higher than the AT&T network the iPhone uses. The Voyager also has direct access to Verizon Wireless' online music store.
"Verizon Wireless to launch iPhone look-a-like with a difference," MIT's Technology Review, October 3, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Wire/19478/?nlid=581

From The Washington Post on October 9, 2007

What is the name of Verizon's new iPhone competitor?

A. Zune
B. Aegis
C. Voyager
D. Airfone

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.


WSJ Video of the World Bank's Ranking of the Best and Worst Places to Do Business --- Click Here

Top Nations out of 178 Countries That Welcome Foreign Operations:

Low Ranking Countries Highlighted in the Video:

"Doing Business 2008: Making a Difference," International Finance Corporation --- http://ifc.org/ifcext/media.nsf/Content/Doing_Business_2008  

"No Room for Entrepreneurs (in Latin America) ," by Mary Anastaia O'Grady, The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2007; Page A18  --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119179875749951659.html

Economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) may be best known for his innovative work showing the link between entrepreneurial discovery and economic progress.

But as Carl Schramm, president of the Kauffman Foundation of Entrepreneurship has pointed out, Schumpeter's insights about risk-takers didn't make him an optimist.

In a speech last year to European finance ministers in Vienna, Mr. Schramm explained Schumpeter's fears: He "worried that entrepreneurial capitalism would not flourish because the bureaucracies of modern government and big corporations would dampen innovation -- the process of 'creative destruction' would be too ungovernable for a modern, Keynesian-regulated economy to tolerate." As a result, Mr. Schramm said, Schumpeter thought that "the importance of entrepreneurs would fade over time as capitalism sought predictability from governments who would plan economic activity as well as order social benefits."

Mr. Schramm's comments caught my attention because they so accurately describe Latin America. There the entrepreneur has been all but run out of town by the bureaucracies that Schumpeter feared. Growth has suffered accordingly.

The World Bank's annual "Doing Business" survey, released last week, demonstrates the point. The 2008 survey, which evaluates the regulatory climate for entrepreneurs in 178 countries, finds that Latin America and the Caribbean was the slowest reforming region this year and that it "is falling further behind other regions in the pace" of reform.

The average time it takes to start a business -- one of 10 factors measured -- in Latin America and the Caribbean is 68 days, longer than anywhere else. Compare that with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, where business start-ups take less than 15 days. Other common problems in the region are weak minority-shareholder rights, slow legal regimes and punishing tax systems.

Yet as bad as the regional averages are, entrepreneurs in Venezuela probably view them with envy. When it comes to the ease of doing business Venezuela now ranks six places from the bottom world-wide, between Eritrea and Chad. It also finishes dead last among the region's 31 countries -- and that includes Haiti. In the category of "employing workers" Venezuela ties with Bolivia at No. 177. The authors note that it is "not possible" to fire a Venezuelan employee. "Starting a business" takes 141 days and in ease of "paying taxes" it ranks No. 174.

Keeping Venezuela company in the cellar are Ecuador, which finishes 27th in the region, and Bolivia, which comes in 28th. Only Suriname, Haiti and Mr. Chávez's oil paradise have more hostile business climates.

To understand how Argentina went from being one of the world's top-performing economies during Schumpeter's lifetime to the basket case it is today, this report is instructive. The resurgence of Peronist economics helped it slide 16 places lower than its 2006 ranking. Not only has it failed to carry out any meaningful reforms but in the past year it complicated the insolvency process. And its tax system remains punitive: A company that pays all its taxes coughs up the equivalent of 113% of its profit. Argentina finishes 22nd in the region but ahead of Costa Rica, which comes in 24th. Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua are all better places to be an entrepreneur than Costa Rica.

Brazil earned about the same ranking as last year. It made improvements to its legal regime but lost ground to more aggressive reformers in the category of "trading across borders." It also takes last place world-wide for the time it takes to comply with the tax code (2,600 hours) and ranks 137th in the "paying taxes" category.

Sluggish reform in the region has led some analysts to conclude that democracies in the developing world cannot overcome the obstacles to modernization presented by the political economy. Yet there are regional successes that prove that where there is political will, there is a way.

Take Mexico. In last year's report it jumped almost 20 places world-wide thanks to a reform-minded treasury ministry under former President Vicente Fox, which lowered tax rates and made property registration easier. It now has the fifth-most pro-business climate in the region. If the government of Felipe Calderón keeps its reform promises, more improvements should be on the way, though its price controls on bread and tortillas are not a good sign.

This year's superstar is Colombia. It is among the top 10 reformers world-wide and ranks 12th in the region. It made enormous progress in "trading across borders" by reducing the time goods spend in terminals, extending port operating hours and making more selective customs inspections. It also strengthened investor protections, adopted an electronic tax filing system and progressively lowered the corporate tax rate to 33% in 2008 from 35% in 2006. Much more work is needed but the moral of the story is that with leadership, such as that which President Álvaro Uribe has provided, reform is possible.

But the opposite is also true. Chile has fallen nine places since its No. 24 ranking in the 2006 report, suggesting that the center-left coalition running the country is not attuned to the importance of entrepreneurial freedom.

The most important lesson for Latin America from the World Bank's report is that its competitors around the world are working to unleash entrepreneurial spirits, and doing nothing is not an option. As Mr. Schramm told his Vienna audience, "Schumpeter saw what a century of evidence would prove: Socialism has not sustained economic growth." Now, if only more Latin American policy makers would catch on.


David Every on the My Africa Mercy Ship in Liberia and Mark Jensen in Tanzania

Bob and Pat Every are leaders in our Sugar Hill Community Church. Their son David graduated from the Maine Maritime Academy. David's now volunteering as the Chief Engineer on a hospital ship called My Africa Mercy tied up in revolution-torn Liberia. The Engineering Department on the ship maintains a blog at http://www.mvafricamercyengineering.blogspot.com/
David and the others from virtually all over the world not only volunteer for this mercy mission, they pay to volunteer.

Cousin Mark Jensen, a former dairy farmer in Minnesota, is on a mercy mission as Director of the Department of Agriculture of Tumaini University. Note especially the long term goal --- Click Here

Mark Jensen is the youngest son of Millen and Blanch Jensen who farmed the Jensen Family Farm in Seneca, Iowa. Millen was my uncle. My father and Millen jointly farmed the home place during World War II, and I spent many summers with my five cousins on that farm after my parents left the farm. I loved being around the livestock (especially the big horses) as a kid, and I admired my extended family that worked day in and day out at farm chores. I cannot recall a single time they complained about the tough life on a farm that did not even have plumbing or a refrigerator --- Click Here

Neither David nor Mark are men of wealth, and Mark is not even in the best of health. Yet they generously give of both their time and what little money they can spare for missions of mercy and hope. God bless volunteers and others like them from around the world who are hands-on humanitarians making huge sacrifices for what many consider hopeless causes. They're making these causes less and less hopeless.


 

More on the Study Abroad Conflict of Interest Frauds
 

Where previously there were only anecdotes, new survey provides a clearer picture of the prevalence of practices that have fallen under scrutiny. more . . . New survey data released Monday provides the clearest picture yet of the prevalence of potential conflicts of interest in study abroad.

Elizabeth Redden, "Study Abroad Policies and Practices," Inside Higher Ed, October 9, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/09/abroad

 

Bob Jensen's threads on the study abroad scandals --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#StudyAbroadAccountability
 


Question
How long does it take to get an accounting doctorate?

 

Answer
The answer varies with respect to how long it takes to get both the undergraduate degree plus the requisite masters degree (or at least 150 credits required in most states). Assuming the student is full time and on track as an accounting major this makes it about 5.5 years before entering a doctoral program, although some masters programs only require one year for the masters degree for undergraduate accounting majors. To that we must add about four years of doctoral studies. This adds up to 9.5 years of full time study in college give or take a year. To this we must add the typical 1-5 years of experience most doctoral students spend in practice between attainment of a masters degree and eventual matriculation into a doctoral program.

The good news is that, unlike masters of accountancy and MBA programs, virtually all accountancy doctoral programs provide free tuition and rather generous living allowances from start to finish, although some of the time doctoral students must work as teaching and/or research assistants. Often fellowships in the fourth year allow students to devote full time to finishing their doctoral thesis.

Accountancy doctoral programs take at least four years in most cases for former accounting majors because entering students typically must take advanced mathematics, statistics, econometrics, and psychometrics prerequisites for doctoral seminars in accounting --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#DoctoralPrograms

Students who get doctorates in fields other than accounting can typically get a doctoral degree in less than 9.5 years of full-time college. For example, an economics PhD can realistically spend only 7.5 years in college. He or she can then enter a bridge program to become a business, finance, or even an accounting professor under the AACSB's new Bridge Program, but that program may take two or more years part time. There just does not appear to be a short track into accounting tenure track positions. But the added years may be worth it since accounting faculty salaries are extremely high relative to most other academic disciplines. The high salaries, in part, are do to the enormous shortage of accounting doctoral graduates relative to the number of tenure-track openings in major colleges and universities --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#DoctoralPrograms

 

 

"Exploring Ways to Shorten the Ascent to a Ph.D.," by Joseph Berger, The New York Times, October 3, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/03/education/03education.html

 

Many of us have known this scholar: The hair is well-streaked with gray, the chin has begun to sag, but still our tortured friend slaves away at a masterwork intended to change the course of civilization that everyone else just hopes will finally get a career under way.

We even have a name for this sometimes pitied species — the A.B.D. — All But Dissertation. But in academia these days, that person is less a subject of ridicule than of soul-searching about what can done to shorten the time, sometimes much of a lifetime, it takes for so many graduate students to, well, graduate. The Council of Graduate Schools, representing 480 universities in the United States and Canada, is halfway through a seven-year project to explore ways of speeding up the ordeal.

For those who attempt it, the doctoral dissertation can loom on the horizon like Everest, gleaming invitingly as a challenge but often turning into a masochistic exercise once the ascent is begun. The average student takes 8.2 years to get a Ph.D.; in education, that figure surpasses 13 years. Fifty percent of students drop out along the way, with dissertations the major stumbling block. At commencement, the typical doctoral holder is 33, an age when peers are well along in their professions, and 12 percent of graduates are saddled with more than $50,000 in debt.

These statistics, compiled by the National Science Foundation and other government agencies by studying the 43,354 doctoral recipients of 2005, were even worse a few years ago. Now, universities are setting stricter timelines and demanding that faculty advisers meet regularly with protégés. Most science programs allow students to submit three research papers rather than a single grand work. More universities find ways to ease financial burdens, providing better paid teaching assistantships as well as tuition waivers. And more universities are setting up writing groups so that students feel less alone cobbling together a thesis.

Fighting these trends, and stretching out the process, is the increased competition for jobs and research grants; in fields like English where faculty vacancies are scarce, students realize they must come up with original, significant topics. Nevertheless, education researchers like Barbara E. Lovitts, who has written a new book urging professors to clarify what they expect in dissertations; for example, to point out that professors “view the dissertation as a training exercise” and that students should stop trying for “a degree of perfection that’s unnecessary and unobtainable.”

There are probably few universities that nudge students out the door as rapidly as Princeton, where a humanities student now averages 6.4 years compared with 7.5 in 2003. That is largely because Princeton guarantees financial support for its 330 scholars for five years, including free tuition and stipends that range up to $30,000 a year. That means students need teach no more than two courses during their schooling and can focus on research.

“Princeton since the 1930s has felt that a Ph.D. should be an education, not a career, and has valued a tight program,” said William B. Russel, dean of the graduate school.

And students are grateful. “Every morning I wake up and remind myself the university is paying me to do nothing but write the dissertation,” said Kellam Conover, 26, a classicist who expects to complete his course of study in five years next May when he finishes his dissertation on bribery in Athens. “It’s a tremendous advantage compared to having to work during the day and complete the dissertation part time.”

But fewer than a dozen universities have endowments or sources of financing large enough to afford five-year packages. The rest require students to teach regularly. Compare Princetonians with Brian Gatten, 28, an English scholar at the University of Texas in Austin. He has either been teaching or assisting in two courses every semester for five years.

“Universities need us as cheap labor to teach their undergraduates, and frankly we need to be needed because there isn’t another way for us to fund our education,” he said.

That raises a question that state legislatures and trustees might ponder: Would it be more cost effective to provide financing to speed graduate students into careers rather than having them drag out their apprenticeships?

But money is not the only reason Princeton does well. It has developed a culture where professors keep after students. Students talk of frequent meetings with advisers, not a semiannual review. For example, Ning Wu, 30, a father of two, works in Dr. Russel’s chemical engineering lab and said Dr. Russel comes by every Friday to discuss Mr. Wu’s work on polymer films used in computer chips. He aims to get his Ph.D. next year, his fifth.

While Dr. Russel values “the critical thinking and independent digging students have to do, either in their mind for an original concept or in the archives,” others question the necessity of book-length works. Some universities have established what they call professional doctorates for students who plan careers more as practitioners than scholars. Since the 1970s, Yeshiva University has not only offered a Ph.D. in psychology but also a separate doctor of psychology degree, or Psy.D., for those more interested in clinical work than research; that program requires a more modest research paper.

OTHER institutions are reviving master’s degree programs for, say, aspiring scientists who plan careers in development of products rather than research.

Those who insist on dissertations are aware that they must reduce the loneliness that defeats so many scholars. Gregory Nicholson, completing his sixth and final year at Michigan State, was able to finish a 270-page dissertation on spatial environments in novels like Kerouac’s “On the Road” with relative efficiency because of a writing group where he thrashed out his work with other thesis writers.

Continued in article

 

Bob Jensen's threads on accountancy doctoral programs are at the following three links:

 

 

 


Question
What are just about the worst taxes imaginable?
Hint: Norway's leftist politicians play a "gottcha" game with its ship owners.

Answer
Retroactive taxes levied on prior period earnings. Individuals and business firms make economic decisions based upon tax laws and rates. A retroactive tax takes this option away. It would be better to impose some type of wealth or luxury tax so that only individuals and firms that have fared well take a hit.

"The Shipping Blues," by Michael D. Tusiani, The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2007 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119144652993148134.html

Investors may be used to seeing countries like Venezuela renege on commitments that previous administrations made to industry. It's almost unheard of, though, for a rich, enlightened nation like Norway to deliberately undermine one of its most important industries.

That's exactly what's expected to happen tomorrow, when Norway's left-leaning government presents its budget to parliament. Included will be a proposal to retroactively tax shipping companies to the tune of nearly €3 billion, a move that could threaten the status of Scandinavia's maritime superpower.

The back-tax plan comes just as globalization has fueled a commercial shipping boom. If current trends continue, annual global maritime revenues could exceed €450 billion by 2010 -- a 25% increase over the 2005 level, according to forecasters at Datamonitor.

Norway -- which, with 1,400 ships, is home to 5% of the world's commercial fleet -- would essentially be telling firms to take that economic growth elsewhere. Many countries offer shipping companies generous tax treatment if they register their fleets or locate their headquarters in them, and Norway has been no exception. Since 1996, Norwegian-registered shipping companies have paid very modest taxes based on their cargo capacity while deferring all taxes on operating profits that are reinvested in the domestic maritime industry.

This tax regime, conceived when the global shipping industry's profits were relatively depressed, encouraged fleet owners to remain in Norway. Over the past seven years, as the regime took effect, maritime employment in Norway has climbed almost 20% to about 100,000 and the number of ships on order by Norwegian fleets has risen more than threefold -- keeping pace with rapid international shipping growth since the turn of the century.

That boom has attracted the attention of Norway's finance minister, Kristin Halvorsen, a member of the country's Socialist-Left Party. Under her budget plan, all profits reinvested by the industry since 1996 would be subject to a retroactive tax. The total amount would be repayable over 10 years.

Several leading shipping firms are exposed. Among them are BW Gas, the world's largest owner of gas carriers, and Wilh Wilhelmsen, the largest operator of car transporters. BW alone may be hit with a back-tax bill of some €590 million, almost equaling its total net profits over the past four years and implying a tax rate significantly ahead of the prevailing corporation tax.

Analysts at HSBC Global Research in the U.K. estimate the total cost to the industry at about €2.7 billion. Since companies do not build financial reserves for such a "wild card" occurrence, future earnings will likely be dented and some firms may have to sell physical assets to meet their obligations. "Many CEOs [say] that this will undermine future investment in their businesses and may impact associated banking, broking and marine insurance activities," HSBC reports.

Many ship owners are considering reflagging their vessels in nearby countries, such as the U.K. and Denmark. Moving could mitigate their future liabilities, but that will be little consolation to firms that remained in Norway over the past decade and invested in their fleets, only to be betrayed by politicians.

A major Norwegian government argument is that it is trying to harmonize its maritime tax regime with that of the European Union, even though it is not a member of the bloc and is not obliged to do so. It also claims that the move will make the industry more competitive. That assertion is hard to justify, as Oslo is penalizing domestic ship owners by clawing back taxes on profits already invested in their own industry.

Continued in article


Question
Where can you find facts about taxation?

October 7, 2007 message from JOHN STANCIL [jstancil@VERIZON.NET

I realize that the IRS is pretty tight with its data, even in aggregated form. However, does anyone know if there is an internet source where you can obtain certain tax facts – such as the amount of charitable contributions claimed on individual returns, the dollar amount of earned income credit, the amount of productive activity deductions taken on a year to year basis?

Any help would be appreciated.

John Stancil
Florida Southern College

October 8, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

When in doubt, always start with Wikipedia --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation 
It goes without saying that you must be suspicious of questionable items in any Wikipedia module. However, the above link is quite good on this topic. As with most Wikipedia modules, both the Reference (Notes) links and the Discussion sections are very important.

The Notes section (near the bottom) in this case leads to OECD sites such as the National Accounts site ---
http://www.oecd.org/topicstatsportal/0,2647,en_2825_495684_1_1_1_1_1,00.html 

The Discussion tab (near the top) leads to an extensive table of contents of discussions.

Here are a few other sites to check out:

Bob Jensen’s statistical data links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#EconStatistics 

FirstGov --- http://www.fedworld.gov/firstgov.html 

Great IRS site links (not necessarily data table links):

FAQs and answers --- http://www.irs.gov/faqs/index.html 

Tax Fraud Alerts from the IRS --- http://www.irs.gov/compliance/enforcement/article/0,,id=121259,00.html 

Tax Scams --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#TaxScams 

Bob Jensen's taxation helpers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation

October 8, 2007 reply from [Amy.Dunbar@BUSINESS.UCONN.EDU]

Link is to SOI Tax Stats - Individual Income Tax Returns Publication 1304 (Complete Report)

http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/indtaxstats/article/0,,id=134951,00.html

The Individual Complete Report Publication contains complete individual income tax data. The statistics are based on a sample of individual income tax returns, selected before audit, which represents a population of Forms 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ, including electronic returns. --- Click Here


Economics Professor (who called himself "Economan") Pleads Guilty to Fraud
A former Charleston Southern University economics professor, who was accused of defrauding the university and hundreds of other investors out of $90-million, pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court in Charleston, S.C. The professor, Albert E. Parish Jr., who authorities say spent the proceeds on cars, clothing, and a world-class pen collection, could face 45 years in jail when he is sentenced, at a date that is not yet determined. For many years, Mr. Parish was a high-flying symbol of success in Charleston, a "shining star" who did well as an investor and was "highly respected," as his lawyer put it on Friday. He even dubbed himself "Economan," a financial superhero, on the Web site of one of his companies. But last April, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint alleging that Mr. Parish was not registered with the commission to deal in securities. The SEC cited Mr. Parish for five counts of fraud, including misrepresenting investors' assets and returns, and dissipating the assets he had under management (The Chronicle, April 9).
Mary Andom, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 8, 2007 --- http://chronicle.com/subscribe/login?url=/daily/2007/10/2007100807n.htm

Al Parish, who was for years a prominent economist at Charleston Southern University known for his flashy wardrobe and big spending, on Friday admitted that he engaged in fraud with investments, effectively using millions from investors (including the university) on himself rather than investing the money, The Post and Courier reported. In a deal with prosecutors, he admitted guilt in 3 counts of an 11-count indictment, and faces a jail term of up to 20 years, plus fines. Parish’s indictment stunned many in Charleston, and many at the university, which saw its endowment shrink as a result of the fraud.
Inside Higher Ed, October 8, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/08/qt

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


Pensions and Palm-Greasing
What do you call $154 billion in pension-fund cash that is subject to the investment whim of ambitious politicians? If you answered "an opportunity for corruption," perhaps you're a cynic, or a priest. Or maybe you simply live in New York. If it's the latter, you may be following the news about New York State's public-employee pension system. Former Comptroller Alan Hevesi is alleged to have directed payments to his political consultant, Hank Morris, for arranging investment opportunities for the $154 billion fund. The fees, currently under investigation by the state Attorney General and the Albany County District Attorney, run to the millions of dollars. But New York's public pensioners are, in a sense, fortunate. Their fund's performance in recent years has been good. And at least on paper, the fund has enough money to cover its obligations to current and future retirees despite any political palm-greasing.
"Pensions and Palm-Greasing," The Wall Street Journal, October 3, 2007 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119137865088247317.html


"Toll of the stock options scandal heavy in 2006:  More prosecutions are expected to be brought next year," by Marcy Gordon, SeattlePi, December 27, 2006 --- http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/297346_stockoptions27.html

Eighteen chief executives swept out. More than 100 public companies under federal investigation and more than $5 billion in profits erased by restatements. Indictments so far: five former top executives at two companies, Brocade Communications Systems Inc. and Comverse Technology Inc. The toll of the stock options timing affair -- corporate America's scandal of the year -- has been heavy. Federal officials say more prosecutions will be brought in 2007 over manipulation of the timing of stock option grants to enrich top company executives.

The toll of the stock options timing affair -- corporate America's scandal of the year -- has been heavy. Federal officials say more prosecutions will be brought in 2007 over manipulation of the timing of stock option grants to enrich top company executives.

Nearly every business day, more companies report federal or internal investigations. New lawsuits by shareholders are filed. More businesses disclose that because past option grants may have distorted their financial results, they may have to restate earnings.

Next year could well bring more restatements, and companies' stock could be stripped from public trading because reviews of options grants made them late in filing their quarterly financial reports.

The Justice Department will "continue to be engaged for perhaps years to come, as we work these cases out," U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan, who heads a task force in Northern California pursuing options timing cases, said recently at a gathering of attorneys. "The final chapter hasn't been written yet."

Many of the companies ensnared in the scandal are in Silicon Valley's high-tech industry, where stock options for employees created legions of millionaires in the dot-com era.

The prized perks allow executives and employees to buy shares of their company's stock in the future at a set price. If the stock rises before the options are exercised, the employee can buy the stock at the predetermined, lower price, then sell it at the higher, current price -- and pocket the difference.

Among the wide swath of companies caught up in internal or government investigations: Apple Computer Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc., Caremark Rx Inc., Issaquah-based Costco Wholesale Corp., Seattle-based F5 Networks, Gap Inc., The Home Depot Inc., McAfee Inc., Monster Worldwide Inc., Restoration Hardware Inc., Staples Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc.

Some prominent executives at blue-chip companies have lost their jobs in the affair, including former UnitedHealth CEO William McGuire, who engineered the company's ascent from a regional health insurer into the nation's second-largest.

Continued in article

 



Question
Where are the next frontiers of installing malicious viruses on your computer?
What video sites are the most likely places to catch these bad viruses?

 

Answer
Since email users have become more cautious about opening email, the next frontiers are bound to be popular downloads outside of email. These include videos and wikis. The most likely place to catch these bad viruses are porn sites, particularly the many porn sites maintained by Russians and former Eastern Bloc countries. But there are many other dangerous porn sites as well.

 

 

"Online video players could become new vehicle for malicious code," MIT's Technology Review, October 2, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Wire/19469/?nlid=578

 

Online videos aren't just for bloopers and rants -- some might also be conduits for malicious code that can infect your computer.

As anti-spam technology improves, hackers are finding new vehicles to deliver their malicious code. And some could be embedded in online video players, according to a report on Internet threats released Tuesday by the Georgia Tech Information Security Center as it holds its annual summit.

The summit is gathering more than 300 scholars and security experts to discuss emerging threats for 2008 -- and their countermeasures.

Among their biggest foes are the ever-changing vehicles that hackers use to deliver ''malware,'' which can silently install viruses, probe for confidential info or even hijack a computer.

''Just as we see an evolution in messaging, we also see an evolution in threats,'' said Chris Rouland, the chief technology officer for IBM Corp.'s Internet Security Systems unit and a member of the group that helped draft the report. ''As companies have gotten better blocking e-mails, we see people move to more creative techniques.''

With computer users getting wiser to e-mail scams, malicious hackers are looking for sneakier ways to spread the codes. Over the past few years, hackers have moved from sending their spam in text-based messages to more devious means, embedding them in images or disguised as Portable Document Format, or PDF, files.

''The next logical step seems to be the media players,'' Rouland said.

There have only been a few cases of video-related hacking so far.

One worm discovered in November 2006 launches a corrupt Web site without prompting after a user opens a media file in a player. Another program silently installs spyware when a video file is opened. Attackers have also tried to spread fake video links via postings on YouTube.

That reflects the lowered guard many computer users would have on such popular forums.

''People are accustomed to not clicking on messages from banks, but they all want to see videos from YouTube,'' Rouland said.

Another soft spot involves social networking sites, blogs and wikis. These community-focused sites, which are driving the next generation of Web applications, are also becoming one of the juiciest targets for malicious hackers.

Computers surfing the sites silently communicate with a Web application in the background, but hackers sometimes secretly embed malicious code when they edit the open sites, and a Web browser will unknowingly execute the code. These chinks in the armor could let hackers steal private data, hijack Web transactions or spy on users.

Tuesday's forum gathers experts from around the globe to ''try to get ahead of emerging threats rather than having to chase them,'' said Mustaque Ahamad, director of the Georgia Tech center.

They are expected to discuss new countermeasures, including tighter validation standards and programs that analyze malicious code. Ahamad also hopes the summit will be a launching pad of sorts for an informal network of security-minded programmers.

"Online Videos May Be Conduits for Viruses," by Greg Bluestein, The Washington Post, October 2, 2007 --- Click Here

Online videos aren't just for bloopers and rants _ some might also be conduits for malicious code that can infect your computer.

As anti-spam technology improves, hackers are finding new vehicles to deliver their malicious code. And some could be embedded in online video players, according to a report on Internet threats released Tuesday by the Georgia Tech Information Security Center as it holds its annual summit

The summit is gathering more than 300 scholars and security experts to discuss emerging threats for 2008 _ and their countermeasures.

Among their biggest foes are the ever-changing vehicles that hackers use to deliver "malware," which can silently install viruses, probe for confidential info or even hijack a computer.

"Just as we see an evolution in messaging, we also see an evolution in threats," said Chris Rouland, the chief technology officer for IBM Corp.'s Internet Security Systems unit and a member of the group that helped draft the report. "As companies have gotten better blocking e-mails, we see people move to more creative techniques."

With computer users getting wiser to e-mail scams, malicious hackers are looking for sneakier ways to spread the codes. Over the past few years, hackers have moved from sending their spam in text-based messages to more devious means, embedding them in images or disguised as Portable Document Format, or PDF, files.

Continued in article

 

Storm Worm:  The Perfect Email Storm

"The Worm That Roared," by Lev Grossman, Time Magazine, September 27, 2007 --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1666279,00.html

 

During the week of Jan. 15, an innocuous-looking e-mail appeared in thousands of inboxes around the world. Its subject line read, "230 dead as storm batters Europe." The e-mail came with a file attached, bearing a plausible-sounding name like Full Story.exe or Read More.exe. Plenty of people clicked on it. After all, storms really were battering Europe at the time; that week high winds and rain had killed 14 in the U.K. alone. But all great cons have a grain of truth in them somewhere.

 

The file that arrived with the e-mail was, of course, a computer virus, immediately christened the Storm Worm by the Finnish computer security firm F-Secure, which was among the first to spot it. Since then, the Storm Worm has proved remarkably hard to kill. Nine months later, it's still out there, infecting something like a million computers worldwide. It's not the most damaging virus in history, but it may be the most sophisticated. Whoever created it is to viruses what Michelangelo was to ceilings.

The Storm Worm is a marvel of social engineering. Its subject line changes constantly. Whoever produced it--and its many later variants--has a lively feel for the seductive come-on and a thorough grounding in human nature. It preys on shock ("Saddam Hussein Alive!") and outrage ("A killer at 11, he's free at 21 and ...") and prurience ("Naked teens attack home director") and romance ("You Asked Me Why"). It mutates at a ferocious rate, constantly changing its size and tactics to evade virus filters, and finds evolving ways to exploit other online media like blogs and bulletin boards. Newer versions might contain, instead of a file, a single link to a fake YouTube page, which crashes your browser while quietly slipping the virus into your computer. "I've heard people talk about this like virus 2.0, just like people talk about Web 2.0, because it's so different from the traditional attacks," says Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of F-Secure. "It's probably the largest collection of infected machines we've ever seen."

Like any good parasite, the Storm Worm doesn't kill its host. In fact, most of the victims--some of whom are undoubtedly reading this article--will never know their machines are infected. It doesn't cripple your computer (and can be removed once identified), but the Storm Worm does give its authors the power to quietly control your computer. What do they do with this power? Mostly they send out spam. Back in the day, computer viruses were a relatively innocent affair, written as pranks by teenagers with too much time on their hands between Star Wars sequels. Now they're written by organized criminals looking to make money from fake offers.

Nobody knows who's behind the Storm Worm. F-Secure suspects a group based in Russia, but there's no way to be sure, and recent Storm Worm subject lines referring to Labor Day and the start of the football season suggest that those involved have an American connection. What is certain is that they are very smart--prodigious innovators engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with security firms that so far they're winning. "I don't think these guys have day jobs," says Hypponen. "They're really active and really closely watching us. I don't see them stopping anytime soon."

It's also clear that they've been pulling their punches. Right now the Storm Worm gang controls a massive amount of computing power, as much as some of the world's largest supercomputers, and all they do with it is send out spam and conduct the occasional denial-of-service attack (bombarding a specific server with traffic until it shuts down). We're lucky: so far they haven't gone in for more lucrative, damaging activities like online gambling, stock scams and stealing passwords and credit-card information. Is it possible that even a worm can have a conscience?

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm

Bob Jensen's best advice at this point --- Buy a Mac!

 


Question
What is "scholarship" as a substitute for "research" as a tenure criterion?
How is Western Carolina University breaking with tradition?

 

Scholarship = the mastery of existing knowledge, including writing and sharing via review articles, tutorials, online videos, Website content, etc.

 

Research = the production of new knowledge from conception to rigorous analysis, including insignificant fleecing to new knowledge that overturns conventional wisdom.

 

 

"‘Scholarship Reconsidered’ as Tenure Policy," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, October 2, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/02/wcu

 

In 1990, Ernest Boyer published Scholarship Reconsidered, in which he argued for abandoning the traditional “teaching vs. research” model on prioritizing faculty time, and urged colleges to adopt a much broader definition of scholarship to replace the traditional research model. Ever since, many experts on tenure, not to mention many junior faculty members, have praised Boyer’s ideas while at the same time saying that departments still tend to base tenure and promotion decisions on traditional measures of research success: books or articles published about new knowledge, or grants won.

Scholarship Reconsidered may make sense, but the fear has been that too many colleges pay only lip service to its ideas, rather than formally embracing them — at least that’s the conventional wisdom. Indeed, a trend in recent years has been for colleges — even those not identified as research universities — to take advantage of the tight academic job market in some fields to ratchet up tenure expectations, asking for two books instead of one, more sponsored research and so forth.

Western Carolina University — after several years of discussions — has just announced a move in the other direction. The university has adopted Boyer’s definitions for scholarship to replace traditional measures of research. The shift was adopted unanimously by the Faculty Senate, endorsed by the administration and just cleared its final hurdle with approval from the University of North Carolina system. Broader definitions of scholarship will be used in hiring decisions, merit reviews, and tenure consideration.

Boyer, who died in 1995, saw the traditional definition of scholarship — new knowledge through laboratory breakthroughs, journal articles or new books — as too narrow. Scholarship, Boyer argued, also encompassed the application of knowledge, the engagement of scholars with the broader world, and the way scholars teach.

All of those models will now be available to Western Carolina faculty members to have their contributions evaluated. However, to do so, the professors and their departments will need to create an outside peer review panel to evaluate the work, so that scholarship does not become simply an extension of service, and to ensure that rigor is applied to evaluations.

Lee S. Shulman, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (through which Boyer did much of his work), said Western Carolina’s shift was significant. While colleges have rushed to put Boyer’s ideas into their mission statements, and many individual departments have used the ideas in tenure reviews, putting this philosophy in specific institutional tenure and promotion procedures is rare, he said. “It’s very encouraging to see this beginning to really break through,” he said. What’s been missing is “systematic implementation” of the sort Western Carolina is now enacting, he said.

What could really have an impact, Shulman said, is if a few years from now, Western Carolina can point to a cohort of newly tenured professors who won their promotions using the Boyer model.

John Bardo, chancellor at Western Carolina, said that a good example of the value of this approach comes from a recent tenure candidate who needed a special exemption from the old, more traditional tenure guidelines. The faculty member was in the College of Education and focused much of his work on developing online tools that teachers could use in classrooms. He focused on developing the tools, and fine-tuning them, not on writing reports about them that could be published in journals.

“So when he came up for tenure, he didn’t have normal publications to submit,” Bardo said. Under a trial of the system that has now been codified, the department assembled a peer review team of experts in the field, which came back with a report that the professors’ online tools “were among the best around,” Bardo said.

The professor won tenure, and Bardo said it was important to him and others to codify the kind of system used so that other professors would be encouraged to make similar career choices. Bardo said that codification was also important so that departments could make initial hiring decisions based on the broader definition of scholarship.

Asked why he preferred to see his university use this approach, as opposed to the path being taken by many similar institutions of upping research expectations, Bardo quoted a union slogan used when organizing workers at elite universities: “You can’t eat prestige.”

The traditional model for evaluating research at American universities dates to the 19th century, he said, and today does not serve society well in an era with a broad range of colleges and universities. While there are top research universities devoted to that traditional role, Bardo said that “many emerging needs of society call for universities to be more actively involved in the community.” Those local communities, he said, need to rely on their public universities for direct help, not just basic research.

Along those lines, he would like to see engineering professors submit projects that relate to helping local businesses deal with difficult issues. Or historians who do oral history locally and focus on collecting the histories rather than writing them up in books. Or on professors in any number of fields who could be involved in helping the public schools.

In all of those cases, Bardo said, the work evaluated would be based on disciplinary knowledge and would be subject to peer review. But there might not be any publication trail.

Faculty members have been strongly supportive of the shift. Jill Ellern, a librarian at the university (where librarians have faculty status), said that a key to the shift is the inclusion of outside reviews. “We don’t want to lose the idea of evaluations,” she said. “But publish or perish just isn’t the way to go.”

Richard Beam, chair of the Faculty Senate and an associate professor of stage and screen in the university’s College of Fine and Performing Arts, said that the general view of professors there is that “putting great reliance on juried publication of traditional research didn’t seem to be working well for a lot of institutions like Western. We’re not a Research I institution — that’s not our thrust.”

 

 

Bob Jensen's threads on tenure can be found in the following links:

 

(Teaching vs. Research) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#TeachingVsResearch

 

(Micro-level Research) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#MicroLevelResearch

 

(Co-authoring) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#JointAuthorship
 

(Scholarship in the Humanities) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#MLA

 

(Obsolete and Dysfunctional Tenure) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Tenure

 

Other Tenure Controversies --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on the flawed peer review process are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#PeerReviewFlaws
The same flaws exist for reviews of scholarship as reviews of research. In fact, reviews of scholarship are probably more difficult.

 

 



Microsoft to Give Free Server Space to Serve Up Some MS Office Files "In the Cloud"
Jensen Comment
This is yet another effort by Microsoft to lock in users to its bread and butter MS Office software in light of ever-increasing free open-sharing alternatives to MS Office that are just getting better and better, In terms of this "In the Cloud" server, what is not clear is how Microsoft is dealing with the macro virus threat of served up MS Office files like Word (doc), Excel (xls), and PowerPoint (ppt) files. These MS Office files have much higher virus risks than Web server files like HTML and XML files. It would be a tremendous service if Microsoft would launder out the viruses in its "Cloud" files, but I doubt that this is likely to be the case. I suspect users who download MS Office files still face those troublesome macro viruses. Knowing the file authors does not always give 100% protection since viruses can be innocently passed on in MS Office files. I think the Cloud files are more of a service to the authors themselves using password security screening. It is an advantage to have those files in the cloud as back up files in case PCs crash and burn. But since most employees of large organization can download backup files into that organization's servers, it's not clear that this new service from Microsoft is very helpful except for lone wolves in society. But as John Rymer states below, Microsoft will eventually make more sensational moves to protect its MS Office revenue.

 

What is Microsoft (MS) Office? --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Office

 

"Microsoft to bring a sliver of its Office suite to the Web," MIT's Technology Review, October 1, 2007 ---
http://www.technologyreview.com/Wire/19461/?nlid=575

Microsoft Corp. is unveiling a Web component for its desktop-based Office programs that lets computer users store, share and comment on documents, but the software maker did not go so far as to let people create new files from scratch online.

Microsoft Office Live Workspace, as the free Web site is called, isn't quite live. Starting Monday, users can sign up to be part of an early ''beta'' test of the service. A number of those users will be able to start using the service at some point this year, Microsoft said.

Office Live Workspace will give users about 250 megabytes of storage, or room to keep about 1,000 average Office documents ''in the cloud.'' PC users can upload Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, and use the site to e-mail friends or colleagues and invite them to read and add comments to those documents through a Web browser.

However, if users want to edit the text, they must open the document using an installed copy of Microsoft Office.

Office Live Workspace taps into a few of Microsoft's Web offerings. Users with Hotmail, Xbox Live and other Microsoft accounts can use that information to log on to Workspace. Once there, they can use their stored contact list to send invitations.

The service is compatible with Office 2003 and Office 2007, and users will be able to save from Office to the Web site and open files they've stored online.

Workspace wasn't intended as a standalone program, said Chris Capossela, a corporate vice president in Microsoft's business software division, but rather a ''companion service.'' At a media event last week, Capossela and Jeff Raikes, president of the division, stressed that users were most interested in using the power of the Web to access their documents from any computer, and for collaborating, and not for creating sophisticated documents.

Office Live Workspace is not to be confused with Office Live, a set of tools Microsoft first developed to help small businesses build Web sites and manage online advertising campaigns. Office Live will be renamed Office Live Small Business, Microsoft said.

The vast majority of computer users use Word, Excel and other Office programs, in spite of challenges from open source desktop programs like OpenOffice. Google Inc. and several small startups offer Web-based word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, and recently, Google launched tools that even let its programs work offline.

While Microsoft is officially mum on whether it will add more useful features to an online version of Office, Capossela said the software maker plans to remain the leader in productivity software.

John Rymer, an analyst for Forrester Research, said that on its own, Workspace isn't all that exciting, but it's unlikely Microsoft will stop there.

''The payoff is going to come later, when you've got editing, real collaboration ... when it's really Office reconstituted,'' he said. ''That's not going to come for a while.''

After experimenting online in areas far from Microsoft's core business software products, the software maker's first step is, in part, meant to prove it is serious about offering software online, Rymer said.

Microsoft also announced Monday it will sell its Exchange, SharePoint and Communications server software as services over the Internet. That means that information technology departments at companies with more than 5,000 PC users won't have to buy disks, install software and manage the server computers. Instead, Microsoft will host the software on servers in its own data centers and sell access to companies on a subscription basis.

The software maker did not disclose any pricing details.

October 3, 2007 reply from John Roberts [JohnRoberts@SJRCC.EDU]

 

I see Microsoft Office Live Workspace as a viable replacement for using a flash drive to transport files between computers. We are all aware of the inherent risks associated with putting school information on flash drives  and the possible misplacement or loss of the flash drive. This would solve some of those problems if the security of the web server is as good as promised. One of the biggest problems I have with a flash drive is that I always seem to leave it in the “other” computer and it is not available to be used in my current computer. Live Workspace would solve this. There have been remote file servers available for some time but my personal problem with those is that of keeping the files synchronized and current. If I am opening and saving my files to Live Workspace, they would always be the most current. That, to me, is its biggest advantage. It remains to be seen if the speed of the internet (and my personal DSL connection) will be sufficient to work on the web as opposed to working on my computer? Files will still need to be backed up occasionally in case internet access is limited for whatever reason.

I also see the macro virus threat on Live Workspace as no worse than what I currently have. As long as I use it strictly as a file server and don’t allow access to others, my files would be the only ones on there and as long as I didn’t save a file with a virus, there would be none on the file server. If I allow others to access and modify files there then I would have the same risk as I presently have in accepting these same files through email, etc.

John C. Roberts, Jr.
Saint Johns River Community College
283 College Drive
Orange Park, FL  32065
Phone (904) 276-6816
FAX (904) 276-6888
Suncom 890-6816

 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks on MS Office competition (much of it free) are at http://www.technologyreview.com/Wire/19461/?nlid=575

 


A New Look for MS Outlook
Xobni makes it easier to find relevant information buried in your inbox

 

"A New Look for Outlook," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, October 1, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biztech/19463/?nlid=575&a=f

For more than a decade, the look and feel of e-mail inboxes has remained agonizingly static. Many of today's mail applications can predict the address a user is typing and show threads of conversations, and some are searchable by keyword, but none provide a truly innovative way to view e-mails.

Now, a startup based in San Francisco called Xobni ("inbox" spelled backward) has released a test version of software that gives Outlook, at least, a completely different feel. Xobni's goals, says cofounder Adam Smith, are to pull out relevant but sometimes buried information from a person's inbox and other folders, and make it easy to find. Overall, Smith and cofounder Matt Brezina succeed in building an attractive, useful interface to show people a side of their inbox that they rarely see, such as phone numbers buried in the bodies of messages and social networks between e-mail correspondents.

The idea of indexing e-mail is certainly not new, and Google Desktop has a feature that goes through a user's Outlook files to make searching them easy. But what makes Xobni distinct is that it turns e-mail from a message-based system into a people-based system. When a Xobni user highlights an e-mail in her inbox, a panel pops up showing useful information about the sender. If a picture is available, it appears, as does a bar graph showing the times of day when the sender has e-mailed the user. This is useful for gauging when that person may be online and working in the future. Xobni keeps track of the number of e-mails the user and sender have exchanged and even ranks the sender in terms of the frequency of e-mail contact.

An extremely useful feature is one in which Xobni displays the phone number of the sender, pulled out from an e-mail signature or the body of an e-mail. What's more, the software is able to provide a list of people who have also been included on e-mails with the sender and user, revealing a social network that would most likely otherwise go unnoticed. For instance, when looking at the social network of one of my more well-connected colleagues, I found e-mail addresses for a couple of people who weren't in my Outlook contacts and whose e-mail addresses are useful to know.

The Xobni panel also includes a list of recent e-mail conversations organized by thread and sorted by date, and a list of files exchanged between the user and the sender, likewise organized by date. In addition, Xobni keeps track of the last time the user and senders were in contact with each other, providing a view of people the user might not have e-mailed in a month, three months, or a year or more.

Continued in article

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

 



The Boom in Business Majors
What nation provides the most foreign students to U.S. business schools?
 

Students from India — the number one country in terms of sending international students to the United States over all seem to be applying to business schools worldwide in ever-increasing numbers, as measured at least by GMAT test takers. In 2005-6, 9,222 aspiring business students who identified themselves as Indian citizens took the GMAT, a figure that jumped to 13,324 one year later.
Elizabeth Redden, "Mapping the Indian Business Student Boom," Inside Higher Ed, October 2, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/02/business
 

 


 

Question
What are academic "boat students" in college?

 

Answer
These are the students who meet minimum requirements to stay enrolled in college but cannot get into the majors of their choice because they fail to meet the added "progression requirement" grades to get into many of the more popular majors on campus. Because of low grades they are considered undesirables, especially in the hot disciplines frequently sought out by better students. However, even the less popular disciplines usually do not want the academic dregs of the student body. Although I've not seen studies on this, my forty hears of teaching suggest that a predominant share of these low grade average unwanteds are young men. Males generally arrive at a lower level of maturity than females at age 18. They often fail to balance partying and frisbie-throwing with study time or even class time. Those males that survive the first year often do so at minimum levels. But many of them mature along the way and become fine students in the latter years of college. They are, however, burdened with their first-year grades. I've had top seniors in accounting who cannot get their gpas above 3.0 because of poor grades in the distant first year of college. Much to their dismay, this precludes them from even being to interview for careers in large and prestigious accounting firms that use gpas as the first filtering of applicants.

 

I wish there was some way to pound more sense into first year students. Their parents would love us for that.

 

Progression requirements produce what a colleague calls “academic boat people,” because these students drift from major to major even though they meet, and often exceed, the university’s general 2.0 GPA standard for continued enrollment. What are we to do with these students? What are we to tell parents when they complain that their child has a 2.4 GPA and yet cannot gain admittance into any of three preferred majors? Who should teach these students, and help them graduate? At my university such students become “undeclared majors,” and are transferred automatically into the College of Arts and Sciences. Do deans of the other colleges send flowers and chocolates in thanks of such generosity?

Todd A. Diacon, "I Was a Progression Requirement Pusher," Inside Higher Ed, October 1, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/10/01/diacon 

 


 

"Rewriting Econ 101:  Teaching the Shortcomings of Market Allocation," Knowledge@Wharton, October 3, 2007 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm;jsessionid=9a30b282e4b864413712?articleid=1816

Forget what you learned about markets in your introductory economics class. In a new book titled, The Tyranny of the Market: Why You Can't Always Get What You Want, Wharton professor of business and public policy Joel Waldfogel challenges the conventional thinking that markets will provide adequately if left to their own devices.

In the prevailing view, markets allow everyone to get what they want, regardless of what others want -- recalling Blockbuster Video's "Go Home Happy" slogan -- while allocation through government imposes what John Stuart Mill called a "tyranny of the majority" -- that you get what you want only if the majority wants it. This stark distinction between markets and government, advanced by Milton Friedman in his book Capitalism and Freedom, has been the rationale behind letting markets decide a wide variety of questions for decades. But according to Waldfogel, the tyranny of the majority is also at work in many markets, benefiting some, harming others, and not always ending up promoting efficiency.

The tyranny of the majority -- Waldfogel calls it "the tyranny of the market" -- arises whenever two conditions hold. First, production entails substantial fixed costs; and second, preferences differ across groups of consumers. High fixed costs limit the number of products that markets can profitably offer, so that only large groups get appealing products. And when preferences differ across groups, then those not targeted -- "preference minorities," in Waldfogel's words -- are unable to go home happy.

The all-virtuous view of free markets is an influential one in contemporary policy making, often paired with a cynical view of government involvement. Waldfogel cites President George W. Bush's words on the occasion of Friedman's 90th birthday: "Milton Friedman has shown us that when government attempts to substitute its own judgments for the judgments of free people, the results are usually disastrous. In contrast to the free market's invisible hand, which improves the lives of people," Bush continued, "the government's invisible foot tramples on people's hopes and destroys their dreams."

Waldfogel offers a series of detailed empirical and case studies to counter that view. "My goal in this work is not so much to argue that Friedman is wrong," he writes, but to "demonstrate that Friedman's dichotomy between markets and collective choice is not right. In many markets, what I get depends on how many others also want it. Market allocation shares many of the features of allocation through collective choice."

Waldfogel presents evidence suggesting "a more nuanced view on the 'wonders of markets' and the 'evil of government.'" His book makes the case that while markets do a good job of providing products that a majority of people demand, they can fall short in meeting the needs of consumers with less prevalent preferences. Potentially left by the wayside are African Americans, Hispanics, people with unusual medical conditions and residents of remote areas, to name a few groups.

The Misuse of Economics

The Tyranny of the Market is based on academic papers that Waldfogel wrote over the past decade. He says he has repeatedly made the argument to his fellow economists that markets share some messy features of politics and are far from perfect. Now he aims to bring the same ideas "to people outside the narrow world of academic economics," a goal that meshes with his role over the past 18 months as the Dismal Science columnist at Slate.

According to Waldfogel, his arguments, though "not revolutionary," buck the popular wisdom that government involvement in markets is automatically bad. "Economics has allowed itself to be used as a bludgeon in favor of free markets and against a government role, but I don't think that's what economics has to say," he suggests. "Let's look at how markets actually work and then make our decisions."

In contrast to the Blockbuster Video conception of markets in which everyone goes home happy, Waldfogel's research shows many situations in which larger groups get more satisfaction, and smaller groups less, from markets. He first noticed this phenomenon about a decade ago when he was looking at radio-listening data broken down by racial groups. Blacks and whites have sharply different preferences in radio programming. The formats that attract most black listeners get almost no white listeners. A higher share of blacks listens to the radio in U.S. cities with larger black populations. This illustrates that having more people who share your tastes raises the number of products appealing to you, and your group gets more satisfaction from what's available.

But having more whites in the market does not raise the share of blacks listening to the radio, and having more blacks does not increase the share of whites listening. So while more demand generally helps bring forth more variety and more resulting satisfaction, your satisfaction really only increases when there are more people who share your preferences. This is a far cry, Waldfogel says, from the hypothetical situation where you can get what you want simply because you want it. Instead, you get what you want if enough other people also want it.

Daily newspapers offer an even starker example. While your typical U.S. city has multiple radio stations, it has only one major newspaper. Newspaper preferences differ across groups, so the paper can be pitched to appeal to one group or another. As with radio, in cities with more whites, whites are more likely to read the paper, while blacks are more likely to read the paper in cities with more blacks. What's striking, Waldfogel says, is that blacks are less likely to subscribe in cities with larger white populations where the paper is pitched more toward white readers' tastes. Not only do you not get what you want simply because you want it, but you get something even less like what you want because others want something else. This is the tyranny of the majority translated almost literally into the market. Having more people who share your preferences helps you by making the product suit your tastes, and having more who do not actually hurts you by making the product less appealing to you.

Because these problems arise when fixed costs are large in relation to market size, they can be alleviated by increased market size -- for example through trade across geographic areas -- or through new technologies or managerial approaches that allow cheaper customization of products.

A Preference for Action Movies

The book also explores the liberating effects of trade and the Internet, bringing desirable options to people who lack appealing local options. While trade goes some distance toward solving this group's problems, it is not a complete solution. "Instead, with products that remain high in fixed costs even relative to the world market, exporting can shift products away from the preferences of the old domestic consumers," he says, and toward the preferences of the new market. Hollywood, for instance, has begun catering to customers in new-found movie markets, in some cases at the expense of the preferences of moviegoers in this country.

"Hollywood has figured out that Japan and some parts of Europe are markets worth worrying about. And it's been observed lately that Hollywood has skewed products toward things that will export well, like action movies. If you like what Hollywood used to make -- dramatic movies and movies with dialogue -- you'll be less happy."

Waldfogel says there are some business-to-the-rescue stories, where technology and other advances are addressing the downsides to the market. On-line booksellers and movie purveyors can offer more titles for a wider variety of tastes than your neighborhood book or video store. And pharmaceutical companies, traditionally focused on finding the next blockbuster drug, are envisioning a day when medicines can be specifically "designed" for individuals or smaller groups of people based on their genetic profiles. In restaurants, there is a trend for companies to locate several of their brands under one roof, allowing a family to eat items from Taco Bell and Pizza Hut at the same time.

All this criticism of markets raises the question of whether allocation through government is better or even different. "It's tough to find an apples-to-apples comparison of market and government allocation," Waldfogel says, "but one interesting comparison is between municipal public libraries and bookstores." Markets make bookstores available in rich and populous areas, while governments make libraries available in both populous and less populous areas, and local library availability is about equally sensitive to white and black populations. "It's clear that a decision to 'let the market decide' is good for some and not for others," he suggests.

According to Waldfogel, there are no pat answers or simplistic formulas to determine the correct balance between free markets and government intervention. "The standard economist view of a subsidy is that it's venal, and there's often some truth to that," he says, adding, however, that the benevolent view of markets is over-stated, too. "While it is true that in a perfectly competitive market, everything that should be done will be done and nothing that should not be done will be done, this expectation does not carry over to realistic, high fixed-cost examples. For people inclined to favor markets because of their efficiency properties, many real-world industries lack an efficiency rationale for a hands-off -- or 'laissez-faire' -- approach." Society, Waldfogel says, "needs to discuss the shortcomings of market allocation honestly -- and with evidence -- when choosing whether to let the market decide."

 

 

 


Question
Should we just not call what we give to Division 1 athletes in college an "education?"
How do they cheat at Florida State, Kansas, Purdue, and Auburn?

 

Scholarships to Athletic Illiterates?
Comments by a long-time critic of the impact of big-time athletic programs on college athletics are bringing accusations of racism — while others accuse Rutgers University officials of throwing around the term much too loosely. William Dowling is a professor of English at Rutgers whose new book, Confessions of a Spoilsport: My Life and Hard Times Fighting Sports Corruption at an Old Eastern University (Penn State University Press), details his unsuccessful campaign against an increased emphasis on athletics at Rutgers. In an article in The New York Times last week, Dowling was quoted as saying: “If you were giving the scholarship to an intellectually brilliant kid who happens to play a sport, that’s fine. But they give it to a functional illiterate who can’t read a cereal box, and then make him spend 50 hours a week on physical skills. That’s not opportunity. If you want to give financial help to minorities, go find the ones who are at the library after school.” Those comments, the Associated Press reported, have Bob Mulcahy, the Rutgers athletics director, calling the remarks “blatantly racist” and President Richard McCormick blasting them as “inaccurate and inhumane” and having “a racist implication that has no place whatsoever in our civil discourse.” Dowling noted to the AP that he was answering a specific question from the Times about the argument that athletics programs helped minority students. “If someone has a way to answer that question without mentioning race, I would like to hear it,” said Dowling, who called the accusation of racism the “cheapest rhetorical ploy I’ve ever heard.”
Scott Jaschik and Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, October 1, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/01/qt

 

Just Don't Call It Education:  Is there fraud in academic assessment of top college athletes?
Three newspapers this weekend explored the academic compromises universities make in the name of athletic success. The New York Times reported that an internal audit at Auburn University revealed that an athlete’s grade had been changed without the professor’s knowledge, to bring the athlete just over the minimum average needed for eligibility. Auburn isn’t talking. The Athens Banner-Herald reported that in 1999 and 2000, the University of Georgia’s president, Michael Adams, authorized the admission of 119 athletes who did not meet academic standards, and that 21 of them left because of academic problems. And The San Diego Union Tribune reported on the percentages of scholarship athletes at many Western institutions who are “special admits” (translation: they don’t meet admissions standards). The newspaper found that special admits are rare in the student body as a whole at the institutions studied, but quite high (70 percent at the University of California at Los Angeles, 65 percent at San Diego State University) for scholarship athletes.
Inside Higher Ed, December 11, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/12/11/qt

 

"Academic Fraud in Collegiate Athletics," by Elia Powers, Inside Higher Ed, October 2, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/02/fraud

 

Academic fraud cases have long been a staple of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s infractions list. The descriptions are pleasure reading for critics of big-time college sports who question the influence that determined athletics officials, administrators and faculty can have on keeping athletes eligible at all costs.
Of late, there’s been no shortage of material:
  • At Florida State University, a “learning specialist” and a tutor “perpetrated academic dishonesty” in a scandal involving 23 athletes, an internal investigation found. In some cases, the employees — both of whom resigned, according to the university — gave students answers to online exams and typed material for them.
  • A former Purdue University women’s basketball assistant coach, fired last year, was found to have partially researched and composed a sociology paper for a player and then lied about it to university officials who were looking into the allegations. The coach left an e-mail trail behind that proved to be the smoking gun.
  • The University of Kansas received three years’ probation last fall for a series of violations, including a former graduate assistant football coach who gave two prospective athletes answers to test questions for correspondence courses they were taking at the university.
  • Add to the list concerns over correspondence courses that allow athletes to gain eligibility and the issue ofclustering” — illustrated in the Auburn University case involving a sociology professor who is accused of offering specialized classes to athletes that required little work.

Whether or not cases of academic fraud have become more rampant or even more serious in recent years is up for debate; statistics on their occurrence (increased or otherwise) are hard to come by. But many agree that the climate has changed in college athletics in ways that may make such misbehavior more likely. And it has happened since the NCAA unveiled its latest set of academic policies that raised the stakes on colleges to show that their athletes perform well in the classroom while simultaneously lowering the requirements freshman athletes must meet to become eligible initially.

Largely as a response to sagging graduation rates for football and basketball players, the NCAA put into place several years ago new academic rules that require colleges to report each term whether their athletes are on progress toward a degree — with penalties awaiting those whose students aren’t progressing and aren’t performing.

At the same time, the NCAA reversed its previous approach of continually raising initial entrance requirements and began allowing students with SAT scores as low as 400 (or a corresponding ACT score) to enroll so long as their high school grades were high enough. That move appeased critics of the standardized test score requirement who said it adversely affected minority students.

In the years since the changes, many have expressed concern that the combination of heightened academic expectations and lowered entrance regulations would put the campus employees responsible for providing academic support to athletes in a tough spot, asked to help a growing number of marginal students — potentially at all costs.

That fear is so real to James F. Barker, president of Clemson University, that he meets each semester with everyone who gives tutorial help or guidance to athletes and “reads them the Riot Act.”

“I tell them, ‘I’m responsible for 20,000 people and a half-a-million-dollar budget — those two things could keep me awake at night, but they don’t. What does is academic fraud. No student-athlete is worth crossing that line for,’ ” says Barker, who also heads the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors, the panel of college presidents that governs the NCAA’s highest-profile competitive level.

David Goldfield, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who served on the academic eligibility and compliance cabinet of the NCAA, which helped craft the new policy, said he supports the new progress standards but still opposes lowering entrance requirements — which he said strains the entire system of academic support.

“When there’s pressure applied you’re going to get a reaction, and the reaction we’re seeing is academic fraud cases,” Goldfield said. “From a coach’s perspective, the major task is to win, but now with the new requirements, the second and often equally pressing task is to maintain the eligibility of players.”

Goldfield fears that academic fraud cases are far more widespread than just the ones reported to the NCAA. Compliance officers can have a difficult time tracking down such cases, he said, because they can involve wrongdoing by people in all parts of an institution, and often rely on self-reporting by athletics officials.

The NCAA did not have a comment for this article. Kevin Lennon, the association’s vice president for membership services, said in a statement about the Florida State case that “the NCAA and its member institutions take seriously any allegation of academic misconduct” and that “these types of violations are among the most serious that can be committed.”

Lennon added that the NCAA is committed to its academic reform measures. The association has defended its eligibility changes by arguing that the focus should be primarily on what students can achieve in college and not just on their high school academic performance.

But some say that stance ignores the reality that unprepared students often can’t cut it in college.

“Just because you’re technically eligible to compete doesn’t mean you are ready to compete in the classroom,” said Tim Metcalf, director of compliance at East Carolina University.

Terry Holland, a longtime men’s basketball coach at the University of Virginia who is now athletics director at East Carolina, said coaches and college officials are under increasing pressure to accept any student who qualifies under the NCAA’s rules. In his meetings with other athletics directors, Holland said he hasn’t encountered one yet who says athletes are better prepared now than they were five years ago.

“For many programs, the recruiting pitch is, ‘We have a great academic support system and everyone graduates,’ ” Holland said. “Maybe what the athletes are hearing is, ‘You’re going to do the work for me. It may not be fraud, but I won’t have to do as much.’ “

Colleges have largely responded by devoting more resources to academic support services. They are hiring more tutors, building new academic centers and beefing up compliance offices.

Continued in article

"Athletes' Graduation Rates Hold Steady at 77%," by Libby Sandler, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 2007 ---
http://chronicle.com/subscribe/login?url=/daily/2007/10/2007100405n.htm

 

Athletes in the nation's biggest college-sports programs continue to graduate at high levels, with more than three-quarters of all players who entered college in the academic years from 1997 to 2000 graduating within six years of enrolling, according to data released on Wednesday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The graduation-success rate, as the NCAA refers to its measure, increased among the high-profile men's sports of basketball, football and baseball, and among the popular women's sports of basketball, ice hockey, and soccer. But although the rate for men's basketball players increased by 8 percentage points, from about 56 percent for those who enrolled in 1995 to nearly 64 percent for those who enrolled in 2000, the NCAA's president, Myles Brand, said the sport remained a concern.

"Men's basketball is still the lowest of all our sports in terms of graduation rates, and we will continue to work on that sport," he said on Wednesday during a conference call announcing the release of the data.

The association's graduation rates for scholarship athletes, reported each year, differ from federal graduation statistics calculated by the U.S. Department of Education because the NCAA measure accounts for students who transfer into and out of institutions. The NCAA's figures, unlike the federal ones, do not penalize an institution for having athletes who leave to attend other schools, as long as they depart in good academic standing.

NCAA researchers calculated their latest graduation rates by tracking a cohort of athletes who entered college between 1997 and 2000. Of those athletes, 77 percent had graduated within six years. That figure has not changed from data released last year for a previous four-year period. It is up from 76 percent for the cohort that entered between 1995 and 1998, reported two years ago, when the NCAA first began accounting for transfer students.

The most recent cohort had only two years under the NCAA's stricter academic-performance requirements, which penalize teams for not meeting certain benchmarks.

The early data reflected in Wednesday's report were encouraging, Mr. Brand said. But the full effect of the academic requirements will not be evident for four more years, when the first full cohort under the new academic standards graduates, he said.

Among men's sports, fencing, gymnastics and lacrosse posted the highest graduation success rates, at 88 percent, followed by water polo, at 85 percent; ice hockey, at 84 percent; and swimming and tennis, both at 82 percent. Baseball graduated 66 percent of its players. Division I- A football teams graduated 67 percent of their players, while Division I-AA teams graduated 65 percent.

Among women's sports, skiing teams led, with 95 percent of their athletes graduating in six years; field hockey, gymnastics and lacrosse followed, at 94 percent. The women's teams with the lowest graduation-success rates were bowling, at 68 percent; rifle, at 77 percent; and basketball, at 81 percent. Women's soccer teams graduated 89 percent of their players.

Mr. Brand also said his goal was to have, on average, an overall graduation rate of 80 percent for all scholarship athletes. "That will be a grand success," he said. But in the meantime, a rate of 60 percent is satisfactory, he said, and should be seen as the goal for most institutions.

"The benchmark is 60 percent," he said. "So if you're below 60 percent, then we have some work to correct that."

Below the Benchmark

The lone men's basketball team to post a graduation-success rate of zero was at the University of Maryland at College Park.

When asked what kind of red flags a zero graduation rate would raise, Mr. Brand said, "Big ones. ... What it tells you is that the athletic department should be looking closely at that case."

Maryland said it has done so. All of the 10 freshmen and transfers who were measurable by the NCAA's formula left the university before graduating to pursue professional careers, said Anton Goff, associate athletic director for academic support and career development at Maryland. Three of the 10 eventually graduated; two from other institutions and one from Maryland, but outside of the six- year time period, Mr. Goff said.

"It's a concern for us," Mr. Goff said in a telephone interview. "But one of the things we look at is, it was a long time ago. Since then, we've put in some improvements and some plans for the men's basketball team."

Last spring, he said, Maryland graduated three of its five scholarship basketball players. "Those numbers and those results won't show up for us for a couple years down the road," he said. "There's nothing we can do to change that zero, but we feel like we're improving."

The NCAA will release additional data on graduation rates on October 30, including figures on overall graduation- success rates and federal graduation-rate data by institution. More information, including a team-by-team breakdown of graduation-rate data, is available on the association's Web site.  

 

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

 


A billion here, a billion there at Merrill Lynch
Merrill Lynch and Co's announcement Friday that it would take a $5.5 billion hit to third-quarter earnings is exposing the weak oversight exercised by top Merrill executives as it became a big force in the mortgage-securities business. Wall Street has been reeling from the recent credit crunch tied to questionable home mortgages, with several companies taking multibillion-dollar write-downs. But Merrill is taking the biggest charge and is the only major U.S. firm so far that has said it will report a loss for the third quarter.
Randall Smith, "After Big Write-Down Tied to Mortgage Debt, O'Neal Asserts Control," The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2007; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119158978516350109.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 

Trivia Question
Who coined the term "a billion here, a billion there and pretty soon your talking real money?"

Click on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirksen
There is some doubt whether he ever really originated this phrase --- http://www.dirksencenter.org/print_emd_billionhere.htm


"Harvard Faculty Council recommends an Open Access policy," The University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communications Blog, September 27, 2007 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

Harvard Faculty Council recommends an OA policy

With thanks to Peter Suber's Open Access News and the Harvard Crimson ...

Harvard Faculty Council recommends an OA policy
Alexandria Hiatt, Profs Might Make Their Articles Free: Faculty Council proposes ‘open access’ for journal articles, Harvard Crimson, September 27, 2007.

Excerpt:
The Faculty Council, the 18-member governing body of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), advanced a measure yesterday that would make articles written by Harvard professors in scholarly journals available online at no cost.

The proposal would create a system of “open access” whereby the authors could make their work available either on a personal or university Web site for free, according to Weary Professor of German and Comparative Literature Judith L. Ryan, who serves on the council.

Professors would have the option to opt out of the new system, Ryan said.
“The problem this is supposed to address is the increasing monopoly that has developed on the part of scholarly journals, who are now making it increasingly difficult for people to access the material they publish,” she said.

“Libraries everywhere are paying huge amounts to scholarly journals,” she added, “and that means the amount of money they can spend on other purchases is increasingly squeezed.”

The program has been spearheaded by Welch Professor of Computer Science Stuart M. Shieber. According to Ryan, Shieber has appeared before the council three times in the past year and a half and has worked closely with the University Office of General Counsel to address any possible legal issues....

The proposal will now come before the full faculty for a vote. Ryan said she expected it to be addressed at a Faculty meeting this term.

The measure will immediately take effect if passed, according to Ryan, and the publishers will have little recourse.

“It is pretty certain that other universities would follow,” she said, “And that is crucial because it would put pressure on big publishers.”

Local perspective --
University of Illinois' Provost Linda Katehi has strongly urged faculty to retain the rights to use their own articles and to make them as widely accessible as possible. The University Senate concurred, passing a resolution that urges faculty to modify the copyright agreement forms they sign when submitting their papers for publication, using an addendum created for use by CIC members.

From Katehi's 7/10/07 note to the faculty:
"It [the Addendum] supports authors rights to use their own published work in teaching and research, to post a publication on a personal website, or to deposit it in a repository maintained by their institution or a professional association. IDEALS (www.ideals.uiuc.edu) is the University of Illinois institutional repository."

Katehi goes on to say:
"It is our responsibility as scholars to ensure that our work is available as widely as possible to maximize its scholarly impact, accessibility, and educational use. I encourage you to use the Addendum and to deposit your research and scholarship in IDEALS, which provides reliable and persistent access to its holdings."
 


 

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI


New Camtasia Version 5 Features

September 30, 2007 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU

And here is the feature list of Camtasia's version 5:

RECORDER

*Simpler recording process

*Resizes applications

*Customizable recording toolbar: options to add markers and ScreenDraw


EDITING

Project settings -

*Gives you a real time preview of what your video will look like.

*Eg, you record at 1024x768, then set your project settings to Web.

It will scale your video to 640x480.

SmartFocus -
http://www.screencast.com/t/9ZZaXh0Z

*Intelligently tracks activity on the screen and zooms in to keep your viewers focused.

*We've also made Zoom n Pan a lot more flexible, so editing, adding and removing zoom keyframes is way easier


Housekeeping -

*When saving a project, there's an option for copying or moving all files associated with the project to a folder.

Transitions -

*New ones include: Fade through Black, Glow, Cube Rotate, Page Turn, Peel, Roll


Callouts -

*We added a 3D edge effect to make the callouts standout more

Improved stability -

*Though its just one bullet item on here, about 1/3 of our development effort has gone into shoring up the code, making it much more stable and predictable

Editing at 30FPS -

*We've moved to a more standard, stable editing approach of 30 frames per second editing. We initially followed Microsoft Movie Maker, giving people the illusion of editing at 100ths of a second. But we found that it actually confused people people, because we didn't have
100 frames per second. So now we've got 30 fps video and editing.

Nice and consistent and more stable.


From the Scout Report on October 5, 2007

Avast Home Edition 4.7.103 --- http://www.avast.com/eng/programs.html 

It's important to stay on top of all those harmful viruses, Trojan horses, and other pests that threaten computers these days. The Home Edition of the Avast application can help concerned parties do just that. This edition contains multiple shields that will look over downloaded files, instant messages, emails, and a host of peer-to-peer networks. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer.


 Zotero --- http://www.zotero.org/ 

It can be hard to keep Tom Wolfe and Thomas Wolfe straight at times, and if you are working on an academic paper that incorporates both of these august characters, you probably want to keep those research sources in good order. Thanks to Zotero, it is very easy to do just that. Zotero is a Firefox extension that helps users collect, manage, and cite their research sources. Zotero can automatically capture citation information from web pages, store PDF files, and also export these citations with relatively ease. This very helpful extension is compatible with computers running Firefox 2.0.


Those Annual Ig Nobel Prizes
Nobel Prizes will be announced next week, so that means it’s time for the annual Ig Nobel Prizes, which were awarded Thursday night. This year’s winners were honored for research on the side effects of sword swallowing (medicine), how sheets get wrinkled (physics), bed bugs (biology), extracting vanilla fragrance from cow dung (chemistry), rats’ inability to tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards or Dutch forwards (linguistics, the “gay bomb” that may be used some day to make enemy soldiers find each other irresistible to each other (peace), problems in alphabetization created by the word “the” (literature), and the impact on appetite of a self-refilling bowl of soup (nutrition).
Inside Higher Ed, October 5, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/05/qt


From The Washington Post on October 2, 2007

Which device is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year?

A. Remote control
B. Hand-held calculator
C. Personal computer
D. Wireless phone

From The Washington Post on October 5, 2007

How much time did it take for Sputnik to orbit Earth once?

A. 60 seconds
B. 90 seconds
C. 12 hours
D. 10 days
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

 

 


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


"Autism symptoms reversed in lab," BBC News, June 27, 2007 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6245742.stm  

Symptoms of mental retardation and autism have been reversed for the first time in laboratory mice. US scientists created mice that showed symptoms of Fragile X Syndrome - a leading cause of mental retardation and autism in humans.

They then reversed symptoms of the condition by inhibiting the action of an enzyme in the brain.

The study, by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This implies that future treatment may still be effective even after symptoms are already pronounced

Dr Susumu Tonegawa

Fragile X Syndrome is linked to mutation in a gene carried on the X chromosome called FMR1.

It can cause symptoms ranging from mild learning disabilities to severe autism.

The researchers, based at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, targeted an enzyme called PAK which affects the number, size and shape of connection between brain cells.

They found that inhibiting the enzyme stopped mice with Fragile X Syndrome behaving in erratic ways.

Prior to treatment they showed signs of hyperactivity, purposeless and repetitive movements.

Abnormalities corrected

Further analysis showed that not only were structural abnormalities in connections between brain cells righted, proper electrical communication was restored between the cells.

In the brain small protrusions called dendritic spines are responsible for communication between cells.

People with Fragile X Syndrome have more dendritic spines than usual, but each is longer and thinner, and transmits weaker electric signals.

Blocking PAK activity in the lab mice corrected these abnormalities.

Researcher Dr Susumu Tonegawa stressed that the mice were not treated until a few weeks after symptoms of disease first appeared.

Continued in article


Thanks George:  Human Therapeutic Cloning at a Standstill
A lack of human eggs has created a major roadblock in one of the most promising areas of stem-cell research. Human therapeutic cloning shows great promise for medicine because it would produce stem cells genetically matched to whoever donated the adult cell. In the near term, scientists want to use stem cells derived from patients with specific diseases to pinpoint the molecular mishaps underlying these afflictions and to test new treatments. Longer term, cloned stem cells might be used to replace tissue damaged by diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinson's disease.
Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, October 9, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/19488/?nlid=589


For Men This is Depressing
Sex and depression: Study finds your gender can affect your mental health

A University of Western Sydney study which explored men's experiences of depression has revealed that gender has a significant impact on the success of mental health treatment. According to UWS School of Psychology PhD graduate Dr Zakaria Batty, men and women cope with and receive treatment for depression in distinct ways. "Australia's suicide rate currently shows men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women," Dr Batty says. Dr Batty says part of the reason for this alarming rate is that men aren't accessing the therapy services available because the services are not adequately targeting men's needs. The study of nearly 400 men found a range of gender role conflict issues that impede successful treatment for depression, including men's tendency to conceal vulnerability inhibiting their ability to openly seek help. "Fears of mental health stigma in the community, and lack of support to seek therapy from family and friends, often prevent men from accessing treatment," Dr Batty says.
PhysOrg, October 2, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news110555161.html


Researchers Discover Link Between Schizophrenia, Autism and Maternal Flu
It has been known for some time that schizophrenia is more common among people born in the winter and spring months, as well as in people born following influenza epidemics. Recent studies suggest that if a woman suffers even one respiratory infection during her second trimester, her offspring's risk of schizophrenia rises by three to seven times. Since schizophrenia and autism have a strong (though elusive) genetic component, there is no absolute certainty that infection will cause the disorders in a given case, but it is believed that as many as 21 percent of known cases of schizophrenia may have been triggered in this way. The conclusion is that susceptibility to these disorders is increased by something that occurs to mother or fetus during a bout with the flu. Now, researchers have isolated a protein that plays a pivotal role in that dire chain of events. A paper containing their results, "Maternal immune activation alters fetal brain development through interleukin-6," will be published in the Oct. 3 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
PhysOrg, October 3, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news110641743.html


Table of Condiments That Periodically Go Bad (even when refrigerated) --- http://backtable.org/~blade/fnord/condiments.html


Study finds that even aloof husbands have lower testosterone levels than unmarried men
A fascinating new study is the first outside of North America to observe lower testosterone levels among married men. Supporting a growing body of research, the study reveals that even married men who are considered aloof spouses and provide minimal parenting have much lower testosterone levels than single, unmarried men . . . These results lend further support to arguments that male testosterone levels reflect, in part, variation in male mating effort,” the researchers write. “[However], contrary to earlier findings... polygynously married men did not show higher testosterone levels. In fact, follow-up analyses among Ariaal men aged 40 and older revealed lower testosterone levels among polygynously married men compared with monogamously married men.”
PhysOrg, October 9, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news111154830.html


Study: Tasers are safe to use
The study, led by Dr. William Bozeman of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, is believed the first large, independent study of injuries associated with Tasers -- weapons that incapacitate people through an electrical current delivered by shooting wires into the body.
In a review of nearly 1,000 cases, 99.7 percent of those subjected to Taser use had mild injuries, such as scrapes and bruises, or none at all, Bozeman said. Only three subjects suffered injuries severe enough to need hospital admission. Two other subjects died after being shot by a Taser, but autopsy reports indicated neither death was related to the use of a Taser.

PhysOrg, October 8, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news111080086.html


Forty Things An Alzheimer's Caregiver Needs To Remember
All too often caregivers find themselves in situations where they constantly feel they need to explain what they are doing and why they are doing it. All too often they run into people, including family members, who just don't understand Alzheimer's Disease, and for the most part never will. Sometimes, caregivers have more stress from these type situations than they do with the care giving itself.
Joanne D. Kiggins, Blog Critics Magazine, October 1, 2007 --- http://blogcritics.org/archives/2007/10/01/131321.php

01. I need to remember I am here to do a job and that job is to take care of my loved one.
02. I need to remember that I am doing the best thing I can possibly do for my loved one.
03. I need to remember my loved one comes first before all others.
04. I need to remember to keep my loved one safe.
05. I need to remember to keep my loved one fed.
06. I need to remember to keep my loved one warm.
07. I need to remember to keep my loved one clean.
08. I need to remember to keep my loved one healthy.
09. I need to remember to keep my loved one comfortable.
10. I need to remember to keep my loved one happy.
11. I need to remember to keep my loved one free of pain.
12. I need to remember to keep my loved one free of aggravation and aggression.
13. I need to remember to keep my loved one free of anger and upsets.
14. I need to remember to keep my loved one from being distracted.
15. I need to remember to keep my loved one in familiar surroundings.
16. I need to remember to keep my loved one stimulated.
17. I need to remember to keep my loved one from loud noises and busy environments.
18. I need to remember to keep my loved one feeling adequate and worthwhile.
19. I need to remember to keep my loved one remembering as long as possible.
20. I need to remember to find solutions before behavior problems appear.
21. I need to remember that I do not need to explain my decisions to those who don't agree with my decision; the caregiver's concerns/wishes carry more weight.
22. I need to remember I do not need to explain why I have to keep my loved one on a schedule.
23. I need to remember I cannot make others accept what they do not want to accept.
24. I need to remember I do not need to be everyone's "excuse" for what they cannot do or do not understand.
25. I need to remember others are responsible for their own actions.
26. I need to remember I am only responsible for my own actions.
27. I need to remember I am only responsible for my loved one's feelings and mine.
28. I need to remember I am not responsible for how often someone decides to visit.
29. I need to remember that not everyone is as flexible as I am.
30. I need to remember that not everyone is as patient as I am.
31. I need to remember that not everyone is as understanding as I am.
32. I need to remember that I shouldn't withdraw from social activities.
33. I need to remember not to worry about tomorrow, but instead think about the moment.
34. I need to remember to quit worrying about what other's think or say. I am the only one who knows what I'm capable of doing.
35. I need to remember not to be disappointed when I don't receive help.
36. I need to remember to give myself permission to grieve the losses, but also focus on the good memories.
37. I need to remember my loved one feels my love and remind them they are loved and respected.
38. I need to remember to take care of myself.
39. I need to remember to find time for myself.
40. I need to remember my spirit can't be broken.

 




If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!
P.J. O'Rourke --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.J._O%27Rourke


The average Canadian family spends more money on taxes than on necessities of life such as food, clothing, and housing, according to a study from The Fraser Institute, an independent research organization with offices across Canada. The Canadian Consumer Tax Index, 2007, shows that even though the income of the average Canadian family has increased significantly since 1961, their total tax bill has increased at a much higher rate.
The Fraser Institute, April 16, 2007 --- http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/April2007/16/c5234.html

And think of how they will fare when more than half is withheld for taxes!
Sixty-seven percent of American employees are living paycheck to paycheck, according to results released this week from the 2007 "Getting Paid In America" survey. The online survey by the American Payroll Association asked respondents how difficult it would be to meet their current financial obligations if their paycheck were delayed for a week. An overwhelming 31,640 of more than 47,000 respondents said they'd find it difficult to meet their financial obligations if their paycheck were delayed. This is a 2 percent increase from 2006 . . .
AccountingWeb, September October 2006, 2007 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=104038


So what's wrong about Canada's health care system?

Canada's Health Care Plan:  A Personal Sicko Experience

Forwarded by Dick Haar

Hey Guys; I seen on the news up here in Canada where Hillary Clinton introduced her new health care plan. Something similar to what we have in Canada . I also heard that Michael Moore was raving about the health care up here in Canada in his latest movie. As your friend and someone who lives with the Canada health care plan I thought I would give you some facts about this great medical plan that we have in Canada .

Plus a few additions from me...D

First of all:

1) The health care plan in Canada is not free. We pay a premium every month of $96. for my wife and I to be covered. (for my daughter and her two children, she pays $148.00 per month.) Sounds great eh. What they don't tell you is how much we pay in taxes to keep the health care system afloat. I am personally in the 55% tax bracket. Yes 55% of my earnings go to taxes. (A great deal more, as the other taxes have not been taken into consideration) A large portion of that and I am not sure of the exact amount goes directly to health care our #1 expense.

2) I would not classify what we have as a health care plan, it is more like a _health diagnosis system_. You can get in to see a doctor quick enough (If you can find one and be accepted) so he can tell you "yes indeed you are sick or you need an operation" but now the challenge becomes getting treated or operated on. We have waiting lists out the ying yang some as much as 2 years down the road, or more.

3) Rather than fix what is wrong with you the usual tactic in Canada is to prescribe drugs. Have a pain here is a drug to take- not what is causing the pain and why. No time for checking you out because it is more important to move as many patients thru as possible each hour for Government re-imbursement. Was in a Dr. office with friend and after 12 minutes was told his "time" was up. Another friend, her Dr. has sign up saying, "Time Limit, 10 Minutes per patient".

4) Many Canadians do not have a family Doctor. (I have not seen a Dr. since 1998 and on Thursday asked If I could see a Dr. and was told that I was living "out of their catchment area" and ask'd who made those laws, she said the "Federal Government".) GREAT */FREE/* SYSTEM!

5) Don't require emergency treatment as you may wait for hours in the emergency room waiting for treatment. (Have waited in emerg. with friend and heard somebody say they were there since 11 p.m. the previous night .this was 4 p.m. in the afternoon)

6) My wife's dad cut his hand on a power saw a few weeks back and it required that his hand be put in a splint - to our surprise we had to pay $125. for a splint because it is not covered under health care plus we have to pay $60. for each visit for him to check it out each week.

7) My wife's cousin was diagnosed with a heart blockage. Put on a waiting list . Died before he could get treatment. (Same happened to a friend of ours) Another friend was on a cruise, had a heart attack, was off loaded in Costa Rica, Dr. there had to call Canada after diagnosis and was told if you operate on more than 2 blockages you will not be compensated (paid) He had 4 blockages. Had to wait a further year in order to clear the other blockages before they would do anything. Subsequently he's had a pace maker put in.

8) Government allots so many operations per year. When that is done no more operations, unless you go to your local newspaper and plead your case and embarrass the government then money suddenly appears. Knee and hip replacements certainly fall into this category, regardless of one's situation, regardless of the 2+ year wait. My husband was to have a knee replacement ... they scrapped the chipped bone, left him rubbing bone on bone, then he had to get a brace costing $1,500.00 which is not effective enough, reduced his life style dramatically.

9)The Government takes great pride in telling us how much more they are increasing the funding for health care but waiting lists never get shorter. Government just keeps throwing money at the problem but it never goes away. But they are good at finding new ways to tax us, but they don't call it a tax anymore it is now a _user fee_.

10) My mother needs an operation for a blockage in her leg but because she is a smoker they will not do it. Despite her and my father paying into the health care system all these years. My Mom is 80 years of age. Now there is talk that maybe we should not treat fat and obese people either because they are a drain on the health care system. Let me see now, what we want in Canada is a health care system for healthy people only. That should reduce our health care costs.

11) Forget getting a second opinion, what you see is what you get.

12) I can spend what money I have left after taxes on booze, cigarettes, junk food and anything else that could kill me but I am not allowed by law to spend my money on getting an operation I need because that would be jumping the queue. I must wait my turn except if I am a hockey player or athlete then I can get looked at right away. Go figger. Where else in the world can you spend money to kill yourself but not allowed to spend money to get healthy. Alternative methods are greatly discouraged with posters in Dr. offices lauding the "dangers" of herbs, etc.

13) Oh did I mention that immigrants are covered _automatically_ at tax payer expense having never contributed a dollar to the system and pay no premiums.@#$%^&*()_

14) Oh yeh we now give free needles to drug users to try and keep them healthy. Wouldn't want a sickly druggie breaking into your house and stealing your things. But people with diabetes who pay into the health care system have to pay for their needles because it is not covered by the health care system. Then there is also a new Diabetic drug which is easier on the system, but if you can't pay for it, you can not have it regardless of your health.

I send this out not looking for sympathy but as the election looms in the states you will be hearing more and more about universal health care down there and the advocates will be pointing to Canada . I just want to make sure that you hear the truth about health care up here and have some food for thought and informed questions to ask when broached with this subject.

Step wisely and don't make the same mistakes Canada has made..

Also see Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives --- http://www.policyalternatives.ca/


What does the liberal media think of Hillary's proposed health care plan?
Would someone please ask Hillary Clinton to stop coming up with health care "reform" plans that are less attractive than the dysfunctional system she proposes to replace? . . . The reality is that the Clinton plan is about as socialistic as a Ronald Reagan corporate tax cut. The Clinton plan maintains the current system of for-profit, insurance-industry defined health care delivery. The only real change is that, in return for minimal requirements regarding coverage of those with preexisting conditions, the government would pump hundreds of billions in federal dollars into the accounts of some of the country's wealthiest corporations. The plan's tax credit scheme would buy some more coverage for low-income families, which is good, but it would do so at a cost so immense that, ultimately, Clinton's plan will be as tough a sell as the failed 1993 "Hillarycare" proposal.
John Nichols, "Clinton's Prescription for Another Heath Care Reform Failure," The Nation, September 18, 2007 --- http://www.thenation.com/blogs/campaignmatters?pid=233626

What do liberals want in a health care plan?
The National Health Insurance Act, H.R. 676. Introduced by Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.), the bill would create a publicly financed, privately delivered system for providing comprehensive health care for all U.S. residents by expanding and improving the existing Medicare program. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that all U.S. residents have access to quality, affordable health care regardless of employment, income, or health status. The program covers all medically-necessary care, including primary care and prevention, prescription drugs, emergency care, mental health services, dentistry, eye care, and substance abuse treatment. Patients would also have the freedom to choose their physicians, providers, hospitals, and clinics.
National Organization for Women --- http://www.capwiz.com/now/issues/alert/?alertid=9994911#action
 

Jensen Comment
Organizations like NOW are calling this the "cost-effective" health care program. But they aren't mentioning why inevitable health rationing is more cost-effective. Rationing is inevitable because there may be 100 to a thousand times demand relative to demand for good doctors and price-controlled medications not allowed to adjust pricing to demand. Even Michael Moore is belatedly admitting that Cuba has a two-tier national health plan where the elites come out much better in the rationing system. And liberals are mentioning the impact on the economy of the trillion dollar cost that will explode with medical cost inflation. Publicly-funded health care will cover a lot more people, especially the massive neuvo unemployed created by resulting business closures and labor outsourcing, technology substitutions, and exploding prices to pay the taxes. Nor do they discuss the surge of undocumented immigrants who will be flooding into the country for free medication, obstetrics, organ transplants, heart bypass operations, and neuro surgeries. Already Medicare and Medicaid are on the ropes as the baby boom generation taps into the rather generous system for elderly and poverty-level citizens. It will be a tough sell the remainder of all younger and more affluent people to an already troubled Medicare system.

It's one thing to sell a socially equitable system. It's quite another to maintain the tax revenues and make it work. It's really quite easy to drive the tax base out of business and to create soaring inflation with immense deficit spending. We're doing that now with existing entitlements --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Entitlements.htm  The health care system needs to be fixed for the uninsured, but it does not need to be fixed with false hopes of free health care and unrealistic taxation. And the typical guns-for-healthcare argument will be a tough sell in these tense times of terrorism and world tension that will not disappear when we "redeploy" from Iraq. And price controls imposed on physicians, hospitals, and medications enormously discourages increasing the numbers of skilled physicians, highest technology hospitals, and newly discovered wonder drugs. One way to empty our difficult and tedious medical schools will be to fix the prices of health care and offer the services of doctors free for everybody.

Do Americans Really want to Give More Than Half Their Paychecks for a Universal Health Tax?
Sixty-seven percent of American employees are living paycheck to paycheck, according to results released this week from the 2007 "Getting Paid In America" survey. The online survey by the American Payroll Association asked respondents how difficult it would be to meet their current financial obligations if their paycheck were delayed for a week. An overwhelming 31,640 of more than 47,000 respondents said they'd find it difficult to meet their financial obligations if their paycheck were delayed. This is a 2 percent increase from 2006 . . .

AccountingWeb, September October 2006, 2007 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=104038

Also see Also see Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives --- http://www.policyalternatives.ca/ 




Forwarded by Paula

An 80-year old man goes for a physical. All of his tests come back with normal results. The doctor says, "Chuck, everything looks great! How are you doing mentally and emotionally? Are you at peace with God?"

Chuck replies, "God and I are tight. He knows I have poor eyesight, so he's fixed it so when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, POOF! the light goes on. When I'm done, POOF! the light goes off."

"WOW, that's incredible," the doctor says.

A little later in the day, the doctor calls Chuck's wife. "Ethel," he says, "George is doing fine! But, I had to call you as I am in awe of his relationship with God. Is it true that when he gets up during the night, POOF! the light goes on in the bathroom and when he's done POOF! the light goes off?"

"Oh, my God!" Ethel exclaims, "He's peeing in the refrigerator again!"


Bob Hope quips forwarded by Paula

May 29, 1903 - July 27, 2003

ON TURNING 70 "You still chase women, but only downhill".

ON TURNING 80 "That's the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing."

ON TURNING 90 "You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake."

ON TURNING 100 " I don't feel old. In fact I don't feel anything until noon . Then it's time for my nap."

ON GIVING UP HIS EARLY CAREER, BOXING "I ruined my hands in the ring ... The referee kept stepping on them."

ON NEVER WINNING AN OSCAR "Welcome to the Academy Awards or, as it's called at my home, 'Passover'."

ON GOLF "Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees."

ON PRESIDENTS " I have performed for 12 presidents and entertained only six."

ON WHY HE CHOSE SHOWBIZ FOR HIS CAREER " When I was born, the doctor said to my mother, 'Congratulations. You have an eight-pound ham'."

ON RECEIVING THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL "I feel very humble, but I think I have the strength of character to fight it."

ON HIS FAMILY'S EARLY POVERTY "Four of us slept in the one bed. When it got cold, mother threw on another brother."

ON HIS SIX BROTHERS "That's how I learned to dance. Waiting for the bathroom."

ON HIS EARLY FAILURES " I would not have had anything to eat if it wasn't for the stuff the audience threw at me."

ON GOING TO HEAVEN "I've done benefits for ALL religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality."




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